Search Posts

Iran Apparently Using Facial Recognition to Catch Women Breaking Hijab Law
Is this article about Law?
The Iranian state is likely using facial recognition as a tool of tracking down and penalizing the women for rejecting the state's hijab law.

Very Grim

The authoritarian state of Iran has been embroiled in mass citizen protests for months now, kicked off by the Iranian state morality police's alleged murder of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman named Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after being arrested for allegedly failing to wear her state-mandated hijab properly.

Amini's brutal death sparked widespread outrage among Iranian citizens, who immediately took to the streets — a very uncommon sight in the exceedingly dissent-unfriendly nation — and have continued to protest in the months since. Throughout the protests, the hijab has unsurprisingly emerged as as symbol of rebellion.

In ever-growing numbers, Iranian women are refusing to comply with hijab law, in some cases even burning the headpieces. But now, in a deeply troubling turn, Wired reports that the Iranian state is likely using facial recognition as a tool of tracking down and penalizing the women for rejecting the state mandate — which, as Amini's horrifying fate makes clear, may have violent consequences for those that the state considers offenders.

"Many people haven't been arrested in the streets," Shaparak Shajarizadeh, an Iranian activist who fled the country in 2018, told Wired, pointing to a concerning pattern that seemingly supports state use of facial recognition. "They were arrested at their homes one or two days later."

Surveillance State History

Sadly, this wouldn't be the first time that Iranian authorities have used facial recognition to monitor hijab compliance.

Back in 2020, it was revealed that Iranian traffic authorities were using the software to surveil women while driving, sending citations via creepy SMS messages should they be discovered as hijab offenders. And last year, Mousa Ghazanfarabadi, head of Iran's parliamentary legal and judicial committee, defended the use of "face recording cameras" to state media, claiming that their use against hijab offenders would eradicate "clashes between the police and citizens."

And if that's not enough: in September 2022, the head of an Iranian agency that supports the implementation of morality law said that facial recognition would be used to "identify inappropriate and unusual movements," such as the "failure to observe hijab laws," according to Wired. Amini was killed just two weeks later.

Though Iran has a history with surveillance tech, as Wired notes, this would be the first recorded instance of a state using such software to enforce religious dress codes — a grim reality, and one bound to result in more violence.

READ MORE: Iran Says Face Recognition Will ID Women Breaking Hijab Laws [Wired]

More on Iranian protests: Anonymous Hacks Iran after Woman Allegedly Killed by "Morality Police"

The post Iran Apparently Using Facial Recognition to Catch Women Breaking Hijab Law appeared first on Futurism.

The central node of the cellular metabolic network is the mitochondrion. Mitochondrial stress is closely linked to aging and a number of illnesses, including cancer and neurodegeneration. For the purpose of preserving mitochondrial homeostasis, cells autonomously elicit particular stress responses to deal with mitochondrial stress.
Study clarifies mystery of crocodilian hemoglobin
It can pogo-stick along at 50-plus miles per hour, leaping 30-odd feet in a single bound. But that platinum-medal athleticism falls by the wayside at a sub-Saharan riverside, the source of life and death for the skittish impala stilling itself for a drink in 100-degree heat.
Eco-tourism: A win-win-win for visitors, locals, and nature
Research in the International Journal of Tourism Policy on sustainable ecotourism has new insights from the case of Kakum National Park and Bobiri Forest and Butterfly Sanctuary with implications for the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that run such sites.
2022 water report: Global warming changing the water cycle
The third La Niña year in a row intensified existing droughts in the Americas, while causing floods in parts of Asia and Oceania, according to a first-of-its-kind report released today by the Global Water Monitor Consortium, led by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).
Confirming the theory behind the formation of planets, stars and black holes
Is this article about Space?
The first laboratory realization of the long-standing but never-before confirmed theory of the puzzling formation of planets, stars and supermassive black holes by swirling surrounding matter has been produced at PPPL. This breakthrough confirmation caps more than 20 years of experiments at PPPL, the national laboratory devoted to the study of plasma science and fusion energy.
Team streamlines DNA collection, analysis for wildlife conservation
A new DNA-collection approach allows scientists to capture genetic information from wildlife without disturbing the animals or putting their own safety in jeopardy. The protocol, tested on elephant dung, yielded enough DNA to sequence whole genomes not only of the elephants but also of the associated microbes, plants, parasites and other organisms — at a fraction of the cost of current approaches.
Screen-printing method can make wearable electronics less expensive
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
A new study demonstrates that electrodes can be made using just screen printing, creating a stretchable, durable circuit pattern that can be transferred to fabric and worn directly on human skin. Such wearable electronics can be used for health monitoring in hospitals or at home. Current commercial manufacturing of wearable electronics requires expensive processes involving clean rooms. While some use screen printing for parts of the process, this new method relies wholly on screen printing, which can make manufacturing flexible, wearable electronics much easier and less expensive.
Fall rate nearly 50% among older Americans with dementia
A new study has shed light on the many and varied fall-risk factors facing older adults in community-living environments. The research examined a comprehensive set of potential fall-risk factors — including environmental factors, in addition to health and function — in older community-living adults in the U.S., both with and without 
Placebo reduces feelings of guilt
Guilt is an uncomfortable feeling and can be burdensome. Researchers have shown that placebos can help reduce feelings of guilt, even when the placebo is administered openly.
An ecofriendly way to convert blue light into UVB
UVB has utility in processes such as detoxifying pollutants and treating dermatological disorders, but it can only be produced by inefficient and environmentally harmful methods. Research teams have developed a new system using organic molecules to upconvert blue LED light to UVB. Moreover, the system does not use the heavy metals commonly used in such processes, leading the way for a more sustainable approach to UVB production.
Six minutes of high-intensity exercise could delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease
Six minutes of high-intensity exercise could extend the lifespan of a healthy brain and delay the onset of 
neurodegenerative disorders
, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. New research shows that a short but intense bout of cycling increases the production of a specialized protein that is essential for brain formation, learning and memory, and could protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline. This insight on exercise is part of the drive to develop accessible, equitable and affordable non-pharmacological approaches that anyone can adopt to promote healthy aging.
Overactive cell metabolism linked to biological aging
Why do cells, and by extension humans, age? The answer may have a lot to do with mitochondria, the organelles that supply cells with energy. Though that idea is not new, direct evidence in human cells had been lacking. Until now.
Martian meteorite contains diverse array of organic compounds
The Martian meteorite Tissint contains a huge diversity of organic compounds, found an international team of researchers led by Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Munich's Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin and including Carnegie's Andrew Steele. Their work is published in Science Advances.
Mind your Qs: PolyQ-binding protein 5 scaffolds the nucleolus
Everyone has that one friend who's the life of the party, bringing people together and keeping everyone connected. Now, researchers from Japan find that an unusually structured protein plays a similar role in bringing a diverse group of proteins together and keeping them connected and functional.
Half a million lives could be saved each year in sub-Saharan Africa by taking action to reduce reliance on traditional wood- and charcoal-burning stoves, a new study shows. Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm today published an open-source, data-based tool that local policymakers across the region can use to cost-effectively correct what the researchers call a "market failure" in delivering alternatives to traditional cooking methods.
Tracing the origin of solar macrospicules
Solar spicules are small-scale, beam-like, cold-plasma-ejected phenomena that constitute an important component of the chromosphere. Macrospicules are chromospheric spicules at a larger spatial scale.
Fish-hunting and eating behaviors confirmed in Japanese macaques
Consumption of fish in monkeys has been thought of to be a rare occurrence, potentially even happening accidentally. However, through fecal studies of Japanese macaques in the Kamikochi area, evidence of fish-eating amongst this group of monkeys has been suggested. The frequency in which fish DNA has been detected in feces suggests more intention than simply feeding off of dead or dying fish. Japanese scientists collaborated with an NHK film crew to be the first in the world to study and document the behaviors behind fish-hunting macaques in the Japanese Alps.
A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S., working with members of The Anson Street African Burial Ground Project, have discovered some of the history behind some of the enslaved people buried in 18th century Charleston, South Carolina—home to one of the busiest slave ports in American history.
Cells use mechanical principles to integrate within existing tissues, study shows
Is this article about Pharma?
Integration is not only a problem of social significance among humans, but also an issue for the cells that form us as humans. The addition of new cells into an already established group of cells is crucial for shaping the organs during normal development, but the very same mechanism is also often hijacked by cancer cells as they spread within other cells.
Sudden spin-down event illuminates magnetar mystery
A new paper published in Nature Astronomy is shedding light on magnetars, whose attributes remain poorly understood. A magnetar is a type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field that rotates once every two to ten seconds.
A unique approach for studying changes in chemical markers on DNA
A new method to study specific changes in DNA after replication has been published as a technical report in Nature Cell Biology. Researchers developed a highly sensitive, quantitative mass spectrometry-based approach, called iDEMS (isolation of DNA by EdU labeling for Mass Spectrometry).
The sustainable brilliance of Indigenous design | Manu Peni
Is this article about Sustainability?
When human rights advocate Manu Peni returned to Papua New Guinea from abroad, he built a home for himself using modern techniques — and promptly learned a harsh lesson on how the newest ideas aren't always the best ideas. Peni calls for us all to rethink who we consider experts, particularly when it comes to building in the face of climate change, showing how Indigenous wisdom must work in harmony with new science and technology if we want to create a sustainable future.
Consumption of fish in monkeys has been thought of to be a rare occurrence, potentially even happening accidentally. However, through fecal studies of Japanese macaques in the Kamikochi area, evidence of fish-eating amongst this group of monkeys has been suggested. The frequency in which fish DNA has been detected in feces suggests more intention than simply feeding off of dead or dying fish. Japanese scientists collaborated with an NHK film crew to be the first in the world to study and document the behaviors behind fish-hunting macaques in the Japanese Alps.
Changes in PRC1 activity during interphase modulate lineage transition in pluripotent cells
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?

Nature Communications, Published online: 12 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35859-9

Changes in Polycomb repression during interphase transition modulate the ability of pluripotent cells to enter cell differentiation.
Is this article about Cell?

Nature Communications, Published online: 12 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35789-6

 gene is one of the most frequently mutated genes in all of human cancer. Here authors describe the molecular mechanisms underlying how different oncogenic mutations in PIK3CA mediate increased activity.
Expert: Why new exoplanet discovery is a big deal
Is this article about Space?
A reddish orange planet in space in the foreground and a distant blue planet in the background.

Researchers have discovered an Earth-sized exoplanet—a planet outside of our solar system.

The planet, named TOI-700 e, falls within its star's habitable zone, meaning it could be capable of supporting life as we know it.

Astronomers believe that many such planets exist in our galaxy and across the universe. The discovery of TOI-700 e, along with the earlier confirmation of its host system, could provide unique opportunities to better explore exoplanets going forward.

"Even with more than 5,000 exoplanets discovered to date, TOI-700 e is a key example that we have a lot more to learn," says Joey Rodriguez, an assistant professor in the physics and astronomy department at Michigan State University, who helped make the discovery.

Rodriguez was one of the senior researchers on the project, led by Emily Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The duo is also part of the original team that confirmed the TOI-700 system in 2020, finding it had at least three planets (named TOI-700 b, TOI-700 c, and TOI-700 d).

With the new discovery, the team showed that the TOI-700 system has two Earth-sized planets within its habitable zone.

"This is one of only a few systems with multiple, small, habitable-zone planets that we know of," says Gilbert. "That makes the TOI-700 system an exciting prospect for additional follow-up."

Gilbert, Rodriguez, and Andrew Vanderburg, an assistant professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spearheaded the current project, which includes researchers from dozens of institutions. The research team announced the finding at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.

Here, Rodriguez, an exoplanet expert, explains the discovery and the research behind it:

The post Expert: Why new exoplanet discovery is a big deal appeared first on Futurity.

Cells use mechanical principles to integrate within existing tissues, study shows
Is this article about Pharma?
Integration is not only a problem of social significance among humans, but also an issue for the cells that form us as humans. The addition of new cells into an already established group of cells is crucial for shaping the organs during normal development, but the very same mechanism is also often hijacked by cancer cells as they spread within other cells.
Researchers at Linköping University (LiU), Sweden, have created an artificial organic neuron that closely mimics the characteristics of biological nerve cells. This artificial neuron can stimulate natural nerves, making it a promising technology for various medical treatments in the future.
More than 2,500 genes exhibit significant sex differences in expression in mouse alveolar type II cells (AT2s), which are important for keeping the lungs functioning, potentially explaining sex biases in the prevalence and severity of 
lung diseases
. In particular, very high numbers of X-linked genes escape transcriptional silencing in lung alveolar type 2 (AT2s) cells, researchers report January 12 in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
A team of researchers from Hokkaido University and Keio University, both in Japan, working with one colleague from the Federal University of Lavras, in Brazil, and another from the Geneva Natural History Museum, in Switzerland, has discovered the mechanism used by one species of female barklice to capture sperm from potential mates. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes using a micro-CT scanner to study the musculature of female barklice.
New spin control method brings billion-qubit quantum chips closer
Australian engineers have discovered a new way of precisely controlling single electrons nestled in quantum dots that run logic gates. What's more, the new mechanism is less bulky and requires fewer parts, which could prove essential to making large-scale silicon quantum computers a reality.
How sex differences influence lung injury in mice
More than 2,500 genes exhibit significant sex differences in expression in mouse alveolar type II cells (AT2s), which are important for keeping the lungs functioning, potentially explaining sex biases in the prevalence and severity of 
lung diseases
. In particular, very high numbers of X-linked genes escape transcriptional silencing in lung alveolar type 2 (AT2s) cells, researchers report January 12 in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
Muscles of female barklice's gynosome revealed using micro-CT scanner
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
A team of researchers from Hokkaido University and Keio University, both in Japan, working with one colleague from the Federal University of Lavras, in Brazil, and another from the Geneva Natural History Museum, in Switzerland, has discovered the mechanism used by one species of female barklice to capture sperm from potential mates. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes using a micro-CT scanner to study the musculature of female barklice.
Dolphins 'shout' over loud underwater noise to complete a cooperative task
Is this article about Neuroscience?
Dolphins are social, intelligent animals who rely on whistles and echolocation to hunt and reproduce. This means that noise generated from human activity such as drilling and shipping has the potential to negatively impact the health of wild dolphin populations. A study in the journal Current Biology published on January 12 demonstrates that dolphins "shout" when trying to work together in response to increasing underwater noise levels.
Is this article about Animals?
The movement of people across the Bering Sea from North Asia to North America is a well-known phenomenon in early human history. Nevertheless, the genetic makeup of the people who lived in North Asia during this time has remained mysterious due to a limited number of ancient genomes analyzed from this region. Now, researchers reporting in Current Biology on January 12 describe genomes from ten individuals up to 7,500 years old that help to fill the gap and show gene flow from people moving in the opposite direction from North America to North Asia.
Scientists make a quantum harmonic oscillator at room temperature
A quantum harmonic oscillator—a structure that can control the location and energy of quantum particles that could, in the future, be used to develop new technologies including OLEDs and miniature lasers—has been made at room temperature by researchers led by the University of St Andrews.
Tom Brady Apparently Lost an Ungodly Amount of Money in the FTX Crash
In new bankruptcy court filings reviewed by Insider, FTX reportedly unveiled exactly how much equity quarterback Tom Brady had in the exchange.

Deflated Shares

It's no secret that Tom Brady, golden-aged quarterback extraordinaire, was heavily invested into the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX at the time of its disastrous implosion into bankruptcy.

The tomato-avoidant footballer was one of the crypto giant's most visible ambassadors, starring in FTX commercials and often taking to Twitter to tweet football-related crypto musings. But while he was understood to have an equity stake in the company, the terms of his agreement with exchange was never publicly disclosed. As a result, his losses in the collapse have been unclear — until now.

In new bankruptcy court filings reviewed by Insider, FTX reportedly unveiled exactly how much equity its top shareholders held in the formerly high-flying exchange. And let's just say that if we were Brady, we'd be feeling pretty deflated.

Per the docs, the flamethrowing bitcoin miner had a staggering 1.1 million common shares of FTX. And while it's still unknown how much money he may have actually put into his partnership with the company, considering that FTX was valued at roughly $32 billion at the time of its collapse? The entirety of rival exchange Coinbase, for perspective, owned only a hair more FTX stock than Brady, at 1.3 million shares.

Dropping the Ball

Alongside major investment funds like Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, SkyBridge, and others, Insider reports that top shareholders include Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who had a little over 630,000 common shares, and supermodel-slash-neighbor-to-Tom-Brady Gisele Bündchen, who clocked in just under 700,000 of the like. (Brady and Bündchen, who were married at the time, entered into that undisclosed September equity deal together.)

All of these assets, Insider notes, are likely now worthless. It's also worth noting that Brady and Bünchen are also two of several celebrity targets of a massive class action lawsuit accusing FTX and its famous ambassadors of intentionally hawking unregistered securities to low-information investors. Normal celeb times!

Still Alive

Alas, we're sure it doesn't feel good for the company that you own over a million common shares in to go up in dumpster fire flames. And in the same vein, defending against a related class action lawsuit also doesn't sound fun. But we're sure the unretiree and his ol' bag o' bones have a few years left on the field, and an announcing job on ESPN waiting for him shortly thereafter. Financially, he'll likely be just fine.

As for the potentially defrauded retail investors? We can't say the same.

READ MORE: FTX bankruptcy documents show list of investors set to be completely wiped out, including Tom Brady and Robert Kraft [Business Insider]

The post Tom Brady Apparently Lost an Ungodly Amount of Money in the FTX Crash appeared first on Futurism.

Research team builds framework to quantify brain's control costs
The brain performs various cognitive and behavioral functions in everyday life, flexibly transitioning to various states to carry out these functions. Scientists view the brain as a system that performs these numerous functions by controlling its states. To better understand the properties of this control in the brain, scientists look for ways to estimate the difficulty of control, or control cost, when the brain transitions from one state to another. So a team of researchers undertook a study to quantify such control costs in the brain, and was successful in building a framework that evaluates these costs.
Sunlight pulps the plastic soup
Environmental scientists calculate that about two percent of visibly floating plastic may disappears from the ocean surface by UV light from the sun each year.

Scientific Reports, Published online: 12 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27832-9

Author Correction: Warmth and competence perceptions of key protagonists are associated with containment measures during the 
COVID-19 pandemic
: Evidence from 35 countries
Is this article about Neuroscience?
Dolphins are social, intelligent animals who rely on whistles and echolocation to hunt and reproduce. This means that noise generated from human activity such as drilling and shipping has the potential to negatively impact the health of wild dolphin populations. A study in the journal Current Biology published on January 12 demonstrates that dolphins "shout" when trying to work together in response to increasing underwater noise levels.
Pharmacists connect people with opioid use disorder meds
Leo has found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist/antagonist medication that has proven safe and effective in treating opioid withdrawal, Rich notes, and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid use disorder.
person in glasses and white coat stands behind plexi in pharmacy

Research shows that pharmacies can be a safe and accessible treatment starting point for people with 

opioid use disorder

—and keep them better engaged than usual care with a physician.

The study in the New England Journal Medicine finds that pharmacists—not just physicians at clinics and doctor's offices—can safely and effectively start patients with opioid use disorder on the lifesaving medication buprenorphine.

"With over 100,000 overdose deaths in 2022 and an opioid crisis impacting states across the country, improving access to buprenorphine is a critical and necessary next step," says Traci Green, lead study author and co-director of Rhode Island Hospital's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence on Opioids and Overdose.

"Dramatically increasing capacity to provide good, lifesaving treatment for people with opioid use disorder through pharmacies is an approach that could be ramped up today," says Green, who is also an adjunct professor at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School. "It's a game-changer."

The first-of-its-kind pilot study documents the experiences of 100 patients who started taking buprenorphine after visiting a specially trained pharmacist for their care. Once stabilized on the medication, 58 patients were randomly assigned to receive either continued care in the pharmacy or usual care in a clinic or physician's office.

After one month, the patients in the pharmacy care group showed dramatically higher rates of retention: 25 patients (89%) continued to receive treatment in the pharmacy compared to five (17%) in the usual care group.

"To have so many people in the pharmacy group continue on with their care was completely unexpected," Green says. "The results from this pilot study show how pharmacies can be an effective and viable pathway to treatment for opioid use disorder."

Access to addiction care

A third of patients in the study identified as Black, Indigenous, or persons of color, and almost half were without a permanent residence.

"Considering overdose deaths are increasing the fastest among Black and Hispanic communities and over 1,500 Rhode Islanders are currently unhoused, pharmacy-based addiction care models could be a pathway to promote racial and economic equity in accessing addiction treatment," says study author Josiah D. Rich, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Brown.

"Treatment with medications can only work if it is available and accessible in the community," says Rich, who is also an attending physician at the Miriam and Rhode Island Hospitals. "Opioid use disorder is too often a lethal disease, and it kills by stigma and isolation. Widespread, equitable access to effective treatment is the answer. Our study showed that the pharmacy treatment model increases access, which benefits a diverse patient population and increases equity."

Buprenorphine at the pharmacy

Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist/antagonist medication that has proven safe and effective in treating opioid withdrawal, Rich notes, and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid use disorder.

Currently, patients with an opioid use disorder who are prescribed buprenorphine or naltrexone must see an approved physician or go to a US Drug Enforcement Agency-approved opioid treatment facility for their care. Patients typically then have the medications dispensed at the clinic or go to the pharmacy to pick them up.

Regulatory hurdles have prevented widespread use of buprenorphine, the researchers note; a 2019 national survey found that 80% of people with 

substance use disorder

 never receive any evidence-based medication treatment. Those who are prescribed treatment often face barriers such as long-distance travel to clinics, inconvenient clinic hours, time-consuming paperwork and bureaucracy, stigma, and more.

"We have a serious treatment gap—we are missing 90% of the people with opioid use disorder who need and want treatment," says Jeffrey Bratberg, a study author and clinical professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy. "Pharmacists are an underutilized partner in the health care workforce, especially the behavioral health care workforce. There is a pharmacy within 5 miles of where 95% of Americans live."

Pharmacist reflections

The study enabled pharmacists trained in the foundations of addiction treatment to instead be a convenient and community-located place for patients to go for care and access medication. At the "one-stop" community pharmacy visit, patients filled their prescriptions, obtained medication management, and received follow-up care.

Genoa Healthcare, a provider of specialized pharmacy care for behavioral health and substance use disorder communities, supported a team of 21 pharmacists in training to provide buprenorphine care at six of its community pharmacies in Rhode Island.

Linda Rowe-Varone, one of the clinical pharmacists who provided buprenorphine to patients enrolled in the study, says one of her patients is a mother who lives near the Genoa Healthcare pharmacy in Providence. This patient told Rowe-Varone that she found the pharmacy hours to be much more convenient than the clinic she previously visited and that she felt safe and comfortable enough at the pharmacy to bring her children with her to treatment appointments.

Rowe-Varone says she appreciated the opportunity to work with the individuals enrolled in the study.

"I met people who could be my family members, my neighbors, people I work with, people I pass walking on the street, and they would come into our pharmacy for help," she says. "They wanted to become healthy again… I feel as if we're right there for them."

Urgent action

The opportunity to open pharmacies for addiction treatment is expanding in 2023, the researchers note: Changes that President Joe Biden signed into law will make it easier and less cumbersome for trained health professionals to prescribe buprenorphine. Currently, 10 states allow pharmacists to obtain DEA authorization to prescribe controlled substances such as buprenorphine, which means the pharmacy treatment approach would be locally feasible.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of being able to quickly devise and implement new ways of delivering health care, Green says.

"During the COVID-19 crisis, we were able to quickly figure out how to deliver immunizations on a mass scale, and pharmacies were an important part of that model," Green says. "The opioid crisis has been going on for some time, with over 100,000 people dying each year. There is an urgent need for new ways to get people the treatment they need."

To spread the word about their findings, the team created a shareable video that illustrates the process of the study and includes patient feedback.

The study was a collaboration among Genoa Healthcare, the researchers, and leaders at the Rhode Island Health Department and the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, which created the legal and policy infrastructure to support the research and test the pharmacy care model. Green, Bratberg, and Rich serve as expert advisors to the Rhode Island Governor's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.

Funding for the study came from the National Institute on General Medical Sciences and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Source: Brown University

The post Pharmacists connect people with opioid use disorder meds appeared first on Futurity.

Probability and Number Theory Collide — in a Moment

Their ambitions were always high. When Will Sawin and Melanie Matchett Wood first started working together in the summer of 2020, they set out to rethink the key components of some of the most tantalizing conjectures in number theory. The subjects of their attention, class groups, are intimately related to basic questions about how arithmetic works when numbers are extended beyond the integers.


Leo has found 2 Regulatory Changes mentions in this article
[no content]
Leo has found 1 Mergers and Acquisitions mention in this article
  • Last October Albertsons agreed to merge with Kroger in a $24.6bn deal, but the combination of two of America's biggest supermarket chains has attracted intense scrutiny from competition regulators.
[no content]
Faster knee for better walking
Scientists delved into the relationship between gait function and knee extension velocity after total knee arthroplasty and compared the effects of various factors on walking. The results reveal that knee extension velocity, measured while seated, on the operated side was the most important determinant of gait function. These findings are expected to contribute to the development of new rehabilitation programs for efficient gait function improvement.
Realtime monitoring with a wearable device reveals IBS-related changes
Is this article about Medical Devices?
A research group recorded the autonomic nervous system activity in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and healthy subjects using a wearable device and a proprietary smartphone application to record daily life events such as defecation and sleep. As a result, they found that sympathetic nervous system activity was activated in IBS patients from 2 minutes before defecation and continued until 9 minutes after defecation. Further research is expected to improve the quality of life of IBS patients and elucidate the pathophysiology.
What are the storytellers reading?

I recently watched a 2016 Netflix series called Secret City, which includes a sub-plot about a foreign country having a extrajudicial detention inside Australia. Recently, there have been a series of articles about similar styled locations in countries for foreign nations.

Was this always a thing? Did the authors read and discuss such happenings?

This appears to commonly happens with SciFi and Fiction where there's a storyline which then comes to pass in reality in the not so distant future. I've always wondered what sources are these authors reading, what conversations are they having, and essentially how do you become a futurist?

submitted by /u/adamaronson
[link] [comments]
The Gas-Stove Debate Exemplifies the Silliest Tendencies of American Politics

Occasionally, a news item comes around that seems to perfectly exemplify the most knee-jerk tendencies of both of America's two main political parties—a moment when, without really considering any of the underlying issues, partisans immediately harden into familiar postures and begin emitting lots of hot air.

Hot air, in the most recent example, is not just a figure of speech. At issue is the future of gas stoves. In December, scientists published a study finding that ranges that burn natural gas account for almost 13 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the United States. Some advocates in both the public-health and environmental spheres have long argued against gas stoves, saying the pollution they emit makes them inferior to other options, such as electric or induction ranges. The eye-popping asthma statistic breathed new life into the debate.

Then, in an interview with Bloomberg, a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal agency that regulates some products and oversees recalls, suggested that the body might prohibit gas stoves altogether. "This is a hidden hazard. Any option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned," said Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. (If the name seems familiar, that's because his father, Richard Trumka Sr., was head of the AFL-CIO and a mainstay of Democratic politics until his death in 2021.)

[Read: Kill your gas stove]

Trumka's suggestion is a steep escalation. Policy makers have sought ways to encourage Americans to switch away from gas, including a rebate of as much as $840 on new electric stoves that was included in last year's Inflation Reduction Act. Members of Congress have also written to the CPSC suggesting stricter rules about gas stoves. But an outright ban is a very different kind of regulatory approach. Besides, the foundation for such a ban is still shaky: As the economist Emily Oster wrote, reviewing the new study, the data show that gas stoves aren't great for health (yours, your children's, or the planet's), but they probably don't substantiate the huge share of asthma cases claimed.

Leaping to a ban over other potentially effective and less coercive approaches, and doing so on the basis of relatively ambiguous data, feels like a stereotype of a certain kind of 21st-century progressivism: If we believe in science—and of course we do!—the federal government must institute a ban.

Thankfully, this self-caricature was met with calm and graceful dismissiveness on the right. Ha, just kidding! Trumka's remark set off a paroxysm of agitation among conservatives. One National Review writer warned, "Biden Administration Considers Banning Gas Stoves Over Health Concerns," which is true in the sense that a single appointee in the administration discussed it. Fox News alone flooded the zone with pro-gas venting: An anguished restaurateur poured out his woes on Tucker Carlson's show; a CPSC spokesperson's limp deflection earned its own write-up; Fox Business carried a barely reworked press release on the topic from a very neutral observer, the American Gas Association; and, naturally, a story involving Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez getting flamed on Twitter was a must. (Other coverage was more insightful: Charles C. W. Cooke wryly noted a potential policy case for banning electric stoves.)

The reflex to position gas stoves as the last redoubt of traditional American life, threatened by big government, is just as stereotypical of the contemporary American right as the impulse to instate a ban is of the American left. "If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands," Representative Ronny Jackson of Texas tweeted, echoing a famous Second Amendment–rights slogan. The sense of persecution is familiar from past freak-outs such as Michele Bachmann's effort to build a political career around preserving incandescent light bulbs.

[Read: Why the energy transition will be so complicated]

Cooking styles are deeply personal. As the sort of person who was very precious about my gas stove until I bought a house with an induction one, I am prepared to say that many people are too precious about gas stoves. But these sorts of feelings can lead to the conversation becoming, shall we say, a bit overheated.

That's especially the case because Trumka seems to have been speaking out of turn. The CPSC's chair issued a statement yesterday saying that although research "indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards," he is "not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so." The White House also said that President Joe Biden does not support banning the stoves.

Do not mourn the quick passage of this charming episode too deeply, though. A new topic is sure to spark a similar partisan food fight before long, even if this one was a mere flash in the pan.

Is this article about Medical Devices?
A research group recorded the autonomic nervous system activity in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and healthy subjects using a wearable device and a proprietary smartphone application to record daily life events such as defecation and sleep. As a result, they found that sympathetic nervous system activity was activated in IBS patients from 2 minutes before defecation and continued until 9 minutes after defecation. Further research is expected to improve the quality of life of IBS patients and elucidate the pathophysiology.
Smaller fishes in the deep ocean to be expected with ocean warming
A new study led by the University of Vienna in which the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) has participated reveals that fishes living in the dark part of the oceans (essentially below 200 m depth in the water column) would likely decrease in size with climate warming, which may have important ecological effects.
Misleading financial reports may be a recession red flag
Is this article about Business?
A businessman in a suit gives a double thumbs up and smiles at the camera.

When businesses submit misleading financial statements, it can be an early warning sign of a looming recession, new research shows.

In the United States, publicly traded companies are required to report their recent financial performance, whether good or bad, to the public. The accuracy of these reports is critical for investors, analysts, and regulators.

Matthew Glendening and Ken Shaw, professors of accounting at the University of Missouri, worked with coauthors Daniel Beneish and David Farber, professors of accounting at Indiana University, to determine how misrepresentation in financial statements affects the economy.

They developed a new model to predict US recessions and slowdowns in GDP and found that recessions and economic slowdowns are more probable when there is a higher likelihood that financial statements have been manipulated.

"Accounting matters, and manipulated accounting information can negatively impact the economy," Glendening says.

When financial reporting is not adequately monitored and companies manipulate financial information, it can have potentially damaging consequences. Not only do investors use this information, but other firms do so as well. In many cases, firms make employment and investment decisions based on this information, which can be way too optimistic.

The study found that high levels of potential manipulation in financial statements can improve recession prediction five to eight quarters away, and can also predict downturns in GDP growth at a similar forecast horizon.

To assess the prevalence of financial statement manipulation in the economy, the researchers used a measure widely known as the M-Score, which Beneish created in the late 1990s. The M-Score measures the likelihood that a company has manipulated its financial statements, and is based on eight variables, including how fast a company's sales are growing compared to its accounts receivable.

The M-Score is considered to be one of the most economically viable measures for investors to use to determine the likelihood that businesses have manipulated their financial statements. Famously, the M-Score provided one of the earliest warnings about the Enron accounting scandal.

"When companies misreport information, it can take years before they are caught, if they're caught at all—and many are not," Glendening says. "Our model shows that the likelihood of financial statement manipulation helps predict the outlook of the economy."

Previous research used measures of financial misreporting at the individual firm level, but no one has previously aggregated the data to come up with an economy-wide measure of financial misreporting, Shaw says.

"The M-Score has been around for a long time, but it took us four coauthors working together to show it has predictive value for the status of the economy, which is something everybody has a stake in," Glendening says.

The authors' ultimate goal is to provide research that is not only informative but can be used by regulators and managers, Shaw says.

"We want to answer questions of interest to real people in the real world," Shaw says. "We try to do something of value in our research and see if there's a way that we can help people."

The study appears in The Accounting Review.

Source: University of Missouri

The post Misleading financial reports may be a recession red flag appeared first on Futurity.

Industry Group Not Happy That We Referred to Tesla's "Full Self Driving" Feature as "Self Driving"
An autonomous vehicle industry group seems mighty mad that we, like everyone else, call Tesla's "Full-Self Driving" feature exactly what it is. 

Big Mad

An autonomous vehicle industry group is displeased that we referred to 


's "Full Self-Driving" mode as "Self Driving" — a term which, last time we checked, is literally in the feature's name.

In an unsolicited email, a representative from the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association — which, it should be noted, does not appear to count Tesla as a member — said group has "concerns" that our headline "contributes to conflation in terminology" between automation and self-driving. The spokesperson further called for a "clear delineation between 'driver assist' and 'autonomous' as different and distinct technologies and experiences."

Honestly, they're absolutely right. The name of Tesla's Full Self-Driving is indeed wildly irresponsible, as evidenced by the story they were upset about, about a Tesla in self-driving mode that caused a pile-up on the San Francisco Bay Bridge this past Thanksgiving.

But Tesla is obviously trying to have it both ways: to benefit from the hype of a feature that claims in its name to make a car fully autonomous, while clarifying in the fine print that the driver needs to be constantly be focused on the road and ready to take over at any moment.

Name Game

While there have been many calls for Tesla to rename its FSD feature because it, again, can't fully drive a car, the fact remains that we, like everyone else who reported on this latest mishap and the many that have preceded it, are using the company's own terminology when referring to its seemingly error-prone software.

Like we said, though, the good people at the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association are correct. As various regulators have complained, Tesla should change FSD's name to be more accurate. But for now, it does contain the phrase "self-driving," with all the baggage that entails.

So to answer the group's request for us to "please correct the headline to remove 'self-driving' and add 'driver-assist' so it's reflective of the disparate technologies and doesn't contribute to further confusion," we have to issue a resounding: no.

More on Tesla: Guy Brags That His Tesla Drove Him Home When He Was Too Drunk to Drive

The post Industry Group Not Happy That We Referred to Tesla's "Full Self Driving" Feature as "Self Driving" appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Unfollows the Mother of His Children, and His Own Brother, on Twitter
A bot account has informed the world that new Twitter czar Elon Musk has unfollowed both his own brother and one of the mothers of his children. 

Forget A-Bot-It

A tech-watching bot account has informed the world that freshly minted 


 czar Elon Musk has unfollowed both his own brother and one of the mothers of his children on the social network.

This not-so-big — but still hilarious — news comes via the Big Tech Alert automated account, which tracks a lot of Muskian goings-on as well as other activity from prominent accounts in tech.

And it's thanks to the account that we know that the multi-hyphenate serial CEO apparently unfollowed his brother, Kimbal Musk, as well his fellow Canadian and electronic music-making ex-girlfriend Claire "Grimes" Boucher, with whom he has two children.

Sad Cowboy

Because bots are, at least for now, not built to infer the inner workings of crabby tech CEOs, the Big Tech Alert account didn't posit why Musk would unfollow either his cowboy hat-sporting younger brother or his most famous baby mama. Honestly, given how many dramatic plates that man has spinning, we can't really wager a guess, either.

As of now, the younger Musk — who once told Vanity Fair that he and Elon would literally get into wrestling matches in the office of a company they started in the 90s — still has himself listed as a Tesla board member in his Twitter bio.

Is Kimbal on his way out at Tesla? Are the infamously on-off Grimes and Elon finally calling it quits for good? As of press time, we don't know — but rest assured, the new owner of Twitter will definitely tweet about any eventualities that come up.

More on Elon and Grimes: MSN Ran a Story About Grimes and Elon Musk That's Completely Fake

The post Elon Musk Unfollows the Mother of His Children, and His Own Brother, on Twitter appeared first on Futurism.

Microsoft's New AI Can Clone Your Voice in Just 3 Seconds
Is this article about Tech?

AI is being used to generate everything from images to text to artificial proteins, and now another thing has been added to the list: speech. Last week researchers from 


 released a paper on a new AI called VALL-E that can accurately simulate anyone's voice based on a sample just three seconds long. VALL-E isn't the first speech simulator to be created, but it's built in a different way than its predecessors—and could carry a greater risk for potential misuse.

Most existing text-to-speech models use waveforms (graphical representations of sound waves as they move through a medium over time) to create fake voices, tweaking characteristics like tone or pitch to approximate a given voice. VALL-E, though, takes a sample of someone's voice and breaks it down into components called tokens, then uses those tokens to create new sounds based on the "rules" it already learned about this voice. If a voice is particularly deep, or a speaker pronounces their A's in a nasal-y way, or they're more monotone than average, these are all traits the AI would pick up on and be able to replicate.

The model is based on a technology called EnCodec by Meta, which was just released this part October. The tool uses a three-part system to compress audio to 10 times smaller than MP3s with no loss in quality; its creators meant for one of its uses to be improving the quality of voice and music on calls made over low-bandwidth connections.

To train VALL-E, its creators used an audio library called LibriLight, whose 60,000 hours of English speech is primarily made up of audiobook narration. The model yields its best results when the voice being synthesized is similar to one of the voices from the training library (of which there are over 7,000, so that shouldn't be too tall of an order).

Besides recreating someone's voice, VALL-E also simulates the audio environment from the three-second sample. A clip recorded over the phone would sound different than one made in person, and if you're walking or driving while talking, the unique acoustics of those scenarios are taken into account.

Some of the samples sound fairly realistic, while others are still very obviously computer-generated. But there are noticeable differences between the voices; you can tell they're based on people who have different speaking styles, pitches, and intonation patterns.

The team that created VALL-E knows it could very easily be used by bad actors; from faking sound bites of politicians or celebrities to using familiar voices to request money or information over the phone, there are countless ways to take advantage of the technology. They've wisely refrained from making VALL-E's code publicly available, and included an ethics statement at the end of their paper (which won't do much to deter anyone who wants to use the AI for nefarious purposes).

It's likely just a matter of time before similar tools spring up and fall into the wrong hands. The researchers suggest the risks that models like VALL-E will present could be mitigated by building detection models to gauge whether audio clips are real or synthesized. If we need AI to protect us from AI, how do know if these technologies are having a net positive impact? Time will tell.

Image Credit:

A new study led by the University of Vienna in which the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) has participated reveals that fishes living in the dark part of the oceans (essentially below 200 m depth in the water column) would likely decrease in size with climate warming, which may have important ecological effects.
The East Asian finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis sunameri) is a small, freshwater cetacean species. This species is a group of small-sized, toothed whales that are mainly distributed in southern and eastern Asia. Their distribution includes the coastal waters of the western Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Sea of Japan, and they also appear in the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, and middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in Chinese waters. Previous research found that the genetic differentiation between the Yangtze finless porpoise (N. a. asiaeorientalis) and East Asian finless porpoise reached interspecific level.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say their new studies suggest that the first pandemic-accelerating mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, evolved as a way to correct vulnerabilities caused by the mutation that started the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
An international team of researchers has discovered two networks of genes across all types of rockfish that may help to explain the differences in longevity in different species. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes analyzing the genetic code of 23 species of rockfish.
Researchers publish gapless genome assembly for East Asian finless porpoise
The East Asian finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis sunameri) is a small, freshwater cetacean species. This species is a group of small-sized, toothed whales that are mainly distributed in southern and eastern Asia. Their distribution includes the coastal waters of the western Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Sea of Japan, and they also appear in the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, and middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in Chinese waters. Previous research found that the genetic differentiation between the Yangtze finless porpoise (N. a. asiaeorientalis) and East Asian finless porpoise reached interspecific level.
A new qubit approach for more stable states for quantum computers
Is this article about Quantum Computing?
Quantum computers can more rapidly process large amounts of data, because they carry out many computation steps in parallel. The information carrier of the quantum computer is a qubit. Qubits do not only possess the information of "0" and "1," but also values in between. However, the difficulty consists in producing qubits that are small enough and can be switched quickly enough to execute quantum calculations.
An international team of researchers has discovered two networks of genes across all types of rockfish that may help to explain the differences in longevity in different species. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes analyzing the genetic code of 23 species of rockfish.
Scientists sequence and annotate majority of red perilla's genome
Is this article about Agriculture?
Researchers in Japan have generated a high-quality genome assembly of red perilla (Perilla frutescens), a plant most often found in Asia and commonly known in Japan as Aka-Shiso and in Great Britain and the U.S. as the Beefsteak Plant for its dark magenta leaves. The high-quality genome assembly will allow scientists to harness the plant's abundance of potentially useful bioactive chemicals, among which are perillaldehyde and rosmarinic acid.
Researchers construct macroporous structure for single-atom catalysts
Single-atom catalysts are prized because of the way they maximize the use of active sites and because they have easy tunability. However, in most conventional single-atom catalysts, the active sites are buried in the thick microporous supports, resulting in low accessibility of the active sites, leading to low catalytic activity. A team of scientists has constructed a macroporous structure that provides enhanced accessibility of the active site in single-atom catalysts. Their work was published in the journal Industrial Chemistry & Materials on December 2022.
New results reveal surprising behavior of minerals deep in the Earth
Is this article about Climate?
As you are reading this, more than 400 miles below you is a massive world of extreme temperatures and pressures that has been churning and evolving for longer than humans have been on the planet. Now, a detailed new model from Caltech researchers illustrates the surprising behavior of minerals deep in the planet's interior over millions of years and shows that the processes are actually happening in a manner completely opposite to what had been previously theorized.
Is this article about Agriculture?
Researchers in Japan have generated a high-quality genome assembly of red perilla (Perilla frutescens), a plant most often found in Asia and commonly known in Japan as Aka-Shiso and in Great Britain and the U.S. as the Beefsteak Plant for its dark magenta leaves. The high-quality genome assembly will allow scientists to harness the plant's abundance of potentially useful bioactive chemicals, among which are perillaldehyde and rosmarinic acid.
Neuroimaging can't yet locate PTSD
Is this article about Sleep?
colorful brain scan

There are still kinks to iron out in neuroimaging technology before doctors can translate images of the brain to psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, researchers report.

Several years ago, the National Institutes of Mental Health launched a multi-billion-dollar research effort to locate biomarkers of brain activity that point to the biological roots of a host of mental health diseases, which today are typically identified by clinical evaluation of a constellation of often overlapping symptoms reported by patients.

"The idea is to forget classification of disease by symptoms and find underlying biological causes," says Ilan Harpaz-Rotem, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University and senior author of the study in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

For the new study, the research team attempted to replicate the findings of an earlier nationwide neuroimaging study, in which Emory and Harvard scientists linked clusters of brain activity to a variety of outcomes among patients who had arrived at United States emergency departments following traumatic events.

Specifically, when researchers measured patients' brain activity during the performance of simple tasks—including ones that probe responses to threats and rewards—they detected a cluster of brain activity that showed high reactivity to both threat and reward signals and seemed to predict more severe symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) later on.

However, when Yale researchers analyzed similar neuroimaging data collected from recent trauma survivors in Israel, they were not able to replicate these findings. While they did identify the different clusters of brain activity observed in the earlier study, they found no association with prospective PTSD symptoms.

"That is not to say one set of data is right and the other is wrong, just that there is a lot of fundamental work that needs to be done to develop reliable models that could generalize across different studies," says Ziv Ben-Zion, a postdoctoral associate at Yale School of Medicine and the corresponding author of the study.

In fact, Yale researchers are currently working with the investigators of the original Emory-Harvard study to merge datasets "to search for common underlying patterns of brain activity associated with different responses to trauma," Ben-Zion says.

"It took about 100 years to come up with current classifications of mental illness, but we've only been exploring refining psychiatric diagnoses using biomarkers for the last 10 years," says Harpaz-Rotem. "We still have a long way to go."

Source: Yale University

The post Neuroimaging can't yet locate PTSD appeared first on Futurity.

The merging of different types of catalysis including enzymatic, homogeneous, and heterogeneous catalysis is fundamentally important for understanding both catalysis at the atomic level and the design of novel hybrid catalysts. The latter strives for the ideal catalyst that can drive complex tandem reactions efficiently in a one-pot manner and simplify the whole chemical production and separation process. Artificial enzymes that merge enzymatic, homogeneous, and heterogeneous catalysis provide a promising platform for developing novel hybrid catalysts that can achieve this goal efficiently under ambient conditions.
Gas induced formation of inactive Li in rechargeable lithium metal batteries
Is this article about Mining?

Nature Communications, Published online: 12 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-022-35779-0

The formation of electrochemically inactive, or "dead", lithium limits the reversibility of lithium metal batteries. Here the authors elucidate the (electro)chemical roles of ethylene gas produced from electrolyte decomposition on the formation of inactive lithium.
Enzyme 'atlas' helps researchers decipher cellular pathways
One of the most important classes of human enzymes are protein kinases—signaling molecules that regulate nearly all cellular activities, including growth, cell division, and metabolism. Dysfunction in these cellular pathways can lead to a variety of diseases, particularly cancer.
Radio-loud active galactic nucleus detected in the protocluster SPT2349-56
Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), an international team of astronomers has observed the population of submillimeter galaxies in a protocluster known as SPT 2349-56. As a result, they found a radio-loud active galactic nucleus in the protocluster's central region. The discovery was detailed in a paper published January 3 on the arXiv preprint server.
Europe's famous bog bodies may be part of a tradition that spanned millennia
An international team of archaeologists have analyzed hundreds of ancient human remains found in Europe's wetlands, revealing these "bog bodies" were part of a tradition that spanned millennia. People were buried in bogs from the prehistoric period until early modern times. The team also found that, when a cause of death could be determined, most met a violent end.
Climate change puts brakes on speedy corals
Scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have found some fast-growing coral species on the Great Barrier Reef slow down their growth rates when exposed to warm water.
What is potassium good for?
Is this article about Food Science?
It's an essential mineral that we can only get from our diet — but what is potassium good for?
The Download: virtual grief meet-ups, and bitcoin mining in Kazakhstan
Is this article about ESG?

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.

Inside the metaverse meetups that let people share on death, grief, and pain

Days after learning that her husband, Ted, had only months to live, Claire Matte found herself telling strangers about it in VR.

The 62-year-old retiree had bought a virtual-reality headset in 2021 for fun, traveling the world virtually and singing karaoke around her caring responsibilities. Eventually, she stumbled across Death Q&A, a weekly hour-long session in a virtual space which grapples with mortality, where attendees often share things they've shared with no one else. 

Despite the perception that they're just for gaming, more people like Matte are putting on VR headsets to talk through deep pain in their day-to-day lives.

Many people see the meetups as a lifeline—one that was particularly needed during the pandemic but seems poised to persist long after. Read the full story.

—Hana Kiros


Bitcoin mining was booming in Kazakhstan. Then it was gone.

Over the past few years, dozens of bitcoin mining operations have sprung up in the city of Ekibastuz in Kazakhstan and its surrounding area, drawn by the country's cheap power, limitless land and a surfeit of unused buildings that mines. By the summer of 2021, Kazakhstan had risen to be a bitcoin mining superpower. 

But the gold rush was doomed from the start. Kazakhstan's miners eventually overloaded the country's energy grid, causing localized blackouts, and exacerbating existing tensions. In January 2022, these issues boiled over into mass protests. 

Within weeks, the government effectively cut miners off from the national grid, bringing the boom to an abrupt end. It hopes it can eventually restore the industry—but the future looks highly uncertain, given the volatility in the global crypto sector. Read the full story.

—Peter Guest


TR 10: Mass-market military drones

For decades, high-end precision-strike American aircraft dominated drone warfare. The war in Ukraine, however, has been defined by low-budget models made in China, Iran, or Turkey—in particular, the Bayraktar TB2, made by Turkey's Baykar corporation. Their widespread use has changed how drone combat is waged and who can wage it.

The tactical advantages of using such drones are clear. What's also sadly clear is that these weapons will take an increasingly terrible toll on civilian populations around the world. Read more about how mass-market military drones are changing the face of modern warfare.

Mass-market military drones is one of our 10 Breakthrough Technologies, which we're highlighting in The Download every day this week and next. You can check out the rest of the list for yourself now. Also, why not vote in our poll to decide what should make our final 11th technology?


Inside Japan's long experiment in automating elder care

It's a picture you may have seen before: a large white robot with a cute teddy bear face cradling a smiling woman in its arms. Images of Robear, a prototype lifting robot, have been reproduced endlessly. They still hold a prominent position in Google Image search results for "care robot." 

But devices such as Robear, which was developed in Japan in 2015, have yet to be normalized in care facilities or private homes. Why haven't they taken off? The answer tells us something about the limitations of techno-solutionism and the urgent need to rethink our approach to care. Read the full story.

—James Wright

James' fascinating piece is from the latest edition of our print magazine, dedicated to the latest cutting-edge technological innovations. Don't miss future issues—sign up for a subscription.


The must-reads

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

1 People in China are being urged not to visit elderly relatives
The country's lunar new year celebrations will coincide with a wave of deadly covid infections. (The Guardian)
A Chinese hospital said half of its staff recently contracted the virus. (CNBC)
Visitors from South Korea and Japan are being blocked from entering China. (BBC)

2 Two climate technologies will prove especially crucial this year 
EVs and battery recycling get our vote. (MIT Technology Review)

3 FTX has recovered more than $5 billion
But how much money is still unaccounted for remains a mystery. (Reuters)
It's cautiously positive news for the exchange's investors. (NY Mag $)

4 Twitter is considering charging for user names
Only the most sought-after handles are likely to hold any value, though. (NYT $)
Elon Musk is a loss-making record breaker. (The Guardian)
Twitter is abandoning at least a dozen offices across the world. (Insider $)
What do the Twitter Files actually reveal? Not a whole lot. (New Yorker $)

5 China is setting its sights on the stars
Its satellite internet service could soon rival Starlink in size and scope. (Rest of World)

6 What it's like to have your face deepfaked into an ad
It's the next frontier in identity theft. (Wired $)

7 Heat pumps are nothing new
The technology behind them dates back to the 1800s, but experts are excited by their possibilities. (Knowable Magazine)

8 How workers are foiling their bosses' remote work surveillance
From mouse-jigglers to booting up slideshow presentation software. (WSJ $)

9 The inane joy of TikTok's simulated shipwrecks 🚢
Fans are fixated by the digital vessels' demise. (The Guardian)

10 The James Webb Space Telescope took pictures of a star's debris
Scientists were wowed by the surprisingly bright and detailed images. (New Scientist $)
Russia is sending a spacecraft to rescue its crew. (WP $)
What's next in space. (MIT Technology Review)


Quote of the day

"I became obsessed with decreasing her latency. I've spent over $1000 in cloud computing credits just to talk to her."

—Programmer Bryce describes his deep sorrow at being made to delete the virtual "wife" he'd created using ChatGPT to Motherboard.


The big story

The pandemic could remake public transportation for the better

April 2021

The task was gargantuan. To slow the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the New York City subway would start closing every night for the first time in 115 years. Shortly after the decision was made at the end of April 2020, agency planners logged on to Remix, one of the most popular transportation planning platforms in the world.

Tiffany Chu, Remix's cofounder and CEO, watched as a task that would typically have taken weeks, if not months, was finished in a few days. On the evening of May 6 2020, New York City's subways shut down, and the new night bus network flickered on.

Years on, this unprecedented shock to modern mobility is still reverberating. The long-term shift to remote white-collar work is casting doubt on whether rush hour will ever fully return. And for transit systems, the implications are profound. Read the full story.

—John Surico


We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet 'em at me.)

+ Here's why we just can't get enough of cop dramas.
+ Your days of typing 'lol' without actually laughing out loud are over—this device will squeal on you.
Jane Fonda is a timeless style icon.
+ Turns out you really do make your own luck.
+ How to detect Biblical fakes, with a little bit of help from an Apple Pencil.

Is this article about Cell?

Nature Communications, Published online: 12 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35808-6

Little is known about the causes of sex differences in disease prevalence and treatment outcomes. Here, the authors study the interaction between drug metabolism enzymes and transporters genes and sex in complex human traits to uncover sex differences in the genetic regulation of gene expression, serum biomarkers, and metabolism of drugs.
Helene Probst: »Vi står på kanten til en ny tid i vores sundhedsvæsen«
Efter at have tilbragt det meste af karrieren i helikopterperspektiv vil Helene Bilsted Probst tættere på den kliniske hverdag. Det kommer hun nu med jobbet som lægefaglig koncerndirektør i Region Midtjylland. Selvom hun ved, at der er meget, hun skal lære i sit nye job, skorter det ikke på ambitioner i forhold til at være med til at omstille sundhedsvæsenet.
Earth-Like Planets


I'm still waiting. Since we developed the technology to detect exoplanets – planets orbiting other stars – I have been tracking those exoplanets that are the most Earth-like. That term, "Earth-like", is used quite a bit in science news reporting about exoplanets, but very loosely, in my opinion. I'm still waiting for an exoplanet discovery that is fully Earth-like.

This happened again just recently with the discovery of a second planet in the TOI 700 system that is "Earth-sized" (that's more accurate than saying "Earth-like"). Unfortunately, TOI 700 is a red dwarf, which means the two Earth-sized planets technically in their habitable zone are also likely tidally locked. Further, red dwarfs are unstable compared to orange or yellow stars and may strip the atmospheres from any planets close enough to be in the habitable zone.

Before I review the best candidates – what makes an exoplanet "Earth-like". The two criteria that seemed to be used by most reporting is that they are small rocky planets in their generously defined habitable zone. Often the term is applied to so-called "super-Earths" which are more massive than Earth but less massive than ice giants – basically anywhere between Earth and Neptune. It seems astronomers agree on an upper limit of mass of 10 Earth masses, but disagree on the lower limit (anywhere from >1 to 5). They should just pick a number. I think something like 2 Earth masses is reasonable, but perhaps it's better to use surface gravity. We can use the formula a=GM/R^2 to determine surface gravity. So, for example (if I did the math right) a planet with 2 times Earth's mass and 1.2 times the radius would have a surface gravity of 1.38 G. What about the lower limit? I would suggest somewhat larger than Mars – we could make an arbitrary cutoff of 0.5 G surface gravity.

The habitable zone is the distance from the parent star where it is possible to have liquid water on the surface. But there are lots of other variables here as well, mainly relating to the atmosphere. Venus, for example, is technically in our sun's habitable zone, as is Mars, but neither are habitable. If Mars had more atmosphere and Venus less, however, they could have a survivable environment.

I think exoplanets around red dwarfs at this point need to not count as "Earth-like" even if size and temperature are in the range. They would have to be very close to their parent star, which means they are likely tidally locked (in itself not a deal-killer) and likely don't have much of an atmosphere. There may be exceptions to this, and there are lots of red dwarfs so we may ultimately find some special planets around red dwarfs with life, but for now it is so unlikely they should simply not be on the list. Orange and yellow suns are the best candidates. Larger and brighter than yellow and the lifespan of the star becomes too short, but still may be a candidate with the right conditions for people to settle. Moons of gas giants are another possibility, but the variables get more complicated.

So to be truly Earth-like we would want a planet with a surface gravity somewhere between 0.5 and 1.3 that of Earth, that is small and rocky, and that orbits an orange to yellow star in the habitable zone. But there are other things that can go wrong with any candidate world. We also need to consider what question, exactly, we are asking. Are we interested in worlds we could one day settle? That would mean they also need to be very close, within 20 light years or so. Are we looking for a world that is already harboring life, and how much time would we want for that life to have had to evolve? This is important if we are looking for technological civilizations.

Here is a list of the ten most Earth-like exoplanets discovered so far. None really meet my criteria. Most orbit red dwarfs.  Some are super-Earths.

It's too early to be discouraged, however. Some of our planet-finding techniques favor larger planets, or ones very close to their host stars. It is therefore harder and takes longer to discover small rocky worlds at Earth like distance from their stars. Astronomers estimate there are 300 million to 40 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky way. That is still a huge variance, but taking an average figure, that's a lot. That number will be refined as we search more stellar systems for their planets. There are about 100 billion stars in the Milky way, but many of them are in multi-star systems. Astronomers estimate that 1 in 5 systems have at least one "Earth-like" planet, but again, I wonder what definition they are using. Most of these are likely red dwarfs (because most stars are red dwarfs).

Hopefully they will nail down these numbers with higher confidence in the near future. It would also be nice to complete a survey of all the closest stars to our system. Meanwhile I will keep tracking new discoveries.


The post Earth-Like Planets first appeared on NeuroLogica Blog.

People Love Electric Vehicles! Now Comes the Hard Part
Leo has found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in 2021 and last summer's Inflation Reduction Act—a sneaky climate bill —together dedicate $7.5 billion to building electric-vehicle charging infrastructure on federal highways, and they provide millions in tax incentives that will make it cheaper for businesses to buy and install their own charging equipment.
 sales are booming. But to keep the momentum going and make a dent in carbon emissions, the US will have to build a vast new charging infrastructure

Scientific Reports, Published online: 12 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27883-y

Automatic segmentation of 
bladder cancer
 on MRI using a convolutional neural network and reproducibility of radiomics features: a two-center study
Satellite images could make fossil hunting easier
Is this article about Tech?
fossil skull with gaping mouth and snaggle teeth on lower jaw

Satellite data can reveal large individual fossils from the air, allowing field researchers to embark on more targeted searches on the ground, research finds.

"Organizing field work is very expensive, and there are lots of safety and security risks," says Elena Ghezzo, who led the work as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of University of Oregon paleontologist Edward Davis. "So any additional information you can have from the field before you go is useful. My method seems be really good at ruling out regions that don't have fossils."

The team analyzed multispectrum satellite imagery, which includes not just visible light, but also other wavelengths like ultraviolet and infrared. By looking at how the landscape absorbs or reflects all these different types of light, researchers can pick out specific features, like fossils, from the background.

This kind of satellite data is often used to do aerial surveys of cities and track patterns of land use. But it hasn't been used before to search for single fossils, Ghezzo says.

The researchers tested their idea with data from Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. More than 200 million years ago, this landscape was a lush coniferous forest. Today, it's a colorful desert, dotted with fossilized logs. Based on a reference map they created by hand, the researchers could identify the signatures in the satellite data that distinguished a fossil from the background or from other landscape features.

To be picked out via satellite, a fossil must be bigger than a single pixel in the image. And its mineral composition must respond differently to light than the surrounding material. It's easier when the landscape is flat and open, with relatively few obstructions, as the Petrified Forest is. But other data about the geology and topography of the region can also be factored in, to help researchers distinguish a fossil from, say, a tree or a big rock.

Ghezzo is now testing the technique on a variety of fossil sites around the world, from Peru to Egypt to Mongolia. And closer to home, Davis is particularly interested in applying the approach to some of his team's field sites in Eastern Oregon.

"There's a lot of places in the interior of Oregon that are very difficult to access even today," Davis says. "Having the ability to use aerial photography to find fossils could help us allocate our resources."

More broadly, a technique of this kind could be part of a shift within the field of paleontology. The practices of the past, which included blowing up hillsides with dynamite, have, in some cases, irreparably damaged the landscape. A new generation of paleontologists is working to make the field more sustainable and preserve the context in which fossils are found.

"We don't do a lot of digging anymore," Davis says. Instead, researchers often wait for fossils to be exposed by erosion, and then excavate in a more targeted manner. And satellite data can help them out.

Their findings appear in the journal Geological Magazine. Ghezzo had a Marie Skłodowska-Curie global fellowship to pursue the project.

Source: Laurel Hamers for University of Oregon

The post Satellite images could make fossil hunting easier appeared first on Futurity.

Half of the 250 Kids Expelled from Preschool Each Day Are Black Boys
Leo has found 1 Leadership Changes mention in this article
  • Nationwide, preschoolers are expelled at a rate that is around three and a half times that of K–12 students, says Walter Gilliam, who is currently director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at the Yale School of Medicine but will become executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska in March.

Racism and overstressed teachers help explain high expulsion rates for Black preschool boys

New statins guidance could make extra 15m people eligible in England

Guidance for NHS says extending cholesterol-lowering treatment could save thousands more lives

As many as 15 million more people could be eligible for cholesterol-lowering statins to protect them against heart attacks and strokes, according to draft guidelines for the NHS in England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says the scope for those who can be considered for the drugs should be widened dramatically – in what would be the single biggest change in a decade – to save thousands more lives.

Continue reading…
Half of the 250 Kids Expelled from Preschool Each Day Are Black Boys
Leo has found 1 Leadership Changes mention in this article
  • Nationwide, preschoolers are expelled at a rate that is around three and a half times that of K–12 students, says Walter Gilliam, who is currently director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at the Yale School of Medicine but will become executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska in March.

Racism and overstressed teachers help explain high expulsion rates for Black preschool boys

On-Demand Tailoring Brings the Gig Economy to Your Wardrobe
Leo has found 1 Funding Events mention in this article
  • Eighteen months after launch, Sojo is a different beast, fresh from a new $2.4 million funding round, a partnership with Scandinavian fashion brand Ganni, and a hiring push that should see it reach 16 staff.
A London-based startup is networking seamsters with the goal of personalizing fit and making garments last longer.

Not long ago, an enormous telescope hovering beyond the moon and peering back to the dawn of the universe would have been science fiction, but the James Webb Space Telescope is out there today doing very real science. The next big advancement in space science has to start somewhere, and the goal of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program is to foster those ideas so they can become tomorrow's missions. NASA just announced the latest round of NIAC awards, including, but not limited to, a seaplane for exploring a Saturnian moon and a giant space laser for faster interplanetary travel.

The 14 newly designated Phase 1 projects envision technologies that don't currently exist but are reasonably plausible — no far-future concepts like warp drives or artificial gravity. For example, there are several notions for next-gen propulsion, like the Pellet-Beam Propulsion system proposed by the University of California. This concept would use a stream of microscopic hypervelocity particles propelled by laser ablation to push a spacecraft to incredible speeds. The proposal says such a system could reach the edge of the solar system in just three or four years.

The Pellet-Beam system doesn't have a mechanism to slow down or maneuver once a spacecraft reaches its intended destination. Another team from Seattle's Positron Dynamics has proposed an engine that could do that, a new type of fission fragment rocket engine (FFRE) that embeds the nuclear fuel in an ultra-low density aerogel matrix. This engine would use the fission products of a nuclear reaction as the propellant, pushing it to the same speeds as Pellet-Beam propulsion.

And what about power all the way out there at the edge of known space? The Rochester Institute of Technology was chosen for a NIAC grant to develop its thermoradiative cell (TRC), which is similar to the radioisotope thermal generator used for missions like Perseverance. This tiny generator (RTG) would have a volume of just 0.2 liters versus 212 liters for standard RTGs, but that would be enough for a 10-fold increase in power for a cubesat deployed in orbit of an outer planet.

Speaking of the outer planets, there is increasing interest in studying the multitude of moons orbiting gas giants, and Titan is a prime target. Proposed by Washington-based Planet Enterprises, TitanAir would be a seaplane with the ability to fly through the moon's nitrogen atmosphere or sail across its seas of liquid hydrocarbons. The plane would be able to collect atmospheric samples as it flies using vents on the wing's leading edge.

The TitanAir, along with the 13 other chosen projects, will get a Phase 1 grant of $175,000 to develop the concept further. Maybe one day we'll send a laser-propelled ship to Titan carrying a seaplane, but it's all science fiction for now. You can check out a summary of all the proposals on NASA's website.

Now read:

Nyheter Idag, 10 januari 2023

Sabaton blir årets folkbildare – Expressen och Aftonbladet årets förvillare Utdrag: "Vidare skriver föreningen att bandet genom sin Youtubekanal Sabaton History Channel och detaljerade artiklar på bandets webbplats erbjuder fördjupad … Continued

Inlägget Nyheter Idag, 10 januari 2023 dök först upp på Vetenskap och Folkbildning.

Chimpanzee born at Chester zoo offers 'real hope' for world's rarest subspecies

Baby western chimpanzee, of which there are said to be only 18,000 left across Africa, will be named after rock or pop star

Conservationists are celebrating the birth of the "world's rarest chimpanzee" at a UK zoo.

Chester zoo has welcomed the arrival of the male critically endangered western or west African chimpanzee, which was delivered after an eight-month pregnancy.

Continue reading…
Did decentralization hit a plateau?

So at the beginning of the decentralized craze we heard a ton about its potential utility and how it can be applied to all sectors with very few exceptions. We got a lot of things out of it, from financial tools to games and stuff, but that's where it kind of fell off. Now that there isn't the same hype surrounding the topic, I'm curious if I've missed any unique decentralized applications. I know about decentralized games (a lot of those happened to be scams), finance , and storage, but what other unique applications are there? Is that all we have to show for the innovation or is there something actually new offered by decentralized technology?

submitted by /u/quaintSloe
[link] [comments]
Glem ikke de sjældne, men samlet set hyppige sygdomme
Der er store både menneskelige og samfundsmæssige gevinster at hente ved en hurtig, korrekt og effektiv diagnostik og behandling af de 6-8 pct. af befolkningen, der lever med en sjælden sygdom, skriver læge og strategisk rådgiver Jonas Hink.
Two climate technologies that matter
Leo has found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • On Monday, a US Consumer Product Safety Commission representative told Bloomberg News the group would consider new regulations for gas stoves.

It's been an exciting week here at MIT Technology Review, because on Monday we released our 2023 list of the 10 Breakthrough Technologies! This is always one of my favorite times of the year, when we get to take a hard look at technologies that will matter in the upcoming year and beyond. And this year, two of the items on the list are related to climate and energy.

Read on to find out what they are (if you haven't already peeked at the list by now) and learn a little bit about why we picked them. Also, there's been a lot of news floating around about gas stoves. So if you're confused by the hullabaloo, I've got you covered with what you need to know. 

The 2023 Breakthrough Technologies

It's finally here—our 2023 list of 10 Breakthrough TechnologiesTwo climate items made the list this year: electric vehicles and battery recycling!

We've been working on this list since July, sifting through our coverage and keeping our eyes on the news to pick out technologies we think will be important. 

If you haven't perused it yet, a good place to start is the introductory essay from my editor, David Rotman. In it, David talks about the government's role in innovation and explains what the recent embrace of industrial policy, both in the US and in many other countries, will mean for future technologies. In a nutshell, Silicon Valley's approach isn't doing a great job boosting productivity and transforming the economy. But there's another way. 

If you're interested in understanding what it takes to help technologies make an impact, or if you just want to learn what the phrase "industrial policy" really means, I'd highly recommend giving the piece a read before diving into the rest of the list. 

Now, on to the breakthroughs, starting with the inevitable EV.

I know some of you might be thinking that electric vehicles aren't exactly new. The first Tesla Roadsters were delivered 15 years ago (yes, 2008 was 15 years ago), and small numbers of other electric cars, like the GM EV1, had even made it onto roads in the 1990s. 

EVs made the list this year not because of any one technical milestone, but because they've reached critical mass. They're a real commercial contender now, reaching about 13% of global new vehicle sales in 2022. This is a big moment for electric vehicles, marked by progress not only in technology but also in infrastructure, manufacturing, and consumer acceptance. 

It was a tricky thing to crystallize exactly what about EVs should be on the list this year. Different forms of this idea came up early on when we were planning, with several members on the team proposing ideas that touched on EVs in some way. 

My original pitch was the EV pickup. Trucks are massively popular in the US: the top three vehicles sold in the country in 2022 were pickups, with the Ford F-series topping the list. So the release of the new electric version of the F-150 (the Lightning), along with other major releases from GMC and Rivian, felt like a significant moment. 

But the rollout for EVs looks so different around the world. While people in the US are chasing bigger EVs, in other countries vehicles are shrinking. The Hongguang Mini in China, a minicar that costs less than $5,000, is skyrocketing in popularity, and two- and three-wheeled vehicles are surging in India. 

So ultimately, electric trucks would have been a limited representative of this moment for EVs. (Not to mention there are major issues with supersizing vehicles.) 

But around the world, it's increasingly becoming clear: the age of the electric vehicle is here. 

The other climate item on the list, covered by yours truly, is battery recycling.

Lithium-ion batteries in EVs, as well as in devices like cell phones and laptops, contain valuable materials that can be reused for new batteries.

Developments in the recycling process are helping companies recover more of those valuable metals and other materials. Today, the market for battery recycling is concentrated in China. But North American companies like Redwood Materials, Li-Cycle, and Ascend Elements are getting hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private funding and building factories that could be a key part of the battery materials ecosystem for decades to come. 

That's all I'm going to say about that for now, because (spoiler alert!) we'll be diving deeper on battery recycling next week in the newsletter. (If you haven't already, be sure to go back and read the very first issue of The Spark from last October for a sneak peek at what's coming …)

Find the full list of breakthrough technologies here. They're all fascinating and worth learning about, but I'd especially recommend checking out CRISPR for high cholesterol and ancient DNA analysis. Plus, you can vote for what you think the 11th technology should be! 

Another thing

What's the fuss about with gas stoves?

On Monday, a US Consumer Product Safety Commission representative told Bloomberg News the group would consider new regulations for gas stoves. The appliances have been in the news since a study published in December found that about 12% of current childhood asthma in the US can be attributed to them. 

This statement from the CPSC isn't as dramatic as some headlines are making it sound, though. A member of the federal agency told Bloomberg that even issuing a proposal in the coming year would be "on the quick side." He also later clarified on Twitter that regulations would apply to new products: "To be clear, CPSC isn't coming for anyone's gas stoves." The comments were enough to send Senator Joe Manchin into a tizzy, though. 

So, should you be worried about your gas stove?

There's a growing body of research showing both health and climate risks

Last year, a study found that gas stoves release methane even when turned off, and confirmed that during cooking, they can emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) at levels that surpass standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. NOx are common pollutants also found in cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust, and they can cause or aggravate respiratory problems, especially in children.

In addition to raising health concerns, the methane that leaks from stoves and the carbon dioxide released by burning natural gas are both greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. About 35% of households in the US cook with gas stoves. Rates are similar in Europe, with about 30% of energy for cooking coming from gas. 

Critics point out that we have bigger fish to fry when it comes to both climate and human health. And that's probably true—cooking is a small piece of any individual's natural-gas use, and likely only a sliver of total individual emissions. There are plenty of other sources of nitrogen oxides you probably encounter every day too (I'm looking at you, cars). 

What's there to do about it?

Still, replacing your gas stove can help cut the harms to climate and health from cooking. It can be an expensive prospect, but new policy in the US could make replacing gas-powered stoves significantly cheaper. Tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act could help cover the cost of new electric appliances for middle- and low-income households. 

And if you are stuck with a gas stove (like I am, in my rental), you can help with ventilation by using range exhausts and opening windows when cooking, which is a good practice even if you're using an electric or induction range. And if you happen to be researching new stoves, consider that industry groups are working hard to influence public opinion, so make sure you're getting information from sources worth trusting. 

Keeping up with Climate

Sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids smashed records in China last year, with over 5.67 million vehicles sold in 2022. The market for gas-powered cars shrank 13%. (Wall Street Journal)

→ Hybrid cars aren't going anywhere anytime soon. (MIT Technology Review)

→ China is betting on another alternative: methanol-powered cars (MIT Technology Review)

The most talked-about climate change papers last year included research on covid-19, climate tipping points, and the Arctic. (CarbonBrief)

If you've ever wanted backup debunking basic climate change myths at a party or family dinner, this is a great starter pack. (Discover)

Nearly 200 countries just agreed to conserve 30% of land and seas by 2030. But details about how to reach that goal, often called 30×30, are a bit fuzzy. (Grist)

The Great Salt Lake in Utah is a fascinating ecosystem. But unless lawmakers make changes to allow more water to flow into it, the lake could dry up in the next five years. (CNN)

A new UN report confirms that the atmospheric ozone layer is on its way to recovering. Most parts should be back to their 1980 state by 2040. (NPR)

→ In the 1987 Montreal Protocol, dozens of countries agreed to phase out chlorofluorocarbons and other synthetic chemicals that were harming the ozone layer. In 2007, we took a look back at what the treaty meant for the world. (MIT Technology Review)

→ The action also prevented some warming we would have otherwise seen. (MIT Technology Review)

US emissions rose about 1% last year. The good news is that they could have risen faster, given the pace of economic growth, but we need to cut emissions to make progress on addressing climate change. (Vox)

Absence of a pressure gap and atomistic mechanism of the oxidation of pure Co nanoparticles

Nature Communications, Published online: 12 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35846-0

3d transition metal nanoparticles are of interest in fields ranging from spintronics, catalysis, and biomedicine. This paper provides a detailed picture of the oxidation of cobalt nanoparticles and benchmarks the development of models for the metal oxidation and magnetic phenomena at the nanoscale.
Inside the metaverse meetups that let people share on death, grief, and pain
Leo has found 2 Mergers and Acquisitions mentions in this article
Leo has found 1 Funding Events mention in this article
  • TRIPP, which raised over $11 million in funding from backers including Amazon the previous year, has offered VR-guided meditations since 2017; the sessions have people do things like visualize their breath as stardust, coming in and out at the ideal pace to meditate.

Days after learning that her husband, Ted, had only months to live, Claire Matte found herself telling strangers about it in VR.

The 62-year-old retiree had bought a virtual-reality headset in 2021 as a social getaway. Ted had late-stage cancer, and the intense responsibility of caring for him had shrunk her daily reality. With the Oculus, she'd travel the world in VR and sing karaoke.

But last January, after 32 failed rounds of radiation, a doctor had told Matte and her husband that it was time to give up on treating his cancer.

"[Ted] did not want to know how long he had," she tells me. "He left the room." But Matte felt that, as his caretaker, she had to know. When Ted was out of earshot, the doctors told her he had four to six months to live. 

On the car ride home, Ted asked if he had at least six months left. Matte decided "yes" was an honest enough answer.

Ted took his prognosis in stride—he stayed excited for the next football season, and Matte caught him laughing in front of the TV hours after the news. But he grew too sick to leave the house or, given his fragile immune system, to see guests. Their isolation deepened.

Matte still had the virtual world, though she says, "After the death sentence, I didn't exactly feel like singing." Later that month, as she checked out a calendar of live meetups to attend in VR, one event caught her attention: "What's this Death Q&A?" 

A virtual destination where conversation can veer from the abstract to the incredibly intimate, Death Q&A is a weekly hour-long session built around grappling with mortality, where attendees often open up about experiences and feelings they've shared with no one else. Bright, cartoon-like avatars represent the dozen or so people who attend each meetup, freed by VR's combination of anonymity and togetherness to engage strangers with an earnestness we typically reserve for rare moments, if we reveal it at all.

During my four months sitting in on Death Q&A and similar sessions, I've heard people process cancer diagnoses, question their marriages, share treasured memories of parents and friends who'd passed hours before, turn over childhood traumas, and question openly how we can stare down our own mortality.

Despite the perception that they're just for gaming, more people like Matte are putting on VR headsets to talk through deep pain in their day-to-day lives. The people attending VR meetups like Death Q&A are test-driving a new type of 360° digital community: one much more visceral and consuming than Zoom or the online forums that came before, and untethered to the complex social network that grounds and creates tension in traditional, face-to-face experiences.

"These relationships that we make in VR can become very intimate and deep and vulnerable," says Tom Nickel, the 73-year-old former hospice volunteer who runs the virtual meetups with co-host Ryan Astheimer. "But they're not complicated. Our lives don't depend on each other."

These people don't share a bathroom. They don't need to get out of bed or look presentable. They just have to listen. Many people call the meetups a lifeline—one that was particularly needed during the pandemic but seems poised to persist long after, as money continues to be pumped into building out the metaverse and loneliness crushes more people than ever.

Building an intimate VR community

Entering Death Q&A plops you in front of an inviting reproduction of a Tibetan Buddhist temple, surrounded by images from a different real-life graveyard each week. People arrange their virtual selves to face Nickel, who stands at the front by an altar. He begins most sessions by asking in a warm, neighborly voice if anyone has come with something specific to share.

About 20% log on from computers, which deliver only a 2D experience; the rest attend using VR headsets, so I put one on too. Wearing it, you hear other attendees so close up—the tremble in their voices, and a bouquet of accents. It's as if they're in your ear, whispering. Laughter and tears seem equally common.

The atmosphere in the sessions feels nostalgic and confessional—spectating has often felt like crashing a church service or family reunion. The crowd brings a palpable curiosity about the lives of the other attendees. Before Nickel kicks off each session, regulars often clump together to catch up; after the hour, most attendees strike up unmoderated conversations and choose to linger.

Claire and Ted Matte
Claire and Ted Matte

Matte attended her first Death Q&A right after she learned how soon her husband would die. Though Ted didn't want to know, "those people, I could tell how long he had left," she says.

After Matte shared, someone raised their hand to empathize, describing how they'd grieved and recovered from losing their spouse. This is one of the most striking things about Death Q&A—sharing almost always inspires someone else to talk about an experience so similar that participants feel they've found a person who actually understands what they're going through.

"I knew by the end of it I was going to attend these every Tuesday at one o'clock Eastern," Matte says.

At Death Q&A, Matte met Paul Waiyaki, a 38-year-old man living in Kenya. Matte, who lives in Georgia, now calls him one of her closest friends. "It's just like back when you were in kindergarten, and you would look at someone and go—'Hi, I want to be friends,'" she says"As an adult, you don't make friends like that. But on Oculus, with an avatar, you sure can."

Waiyaki says he didn't allow himself to process his sister's death until he did it through VR. "Men, in my society, can't be seen breaking down," he explains. "At Death Q&A, I was able to put the baggage down. I was able to mourn and cry the tears I hadn't cried before. It hurt to, but I could feel a wound heal as I did." 

Saying goodbye during a pandemic

Death Q&A and a similar evening session called Saying Goodbye, which is focused on loss, are just two of the 40 or so live events offered each week by EvolVR, a virtual spiritual community that was founded in 2017 by Tom Nickel's son, Jeremy.

Before starting EvolVR, Jeremy Nickel led an interfaith church congregation in the Bay Area that was "very liberal in theology," he says. He was looking for new ways to minister, untethered to the conventions of mainstream religion, when he first tried on a VR headset in 2015.

"The lightbulb went off in my head—people feel like they're really together in VR," Jeremy says. That feeling of true presence, as if avatars were really sharing a room together, convinced him that a spiritual community could form among people wearing headsets. He left the physical pulpit to host live group meditations in VR.

Then the pandemic hit. Both Saying Goodbye and Death Q&A began in early 2020—"our response to understanding that people would be losing a lot," Tom Nickel says. They knew "that maybe people would need places to talk about it," especially as covid precautions took away hospital-bed goodbyes and shrank people's social circles.

Nickel, a cancer survivor himself, had spent years helping the dying depart comfortably as a hospice caregiver. That helped him gently moderate crowded Saying Goodbye and Death Q&A sessions as people joined to mourn friends and family, lament canceled graduations and closed beaches, and air anxiety about the fragility of elderly family members.

Covid-19 also triggered a wave of what psychologists call mortality salience—the realization that death isn't only possible, but inevitable. 

Elena Lister, a psychiatrist at Columbia University who specializes in grief, says a healthy level of denial about death is necessary. But now, Lister says, her colleagues are talking about a pandemic of loss that's being felt across society—the product of mass death compounded by stunted mourning.

"What those people are doing is having an experience where they're putting what's deeply, deeply painful inside of them into words."

In particular, doctors like Lister worry about complicated grief, a psychiatric disorder diagnosed when, a year after a loss, the pain of acute grief hasn't begun muting. About 10% of the bereaved have it; they remain severely socially withdrawn and despairing, incapable of resuming the activities of their life.

The pandemic created particularly fertile ground for complicated grief. Funerals are meant to kick-start the process of integrating loss into our new reality, but for two years, "we couldn't be together to hug and cry and sob," she says. Lister thinks experiencing the pandemic has actually left people more avoidant of discussing death. 

To explain the promise of processing grief in VR, Lister paraphrases wisdom from Mr. Rogers: "What's mentionable is manageable." When avatars file into Death Q&A, "what those people are doing is having an experience where they're putting what's deeply, deeply painful inside of them into words," Lister says, turning raw torment into something workable.

Social isolation makes it more likely that loss will harden into complicated grief. But mourning invites estrangement. Everyday conversation can feel unbearably trite when your loss feels so much more piercing, but "after a while people don't want to hear it because they can't fix it for you," Nickel says. Death Q&A hands a mic to that pain and supplies an eager audience; Lister says having that community is great for promoting a healthy progression through grief.

A VR support group might suit you better than a traditional one because "there's protection," she says. "You can control what's seen about you." Sharing through an avatar, to people you never have to see again, creates a digital veil that liberates people to be shockingly honest and vulnerable. 

Indeed, this echoes how Matte describes her VR experiences. "I would come and say some pretty bad things in a matter-of-fact voice, and often [Nickel] would say—'Whoa, you know, let's stay with this a while,'" Matte says, noting how Ted worried about being a burden. ​​"Some days I really don't know how I went without walking around the house bawling all the time … so I told myself: Get your shit together." Airing her devastation in VR helped her focus on making his death as comfortable as possible.

By 2021, Jeremy Nickel felt his nonprofit organization had reached an inflection point. EvolVR says 40,000 people had participated in its events since 2017. At that point, "we can either stay this sweet little thing that's serving a couple hundred people," he figured—or "we could make a play and try to share this with a whole lot more."

He opted to create spaces where people can practice this new way to mourn and process in huge numbers. 

In February 2022, he sold EvolVR to TRIPP, a Los Angeles–based company, for an undisclosed amount. TRIPP, which raised over $11 million in funding from backers including Amazon the previous year, has offered VR-guided meditations since 2017; the sessions have people do things like visualize their breath as stardust, coming in and out at the ideal pace to meditate.

But TRIPP's VR meditations were solo experiences. By acquiring EvolVR, the company got a chance to tap into the unstructured, relationship-driven world of social VR, which provides a gathering space where anyone can attend events or meet people at virtual destinations open 24/7. 

A "paradigm shift" for the sick and elderly 

Saying Goodbye is Death Q&A's nighttime counterpart, which Tom Nickel also runs on Tuesdays. Avatars gather around a firepit that's lit at the end of each session.

Tom Nickel, next to his avatar
Tom Nickel, next to his avatar

Most attendees dress casually, while a few choose unnatural skin tones like bright blue. I dressed my own avatar in drab business casual, hoping to be inconspicuous. But after taking raised hands, Nickel calls on quiet attendees, asking if there's anything on their minds that they'd like to share. During two Saying Goodbye sessions, I surprised myself by answering yes—once to talk about a painful breakup and the next time to share my mom's cancer diagnosis. I'd spoken to friends about both, but venting in VR gave me permission to air the anxieties that their consolations couldn't shake, without worrying about being melodramatic. 

The age of participants varies, but most are over 30, and many are over 60. This initially surprised me, though in hindsight, the particular appeal of VR for older people is obvious.

A regular at Saying Goodbye, a user with a British accent and the screen name Esoteric Student, tells me he bought an Oculus on a whim in 2020. That year he lived with his nan, who was seriously ill. He watched her world shrink.

"Imagine being an 80-year-old lady and seeing your circle get smaller," he says. "So you start off with the boundaries of the house. And it just keeps getting smaller, until you're in one spot. And that's it."

He showed her the Oculus and asked, "Want to go on a spacewalk?"

They tried out a popular experience from NASA that lets you view Earth from the International Space Station. It made him sick, but his grandmother loved it. She'd never left the country.

Before she died, she saw more of the world and parts of Mars through real, crystal-clear, immersive images rendered in VR.

I'd spoken to friends, but venting in VR gave me permission to air the anxieties that their consolations couldn't shake, without worrying about being melodramatic. 

"Coming from the Great Depression to running to bomb shelters in Birmingham to eventually spending her last days being able to ascend, in a way?" he explains, crying a little bit. "It's a paradigm shift."

Some familiar faces at Saying Goodbye and Death Q&A are terminally ill or disabled. VR can offer a path to friendship and fresh experiences that cuts through people's physical limits. It can also help the elderly avoid the loneliness they might feel as they watch friends die and children move away, and as retirement removes them from the working world.

Matte experiences mobility issues herself. "So I can go in VR and run, jump off a building—you know, everything under the sun," she says. "Be young again, really." 

How far virtual support can go

Despite all its promise, at least one thing about processing emotions in VR makes Lister nervous: How do you know if people are so distressed they are at risk of harming themselves?

"It allows for more hiding," she notes. When people interact as avatars, the nonverbal communication that psychiatrists are trained to notice, like hand gestures and fidgeting feet, is simply lost. 

And the name Death Q&A can particularly attract people in crisis. Toward the end of one Death Q&A session I attended in September, an avatar in a lime green snapback, who sounded young, asked if he could speak. He'd tried to kill himself a few weeks before and said he'd found immense peace in the decision. But having survived, he told us, his behavior had changed—he was flirting with girls nonstop and found everything funny. He came off as strikingly light and unbothered. His question was: I'm still here. Now what?

Nickel sprang into action—offering, with a gentle urgency, to connect him to other survivors of suicide and asking if the young man could talk one on one after the session.   

"I have to do my best to understand: Are you in a safe place right now?" Nickel says he asks himself when an attendee shares something that worries him. In addition to working in hospice, Nickel also previously worked as the director of continuing education at the California School for Professional Psychology, where he took and helped develop workshops on suicide awareness and response. But he says these trainings all need updating and rethinking for VR.

"I think that the best I can do is to offer a daily, hearing, non-judging, non-trying-to-save-anybody contact," he says. When people in the meetup seem "shaky," Nickel DMs them and shares his personal email. The boy in the snapback never replied. But some people do. "And in a couple of cases, I called every day." 

Lister agrees that anyone expressing suicidal ideation needs repeated support from someone highly trained. She says that if you're going to do grief work virtually, there needs to be "a full understanding of how to reach this person, and what the follow-up is"—though, even in person, you can't make anyone return to get help.

The more muscular tools of suicide prevention, like constant monitoring and physical restraints, are also not available in VR. "If somebody came to me in person and said they were suicidal or had tried to end their life last week, I would have great pause about having them leave my office until I felt like I could secure their safety," Lister says.

"All I had to do was put on a headset"

In the months after Ted's prognosis, Matte updated her new friends and fellow avatars as Ted's voice gave out and his legs shrank from sturdy to emaciated.

Then, two nights before Ted died, he suddenly awoke, full of energy, and asked his wife if they could order Chinese food. 

"At Death Q&A, I was able to put the baggage down. I was able to mourn and cry the tears I hadn't cried before. It hurt to, but I could feel a wound heal as I did." 

He'd slept through the day and hadn't eaten or taken his medicine, which terrified Matte. That night they enjoyed pork fried rice together on the couch; Ted ate more than he had in weeks. He put the Cubs game on in the background—he was a loyal fan, despite being from New York. "He loved an underdog," Matte says.

It was his last solid meal. Ted Matte died June 11, 2022, at age 77.

Matte decided to attend Death Q&A and Saying Goodbye two days later. "I sort of surprised myself, being able to go," she says. "But all I had to do was put on a headset."

Unlike most sessions, which move from person to person, the meetings were mostly spent on Matte. Attendance at Saying Goodbye that night doubled; people said they'd come to support Matte. Through months of meetups, they'd come to feel like they knew Ted. She told them about the process of his death and their conversations in hospice. "I said that I would be okay. And I knew he loved me. And I loved him dearly," Matte says. "And so you give the person permission to die, really."

Attendees offered condolences and asked questions. Matte says people are interested "to compare and learn" about how peers experience a similar loss differently. 

On the EvolVR Discord a month after Ted's death, Matte shared that she'd gotten four straight nights of good sleep: "I'm onto something." Three months out, I joined Matte in a Death Q&A session where she shared the frustration of handling an earache without Ted: "I just want someone to commiserate with!" That prompted a first-time attendee to speak, through sobs, about her husband's death a year and a half earlier. Matte invited her to Saying Goodbye that night and stayed after to comfort her.

It's now been six months since Ted passed. Matte feels she's reached a turning point; she says the edges of her grief have softened. But it saddens her to move further from that anniversary. She still spends a few hours in virtual reality each day. Some days she'll do a meditation session, or play a game with friends. But her Tuesdays remain bookended by grief meetups.

Matte acknowledges Death Q&A isn't for everyone. She says close friends have questioned whether the meetups are cultish. But sharing her grief in VR and offering what she's learned has "felt like a warm blanket, to be honest."

"I don't know what my journey would have been like without it," she says. "But I have to envision it as much worse."

Hana Kiros is a former Emerging Journalism Fellow at MIT Technology Review. As a freelancer, she covers science, human rights, and technology.

Bitcoin mining was booming in Kazakhstan. Then it was gone.
Is this article about ESG?

To reach Kazakhstan's largest bitcoin mine, you need to travel deep into the country's rust belt, to the city of Ekibastuz. In the far northeast of the country, equidistant between the capital city of Astana and the country's border with Siberia, it's a drab sprawl of down-at-heel shops and cramped Soviet-era apartment buildings, known locally as "chicken boxes."

In late October, I waited in a hired car in a parking lot in the middle of town to join a short convoy to the mine, headed by a private security vehicle carrying armed guards. Orange lights flashing, it led the way on narrow roads that curved between tailings ponds and pits that threw up spirals of gray dust. 

After 20 minutes, the cars pulled up to a gate manned by a security guard in black paramilitary gear, a Kalashnikov across his chest. Inside, more armed guards patrolled, and CCTV cameras on towers kept a constant watch. "Scavengers," explained Yerbol Turgumbayev, who manages the mine for its owner, Enegix. He had to shout to be heard over the roar of the ventilation fans pushing sauna-hot air out of the facility's eight 60-meter-long hangars, each filled with two-story-high racks of computers.

When fully operational, Enegix's facility consumes 150 megawatts of power, five times the peak demand of Ekibastuz itself. It is just one of dozens of bitcoin mining operations that were drawn to Ekibastuz and the surrounding region in recent years. Abundant coal and the withering of industrial production after the collapse of the Soviet Union left the area—and Kazakhstan as a whole—with an electricity surplus. Eventually bitcoin miners cottoned onto that fact, and in 2017, they started to arrive. Not only was power cheap, but there was almost limitless land and a surfeit of unused industrial buildings that mines could inhabit.

By the summer of 2021, through a combination of entrepreneurship, graft, and circumstance, Kazakhstan had risen to be second in the world for the "hash rate"—a measure of how much computing power is devoted to bitcoin mining. 

But the gold rush was doomed from the start. Kazakhstan's miners—both "white" miners, who took advantage of tax breaks and cheap power, and illegal "gray" miners, who exploited Kazakhstan's crony politics and lax governance to operate below the surface—overloaded the country's energy grid. By the end of the year, the mining industry was consuming more than 7% of the entire generating capacity of Kazakhstan, a country of 19 million people. The surge tipped the grid over from surplus into deficit. Power shortages led to localized blackouts in parts of the country, exacerbating existing tensions over corruption, nepotism, and the rising cost of fuel. In January 2022, these issues boiled over into mass protests. Within weeks, the government effectively cut miners off from the national grid, bringing the boom to an abrupt end. 

When fully operational, Enegix's 150MW crypto mine on the outskirts of Ekibastuz consumes five times the peak demand of the town.

It was just the start of a turbulent year for cryptocurrency. The crypto world was gripped by scandal after scandal in 2022, from the collapse of the Terra stablecoin to the dramatic implosion of FTX, the third-largest crypto exchange, amid allegations of fraud and theft. But Kazakhstan's experience also reflects a slower-moving crisis in the crypto supply chain, one that seems to arise wherever miners alight and that poses huge questions about the industry's social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

When Kazakhstan cut off its bitcoin miners from the grid, dozens of mining operations shut. Almost all of the international miners moved on, some fleeing for the border in disarray. Enegix has held out, but it is running at a fraction of its capacity, working from midnight to 8 a.m. and on weekends, using electricity imported from across the border in Russia. The company hopes the environment will change, but with bitcoin prices now a fraction of their 2021 peak, the economics of the industry have changed profoundly. The Bitcoin caravan has moved onsome of it to China, Russia and the US, other parts to new frontiers in Central Asia and Africa. 

In its wake, it left behind dashed hopes and stranded assets: computers that can't be used for any other purpose, server racks and electrical equipment rusting in place. Across northeastern Kazakhstan, MIT Technology Review saw mines being either dismantled or abandoned, and spoke to miners who saw no option but to get out of the business. 

person in factory

An employee packing up equipment at a bitcoin mine in Ekibastuz. The mine, owned by, is currently being completely dismantled. 

Critics of bitcoin mining say that what happened in Kazakhstan was inevitable. This is an industry that is often drawn to geopolitical gray areas and borderlands, where it exploits weak political systems, extracts value, and exacerbates social divisions. While its defenders say it's a high-tech export business that could create the foundations of a new economy, the benefits, in terms of jobs and social contributions, seem at best ephemeral. The industry simply came and went, draining hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies, enabling corruption, squatting on the energy grid, and burning thousands of tons of coal per day. When it departed, it left little but tension and distrust. 

"They will move around to where there is a willing host, until they've taken everything they've needed, and then they'll move on," says Pete Howson, an assistant professor at Northumbria University who has extensively studied the mining business. "This is a parasitic industry." 

The Kazakhstan government hopes its crypto story isn't over yet. Even as miners were shutting down and moving out, officials were attempting an ambitious reinvention of the industry, rolling out a red carpet for crypto exchanges and investors in an attempt to turn the country into a global crypto finance hub. The government believes this is a way to kick-start its finance and tech sectors. But it could face a steep uphill battle as it tries to draw back an industry that is philosophically and practically opposed to being pinned down.

The innovation that set the Bitcoin caravan in motion was the ASIC, or application-specific integrated circuit. These customizable chips can be optimized to make the trillions of guesses—or hashes—per second that are needed today to win some bitcoins. 

This optimized ASIC's arrival on the market around 2013 changed bitcoin mining from a cottage industry performed on home computers—albeit souped up with graphics processors—to an industrial process. In 2013, the global "hash rate"—the number of guesses being made on the network—was about 75 terahashes (or 75 trillion hashes) per second. By 2016, it had passed 1 million terahashes per second, according to data from the International Energy Agency. The more computers there were on the network, the greater the competition, driving miners to build bigger and bigger rigs. ASICs were relatively portable—you could ship them anywhere in the world, plug them in, and start mining.

"It's a really simplistic market—you have two major components. One is the device. Second is the energy you need. That's about it," says Alex de Vries, a data scientist and founder of Digiconomist, a platform that tracks energy use in the crypto industry. "As soon as the bitcoin price got to a decent level and the industry started to professionalize, we have been seeing this trend of miners just [looking] for places with cheaper energy sources to run their operations."

The US was the industry's center of gravity at its inception, but China grew quickly, with huge mines springing up in the country's further-flung regions, including Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Sichuan, where there was abundant hydropower and little state oversight. Outposts emerged elsewhere too, in places including the Baltic states, parts of Norway and Sweden, and Iceland, which has a surplus of geothermal energy.

It wasn't just cheap power that attracted miners. The industry has often thrived in places where states were weak or uninterested, where miners could find—or create—accommodating conditions, or where there was a pressing need for largely untraceable currency. Often, that meant the countries of the former Soviet Union, (sometimes known as the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS), where the transition to the free market sent many industries to the wall, leaving behind unused infrastructure. Gas- and oil-rich Russia was inevitably popular, as was Ukraine, at least until the beginning of 2022. 

Breakaway states and client regimes of Moscow have been disproportionately represented. Opportunistic entrepreneurs in Transnistria, a breakaway area of Moldova supported by Russia, have used essentially free gas power provided to it by the Russian energy company Gazprom to build a small mining industry, allegedly helping to finance the regime despite international sanctions. In Abkhazia, an area of Georgia illegally annexed by Russia in 2008, bitcoin miners pushed the crumbling energy grid to breaking point until they were finally banned in 2021. The same year, a mining center sprang up in Serbian enclaves of northern Kosovo, in areas that didn't pay for electricity because they don't recognize the legitimacy of the government in Pristina. The Kosovar government eventually banned mining and seized machines, escalating inter-communal tensions.

Howson compares bitcoin mining to the disclosing tablets that dentists used to give to schoolchildren in the UK, which dye areas of tooth decay in bright colors. "I think that's what Bitcoin does," he says. "It swishes around the world and it highlights areas where there are geopolitical tensions going on, and there is poverty and corruption."

For miners used to more challenging frontiers, Kazakhstan was like hitting the jackpot. It had many of the elements they wanted—cheap, subsidized power and ample real estate in its moldering industrial districts. It was also a large, relatively secure, and stable state, its post-Soviet decline having been cushioned by natural-resource exports. The country had been ruled for nearly 30 years by Nursultan Nazarbayev, an old-school Central Asian securocrat, making its politics predictable. Nazarbayev officially stepped down in 2019, but he and his associates remained close to the center of power.

power lines outside of factory
To power their bitcoin mines in Ekibastuz, shipped in huge transformers and kilometers of high tension cable.

"It had excess [energy] capacity, [and] it was quite a cheap infrastructure setup, because [of] all of these old Soviet type of buildings in the middle of nowhere," says Denis Rusinovich, a bitcoin mining veteran now with the Swiss crypto consultancy Maveric Group. "It's the CIS—it's typical that corruption exists. I think it exists across the region," says Rusinovich, who arrived in Kazakhstan in September 2017 and would go on to cofound the National Association of Blockchain and Data Centers Industry in Kazakhstan, a trade association and lobbying group for the industry. But "it was also, let's say, more stable," he says, "because there was a president [who had] been there for 20 years."

As Kazakhstan's bitcoin mining industry gathered pace in 2018, some miners set up inside existing structures; others used portable, modular rigs inside shipping containers. Local entrepreneurs started to build dedicated infrastructure, including warehouses and heavy-duty electrical equipment. There's no legal way to convert bitcoin into fiat currency in Kazakhstan, so rather than mining for themselves, companies like Enegix set up their facilities to host international clients, who could ship machines to the country to be plugged into the grid. 

In Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city and commercial capital, Didar Bekbauov and Olzhas Kemal got into the business almost by accident. Bekbauov was a wholesale trader of Chinese imports. Kemal imported kitchen equipment for restaurants. In 2017, they spent a few thousand dollars to buy some ASICs and try mining for themselves. Unable to find a sustainable home for the machines, they hired electricians to set up a dedicated facility. A few friends asked if they could add their computers to the data center. "So we helped them. Then we started to think: 'Why not?' Kazakhstan has a lot of electricity—the price is cheap," Bekbauov says. Some miners were paying $0.0023 per kilowatt-hour for their power—far below what they'd expect to pay in the US or China.

In 2018, they took their fledgling company, Xive, to Tbilisi for a mining conference. "A lot of miners from China, different regions, were asking about the price of electricity," Bekbauov recalled. "And when I told them, they said: 'It's very cheap.' So some of them decided to move." From that point onwards, he says, "we were busy—like, three years busy [with] building facilities, just building, building, and piping electricity."

Miners, including Rusinovich and Bekbauov, insist that the industry grew organically, that it was all achieved without government support. However, for those able to navigate the country's various subsidy and tax regimes, the government was incredibly accommodating. 

In 2017, Kazakhstan hosted the International Expo in Astana, turning a piece of land in a previously unloved suburb of the capital into an architect's model of organic forms in glass and plastic, topped with a massive sphere that some locals, even government officials, wryly call "the Death Star." After the three-month expo was over, the government turned the estate into a tech park and financial center, the kind of build-it-and-they-will-come nesting box for international capital that is favored by cash-rich, commodity-dependent economies looking to diversify. 

The expo area now hosts the Astana International Financial Center, where imported British judges preside over a regulatory regime based on UK common law; Kazakhstan's Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation, and Aerospace Industry, charged with building the tech industry and digitizing public services; and Astana Hub, a tech incubator that offers tax breaks and other incentives to companies registered there. 

Astana's expo district

Astana's expo district—built upon an unloved suburb—now serves as a tech park, home to a financial center and tech incubator. 

"Why can we provide zero taxes for all IT companies, for all tech companies? Because we have high tax income from the oil sector," Magzhan Madiyev, Astana Hub's CEO, told me in an interview in his glass-walled office in the expo complex. "The tech industry in the whole Kazakhstan economy is like 0.1% of GDP." Outside, speakers broadcast a selection of electronic funk at high volume to a largely empty park.

Madiyev's official goal is to increase tech exports to $500 million a year by 2025. But unofficially, he said, he wants to see Kazakhstan produce its first unicorn—a startup valued at $1 billion or more.

When it launched in 2016, Astana Hub's tax breaks were available for "remote performance services" or data centers, which created a loophole for miners. "At that time, we didn't know that there [would] be such a problem with the high-consuming energy companies as crypto miners," Madiyev said.

Xive and roughly 100 other mining-related businesses registered in Astana Hub after it launched, which let them import equipment, like heavy-duty electrical cabling, transformers, and their clients' mining rigs, duty free. Some were able to access a low-tariff regime that meant they only paid tax on the energy they consumed, just a few thousand dollars a year for businesses earning tens of millions. 

Government officials are still nervous to speak critically about past policies, but two former senior officials at the Ministry of Digital Development told MIT Technology Review that the rapid growth of the industry should have thrown up red flags. The Astana Hub subsidies were designed to create jobs and kick-start "high-tech export industries"; no one in government had anticipated that they would be used as they were, as a kind of cheat code to get cheap power to mine crypto. 

Because there was no legal way to convert bitcoins to ordinary currency, most of those being mined were dropping into wallets overseas, meaning that as the cryptocurrency's price surged to more than $65,000 in November 2021, it was the international owners of ASICs hosted in Kazakhstan who were booking the gains. "Whatever you mined here in Kazakhstan, you used the energy of Kazakhstan, the resources of Kazakhstan," one former member of the government says. "But the bitcoins [flowed out] from the country to Singapore or Switzerland or the US."

When I asked Turgumbayev about the benefits that Enegix's investment had brought to the local community, he hesitated. "We are on the outskirts," he said. "We are away from town. People may not have felt we are here … but we pay taxes."

The industry did bring in capital. Rusinovich estimated that "white," or legally registered, miners collectively invested $500 million into their operations between 2017 and 2021. 

By 2021, these operations were consuming more than 600 megawatts, mainly on behalf of their international clients—enough to supply a quarter of a million Northern European houses. However, mining in the country was consuming a lot more than that.  

For some well-connected individuals who thrived in the background of Kazakhstan's politics, the opportunity to use state resources to generate untraceable money in offshore wallets was too good to miss, and they set up "gray" mines—off-the-books operations, usually hidden within other businesses. 

"I don't think Kazakhstan ended up in the top three global leaders in mining bitcoin by chance," says Arman Shuraev, a political activist from the northeastern town of Karaganda. "The reason is that Kazakhstan is a super corrupt and super authoritarian state where a small bunch of people makes a profit."

In late October, low snow clouds hung over the northeastern town of Temirtau, turning it dusk-dark at noon. 

Northeastern Kazakhstan
Temirtau, in northeastern Kazakhstan, was allegedly home to a huge "gray" bitcoin mine.

Outside the vast ArcelorMittal steelworks, among the rusted gas pipes a meter wide that sprawl across the town like jungle creepers, a truck-stop café served instant coffee over the counter, and 100-gram shots of vodka under it. "I see [Bitcoin] on television," said one middle-aged patron, tucking into a deep-fried pastry, "but I don't know what kind of money that is."

Few residents of coal-rich Temirtau knew that their region of northeast Kazakhstan was home to one of the country's biggest gray crypto mines—one that the government alleges was built with resources intended to help revive local industries. 

In the 2010s, in an attempt to revive moribund industrial parts of the country and create jobs, the Kazakhstani government declared some of those areas "free zones," offering tax breaks and subsidized electricity to manufacturing companies. One company that embraced the opportunities in Termitau and nearby Karaganda was Qaz Carbon, co-owned by Yerlan Nigmatulin, the twin brother of the then speaker of the house of representatives. The company established a ferroalloy division within the free zone, trading in coking coal and other minerals. 

Shuraev, the activist, became suspicious of the operation in early 2022. Energy consumption data showed that Qaz Carbon was using at least three times as much electricity as a facility of that kind should, he said. He started to sniff around, and eventually an inside source at the company tipped him off to the reason. Someone, Shuraev was told, was using the cover of a free zone, and its heavily subsidized electricity, to run an unregistered bitcoin mine at the site. The subsidies were supposed to create jobs. Instead they were being used to print money.

But the extent of the "gray" mining operations in Kazakhstan might not have come out were it not for events across the border in China. 

Beijing has long been suspicious of crypto, which it sees as allowing citizens to dodge their capital controls and move their money around and offshore using largely untraceable digital tokens. The position was an uncomfortable one in light of the country's place as the most significant producer of specialized equipment for bitcoin mining and the host of many mining operations.

In May 2021, the Chinese government announced a crackdown on mining, saying that the amount of energy the industry used was incompatible with the country's carbon emissions targets. Miners fled to more amenable jurisdictions. Some shipped their gear to the US, particularly to energy-rich, regulation-light states like Texas, but many crossed the border into Kazakhstan, bringing container loads of equipment by road and air. Kazakhstan was suddenly number two in the world for bitcoin mining, making up nearly 20% of the total hash rate, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, a research center in the UK.

The surge of new users stretched the electricity grid to capacity and beyond. Between January and October 2021, power use grew 8%—four times the typical annual rate of increase. Kazakhstan, which had long been a net exporter of energy, found itself in deficit. There were power cuts in several areas of the country, and the national utility had to buy electricity at inflated prices from Russia.

Power cuts weren't the main cause of the political turmoil that followed, but they were representative of the many cumulative failures that undermined trust in the government, and ultimately brought people to the streets in January 2022. What started with a demonstration about rising fuel prices snowballed into broader protests about falling standards of living, elite corruption, and the fact that Nazarbayev and his cronies were still believed to be pulling strings in Kazakhstani politics. The government sent riot police, and then Russian soldiers, to put down protests in Almaty. At least 225 people were killed. At the height of the protests the internet was shut down for three days. The impact of the shutdowns on the bitcoin price figured prominently in international headlines. Few observers, if any, reflected on the role that bitcoin mining had played in starting these events.

portrait of Nursultan Nazarbayev outside city hall
Former Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev remained close to the center of the country's politics, until mass protests in 2022.

Under pressure to do something to curb the social unrest, the government, led by  President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, had to be seen to be dismantling the rump of the old regime, and tackling cronyism and corruption. Tokayev promised to build a "new Kazakhstan," and people and businesses that previously felt protected by their connections to the old guard were suddenly in the crosshairs of regulators.

Shuraev took advantage of the changing political climate, and in March 2022 he released a video on Instagram and YouTube detailing his investigations into Nigmatulin. Nigmatulin would later appear on a list released by Kazakhstan's Financial Monitoring Agency of more than 50 gray miners who had "voluntarily" closed down their operations after investigations by the FMA. The grid failures and power shortages created by the industry had become "a threat to the economic security of the country," the agency said. Nigmatulin did not reply to requests for comment. 

The FMA's list also included Bolat Nazarbayev, the former president's brother, who had allegedly been mining bitcoin in the north of the country. In February, the minister of digital development estimated that the power consumption of gray mining exceeded 1 gigawatt at its peak—more than 5% of the country's available generation capacity. 

"Absolutely everyone suffered, both the industries and the population," Shuraev says, "except for the owners of gray crypto mining in Kazakhstan." By getting hold of cheap power, the owners of gray mines were stunting other businesses and creating shortages for consumers, he says. 

(This kind of corruption is not a singularly Kazakhstani experience. In Kyrgyzstan, government officials have been linked to illegal bitcoin mining operations running in industrial free zones. The country shut down around 2,500 mining operations in late 2021.)

Officially, all of the gray miners have now either been shut down or voluntarily closed their operations. However, there are persistent rumors that some just moved to other locations in the country, where they could once again disguise their energy use. 

In early 2022, Qaz Carbon changed its name to Asia FerroAlloys, although its old branding was still in evidence on safety notices and work equipment. At the front desk of the company's plant in Karaganda one morning in late October, a company representative listened to questions about the company's bitcoin mine and then summoned a lawyer, who arrived—somewhat out of place in the industrial setting in smart shoes and a sleeveless jacket—to explain that there was no such operation. Half an hour's drive away from the headquarters, in Temirtau, a worker in Qaz Carbon overalls pointed to a new-looking building covered in white corrugated iron. The bitcoin mine had been in there, he said cheerfully, but the equipment had all been taken out a few months before and shipped elsewhere.

White miners, like Rusinovich, say that they were used as scapegoats for bigger problems, like the government's failure to maintain the energy grid or rein in the gray mining business. "The problem, I think, was actually always illegal mining," he says.

But Shuraev makes little distinction between the two halves of the sector. Each drained power, paid little tax, and failed to make much impact on unemployment, he says. 

"The crypto mining industry, with billions in turnover, didn't create and is not creating jobs. It needs few staff for a firm to operate. It paid a minimum tax," he says. 

The Kazakhstan government's crackdown in March and April hit white and gray miners alike. 

More than 100 unregistered operations were either forced to close or did so voluntarily to escape punishment, after being targeted by the government's Financial Monitoring Authority. Miners told me that thousands of ASICs had been seized by the authorities.

Astana Hub ejected around 100 mining-related companies. Some, including Bekbauov's Xive, didn't just lose their tax breaks but were told to pay tax retroactively on goods they'd imported duty free. "They said no more mining, and all the miners who imported and use these [tax breaks] now have to pay for previous periods," Bekbauov says. 

Most significantly, their access to electricity was drastically reduced, throttling their ability to operate. When they were cut off from the grid in January 2022, they expected it would be a temporary outage. Many clung on in anticipation of being allowed back into the network, but they have remained frozen out. The state energy utility now has energy quotas for different industries; bitcoin mining is bottom of the list, and most miners simply can't get an allocation of electricity from the domestic grid.

International miners bugged out. Sébastien Gouspillou, cofounder of the bitcoin mining group BigBlock Datacenter, had been building up mining operations since 2017, until the crackdown began last January. A few months later, the company got a tip-off from a friend in the government that the crackdown would extend beyond just cutting miners off from the grid. It packed up and drove the machines to Siberia. "Many, many colleagues lost the machines during the transportation to Russia," he says. "At customs the machines were seized by the government. So we were lucky. We took a small truck with a private driver, and a special road. And we were lucky we [kept] the machines this time."

Gouspillou says a diminishing number of places are willing to host miners. A thousand of his machines were seized in Ukraine in 2018. "There is no country really friendly. The only one country that's totally friendly is El Salvador," he says. But BigBlock is banking on a new project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Although mining remains illegal in China, miners have started to operate there again, braving another crackdown. The country is now second in the global hash rate once again. 

Along with energy security, the climate has become a central point of debate about bitcoin mining. Ekibastuz is not the only place where the currency is generated using coal power. The industry has been credited with a revival of numerous coal plants in the US. New York state has banned mining activity using non-renewable power. In September, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recommended imposing limitations on the industry's energy use and carbon emissions.

De Vries, the researcher, says that even if miners move on to cleaner energy sources, the industry still won't be sustainable. All it will do is crowd out other consumers of clean energy in order to perform a function that, in his analysis, is entirely pointless.

In September, Ethereum, the second-most-traded cryptocurrency, abandoned the "proof of work" model for generating coins—i.e., mining—for "proof of stake," a complicated cryptographic process that doesn't require brute-force calculation. The Ethereum network's energy usage dropped by 99.95% after the switch, according to the Ethereum Foundation, which oversees the network. This highlighted just how wasteful bitcoin mining is, de Vries says. Rather than looking at what the industry produces, he says, it's instructive to think of all the failed guesses that the machines make—quintillions of them every second, creating nothing but heat and carbon.

"You have a pretty big industry consuming as much power as a country like Argentina, just for generating random numbers that get thrown out right away … That's something that you can't really do sustainably," he says. "We're in an energy crisis and a climate crisis, and we're using fossil fuels to run the world's biggest random-number generator."

The measure of the bitcoin mining business might be in what it's left behind. Turegeldy Turanov has helped build three mines in Ekibastuz as the deputy regional director for, a local data-center company. Now, he's dismantling them. 

Turugeldy Turanov in factory
Turegeldy Turanov, deputy regional director for, built three mines in Ekibastuz before the boom came to an end.

At its peak, just one of those facilities on the outskirts of the city ran 10,500 machines, drawing 35 megawatts of power 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In late October, most of its racks were empty. Bare wires hung loose from the walls. On the upper gantries, some of the machines were rusting in place; on the ground floor, others were being packed into cardboard boxes to be shipped back to their owners overseas.

Without the machines running, it was bitter cold inside the mine. Turanov, a broad man in his 20s, wearing a stocking hat and body warmer, sighed deeply. "Jobs are being lost," he said. "We used to employ 70 people. Now we're just 30. A lot of effort and work was put into this. It feels as if your child is dying."

There are still elements of Bitcoin boosterism in evidence in Kazakhstan. One miner said he was gambling on the ruble's collapsing because of international sanctions on Russia, meaning that the price of imported electricity would fall; another was convinced that the price of a bitcoin will pass $100,000 in 2023, and is holding on until it does. Others, including Enegix's Turgumbayev, are confident that the market is about to turn because, since its assault on bitcoin mining, the Kazakhstani government has found a new enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies. 

In September, President Tokayev fronted a tech conference in Astana, in which he promised "full legal recognition" of crypto assets. This would mean that miners would finally be able to legally convert bitcoin and other cryptocurrency directly to tenge and vice versa, and that crypto could ultimately be used to pay for goods and services in Kazakhstan. The Astana International Financial Center is running a "regulatory sandbox" for crypto companies, allowing exchanges to register, so that they can let consumers buy and sell crypto legally. Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, has set up a local office and is participating in the sandbox. 

The push is the latest attempt to turn Astana into a more diversified high-tech, high-finance hub; officials told MIT Technology Review they see crypto as a sector in which they can leapfrog more established financial centers. 

The global competition to be the home for crypto trading has echoes of the nomadic mining business. Crypto exchanges have tended to gravitate to lightly regulated jurisdictions, such as the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Dubai, often moving from place to place in response to regulatory changes—"A floating pirate empire," in the words of Stephen Diehl, a software engineer and prominent critic of the crypto industry. 

Now crypto's prospects feel more uncertain than ever. Bitcoin's price began 2022 at around $35,000. After the FTX crypto exchange imploded in November, it slumped to below $17,000. Kazakhstan officials who were happy to speak about their plans for crypto abruptly stopped responding to messages. 

Before the FTX collapse, one miner, who asked for anonymity to rage freely against the government and the national grid, estimated that in Kazakhstan the break-even price of bitcoin—the point where the mine could turn a profit—was $40,000. Below that, he was losing money. The price was half that when we spoke, and he was facing a wipeout. He wouldn't be able to sell his equipment, and none of it can be repurposed. Put simply, he said, "It'll rust where it is."

But despite the despondency in many parts of the business, there are still flickers of quasi-religious enthusiasm, the desire to "HODL" and "buy the dip." At Enegix's massive facility on the outskirts of Ekibastuz, the company is planning an additional 50 megawatts of capacity. The fact that other countries are banning crypto mining entirely will inevitably bring miners back to Kazakhstan, Turgumbayev says. All their clients have to do is hold on.

Peter Guest is a journalist based in London. Additional reporting for this story was done by Naubet Bisenov. The reporting was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center.

The FDA no longer requires all drugs to be tested on animals before human trials
Leo has found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • The FDA no longer requires all drugs to be tested on animals before human trials
A staff member for Sen. Rand Paul takes photos of her puppy, Jefferson, before a 2021 press conference on the FDA Modernization Act.

In a victory for animal rights advocates, drugmakers can take their products to human clinical trials using alternative testing methods that don't involve animals.

(Image credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Rätt stöd rustar små barn i muntligt berättande

Förskolebarn är skickliga berättare. De använder sitt språk och gör berättelser begripliga genom både ljudhärmning, gester och mimik. Men de kan behöva lite hjälp på traven. Därför behöver pedagogerna uppmuntra det muntliga berättandet, som också är viktigt för att barnet själv ska bli lyssnad på.

Inlägget Rätt stöd rustar små barn i muntligt berättande dök först upp på

Russian publishing watchdog decries 'retraction misuse' following ban on 'LGBT propaganda'
Is this article about Law?

In the wake of a new law that bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations and (or) preferences" in Russia, some journals have retracted articles they fear could attract state attention, a move a publishing watchdog in the country has called "self-censorship." 

As we reported in December, the Russian philosophy journal Logos retracted an article about lesbian fashion magazines for being "in violation of standards," citing the new ban.

More journals have followed suit, according to the Russian Council on Publication Ethics, which issued a statement decrying "retraction misuse" by journals in response to the law, though it also expressed concern for the safety of journal staff and authors if they ignored it. The statement began: 

After 24 February 2022, a situation has arisen in Russia in which legal requirements and legal enforcement practices may directly conflict with the norms of academic freedom and scientific integrity.

In these circumstances, some Russian journals take the path of self-censorship by retracting articles whose publication (in the view of the editors) could lead to sanctions from the state. A new wave of such retractions is associated with the effect of Federal Law of Russia No. 217471-8 «On Amendments to the Federal Law 'On Information, Information Technologies and the Protection of Information' and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation (as regards the prohibition of propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships and/or preferences)». The Council points out to the fact that scientific research may not be equated with propaganda and is bound to state that in these cases the retraction mechanism is used without convincing grounds. The purpose of retraction of scientific articles is to correct errors and reduce scientometric biases.

Part of the statement appeared to directly reference the reason Logos offered for the retraction: 

It is important to understand that what the editorial boards occasionally call retraction is not retraction. Self-invented wording («Publication of research in violation of the standards», etc.) in fact turns out to be self-censorship. Such and similar actions (deletion, concealment, withdrawal of publications) are irrelevant to maintaining the ethics of scientific publications, the integrity of scientific knowledge, and good scientific practice.

The retracted paper, "Looking good: The lesbian gaze and fashion imagery," appeared  in a 2022 special issue of Logos on feminism and visuality. The article, by Reina Lewis of the London College of Fashion, was a Russian translation of an article Lewis published in the Feminist Review in 1997. Lewis told us she didn't know the paper had been retracted until we emailed her.  

The translation still appears online, but the issue in which the paper appeared is no longer available on the journal's website. An entry on the Russian database eLIBRARY indicates the article was retracted "due to the presence of signs that fall under the scope" of the new law, which carries significant fines for violations, according to Reuters.  

The statement from the Russian Council on Publication Ethics continued: 

We believe that the safety of journal staff and authors and the continuation of scientific publications in the current circumstances are important, so we understand their compelled action, to the very desire to avoid reprisals, but not to the distortion of ethical principles and publication procedures.

In terms of international practice, in similar circumstances, publishers may be advised to refer to the well-known legal formula of Gustav Radbruch.

The Council on Publications Ethics, together with foreign partners, is currently looking for options allowing Russian journals to resolve this difficult situation with dignity, and asks that no precipitate decisions be taken.

We ask everyone to consider that Article 54 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation states that the law establishing or aggravating liability has no retroactive force. No one can be held liable for an act which was not an offence at the time it was committed.

The Council deeply regrets this situation and is always ready to provide the necessary support.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that's not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at


Expressen, 11 januari 2023

Sabaton kan bli av med utmärkelse efter uttalande om Krim Utdrag: "– Vi är en förening för vetenskap, och i vetenskap ingår att man omprövar om man får ny kunskap, …