The Download: A baby formula crisis, and the hunt to improve solar panels

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace

Across the United States, parents are scrambling to find baby formula amid a nationwide shortage. To non-parents, the shortage may seem sudden, but it’s been quietly snowballing into a crisis for months, sparked by a recall from a plant run by Abbott Nutrition—the main provider of powdered infant formula to the US market. It may take months for supplies to become adequate. 

In the meantime, …

I tried to buy an Olive Garden NFT. All I got was heartburn.

Money is weird now.

When we were settling in on the theme for our May/June issue, I decided to buy an NFT of an Olive Garden for my friend Katie, who really loves Olive Garden. It was also an attempt to try to better understand NFTs. Each of the “Non-Fungible Olive Gardens,” really just a photo of a restaurant, was minted for $19.99 and listed on the NFT trading platform OpenSea—the amount tethered to the price of a Tour of Italy menu item. The NFTs were not associated with the actual Olive Garden restaurant chain (though each …

These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?

Solar panels are basically synonymous with silicon. The material is used in about 95% of the panels in today’s market. But silicon solar cells are limited in how much energy they can harness from the sun, and they are still relatively expensive to make. 

For many, compounds called perovskites have long held promise as potentially cheaper, lighter, more efficient solar materials. But despite the excitement—and a flurry of startups to commercialize the technology—some experts caution that perovskite-based solar cells could still be nearly a decade away from having a significant commercial impact, if it ever happens.

Though recent studies on …

The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace

After Ashley Diaz had her baby in early April, she faced a setback. She wasn’t producing enough breast milk. Her newborn son needed formula to supplement his nutrition. So she sent her mother to Target to stock up. She came back with only two boxes—the maximum allowed.

Now, many of those store shelves are empty, not only in Los Angeles, where Diaz lives, but across the United States. Parents are scrambling to find formula amid a nationwide shortage. And the situation has spawned an online secondary marketplace rife with misinformation, scams, and price gouging.  

It’s real live Hunger Games out

Bachelor Of Science Honours In Computing In Software Program Improvement

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