Today’s edition of The Download, MIT Technology Review’s daily technology newsletter
I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Food prices soar
Ukraine supplies much of the world’s wheat, corn and barley, and its farmers are unlikely to be able to sow this season. (NYT$)
+ Climate change is making the problem worse. (Wired $)
+ A Ukrainian MP has accused Russia of trying to starve Mariupol into surrendering. (BBC)
+ Russia uses cluster bombs, and they could pose a danger for decades. (Wired $)
+ 6.5 million people have been displaced inside Ukraine, according to the UN. (Axios)
2 Is Russia Resisting Cyberwar?
The most dire predictions have yet to come true. (voice)
+ At present, the propaganda war is the most important virtual battlefront. (TR)
+ Russian families fight for reality, as different members receive vastly different reports of the war. (WP$)
+ Ukraine appeals to DJI to restrict where its drones can fly. (Vice)
3 China has reported its first covid deaths since January 2021
Omicron has arrived on his shores, but he encounters strong resistance. (The Guardian)
+ England’s health service has started distributing second covid boosters to people classed as high risk. (The Guardian)
+ Hong Kong emerges from some of the toughest covid restrictions in the world. (nikkei)
+ But low vaccination rates and immunity levels have taken a heavy toll. (The Guardian)
4 What is the “normal” duration of mourning?
The most powerful body of psychiatry thinks it’s about a year. (NYT$)
+ How to Fix Your Broken Pandemic Brain. (TR)
5 Americans are hoarding nickels 💰
Those who have noticed its skyrocketing price recently, at least. (Atlantic $)
+ The war in Ukraine should also cause a shortage of neon lights. (Recode)
+ It could also be a major setback for electric car sales. (NYT$)
6 NASA’s giant new moon rocket has arrived on its launch pad 🚀
Marking a crucial step in NASA’s space exploration plans, though it could be months before it flies. (Ars Technica)
+ Russia sent three cosmonauts to the International Space Station amid unrest over Ukraine. (WP$)
7 Looks Like SXSW Was… A Bit Depressing
There’s always hype in the technology, but the gap between promises and likely results looks like a giant chasm recently. (Vice)
8 Have iPhone cameras gotten too smart?
Some users complain that the latest iteration corrects their photos too much. (New Yorkers $)
9 Why are video games getting longer and longer? 🎮⌛
It’s the golden age of games, you just have to have the time to play them. (WP$)
10 What the AI of an Emily Dickinson Poem Looks Like
Really otherworldly stuff. (Debugger $)
quote of the day
“There can be no question of surrender, of laying down arms. We have already informed the Russian side about this. Instead of wasting time on 8 pages of letters, just open a [humanitarian] corridor.”
~ Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk issues provocative message as Russian military deadline for Mariupol surrender passed today, Ukrainska Pravda news outlet reports.
We can still have beautiful things
A place of comfort, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (Have ideas? Message me or tweet them to me.)
+ Not NOW, Japanese demon.
+ These physical toys look endlessly entertaining.
+ Sean Connery’s Highlander voiceover dubbed during the Teletubbies opener cannot be heard or unseen.
+ Why you should be OK with being boring.
+ Ben Affleck’s new film Deep Water asks the eternal question: can a drone engineer be sexy?