The Download: electric planes, and trans men’s fertility

by Massimo Barnett
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Scientists have known for years that light pollution is growing and can harm both humans and wildlife. In people, increased exposure to light at night disrupts sleep cycles and has been linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease, while wildlife suffers from interruption to their reproductive patterns, increased danger and loss of stealth.

Astronomers, policymakers, and lighting professionals are all working to find ways to reduce light pollution. Many of them advocate installing light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, in outdoor fixtures such as city streetlights, mainly for their ability to direct light to a targeted area. But the high initial investment and durability of modern LEDs mean cities need to get the transition right the first time or potentially face decades of consequences. Read the full story.

—Shel Evergreen

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Google is integrating large language models into robots
In theory, this means they should understand a wider array of commands from humans. (WP $)
+ Google’s robot is powered by their most powerful model. (Wired $)
+ The race to understand the exhilarating, dangerous world of language AI. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Why we can no longer afford to ignore the case for climate adaptation 
We’re living in the middle of a cautionary tale. (MIT Technology Review)
+ Extreme heat means we’re going to have to change how we design cities. (The Atlantic $)

3 The US is still doing lots of business with China
Despite escalating tensions, officials are still approving semiconductor and component deals. (WSJ $)

4 How a traumatic brain injury changed how one girl saw the world
Distrusting her senses helped her to forge a new sense of who she is. (Wired $)
+ This is how your brain makes your mind. (MIT Technology Review)

5 This company wants to grow crops in space
Using the first commercial space greenhouse. (Reuters)
+ Why we’re getting closer to discovering what dark matter actually is. (Aeon)

6 Bitcoin’s biggest miners lost more than $1 billion during the crash
They’ve been forced to sell off coins as a result. (Bloomberg $)
+ Alphabet has invested more into blockchain than any other public company. (Cointelegraph)
+ Texas’ power grid is creaking under the strain of crypto mining. (Slate $)
+ The losses from crypto hacks this year are over $1 billion, too. (Reuters

7 Meet the influencers fighting Kashmir’s internet blackout
Budding influencers are getting creative to skirt around the Indian government’s shutdowns. (Rest of World)

8 Hackers are targeting mining and oil giants
In a new wave of anti-capitalist resistance. (Motherboard)

9 Scientists want to bring the thylacine back from the dead
The wolf-sized marsupial was hunted to extinction a century ago. Now, it could be coming back. (Ars Technica)
+ The same company wants to bring back the wooly mammoth, too. (CNET)
+ How two high school students discovered two new scorpion species. (Slate)

10 Gen Z is turning its back on Amazon
TikTok stars are backing its Labor Union’s demands for higher wages. (WP $)
+ The UK’s youngsters spend more time on TikTok than watching TV. (FT $)
+ If your recently-published book has flopped, flogging it on TikTok could help. (The Guardian)

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