The Download: reality-distorting beauty filters, and the US mineral boom

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Hyper-realistic beauty filters are here to stay

The Bold Glamour beauty filter on TikTok has been used over 16 million times since its release last month. It contours your cheekbone and jawline in a sharp but subtle line. In addition, it lifts your eyebrows, applies a shimmer to your eyelids, and gives you thick, long, black eyelashes. 

Think this isn’t relevant to you? Think again. The really amazing thing about this filter is how well it functions: the results are ultra-realistic. It’s just the latest example of how it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish what’s real from what’s not. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

Tate’s story is from The Technocrat, her new weekly newsletter covering politics, power, and Silicon Valley. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Friday.

US minerals industries are booming. Here’s why.

A recent set of sweeping US laws have kicked off a boom in proposals for new mining operations, minerals processing facilities, and battery plants, laying the foundation for domestic supply chains that could support rapid growth in electric vehicles and other clean technologies.

But some experts worry that the laws’ requirements are so stringent they could have the unintended effect of actually slowing the shift to cleaner technologies.

David Turk, deputy secretary of the Department of Energy, spoke with MIT Technology Review about what a US mining resurgence means, why it’s crucial to build up supply chains, and how the Biden administration is striving to strike the right balance on the attendant concerns. Read the full story.

—James Temple

The must-reads

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

1 Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse has repercussions far beyond the Valley
The world’s biggest banks could be forced to stop raising interest rates. (The Guardian)
+ Customers who didn’t manage to pull their money out in time are panicking. (WSJ $)
+ The tech industry is reeling from the bank’s implosion. (WP $)
+ It’s the third US bank failure in a week. (The Verge)
+ It’s the latest in a series of seriously bad news for crypto. (The Information $)

2 Google is playing around with a new and improved chatbot
But there’s no knowing when ‘Big Bard’ will go public. (Insider $)
+ Here’s why AI tools are as polarizing as they are. (WP $)
+ The ChatGPT-fueled battle for search is bigger than Microsoft or Google. (MIT Technology Review)

3 A mental health startup shared patient data with advertisers
Sensitive data was shared with Facebook, Google and TikTok. (TechCrunch)

4 Net-zero homes are finally becoming affordable
The first homes in a Colorado sustainable housing project will be ready to move into in the spring. (The Atlantic $)

5 Dangerous drug cartels are running unchecked on Twitter
It’s yet another example of how Elon Musk is failing to protect the site’s users. (BuzzFeed News)
+ We’re witnessing the brain death of Twitter. (MIT Technology Review)

6 The metaverse isn’t paying off for business schools
Learning in virtual reality is expensive and can be isolating. (FT $)
+ Meta is desperately trying to make the metaverse happen. (MIT Technology Review)

7 Ozempic’s cycle of shame is tough to break
Patients are made to feel guilty about their weight, then guilty for taking the drug.  (Slate $) 

8 Recycling solar panels is easier said than done
Their metals are valuable, but stripping them out is costly. (Wired $)
+ What makes a perfect EV battery? (IEEE Spectrum)

9 Robots and religion are uneasy bedfellows
Automated rituals are unnerving Hindus and Buddhists. (Fast Company $)

10 Streaming can help us forge new musical memories 🎶

It’s just the natural evolution of religiously checking the Billboard Hot 100. (The Observer)

Quote of the day

“It’s like having a death in the family.”

—Michael Moritz, a partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, contemplates the  implications of Silicon Valley Bank’s demise for the tech sector in the Financial Times.

The big story

How to accelerate climate progress

October 2021

Over the last three decades, global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, aside from a few dips during economic downturns and the pandemic. 

The world has achieved some progress on climate change, as more nations shift away from coal and embrace renewables and electric vehicles. But countries need to make much faster progress from this point forward to avoid extremely dangerous outcomes. So what can be done? Read the full story.

—James Temple

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ There’s never a dull moment on this Twitter account documenting wild screenshots from, err, TikTok.
+ Who doesn’t love a good Oscars fashion moment?
+ Success is one thing, but satisfaction is quite another.
+ I love how much NSYNC band member Lance Bass loves space.
+ Why a well-stocked pantry is the backbone of every good kitchen.

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