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The Fermi Paradox, Food from Electricity, and D&D Character Popularities: Lux Recommends #103

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #103, the newest edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (and want to receive this by email? Sign up here).

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia: “Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet.” — Sam

Fraud Scandals Sap China’s Dream of Becoming a Science Superpower: Growing pains in turning ‘China into “a global scientific and technology power” by 2049’ — Adam G

Welcoming Our New Robot Overlords: “Once, robots assisted human workers. Now it’s the other way around.” — Adam G

A Team of Scientists Just Made Food From Electricity — and it Could be the Solution to World Hunger: “A Finnish research team has taken a step towards the future of food by developing a method for producing food from electricity. If scaling it up proves to be successful, it could be a tool in the fight against world hunger and climate change.” — Shahin

‘Quietest place on Earth’ finds purpose in healing humans: ‘Those who have sat in the chamber’s silence described how it “reset their brains,” he said. “We think there’s great potential for therapeutic uses.”’ — Adam K

What Happens When We Give up Control of Our Cars? “The chauffeur problem reminds us that in any period of technological transition, what proves vexing is not the technology itself. It’s working out the details, rules, and social expectations around the technology.” — Adam G

The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare: “Why did Casper sue a mattress blogger? A closer look reveals a secret, multimillion-dollar battle to get you into bed.” —Marc Barros, Moment (Lux portfolio company)

Automation in Everyday Life: Pew Research Survey with lots of insights about people’s attitudes towards technology, automation, future of jobs, and more. — Sam

Has your browser been hijacked to mine cryptocurrency? “Several websites have recently been caught using a cryptocurrency miner on their site without notifying or asking for users’ consent first. What this small piece of code does is force the CPUs of visitors to the site to mine the cryptocurrency Monero for the site owners.” — Alex

Dissolving the Fermi ParadoxZavain

Google Maps now lets you explore more than a dozen planets and moonsAdam K

A quantitative analysis of Is Your D&D Character Rare?Sam

And Squirrels Organize Their Nuts to Make Them Easier to Remember Adam K

Ocean travel could be revolutionized with this floating tunnelAdam K

Dog uses bread as bait to catch a fishAdam K

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