The Download: Liver transplant success, and lifting Shanghai’s lockdown

The Download: Liver transplant success, and lifting Shanghai’s lockdown thumbnail

A patient who received a donor liver after it had been stored for three consecutive days in a machine that mimics the human body is now healthy, according to a Nature Biotechnology study. The technology could significantly increase the number livers available for transplant. It would allow donor livers to last longer and make it possible to repair organs that are not suitable for transplant.

Although further research is required, the team believes the new technique could allow donor livers to be stored safely for up to 12 days before transplantation. It could increase the chances of treating donor livers before surgery, which could potentially save many lives. Read the complete story .

–Rhiannon Williams

The must-reads

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

1 Shanghai has lifted its 65-day covid lockdown
Much to the relief of the city’s exhausted residents. (BBC)
For many citizens, the celebrations have felt like Chinese New Year. (The Guardian)
However, a negative covid test is still required 72 hours before taking public transport. (CNN)

2 The Supreme Court has blocked Texas’ attempt to control social media
But the order banning the law, which would make content moderation impossible, is only temporary. (Vox)
Racist content that radicalizes extremists is freely available on mainstream platforms. (NYT $)
Why social media can’t keep moderating content in the shadows. (MIT Technology Review)

3 NSO proposed selling its spyware tool to known risky customers
In a desperate bid to make money, despite human rights groups revealing its abuse. (FT $)
Inside NSO, Israel’s billion-dollar spyware giant. (MIT Technology Review)

4 What a ’60s sci-fi novel tells us about Elon Musk
His habit of treating everything as a problem to be fixed ignores the underlying systems that created them. (Jacobin)
A new biography paints Musk’s success as inevitable, but tainted with sadness. (New Statesman $)

5 Why the next great neural networks will be physical
Digital networks can only scale so much. Computing could be revolutionized by physical networks. (Quanta)
Is your brain a computer? (MIT Technology Review)

6 Accepting crypto as legal tender is fraught with danger
But cities and states are still desperate to make it work. (Spectrum IEEE)
Tech experts have warned Washington to resist crypto’s persuasive lobbying. (FT $)
The rising cost of electricity and Bitcoin’s falling value is not a good combination. (Wired $)
El Salvador’s crypto gamble is looking riskier than ever. (Slate $)
Crypto millionaires are pouring money into Central America to build their own cities. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Our obsession with perfection has locked us in a climate inaction cage
Combating climate change is complicated. Our response to climate change is complex. (Wired $)
It’s time we stopped pretending that plastic recycling is going to work. (The Atlantic $)

8 Bird watching is about more than watching birds
It can teach us about nature, climate change, and also ourselves. (The Verge)

9 We rarely need anything delivered in 15 minutes
And yet, it’s becoming the new normal. (The Atlantic $)

10 Tech is helping to shed light on the ocean’s deepest mysteries
Fish cams and sensor tags are helping us understand why certain species dive to the depths. (Knowable Magazine)

The big story

Meet the scientists trying to understand the world’s worst wildfires
December 2019

In 1972, a researcher named Dick Rothermel created one of the first mathematical models to predict how a fire might spread. The Rothermel model is now the basis for nearly every computer program that analyzes wildfire behavior in the US.

Today, after decades of droughts and rising temperatures, the system’s flaws have been exposed. Rothermel’s model is not able to deal with all the environmental challenges, including the increasing number of trees that have died in America’s forests and the fluctuating winds. Scientists are working on a new model for the first half century. There is much to catch up to. Read the full story.

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