WIRED UK Sep/Oct 2020

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United Kingdom
Conde Nast Publications Ltd
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
creating wired

TOUCHED BY GENIUS Jason Koxvold had a flash of divine inspiration while shooting our feature on the search for a Covid-19 vaccine: “It’s based on Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, but in mine, it’s Louis Falo offering, like a heavenly cure, a prototype microneedle vaccine to Andrea Gambotto – both of whom are actually scientists working on the real thing. The technology is remarkable, and it’s reassuring to know such innovative thinking is being applied to this problem.” ASSEMBLED BY HAND Our features opener this month was a carefully balanced composition in more ways than one. “We had to be ridiculously precise in order to make it work stylistically, but also to ensure the shapes were creating the outlines of the numbers,” says Francis Dakin-Côté (shown above), who created it with caravane co-founder Jean-Constant…

3 min
time to listen to the experts

One of the myths of the global coronavirus pandemic is that no one could have seen it coming, that Covid-19 was an unanticipated event that emerged without warning or precedent. While the pandemic was not foreseen by governments and global leaders, it was not unanticipated by science. Virologists, epidemiologists and public health officials have long been forecasting a global emergency such as the one that is currently ongoing. Researchers have shown that some species of bat act as a natural reservoir for coronavirus. It’s well-established that civets played the role of intermediate host for SARS by bridging the gap between bats and humans, and that camels played the same role in the emergence of MERS. Over the years, WIRED has reported on the work of many of these scientists in an attempt…

4 min
a world of data

The Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) is a network of 130 carbon-measuring stations (plus expertise centres and laboratories) set up in 2008 to measure greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, as well as how carbon fluxes between the atmosphere, Earth and oceans. Situated in some of Europe’s most remote locations – from far-flung Nordic and Swiss mountaintops to French and German grasslands and wetlands in the Czech Republic – each station is designed to provide uniform data on carbon emissions across disparate nations and environments. As one ICOS employee explains, prior to the network, comparing data collected across Europe was “like comparing apples and oranges”. By making this peer-reviewed data available to scientists and governments worldwide through a centralised portal, ICOS is speeding up our understanding of carbon emissions, and helping scientists…

3 min
empire state of mind

Mark Zuckerberg is not used to failure. When, in 2015, he personally headed up an effort – first called internet.org, then “Free Basics” – to help 3.5 billion people worldwide gain access to the internet, he might have expected praise for what he framed as philanthropy. The service would offer free unlimited access to a selection of hand-picked websites to people in India and countries across Asia, South America and Africa – while, incidentally, making Facebook the controllers of the front page of the internet for these new users. The company was accused of “digital colonialism”. There were even street protests. Facebook continued anyway. “The project kept expanding – albeit much more discreetly,” explains Dr Toussaint Nothias, lecturer at the Center for African Studies at Stanford University. “At the end of 2015,…

5 min
sorting fact from fiction

Founded in 2017, Logically has around 20,000 regular users, mainly in India, where Jain’s family is from, and the UK. The app has been soft-launched in the UK, with a full roll-out planned for the end of 2020, including the US. “2020 was supposed to be all about the US election,” Jain sighs. “And then Covid came along and it’s become the year of Covid. Suddenly the US election is just a footnote.” Jain founded Logically after the 2016 Brexit referendum. “My home-town of Stone, in Staffordshire, voted strongly to leave the EU, but where I was living at the time of the vote, Cambridge, was almost totally Remain,” Jain explains. “Within my friends from both areas I could see how much misinformation was being spread by both sides online.” Another, more…

4 min
the new beating heart of london

Londoners have never agreed on a centre for the city. For nightlife, is it Soho or Shoreditch? Where’s the heart of business, the City or Canary Wharf? Theatre aficionados know it’s the West End – but perhaps it’s actually the South Bank, home to the National Theatre, Bridge Theatre and Old Vic. But London does have centres of gravity, places of magnetism, where you’re drawn to spend time in, like eddies in a river. And now it has a new one thanks to the regeneration of Tottenham Court Road, exemplified by the redevelopment of Centre Point. “The vision for Centre Point was to rediscover a London icon, a building that’s in the centre of London culturally and geographically,” says Kathrin Hersel, executive director at property company Almacantar, adding that the area…