The Download: open source insecurity, and gene editing plants


That is at present’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a each day dose of what’s occurring on this planet of expertise.

The US army needs to know crucial software program on Earth

It’s not a lot of an exaggeration to say that the entire world is constructed on prime of the Linux kernel—though most individuals have by no means heard of it.

It is likely one of the very first packages that load when most computer systems energy up. It permits the {hardware} working the machine to work together with the software program, governs its use of assets, and acts as the inspiration of the working system.

It’s the core constructing block of almost all cloud computing, nearly each supercomputer, your entire web of issues, billions of smartphones, and extra.

However the kernel can also be open supply, that means anybody can write, learn, and use its code. And that’s received cybersecurity specialists contained in the US army critically frightened. Its open-source nature means the Linux kernel—together with a number of different items of crucial open-source software program—is uncovered to hostile manipulation in ways in which we nonetheless barely perceive. Learn the total story.

—Patrick Howell O’Neill

Warmth is unhealthy for plant well being. Right here’s how gene modifying might assist.

The information: A number of the world’s most efficient agricultural areas have already damaged temperature information this 12 months, with doubtlessly worrying implications for meals provides. Even a slight rise in temperatures may cause crops to grow to be extra weak to pests. To fight this, researchers have recognized a single gene that appears to be the temperature-sensitive offender and located a strategy to restore the crops’ immune system at larger temperatures.

How they did it: For a lot of crops, an essential immune pathway entails salicylic acid. The chemical has antibacterial properties, and it additionally acts as a sign to get different immune pathways going. Nonetheless, this pathway primarily shuts down in unusually sizzling circumstances. Researchers had been capable of tweak the crops’ genome in order that they produced extra salicylic acid, thus boosting the crops’ safety in opposition to pests and ailments.

What it means: Whereas the experiment was performed on an Arabidopsis plant, many others, together with wheat, corn, and potatoes, share the identical sort of salicylic acid pathway, making it potential the work might have an effect far past the lab. Learn the total story.

—Casey Crownhart

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you at present’s most enjoyable/essential/scary/fascinating tales about expertise.

1 Russian propaganda is flourishing on social media once more
Months into the warfare, Ukraine says Large Tech has misplaced curiosity in eradicating it. (WP $)
+ Russia’s bombing campaigns have tipped into terrorism. (The Atlantic $)
+ A US protection agency has provided Ukraine with kamikaze drones. (FT $)
+ The warfare in Ukraine might threaten regulating killer robots. (New Scientist $)
 + A Chinese language housewife fooled Wikipedia into considering she was a Russian professional. (Motherboard)

2 Uber is being sued by 550 girls over sexual assault claims 
The US-based girls say they had been raped and sexually assaulted by drivers, in line with the harrowing submitting. (BBC)

3 Put up-Roe, we’re extra surveilled than ever
It’s turning into more and more troublesome to keep away from leaving a digital paper path. (NYT $)
+ Large Tech remains to be silent on questions on information privacy in a post-Roe US. (MIT Expertise Overview)

4 These new encryption algorithms are quantum-proof
Researchers are assured they’re ready to withstand quantum computing’s makes an attempt to crack them. (Economist $)
+ What’s post-quantum cryptography? (MIT Expertise Overview)
+ Numbers with destructive sq. values are integral to quantum principle. (Aeon)

5 Don’t hassle making an attempt to make sense of Elon Musk v Twitter
The insanity is simply set to accentuate by the point they make it to court docket. (The Atlantic $)
+ Everybody concerned emerges trying like a loser. (Insider)

6 How one in every of crypto’s largest lenders collapsed
Celsius has now filed for chapter, leaving its prospects out of pocket. (FT $)
The UK has permitted suing somebody over blockchain. (Bloomberg $)

7 Turkey says it’s found a wealthy mine of uncommon earth parts
However specialists aren’t satisfied. (Wired $)
+ Mining minerals for rechargeable batteries nonetheless makes us really feel responsible. (The Atlantic $)

8 Prime membership turned Amazon into the web’s jack of all trades
And allowed it to weaponize comfort alongside the best way. (New Statesman $)

9 Spam calls are driving us to distraction
Some annoyed victims have taken to emailing the FCC for solutions. (Motherboard)
+ The folks utilizing humor to troll their spam texts. (MIT Expertise Overview)

10 Unhealthy style is the brand new good style
The early noughties web aesthetic is reassuringly gaudy. (Vox)

Quote of the day

“I really feel like clickbait.”

—Maree, a lady from Melbourne, describes her discomfort at being filmed with out her consent in a viral ‘random act of kindness’ TikTok video, stories the Guardian.

The massive story

Why Era Z falls for on-line misinformation

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June 2021

In November 2019, a TikTok video claiming that if Joe Biden is elected president of america, “trumpies” will commit mass homicide of LGBT people and other people of shade quickly went viral, considered, shared, favored and commented on by a whole lot of 1000’s of younger folks.

Clearly, the claims had been false. Why, then, did so many members of Era Z—a label utilized to folks aged roughly 9 to 24, who’re presumably extra digitally savvy than their predecessors—fall for such flagrant misinformation? It’s partly as a result of younger individuals are extra more likely to consider and move on misinformation in the event that they really feel a way of frequent id with the one who shared it within the first place. Learn the total story.

—Jennifer Neda John 

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Bought any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)+ Regardless of how unhealthy issues get, at the very least we’ve received Kirby.
+ The jokes in regards to the three males who stole Don Henley’s handwritten Lodge California lyrics simply write themselves (thanks Allison!)
+ A lacking canine casually managed to win third place in a canine present whereas her house owners had been trying to find her.
+ Right here’s why the misplaced cities buried deep within the Amazon rainforest took so lengthy to search out.
+ I liked the charming story behind this viral image of a browsing instructor from the 70s.

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