WIRED UK January / February 2022

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United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
6 期号


creating wired

ANIMAL MAGIC Michael Blann got an 800kg bison ready for its close-up – with a bit of help from the rangers of the Wilder Blean Project: “My vision was to erect a black velvet backdrop and then light the animal like it was a classical portrait while it struck a pose. In reality, bison are quite moody and it wasn’t safe to create the scene on the same side of the fence – plus, one poke from a horn and my backdrop would be done. We eventually set up some lights on the outside of the compound, and the rangers coaxed them into position with bribes of their favourite food.” ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING Julia Johnson went on an emotional roller-coaster while shooting portraits for our feature on AI and relationships – but…

editor’s essay

“I was in a television studio when the Apollo mission launched. I remember very well a blue sphere in the blackness, and in that one shot, there was the whole of humanity. I realised our home is not limitless. There is an edge to our existence.”Sir David Attenborough The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report published in August made for grim reading. “Many of the changes observed in the climate are unprecedented in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years, and some changes already set in motion – such as continued sea level rise – are irreversible over hundreds to thousands of years,” it read. Sadly, it seems the majority of global politicians, corporate leaders and institutional investors have long found such facts about human activity’s impact on the planet unpalatable.…

ice suit

How do you prepare for a mission to the Moon or Mars? A quick jaunt to get the lay of the land is not, to be blunt, especially practical, so you need to find the next best thing. Fortunately, it really doesn’t get much better than our very own slice of an alien world right here on Earth: Iceland. Famously used by the Apollo astronauts in the 1960s to prepare for their historic lunar excursions, Iceland’s unique features and terrain make it an ideal testbed for missions to other worlds. “You have subsurface ice. You have lava tubes. You have areas of intense volcanic activity,” says Daniel Leeb, executive mission director of the Iceland Space Agency (ISA), a private research organisation not affiliated with the Icelandic government. “Iceland has the most…

saving our wild species begins at home

Reintroducing marsh grasshoppers to restored wetland sites across their historic range can bring huge benefits to ecosystems and food chains, says Citizen Zoo’s 30-year-old CEO Lucas Ruzo. “We came up with this citizen keeper concept, normal people being zookeepers in their homes, rearing grasshoppers,” he says. After a crash-course in grasshopper husbandry, a group of about a dozen zookeepers were given a kit that included between 30 and 50 eggs, a heat-emitting incandescent bulb and a glass enclosure. “It’s as simple as a light bulb and then a jar of fresh grass every morning,” says Ruzo. Each keeper can raise a brood every four weeks, which are then released at two secret locations. Since the first release in Norfolk in 2019, several hundred hand-reared grasshoppers have helped to build self-sustaining wild populations. This…

the new selfie: go-anywhere digital avatars

The “Metaverse” is the corporate buzzword of 2021 and rafts of use-cases are springing up, from gaming communities to Facebook/Meta’s “infinite office”. One firm, Genies, wants you to look good wherever the Metaverse takes you by offering a “portable digital identity” across platforms: your avatar can dance on TikTok, strike poses with pals on Instagram, or pop up on Snapchat – and do the same on the feeds of others. It’s raised $65m and its partnerships include Gucci for digital designer outfits. Founded in 2017, the rest of the world has finally caught up with this form of digital self-expression. “People’s mindsets have now shaped around ours,” says co-founder Akash Nigam. “We’ve been forced to consider a world where we exist solely virtually.” genies.com…

we have to stop seeing only the dark side of crypto

Bitcoin went mainstream in 2021. Hotshot investors like hedge funder Paul Tudor Jones lead the Wall Street pack; The Economist went from calling the cryptocurrency “useless” in 2018 to arguing it belongs in most portfolios; tech CEOs Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk gamely crossed swords about bitcoin’s merits at a conference run by an asset-management firm. Popular opinion lags a bit: many people still believe cryptocurrency is a giant global get-rich-quick scheme. Others simply dismiss the entire thing as a speculation-driven fad in the best case, a criminal enterprise at the worst. But despite the noise from the trading-floor bulls, cryptocurrency has been quietly changing lives in the developing world. Take Cuba, a country where internet penetration went from less than 40 per cent in 2015 to an estimated 70-80 per…