WIRED UK July / August 2021

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United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
6 期号


creating wired

THE HERO SHOT This issue’s cover star, Katalin Karikó, is one of the heroes of the pandemic – her tireless work to develop mRNA technology led to a vaccine breakthrough that will have health impacts for years to come. Photographer Platon – who has captured everyone from Stephen Hawking to Barack Obama, was also impressed: “What a privilege it was to photograph Katalin – and how appropriate that during this pivotal moment in history, the scientist who helped save the world from Covid-19 be such an inspiring woman. Katalin was generous and thoughtful as a subject. She filled me with optimism for a brighter future. Honestly, this was one of the best photo sessions of my life.” ANIMALS ON ICE Photographer Sebastian Nevols visits Nature’s SAFE, a project which collects and freezes reproductive…

editor’s essay

When you encounter a poster on the Tube that reads “if you see an advert for Bitcoin on the Underground then it’s time to buy”, well, maybe it is time to get in. Or maybe not. But, there are plenty of retail and investors, financial institutions and even governments that have taken the leap. Over the past few months, my 80-year-old father-in-law has made enquiries about shifting some of his pension pot into cryptocurrency, Goldman Sachs set up a Bitcoin desk and China started a large-scale experiment with a digital currency, the eCNY. The Financial Times reports that VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is looking to raise its third fund to invest in the space – it’s already the largest outside investor in Coinbase, the digital currency trading platform which went public…

shaking things up

Jelly is undergoing a quiet, wobbly renaissance. Facebook groups such as “Show Me Your Aspics” have drawn tens of thousands of members, while on TikTok, views of videos with the hashtag #jelly reach well into the billions. It’s a much-maligned foodstuff, often perceived as textureless, but this feeling is culturally specific. Certain cuisines, particularly in East Asia, have long histories of highly sophisticated jellied food, which have found growing popularity in the west: mochis, bubble tea, raindrop cake. The intricate use of agar in Japanese cuisine positions jelly not as the absence of texture, but a certain delicacy of texture. Language bears out this textural disparity: Japanese has 406 terms in day-to-day usage that describe the “mouthfeel” of food, compared to 105 in Austrian and just 76 in English. Ole Mouritsen, who’s…

early adopters

Stephanie Hare technology writer and researcher “Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature is the story of polymath Alexander von Humboldt, who transformed how we think about nature, ecology, climate change, data visualisation, and more – and also inspired a galaxy of scientists, artists and writers.” Marcello Mari CEO, SingularityDAO “I think my Huawei FreeBuds 3 are the most impressive noise cancelling earphones I’ve tried in recent years. When you wear them, you feel completely isolated from the rest of the world’s sounds – and when you remove them, it’s like you’re stepping back into reality.” Willam Cowell de Gruchy CEO & founder, Infogrid “I try to introduce sustainability in everything I do, but am time-poor. Services such as Pure Package (great vegetarian ready meals that are sustainably sourced and come in returnable packaging) and Oxwash…

dark kitchens get a light-bulb moment

Dark kitchens have a bad reputation. The off-site, industrial-scale cooking hubs fulfilling takeaway orders, supplying food trucks, or prepping pre-packaged meals have become increasingly common during the pandemic. But these venues are infamous for low pay and poor conditions: many are cramped, windowless prefab buildings that freeze in winter and overheat in summer. At first sight, you might not think the Wood Green site of dark kitchen startup Karma Kitchen was all that revolutionary, nestled in an industrial estate neighbouring an NHS test-and-trace centre and some railway tracks. But inside, the spaces are bright and open; its 36 kitchens are kitted out with high-end appliances and regularly inspected; kitchen porters receive London living wage. Even the churn for companies using the facility is as low as three per cent. “We’re kind of…

personal care needs to clean up its act

Bathrooms are awash with single-use plastic, from toothpaste tubes to soap dispensers – 520 million shampoo bottles go to landfill in the UK every year. Created by Swedish design studio Form Us With Love, FORGO’s first product, a powder-to-liquid hand wash and a reusable glass bottle, debuted at Stockholm Design Week in February 2021. “We were frustrated by the amount of plastic waste which could be avoided if brands offered sustainable and convenient alternatives,” explains FORGO co-founder Allon Libermann. “With our product, you should never need to throw any plastic away.” Besides minimising waste, the lightweight powder greatly reduces carbon emissions. “We’re shipping five per cent of the volume of a typical full bottle,” says Libermann, who claims that each 12g sachet produces just 15 per cent of the total emissions generated…