This is today’s edition of The Download† our weekday newsletter that gives a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.
This startup wants to kick-start a molecular electronics revival
In 2000, many hoped that molecular electronics (which use single molecules to make circuits and components) would bypass the silicon-based circuitry, so that computer chips would become increasingly dense and powerful.
That vision was short-lived. Five years later, flash had cornered the memory market, silicon continued to dominate chip technology, and the well-funded field of molecular electronics nearly collapsed.
Now, San Diego-based startup Roswell Biotechnologies hopes to give molecular electronics a second life. Rather than focusing on computer circuits, Roswell aims to integrate single molecules into electronic biosensor circuits, an approach that will hopefully soon provide an inexpensive and convenient way to detect viruses, pick up environmental toxins and evaluate the effects of drugs in real time. Read the full story.
The must reads
I’ve scoured the internet to find the funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology today.
1 Facebook Funded A Secret Smear Campaign Against TikTok
This reveals how confused Meta really is. (WP$)
† Facebook seems unable to learn from its many mistakes. (Platform $)
† There is no 911 in the metaverse. (The information $)
2 Apple And Meta Were Tricked By Hackers Posing As Law Enforcers
One of the perpetrators is said to be the teenage brain of Lapsus$. (Bloomberg $)
+ Nvidia still refuses to give in to pro-crypto hackers who hold ransom money† (slate $)
3 Blaming technology for mental health is missing the bigger picture
People get depressed even when we don’t have phones in our hands. (Wired $)
+ Please help me stop doom scrolling. (Wired $)
† People trade drinking for microdosing. (Vox)
4 More Than Half Of Americans May Have Never Had Covid
Researchers are increasingly interested in studying the ‘never covid’ cohort for evidence of immunity. (Bloomberg $)
† Covid.gov has been launched. Better late than never? (NPR)
5 El Salvador Hunts Crypto “Whales” For New Bitcoin Backed Bonds
After most major international investors shunned them. (FT$)
6 Russia’s response to Instagram is… not great
It may look like Instagram, but Instagram isn’t. (the guard)
+ Russian influencers are also not convinced that they can make money from it. (Insider $)
† Meanwhile, Instagram is still urging unwilling creators to create Reels. (Vox)
†And they are mostly scammed from TikTok anyway. (Vox)
7 A researcher who laid the foundation for supercomputers has won the Turing Award
The code of dr. Jack Dongarra paved the way for complex algorithms. (NYT$)
8 Why is everyone acting so weird now?
Spoiler: It’s not just because of the pandemic. (The Atlantic $)
9 What’s It Like Going Down Wikipedia’s Weirdest Rabbit Holes
Why did the chicken cross Yunnan Provincial Road 214? It’s time to find out. (NYT$)
† How a Wikipedia joke about the name of the Pringles mascot became a reality. (the guard)
10 Worms Are Taking Over
And they are surprisingly destructive. (Nat Geo)
† There are still hundreds of mammal species to be discovered. (the guard)
Quote of the day
“I can’t shoot anything, but I can fight with a keyboard and mouse.”
—Ukrainian hacker Danylo tells CNN why he is after a Russian ransomware gang.
We can still have nice things
A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Have any ideas? Message me ortweet them to me†
+ The way these flocks of sheep move is strangely soothing.
+ When Megan Thee Meets Stallion Metallica.
+ The explanation of the British comic The Beano about NFTs is …quite accurate†
+ I respect dumbphones, even if robbers don’t.
+ A roundup of Bruce Willis’ best performances – they’re not all cops.
+ View the newHouse of the Dragon Imagesprior to the August 21 pilot.
+ Inevitably, Elden Ring players will turn their characters into Shrek.