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News: April/May 2023

Computer made of mouse brain cells • Microsoft disbands AI ethics team • RIP Ernst Tugendhat — News reports by Anja Steinbauer

Welcome to a New Epoch!

Plastic pollution is changing our planet, in a real geological sense. On Trinidade Island, a remote Brazilian marine reserve, geologists have discovered a new type of igneous rock formed mainly from plastic from old fishing nets. This is different from the sedimentary plastic rocks called plastiglomerates previously reported in various parts of the world: pebbles, sand and other debris fused together with plastic melted by bonfires. Fernanda Avelar Santos, a geologist at the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil called it “new and terrifying at the same time, because pollution has reached geology.” “The pollution,” explains Santos, “the garbage in the sea and the plastic dumped incorrectly in the oceans is becoming geological material … preserved in the Earth’s geological record.