Massive data centers are creeping into cities

You may have never heard of Hikvision, but you’ve probably been caught by one of its millions of cameras. The Chinese company’s products can be found ranging from police surveillance systems to baby monitors in more than 190 countries. Its ability to manufacture decent quality products at low prices (as well as its links with the Chinese state) has helped make Hikvision the world’s largest manufacturer of video surveillance equipment.

But while Hikvision’s close ties to the Chinese government have helped it grow, those ties may now be gone. The company has helped build China’s massive police surveillance system and adapted it to oppress Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. As a result, the U.S. government has imposed several sanctions on him over the past three years. This year, the U.S. Treasury is considering adding Hikvision to the list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons (SDNs), usually reserved for countries such as North Korea or Iran.

Here’s everything you need to know about Hikvision – a company that used to not be on the radar, but is now facing the most sanctioned technology company in the world. Read the whole story.

—Zeyi Yang

Scientists hacked the brain of a locust to detect cancer

What have they done? Some animals, including dogs, have been taught to detect signs that humans are sick. They are believed to be able to detect chemicals emitted by people through body odor or respiration. The mixture of chemicals can vary depending on a person’s metabolism, which is thought to change when we get sick. But dogs are expensive to train and care for and making a device that mimics a dog’s nose is still too difficult. So the scientists decided to “kidnap” an insect’s brain.

How did they do it? They exposed the brain of a live lobster and inserted electrodes into the lobes that receive signals from insect antennae, which they use to detect odors. The lobster brain clearly reacted to the odors emitted by human cells both with and without cancer in a laboratory, the first time a live insect brain has been tested as a tool to detect disease.

What next? The team behind the work hopes that one day it can lead to an insect-based breath test that can be used to detect cancer or inspire an artificial version that works the same way. Although it is far away. Read the whole story.

“Jessica Hamzelou.”

Energy-intensive data centers are moving quietly to cities

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