This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.
How one mine could unlock billions in EV subsidies
On a pine farm north of the tiny town of Tamarack, Minnesota, Talon Metals has uncovered one of America’s densest nickel deposits—and now it wants to begin tunneling deep into the rock to extract hundreds of thousands of metric tons of mineral-rich ore a year.
If regulators approve the mine, it could mark the starting point in what this mining exploration company claims would become the country’s first complete domestic nickel supply chain, running from the bedrock beneath the Minnesota earth to the batteries in electric vehicles across the nation.
MIT Technology Review wanted to provide a clearer sense of the law’s on-the-ground impact by zeroing in on a single project and examining how these rich subsidies could be unlocked at each point along the supply chain. Take a look at what we found out.
This is the second story in a two-part series exploring the hopes and fears surrounding a single mining proposal in a tiny Minnesota town.
To read more about the importance of critical minerals to building a greener future, check out the
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Ring will stop the police from requesting doorbell footage from users
Instead, forces will have to seek warrants to access video from next week. (Bloomberg $)
+ It’s a huge U-turn on the company’s previous stance. (Wired $)
+ Privacy groups are cautiously excited by the decision. (The Register)
+ Ring’s new TV show is a brilliant but ominous viral marketing ploy. (MIT Technology Review)
2 A spy tool has been tracking billions of phone profiles
Ads inside hundreds of thousands of apps tracked user behavior and location data. (404 Media)
+ Israeli spyware maker NSO Group is planning a global comeback. (Wired $)
+ Inside NSO, Israel’s billion-dollar spyware giant. (MIT Technology Review)
3 Researchers claim to have created a more accurate AI-text detection tool
By analyzing how surprising its models find combinations of words. (Insider $)
+ The problem is, AI-text detection tools are really easy to fool. (MIT Technology Review)
4 Some doctors are advocating to rename certain cancers
They claim it would benefit patients to reclassify some low-risk, slow-growing cancers. (WSJ $)
+ The best way to prevent this deadly cancer is to remove multiple organs. And I’m about to do it. (MIT Technology Review)
5 Blockchain technology is shedding light on early Earth
Its simulation of chemical reactions models how life could have first formed. (IEEE Spectrum)
+ This mathematician is making sense of nature’s complexity. (MIT Technology Review)
6 Making face-worn computers cool is an uphill challenge
Apple is the latest in a long line of companies to try their luck. (NYT $)
+ Apple doesn’t exactly have a strong track record of playing nice with others. (NY Mag $)
+ These minuscule pixels are poised to take augmented reality by storm. (MIT Technology Review)
7 Your heart contains taste buds
The nutrient sensors could help us to understand more about obesity. (New Scientist $)
8 Pope Francis has had enough of those AI-generated images of him
The Pontiff warned such pictures could distort our relationship with reality. (Ars Technica)
+ Fact is becoming increasingly hard to separate from fiction. (FT $)
+ Making an image with generative AI uses as much energy as charging your phone. (MIT Technology Review)
9 The age of the computer mouse is over 🖱️
But touchpads are inferior in lots of ways. (The Atlantic $)
10 Pac-Man snacks are everywhere
Even after 40 years, brands just can’t get enough of the circular yellow hero. (The Guardian)
Quote of the day
“The function of the guru has needed to be overhauled in modern times…AI is in a perfect position to do that.”
—Self-help guru Deepak Chopra reflects on artificial intelligence’s potential to enlighten its users spiritually, the Fast Company reports.
The big story
Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as possible
Since the 1970s, we’ve sent a lot of big things to Mars. But when NASA successfully sent twin Mars Cube One spacecraft, the size of cereal boxes, to the red planet in November 2018, it was the first time we’d ever sent something so small.
Just making it this far heralded a new age in space exploration. NASA and planetary science researchers caught a glimpse of a future long sought: a pathway to much more affordable space exploration using smaller, cheaper spacecraft.
There was a catch, though. Miniaturization can only go so far before it comes to a crashing halt against some very fundamental laws of physics. Read the full story.
—David W. Brown
We can still have nice things
+ This Gordon Ramsay photoshoot for Sandwich Magazine is absolutely fantastic 🥪
+ So that’s how you make a spring.
+ Would you wear the world’s thinnest watch? (I’m pretty sure I’d buckle it by accident.)
+ Who doesn’t love a shockingly bad film soundtrack?
+ Lets go behind the scenes of a real-life Bugs’ Life.