What’s new in tech
Amazon faces NYC headwinds
The New York backlash to Amazon’s big HQ2 announcement came swiftly last week, said Sam Raskin in Curbed.com. New York and the Washington area were the winners of Amazon’s competition, but not everyone there is happy about it. New York’s often warring mayor and governor both support the deal, pointing to 40,000 jobs and $30 billion in city and state tax revenue over 25 years. But opponents, including a host of local politicians, have lined up with objections to a deal that includes nearly $3 billion in subsidies for a company that “surely has enough money to build an office without any public dollars.” Fears of soaring apartment prices and public transit snarls are other top concerns. Amazon’s plan to move in, with a helipad, next to New York’s biggest low-income housing project, also threatens to make the giant new center a symbol of inequality.
Studying proteins to predict illness
“The 20,000 or so known proteins in each human body might soon be used as an early warning system for disease,” said Michael Behar in The New York Times. Proteins have long been used to diagnose things like strep throat, flu, HIV, and “most reliably,” pregnancy. But those are simpler, “single-protein” tests; “complex disease fingerprints with swarms of proteins are exceptionally difficult (and time-consuming) to spot.” Biotech startup SomaLogic is using AI to screen proteins in a patient’s body to detect nascent diseases before there are outward symptoms. The ultimate goal is to offer a $100 screen that could provide specific insight into ailments like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, but more progress is needed. Larry Gold, a biochemist and founder of SomaLogic, says the “science is hard—harder than I thought.”
One phone, five numbers
“For Verizon customers, having multiple phone numbers no longer means having to carry around multiple phones,” said Angela Moscaritolo in PCMag.com. This week, the wireless carrier introduced a new app that lets customers add up to four additional phone numbers. Each new number costs $15 and includes unlimited calling and texting. There are limitations: You can only make outbound calls to U.S. numbers, though you can receive international calls. There’s also no caller ID on the service. Verizon follows T-Mobile, which introduced a similar service last year.