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The future of open source is still very uncertain

When Xerox donated a new laser printer to MIT in 1980, the company had no idea that the machine would spark a revolution.

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Whereas the early decades of software development generally ran on a culture of open access, this new printer ran on inaccessible proprietary software, much to the consternation of Richard M. Stallman, a 27-year-old programmer at the university at the time.

A few years later, Stallman released GNU, an operating system designed as a free alternative to Unix: one of the dominant operating systems of the time. The free-software movement was born with a simple premise: for the good of the world, all code should be open without restriction or commercial interference.

Forty years later, tech companies are making billions on proprietary software, and much of the technology around us is esoteric. But while Stallman’s movement may seem like a failed experiment, the free and open-source software movement is not only alive and well; It has become a mainstay of the tech industry. read full story,

-Rebecca Ackerman

Rebecca’s story is from the next upcoming issue of our print magazine, which is all about ethics. If you are not already subscribed, Sign up To obtain a copy of it when it is published.

What can we learn from the cancer drug shortage?

If you’ve been following health headlines, you may have heard that many prescription drugs are in short supply. ADHD medications and steroids have also become difficult to find. But for cancer patients, shortages of common chemotherapy drugs can mean the difference between life and death.

The current cancer drug crisis stems from a quality control incident at an Indian drug manufacturing plant last year. When it ceased production, it was the first domino to fall in a chain that led to nationwide cancer therapy drug shortages — and its impact on patients has been profound. read full story,

-Cassandra Willard

This story is from The Checkup, our weekly biotech newsletter, which Cassandra is writing while Jessica Hamzello is on sabbatical. Sign up To receive it in your inbox every Thursday.

Must read

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 AI-generated text appearing in academic journals
The problem is that it’s still incredibly difficult to reliably detect this. ,wired ,
, Meta wants to challenge OpenAI with new code-generating software. ,Information ,
, It’s really easy to fool AI-text detection tools. ,MIT Technology Review,

2 bitcoin is falling again
The prices have declined following selling spree by traders. ,coindesk,
, a possible reason? SpaceX has sold its crypto holdings. ,WSJ ,
, The NFT ecosystem is heading towards chaos. ,ledge,
, The bored monkey owner is upset that his purchase turned out to be a bad investment. ,Ars Technica,

3 The world’s forests are fast disappearing
This even included trees that scientists believed were virtually indestructible. ,magazine to know,
, In search of engineering a climate-saving “super tree”. ,MIT Technology Review,

4 boogaloo facebook pages keep coming back from the dead
The movement’s followers, who are preparing for a future American Civil War, have become wary of the company’s algorithmic detection methods. ,vice president,

5 Neurological Device Startups Are Booming
But many of them face long waits for regulatory approval. ,WSJ ,
, A brain transplant changed his life. Then it was removed against his will. ,MIT Technology Review,

6 We need to change the way we recycle our waste
Not surprisingly, AI is being seen as a solution. ,the Atlantic ,
, AI has a poor track record when it comes to climate change. ,slate ,
, Why you can recycle batteries—and how to do it. ,MIT Technology Review,

7 A Chinese Company Has Shut Down Its Romantic Chatbot
Devoted female fans are completely heartbroken. ,rest of the world,
, Tinder and other dating apps no longer background check users. ,ledge,

8 financial influencers want to educate their audience
And they have the qualifications to back it up. ,feet ,
, If you want to influence and make money, don’t depend on Amazon. ,Bloomberg ,

9 Elon Musk’s Cult Romance Novel Is Built On Tropes
Just ask his overbearing ex-wife. ,Vocal,

10 Fake Cheese Is On The Rise 🧀
But microchips are a high-tech way of making sure that the phrase is the real deal. ,Guardian,

Today’s thought

“It thinks it’s a road and it’s not, because it doesn’t have a brain and can’t tell it’s freshly poured concrete.”

—San Francisco resident Paul Harvey tells the news site sfgate About a driverless car that managed to stay on wet concrete.

big story

This chemist is re-imagining materials discovery using AI and automation

October 2021

Mexico City-born, Toronto-based chemist Alan Aspuru-Guzik has devoted much of his life to considering worst-case scenarios. What if climate change plays out as expected, or gets much worse? Can we quickly come up with the materials we’d need to capture carbon cheaply, or make batteries out of something other than expensive lithium?

Materials discovery—the science of creating and developing useful new substances—often moves frustratingly slow. The typical trial-and-error approach takes an average of two decades, making it too costly and risky for most companies to adopt.

Aspuru-Guzik’s aim — which he shares with a growing number of computer-savvy chemists — is to reduce that gap to a few months or even years. And advances in AI, robotics and computing are breathing new life into their approach. read full story,

-Simon Lewson

we can still have good things

A place to relax, entertain and distract in these strange times. (Have any ideas? drop me a line Or tweet them at me,

+ Brian Eno’s music and soap: what more could you want Rest How to start your weekend?
Scandinavia may be the happiest region on Earth, but they also love it a little heavy metal,
This list of the best space sci-fi movies (as chosen by an astrophysicist) is funny.
+ best wishes lionesses of englandWho will face Spain in the final of the Women’s Football World Cup on Sunday! ,
+ oh to be one Cat Chasing the sun’s rays.

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