The Crunch No. 143: Belarusian Cyber Partisan

Plus, robot chameleons, lab-grown breast milk, 'care at scale' and good news on female literacy in Africa, global off-grid solar, air pollution in Beijing, beaver re-wilding in Scotland, and rhino recoveries in Kenya.

The Crunch No. 143: Belarusian Cyber Partisan


This is the members only edition of Future Crunch, a weekly roundup of good news, mind-blowing science, and the best bits of the internet (not necessarily in that order). One third of your subscription fee goes to charity.


After some decent downtime, and an unexpected outbreak of actual writing, normal service has resumed. Here's a reminder for our regular subscribers (and a primer for the new ones, hello!) that this is an 'anti-newspaper.' The first three sections contain news about human progress, the clean energy transition, and environmental restoration. As we said in our recent article, they're not intended to balance an imaginary scale, but rather to prove that death, doom and destruction aren't the only news stories out there - even if they are the only ones that make money.

The next section, named after Arthur C. Clarke's timeless koan, is where we get to geek out in public and share our excitement about the extraordinary leaps being made every day by scientists and engineers around the world. So often, the equivalent section in most publications is a poorly disguised advertisement for gadgets nobody needs, or unearned publicity for Silicon Valley tech bros who certainly don't need any more encouragement. Expect plenty of machine-learning, robotics, 3D-printing, physics, space stuff, genetics and biotech, without the hype.

In our opinion section we curate what we think is the best of the internet. Turns out that if you switch off social media, there's still an information superhighway out there, buried beneath the noise, and it's still awesome. A generation ago only an elite few got to hear what the world's smartest people were thinking; today those ideas are just a click away, and accessible to everyone. Not everything we choose here is rainbows and puppies - we prefer our opinions with a bit of bite, and make an effort to showcase ideas we don't always agree with. We think that's a much better way to make sense of the world.

The last section is arguably our favourite, and was inspired by the title and concept of Rutger Brennan's excellent book. Each week, we profile an ordinary human being you've probably never heard of, doing extraordinary things for people and the planet. Famous people, it seems, are famous for all the wrong reasons and this is our tiny way of trying to fix that. Celebrities blessed with good bone structure and great hair don't represent the best of humanity - the people in this section do.

So that's it! We know these newsletters are long and dense, so please always feel free leave them unopened in your inbox, skip sections and ignore absolutely everything we're saying, without a shred of guilt. The pace of modern life is insane and attention is a finite resource. We're so grateful to have you along for the ride, and if you ever want to say hi or tell us why we're wrong, just hit reply. We'll always respond.

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