May 21, 2024


It's the Technology

Starlink's satellite signals, and joyless tech

Starlink’s satellite signals, and joyless tech

Advances in reproductive technologies are forcing us to reconsider what it means to be a parent—even at a genetic level. While IVF allows would-be parents to use eggs and sperm donated by others, who may or may not have a role in the life of the resulting child, it’s not just IVF. Technologies that result in babies with three genetic parents are already in use. And others that enable four or more genetic parents could be available in the near future.

This kind of progress inevitably raises vital questions. What is it about a genetic contribution that may or may not make a person a parent? Is there an ideal number of parents a child can have? And, when we come down to it, do genetics even really matter at all? Read the full story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

This story is from The Checkup, our new weekly health and biotech newsletter. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Thursday.

The must-reads

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

1 Elon Musk is planning on cutting thousands of Twitter workers
Reducing the company’s workforce by around 75% would have a serious impact on its ability to curb harmful content. (WP $)
+ Twitter has told workers to ignore media speculation. (Bloomberg $)
+ The platform isn’t always a total viper’s nest. (FT $)

2 Billions in funding could kick-start the US battery materials industry
But while the cash injection is a welcome boost for the industry, there’s still a rocky road ahead. (MIT Technology Review)

3 How a major ransomware group flew under the radar
Schools and hospitals make up the bulk of their targets. (Wired $)

4 Inside the rise and rise of China’s tech ambitions
Its rapid progress spooked the US enough to slap it with restrictions. (Bloomberg $)

5 No one knows why federal law enforcement abducted protestors in 2020
And there’s still no record of their arrests. (The Verge)

6 Nuclear fusion is ready for an image overhaul
There’s been a whole lot of hype, but progress has been slow. (New Scientist $)
+ Maybe controlled chaos is the way forward. (Inverse)

7 The fitness industry urgently needs a shakeup
It rarely delivers on its promises of healthy living. (Neo.Life)
+ How do strong muscles keep your brain healthy? (MIT Technology Review)

8 TikTok is captivated by fast-food workers
The clips give them a glimpse behind the scenes. (New Yorker $)
+ Real-estate agents are getting involved, too. (WSJ $)

9 We may never catch the worst chess cheats ♟️
Maybe we need to make our peace with it. (The Atlantic $)
+ Hans Niemann is suing Magnus Carlsen in the ongoing cheating row. (Motherboard)
+ I Was There When: AI mastered chess. (MIT Technology Review)

10 Instagram’s new anti-bullying measures might actually work 
Nudges reminding users to be kind seem to have the desired effect. (Vox)

Quote of the day

“Like any physicist, I’m wholeheartedly against promoting quantum mysticism, or anything with totally unfounded claims.”