A Memory of Webs Past

The Web is a rollicking, revealing record of life in the 21st century. But preserving it for future historians is a monumental technical challenge

14 min read
Illustration: Jude Buffum
Illustration: Jude Buffum

imgIllustration : Jude Buffum

Every weekday at 5:00 a.m., a nondescript gray van rolls down the underground service road beneath the French National Library, in Paris, and arrives at a svelte glass skyscraper soaring above the bustling Seine River. Here, at the Tower of the Times, the van delivers a tiny but astoundingly rich snapshot of life in this country that takes its cultural heritage very seriously.

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Xiaomi Builds a Humanoid Robot for Some Reason

CyberOne is a new biped from China, but why does it exist?

3 min read
A black and white humanoid robot lies face down on dirt after appearing to have just fallen

Xiaomi, a large Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer, has introduced a full size bipedal humanoid robot called CyberOne. It’s 177 centimeters in height and weighs 52 kilograms, and it comes with 21 degrees of freedom, with “a curved OLED module to display real-time interactive information.” Nifty! So, uh, its actual purpose is... what exactly?

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Climate-Friendly Ethereum Is One Merge Away

Successful tests set the stage for the cryptocurrency’s switchover in September

3 min read
A large blue lit data center. A figure wearing a white cleanroom suit walks towards a green lit room.

Here pictured is Evobits crypto farm, an Ethereum mining rig in Romania.

Akos Stiller/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The merge is coming, and crypto may never be the same.

“The merge” is shorthand for Ethereum’s rapidly approaching switch from one compute-intensive form of blockchain verification to a much less resource-heavy method. In other words, the cryptocurrency will be switching from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This move, which is years in the making, changes how Ethereum maintains consensus—and drastically slashes power consumption.

“Ethereum’s power-hungry days will soon be numbered,” says Terence Tsao, Ethereum protocol developer at Prysmatic Labs. “And I hope that’s true for the rest of the industry, too.”

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