Saturday, December 3, 2022

The Download: resurrecting mammoths, and the climate bill’s big flaw

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Sara Ord has one of the most futuristic job titles around—director of species restoration at Colossal Biosciences, the world’s first “de-extinction” company. Her team is figuring out how to turn Asian elephants into something resembling a woolly mammoth, by adding genes for cold resistance and thick red hair, in the hopes of creating an embryo, and eventually, an animal.

While there are no resurrected species yet, of course, Ord’s job is really about an imagined future, in which a high-tech combination of DNA technology, stem-cell research, gene editing, and artificial wombs could lead not just to the resurrection of lost species, but also to the preservation of those close to disappearing.

If everything goes smoothly, the company hopes to succeed in re-creating its first long-extinct animal, the striped marsupial predator the thylacine, by 2025. And, just like Jurassic Park, it may turn a profit by selling tickets to see them. Read the full story.

—Antonio Regalado

The US climate bill has made emission reductions dependent on economic success

In August, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, the largest US climate bill in more than a decade. In the months since, it has been enthusiastically welcomed by politicians, manufacturers, and scientists alike. But beyond enacting specific measures to reduce US carbon emissions by more than 40% by 2030, the IRA also fundamentally reframes how the government approaches climate change. 

Climate policy is now explicitly framed as an economic policy issue, dependent on economic policy success in ways that could complicate efforts to reduce US carbon emissions, and potentially add to the already formidable challenges facing its domestic clean energy industries. Read the full story.

By Jonas Nahm, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and expert on green industries.

The must-reads

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

1 Donald Trump has been allowed back onto Twitter 
But he says he’s sticking to his own Truth Social platform. (CNBC)
+ It’s possible Trump may just tweet links to Truth Social anyway. (NYT $)
+ Elon Musk has also reinstated Kanye West’s account. (Bloomberg $)
+ It’s worth noting Twitter workers on visas can’t just quit. (Motherboard)



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