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The Obtain: NASA’s tiny spacecraft, and the RSV vaccine scarcity


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

Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as potential

For the reason that Seventies, we’ve despatched lots of large issues to Mars. However when NASA efficiently despatched twin Mars Dice One spacecraft, the dimensions of cereal bins, to the purple planet in November 2018, it was the primary time we’d ever despatched one thing so small.

Simply making it this far heralded a brand new age in house exploration. NASA and the neighborhood of planetary science researchers caught a glimpse of a future lengthy sought: a pathway to way more reasonably priced house exploration utilizing smaller, cheaper spacecraft. 

There was a catch, although—one which NASA quickly needed to grapple with. Miniaturization can solely go to date earlier than it involves a crashing halt in opposition to some very elementary legal guidelines of physics. Learn the complete story.

—David W. Brown

This story is from our most up-to-date print situation of MIT Expertise Evaluate, which is all about society’s hardest issues, and the way we must always deal with them. For those who don’t subscribe already, join now to get future points after they land.

RSV is on the rise however preventative medication are in brief provide

This yr we had been presupposed to have extra instruments than ever earlier than to guard youngsters from RSV (brief for respiratory syncytial virus), together with a brand new shot that’s given preventively to infants and susceptible toddlers to guard them from the worst results of the virus.

However now—simply as charges of illness are rising—this medication is in brief provide. The CDC issued an alert final week advising pediatricians to ration doses, reserving them for infants youthful than six months and people with underlying circumstances that place them at highest threat for extreme RSV. 

The state of affairs is irritating to oldsters and pediatricians alike. However shouldn’t forecasting demand for this type of preventative be comparatively easy? And why was there such a mismatch between provide and demand within the first place? Learn the complete story.

—Cassandra Willyard

This story first appeared in The Checkup, MIT Expertise Evaluate’s weekly biotech publication. Enroll to obtain it in your inbox each Thursday.

The must-reads

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

1 Sam Bankman-Fried has been discovered responsible on all seven fraud fees 
However he’ll have to attend till March subsequent yr to seek out out his sentence. (Economist $)
+ The tech trade has already moved on, although. (NYT $)
+ It’s unlikely that SBF would be the final of his type. (The Atlantic $)

2 Meta’s open-source AI comes at a worth
Simply because Llama 2 is publicly out there doesn’t imply it’s low cost. (The Info $)
+ AI corporations actually don’t wish to pay for coaching information. (Insider $)

3 We shouldn’t get complacent about covid this winter
The actual fact vaccines are a lot more durable to get lately isn’t serving to. (The Atlantic $)
+ Who advantages most from the brand new covid vaccines? (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

4 The AI increase is lining Huge Tech’s pockets
The wealthy have gotten even richer because of their cloud investments. (WSJ $)

5 Surveillance tech is coming to a metropolis close to you 
Metropolis councils are investing in Fusus AI methods, however not all residents are glad. (404 Media)
+ Marseille’s battle in opposition to the surveillance state. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

6 Zoonotic illnesses are a rising menace
Animal-to-human illnesses are forecast to kill many extra folks in future many years. (FT $)
+ Meet the scientist on the heart of the covid lab leak controversy. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

7 Overlook the leap second—it’s time for the leap minute
Technically, it may bridge the 2 methods we inform the time. However is the world prepared? (NYT $)

8 How on-line playing ensnared an entire era of Africans
Its governments are ill-equipped to guard residents who’re turning into more and more addicted. (Bloomberg $)
+ How cellular cash supercharged Kenya’s sports activities betting habit. (MIT Expertise Evaluate)

9 Airbnb isn’t what it was once
Its value is on the rise—and so are complaints. (Vox)
+ New York’s conflict in opposition to Airbnb has made it much more costly to go to. (The Atlantic $)

10 Everyone knows food plan soda is unhealthy for us 🥤
Perhaps candy protein substitutes may supply a more healthy different. (Proto.Life)

Quote of the day

“The crypto trade could be new, the gamers like Sam Bankman-Fried could also be new, however this type of fraud is as previous as time and we’ve got no persistence for it.”

— Damian Williams, the US lawyer who led the prosecution of disgraced crypto founder Sam Bankman-Fried, has a solemn message for reporters outdoors the Manhattan courtroom, Reuters reviews.

The massive story

Contained in the app Minnesota police used to gather information on journalists at protests

March 2022

Photojournalist J.D. Duggan was protecting a protest in Minnesota in April 2021 when cops surrounded him and others, and advised them to get on the bottom.

Officers sorted the press from the protesters, walked them to a car parking zone, and started photographing them, one after the other. They advised Duggan the photographs can be saved in an app. 

An investigation by MIT Expertise Evaluate discovered the info was collected utilizing a software known as Intrepid Response, a simple option to nearly immediately de-anonymize protest attendees and maintain tabs on their actions. For some, the software’s use is a harmful step within the course of authoritarianism. Learn the complete story.

—Sam Richards & Tate Ryan-Mosley

We are able to nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre occasions. (Obtained any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Due to the wonders of AI, we’ve been blessed with one final Beatles tune.
+ 65 years in the past at present, Laika the canine turned the primary canine in orbit! 🪐
+ Working as a Disney animation mannequin appears completely exhausting.
+ The world’s most distant lighthouses is a good topic for a guide.
+ Historic England is on the hunt for ghost indicators—these superbly pale painted indicators promoting companies and merchandise of the previous.



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