The Obtain: an “unhackable” cellphone, and Ring’s TV present


That is immediately’s version of The Obtain, our weekday e-newsletter that gives a each day dose of what’s occurring on the earth of know-how.

Erik Prince needs to promote you a “safe” smartphone that’s too good to be true

Erik Prince’s pitch to traders was easy, however actually formidable: pay simply €5 million and treatment the largest cybersecurity and privateness plagues of our day.

The American billionaire—greatest identified for founding the infamous personal navy agency Blackwater—was pushing Unplugged, a smartphone startup promising “free speech, privateness, and safety” untethered from dominant tech giants like Apple and Google.

However these daring claims are undercut by a beforehand unreported pitch deck obtained by MIT Know-how Evaluate. It’s a messy mixture of unattainable claims, meaningless buzzwords, and outright fiction.

Nearly each try and construct this sort of cellphone has failed. This strive is more likely to be no totally different. Learn the total story.

—Patrick Howell O’Neill

Ring’s new TV present is a superb however ominous viral advertising and marketing ploy

Footage from Ring’s digicam gadgets, which prospects set up to guard their houses, keep watch over deliveries, and see or work together with who’s on the door, has grow to be a typical sight throughout social media lately.

Such movies will underpin new TV present Ring Nation when it begins subsequent month, that includes humorous animals, marriage proposals, and heartwarming neighborhood interactions.

In addition to an prolonged viral advertising and marketing marketing campaign, it’s a intelligent try and launder the picture of Ring—an organization that has been repeatedly criticized for its often-lax strategy to buyer knowledge, and particularly for permitting legislation enforcement to entry person movies with out consent. Learn the total story.

—Eileen Guo & Abby Ohlheiser

The struggle for “Instagram face”

By means of magnificence filters, platforms like Instagram are serving to customers obtain more and more narrowing magnificence requirements—although solely within the digital world—at a stunningly speedy tempo. There’s proof that extreme use of those filters on-line has dangerous results on psychological well being, particularly for younger ladies.

“Instagram face” is a acknowledged aesthetic template: ethnically ambiguous and that includes the flawless pores and skin, large eyes, full lips, small nostril, and completely contoured curves made accessible largely by filters. And whereas Instagram has banned filters that encourage cosmetic surgery, large demand for magnificence augmentation on social media is complicating issues. Learn the total story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

The must-reads

I’ve combed the web to search out you immediately’s most enjoyable/vital/scary/fascinating tales about know-how.

1 The US is making an attempt to get extra monkeypox vaccines
By transferring manufacturing to Michigan and splitting present doses into fifths. (WP $)
+ It needs to offer 50,0000 vaccines for Satisfaction occasions throughout the nation. (CNBC)
+ Every part it is advisable to know in regards to the monkeypox vaccines. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

2 A Chicago metropolis sensor undertaking has gone international
It tracked all the pieces from air high quality to flooding. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

3 How a predatory CEO’s web fame allowed him to cover in plain sight
Dan Worth used social media to shamelessly rehabilitate his picture and management the narrative round his actions. (NYT $)
+ Worth has resigned from his firm, Gravity Funds. (WP $)

4 An Apple safety flaw leaves gadgets weak to hacking
Hackers might seize full admin entry to iPhones, iPads and Macs if customers fail to replace to the most recent software program. (The Verge)

5 Google staff urged the corporate to cease amassing abortion knowledge
The union can also be asking Alphabet to stop its political lobbying post-Roe. (The Guardian)
+ An adtech agency that reveals journeys to abortion clinics has attracted the ire of the FTC. (WP $)
+ It’s nonetheless unclear how employer insurance policies masking staff’ abortions will work. (The Atlantic $)
+ Large Tech stays silent on questions on knowledge privateness in a post-Roe US. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

6 What getting again to nature can train us in regards to the future 🍃

A ‘hunter-gatherer’ angle might turn out to be useful because the local weather disaster intensifies. (Neo.Life)
+ Bioacoustics is a helpful, if restricted, solution to keep watch over wildlife. (Quick Firm $) 

7 Google’s quantum pc has been cracked
By an algorithm operating on a typical machine. (New Scientist $)

8 How a lot meat ought to we eat? 🥩
We should be each decreasing our consumption and farming extra sustainably. (Knowable Journal)
+ Giving up simply half your hamburgers can actually assist the local weather. (MIT Know-how Evaluate)

9 Meet the musicians connecting with followers over e mail
Neglect TikTok and Instagram, Substack’s the place it’s at lately. (The Guardian)

10 TikTokers are stealing vehicles now
The Kia Boyz development has fueled a automobile crime wave throughout the US. (NY Magazine $)
+ The platform has reversed its determination to ban the hashtag schizophrenia. (Enter)

Quote of the day

“Persons are begging for monkeypox vaccines, and we’ve simply pissed off the one producer.”

—An nameless well being official describes how the Biden administration’s determination to separate monkeypox vaccines into fifths didn’t go down nicely with its maker, Bavarian Nordic, to the Washington Submit.

The massive story

Inside Singapore’s big guess on vertical farming

October 2020

It’s taken many years for Singapore to get up and understand that—so far as meals goes—it is among the most weak international locations on the earth.

This threat merely hadn’t occurred to authorities again within the Seventies, after they ripped up the crops of tapioca, candy potatoes, and greens flourishing throughout greater than 15,000 hectares of the nation’s land and changed them with high-rise workplace buildings and condos. The main focus again then was finance, telecoms, and electronics, not meals. 

However whereas this technique efficiently swelled Singapore’s economic system (it’s now the fourth richest nation on the earth, per capita), it left the nation with solely 600 hectares of farmland. Consequently, the nation has pinned its hopes on know-how, with  high-output city farms hailed as its greatest guess. However vertical farming is just not with out its skeptics. Learn the total story.

—Megan Tatum

We will nonetheless have good issues

A spot for consolation, enjoyable and distraction in these bizarre instances. (Received any concepts? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Who doesn’t love the Seaside Boys?
+ The evocado is a extra environmentally pleasant avocado, apparently.
+ A fantastic query—why *do* so many bikes find yourself on the backside of canals and lakes?
+ Right here’s a quick have a look at simply a number of the bizarre creatures lurking within the ocean depths.
+ How superb does the world canine browsing championship look? (thanks Charlotte!)