sustainable energyTechnology

The Download: A US oil-drilling hotspot is kicking out far more methane than we thought

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.

A US oil-drilling hotspot is kicking out far more methane than we thought

The news: One of the largest and fastest-growing oil production sites in the US is emitting far more methane than previously measured. Oil and natural-gas production is a significant source of the powerful greenhouse gas, butan aerial survey of the Permian Basin in New Mexico revealed more leakage than even the highest estimates had suggested to date.

Some context: Methane is an important greenhouse gas. While it’s much less abundant than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and has a shorter life span once emitted, it’s about 86 times better at trapping heat. According to the new study, the site emits about 194 metric tons of the gas every hour. That’s double previous estimates.

Why it matters: The new findings show how comprehensive surveys can shed light on methane emissions, which are often poorly understood even in major oil and gas basins like the Permian. As governments continue to target emissions, identifying problem spots can be a useful first step. Read the full story.

—Casey Crownhart

Also, in case you missed it, read our fascinating story by physicist Sankar Das Sarma about why, despite all the hype, we have no idea when quantum computing is going to start delivering on its promises.

The must-reads

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

1 Ukraine’s biggest internet provider has been hit by a cyberattack
This seems to be the most serious attack since Russia invaded last month.(Forbes)
+ How Ukraine’s internet is still working, despite Russian bombs and cyberattacks. (WP $)
+ Inside the inner workings of a pro-Russia hacking group. (WSJ $)
+ Ukraine and Russia are set to resume face-to-face talks today. (The Guardian)
+ RT America’s legacy is confused and weird. (The Atlantic)

2 The global supply chain crisis is only getting worse
Data tools that monitor and predict issues aren’t painting a pretty picture. (Wired $)
+ Digital twin simulations are helping to test worst case scenarios. (TR)

3 There still isn’t much evidence that social media makes teens unhappy
But one of the biggest studies so far found they may be particularly sensitive to its effects at certain ages. (NYT $)
+ What could a redesigned social network look like? (Nature)

4 The US may be about to test digital dollars 💵
They’re meant to be as private as cash—but without the bills. (The Verge)

5 Chris Smalls vs Amazon: the saga continues
His protests outside its New York warehouse two years ago kicked off a giant unionization push across the US. (BBC)
+ Union election voting has closed in the company’s Alabama warehouse. (CBS)

6 Google told its Russian translators not to use ‘war’ in reference to war in Ukraine 
They were told to use terms such as “emergency in Ukraine’ instead. (The Intercept)
+ Russian radio transmissions are being intercepted with heavy metal. (The Economist)
+ Yandex, Russia’s Google, has been relaying app user data to Russian servers. (FT $)

7 Europe’s plans for Big Tech undermine encryption, security experts warn
The problem is the requirement for messaging platforms to be interoperable. (The Verge)
+ Cryptographers really aren’t happy. (Platformer)

8 Can geofencing give us safer roads? Sweden thinks so
It can also prevent drivers without permits from entering certain areas. (NYT $)
+ The electric vehicle shortage shows no sign of letting up. (WSJ $)

9 Tweaking how bitcoin is mined eradicates its energy consumption, say climate groups
Switching to a proof of stake could reduce energy use by 99%, apparently. (The Guardian)
+ Ethereum is going to give the promising idea its first real-world test this year has high hopes for the algorithm. (TR) 

10 The CIA believed the Soviet Union was developing telepathy in the 60s 🧠
Say no more. Literally. (Motherboard)

Quote of the day

“Fear always makes you an accomplice.”

—Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, urges allies to continue supplying the country with weapons without fear of a Russian backlash.

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 a movie following a priest who turns into a dinosaur: The VelociPastor.
+ Forget the slap, 1974’s Oscars ceremony was interrupted by a streaker. 
+ Grimes is plotting an “intergalactic children’s metaverse book”. 
+ It’s cherry blossom season! 🌸
+ Let’s hear it for Bonnie the crime-fighting dog.
+ Okay, I’d consider getting up at 2am if the sunrise looked like this.
+ This gallery of Accra’s skateboarding women and girls is great.

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