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A fortnightly hoarding of science, technology, tricksy robot fingers, and good news. Not necessarily in that order.
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The Crunch # 63


Our subscribers just helped something amazing happen in Kathmandu. Plus, Iron-Man jetpacks, blockchain for anti-censorship, and good news on AIDS, human rights and foxes. 

The energy research continues. Some people say we conduit. They're going to be shocked. We're not phased at all. We're staying grounded, and have some illuminating ideas in the works that are going to make you ex-static. 

In the meantime, here's a story from Nepal.

A few months ago, we heard about two geeks in Canada, Peter Byron and Rishi Shrestha, who are part of a global open source movement called eNAble.

You, our subscribers, sent us $2,404 via Patreon, and we gave your money to Peter and Rishi, who used it to buy two Prusa i3 MK3 printers. Then they flew to Kathmandu, where they set up a prosthetics fabrication workshop in a local hospital. Check out those nifty logos!
 

Peter (taking the selfie here ^) recently wrote to us to tell us about their first recipient, Khusi Shrestha. She's 7 years old, and loves the colour red. She lost her hand shortly after birth due to complications with medications. Here she is on the 20th July, sporting a brand new red and blue Raptor Reloaded 3D printed hand, open-sourced and hot off the Future Crunch printers. 
 
Left to right, standing: Saimon Thapa, Peter Byron (eNable Canada), Samod Shrestha, Ritesh Rajbhandari
Left to right, sitting: Surendra Shrestha, Puma Narayan Shrestha, Khusi Shrestha, and Rishi Shrestha

So yeah. That happened (and Khusi is just the the first of many). Nice work people. 
 

Good news you probably didn't hear about 


Guess which country had the largest overall reduction in carbon emissions in 2017? If you've been following us for a while you'll probably know the answer. #MAGA. Fortune

Sweden is on course to reach its renewable energy targets 12 years ahead of schedule, with wind turbines making its original 2030 goal achievable in 2018. The Local

South Africa, home to the world’s largest population of people living with HIV, has shocked health officials with a 44% decline in the number of new infections since 2012. Telegraph

Meet Nice Nailantei Leng’ete, a 27 year old Maasai woman whose work with Amref Health Africa has helped 15,000 Kenyan women escape female genital mutilation. Ebony

Following months of campaigning by human rights activists, India's finance ministry has announced it will scrap the 12% GST on all sanitary products. BBC

New Zealand has become the second country in the world (after the Phillipines) to pass legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave. Guardian

In a major milestone for human rights in the Middle East, a Lebanese court has issued a new judgement holding that homosexuality is not a crime. Beirut

The number of homeless people in Japan has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, following additional housing and counselling support from the government. Japan Times

Adidas is expecting to sell 5 million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastic this year, and it has committed to using only recycled plastic in its products by 2024. CNN

In California, the world’s smallest fox has been removed from the Endangered Species List, the fastest recovery of any mammal under the Endangered Species Act. Conservaca

Indistinguishable from magic


Chinese hacktivists have used the Ethereum blockchain to bypass government censorship, posting information about a vaccine scandal that is now impossible to take down. Fortune

An Iron-Man style, 3D-printed jetpack suit is now on sale at Selfridges. It reaches speeds of 90 km/h, altitudes of 3,650m and has its own dedicated flight training facility. Youtube

Using 6,144 CPUs and eight Nvidia V100 GPUs, OpenAI has set a new benchmark for robot dexterity, with 'graceful' movements that defied expert predictions. The Verge

A Canadian biotech company has grown a miniature human heart (a cardiac organoid) in a jar. It's hollow, it beats and it's designed to help test new medicines. Neo.Life

Russian scientists have successfully revived two lady worms that were cryogenically suspended in an icy chunk of Siberian permafrost for 30,000 years. Atlas Obscura

Researchers at Kyoto University have begun clinical tests using stem cells from other people, and transplanting them into the brains of patients to treat Parkinson's. Nikkei 

MeerKAT, an international project to build the most sensitive radio telescope on the planet, has captured the most detailed image ever of the centre of the Milky Way. Science Trends

The information superhighway is still awesome


Nick Harkaway's Gnomon is the best mind-bending sci-fi we've read this year. Imagine Orwell meets Stephenson meets Mitchell meets Umberto Eco. Mad genius. Amazon

Why do mosquitoes like some people more than others? This definitive list from the nerds at Smithsonian includes blood type, metabolism, shirt color and even drinking beer.


Thanks to decades of research we know more than ever about how we rest, and how it keeps us healthy. Everything you've ever wanted to know about sleep. Definitive. NatGeo

The Girl Scouts of the USA have just revealed 30 new badges for girls aged 5-18, including ones in robotics, cybersecurity, engineering and space science. Mercury News


Shenzhen's insane economy has a name: new shanzhai. It’s open-source on hyperspeed. Creators build on each other’s work, co-opt, repurpose and remix. Welcome to the future.

Meet Sau Lan Wu, one of the most distinguished physicists in the world. Her name appears on more than 1,000 papers in high-energy physics, and she's contributed to a half-dozen of the most important experiments in her field over the past 50 years. Wired

Eco-modernist Ted Nordhaus eloquently outlines one of our core beliefs here at Future Crunch. The earth's carrying capacity for human life is not fixed. Aeon

Right. We're charging back into the clean energy research. Wish us luck.

If you'd like to give us your money we'll do our best to give it away over at our Patreon.

And if not, we'd love you to at least tell someone else about this newsletter. They can
subscribe right here.

Much love, 

Gus and Tane
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