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A fortnightly whip around of science, technology, empathetic octopods and good news. Not necessarily in that order.
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The Crunch # 66


Wrapping up the clean energy deep dive. Plus, the Dalai Lama loves robots, waterfall is back, photos from asteroids, and good news on poverty, child marriage, deforestation and tigers.

A bit of a change of plan. We've realised that our clean energy deep dive is so long that if we keep it going here in Mailchimp's limited formatting space, it'll take us ten editions. And that's boring for everyone. The reality is that it became a much bigger project than we ever anticipated. 

The new plan is to finish it up and then publish it all as one giant article (right now it's around two thirds complete and you can read that over here). From our next edition, regular programming resumes, and we'll also be announcing a new charity recipient. Thanks for your patience everyone. And welcome to all of our new subscribers from The Good Place podcast and from Dense Discovery...

Good news you probably didn't hear about 


Japan's Marbeni, one of the world’s biggest power developers, has just announced it will no longer be building any new coal plants. Just 1,600 more plants to go! Quartz

According to the UNDP, 271 million people in India moved out of poverty between 2005 and 2016, and the country's poverty rate has been cut nearly in half. Times of India

Youth crime in California has fallen so dramatically that many state detention centres, built in the 1990s in anticipation of a crime wave, are now sitting empty. Voice of San Diego

Theresa Kachindamoto, a female chief in Malawi, has established a new law to prevent child marriage and has annulled 850 child marriages across the country to date. Femalista

Three years after India made it compulsory to use plastic waste in road construction, there are now 100,000 kilometres of plastic roads in the country. Himalayan Times

Deforestation in Indonesia fell by 60% last year, as a result of a ban on clearing peatlands, new educational campaigns and better law enforcement. Ecowatch

The population of wild tigers in Nepal has nearly doubled in the last nine years, thanks to efforts by conservationists and increased funding for protected areas. Independent

A new global youth survey says that young people in all countries are more optimistic than adults, though there is widespread dissatisfaction with politicians. Nine in 10 teenagers in Kenya, Mexico, China, Nigeria and India report feeling positive about their future. Guardian

Indistinguishable from magic


On the largest offshore wind farm on the planet drones are now being used for turbine inspections, reducing the time required from two hours to 20 minutes. Energy Live News

The Dalai Lama recently met a girl with a robotic prosthetic and said that "he really appreciated" the work of the open source designers who helped make it for her. Twitter

The world's largest retailer just bought 17,000 VR headsets to train employees on new technology, compliance and soft skills like empathy and customer service. ZDNet

Burkina Faso has granted scientists permission to release genetically engineered mosquitoes as soon as this month, as part of its efforts to eliminate malaria. STAT

A marine biologist and a neuroscientist wondered what would happen if they gave MDMA to octopuses. The results of their experiment were unbelievable. Gizmodo

The first CRISPR clinical trial backed by a US company has launched, and will test the gene editing technique in patients with the blood disorder beta thalassemia. Wired

Japan has landed two robots, each the size of a frying pan, on an asteroid called Ryugu 360 million kilometres away and they're starting to send back images. Extreme Tech

In case you didn't quite clock that. A bunch of apes with over developed pre-frontal cortexes just dug up some metal and mashed it together with some glass and plastic and launched it across the solar system to land on a space rock travelling faster than a bullet and you're looking at an actual photo from that rock and what the actual hell. See more photos.

The information superhighway is still awesome


Chris Dixon, arguably the most prominent venture capitalist focusing on blockchain right now, in a great interview on the ideas behind Web 3.0 and why it matters. Breaker

The staff writers at the Atlantic have made a list of their top 100 articles and essays from 2017 that stand the test of time, and you should almost certainly read at least one.

Meet Gwynne Shotwell, the secret weapon behind SpaceX. She's been there since 2002, and is the one who launches the spaceships, sells the rockets, and deals with Elon Musk.

A great round up of all the key developments in the machine learning space over the past few months, from one of the best newsletters on the subject, nathan.ai

You know what's great about electric vehicles? They make cities quiet again. We just got back from Shanghai, and could hear the birds singing. Shenzhen is even quieter.

A group of brave pioneers are taking a stand against agile. They're taking us back to a time when sequential processes still ruled, and bad HTML didn't matter. Waterfall 2006

The geeks at Casually Explained just made more sense of life in 5 minutes than the world's greatest philosophers are able to do in entire books. It's just a game people. Enjoy it.

Thanks everyone, appreciate the understanding from our community of readers as we've attempted to get our heads around the clean energy stuff. Looking forward to sharing the final article with you all soon. 

Much love,

Gus and Tane

There are 13,837 people subscribed to this mailing list: thank you for reading. You can support us on Patreon (we give all the money away to charity). If it's your first time, you can subscribe over here. There's an archive of all the back issues over here. Find us on Twitter as @future_crunch and on Facebook as futurecrunch.
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