Monday, October 16, 2017

bio-inspired nanotech

Green Car Congress | Argonne team develops synthetic bionano membrane to convert light to hydrogen

A team led by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has developed a new way to produce solar fuels by using completely synthetic bionano machinery to harvest light without the need for a living cell. The researchers’ device, reported in the journal ACS Nano as a “synthetic purple membrane,” contains tiny discs of lipids, man-made proteins and semiconducting nanoparticles that, when taken together, can transform sunlight into hydrogen fuel.

not gonna happen - can't patent it!

The Guardian | Magic mushrooms 'reboot' brain in depressed people – study
Magic mushrooms may effectively “reset” the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression, the latest study to highlight the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics suggests.
Psychedelics have shown promising results in the treatment of depression and addictions in a number of clinical trials over the last decade. Imperial College London researchers used psilocybin – the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms – to treat a small number of patients with depression, monitoring their brain function, before and after.
Images of patients’ brains revealed changes in brain activity that were associated with marked and lasting reductions in depressive symptoms and participants in the trial reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial, who led the study, said: “We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments.

Monday, October 9, 2017

we are more than "our" dna

Science | Gut bacteria may tell human cells what to do

New studies are providing glimpses of the language through which bacteria in the human gut communicate with us. Cohen et al. analyzed the DNA from the human microbiome for members of the N-acyl synthase family of proteins—enzymes that catalyze synthesis of molecules that might serve as ligands for human heterotrimeric G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). More than 140 such genes were detected, and they produced molecules that bound and efficiently activated human GPCRs. Transfer of bacteria engineered to express such ligands into mice altered glucose metabolism to a similar extent as did a drug used to treat diabetes. Thus, bacteria, which communicate with each other through small excreted molecules, may communicate with their host in a similar manner—thereby offering opportunities for therapeutic intervention

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

dopamine oxidation destroys neurons

Science | Dopamine oxidation mediates mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease

Human-derived neurons provide the answers

Pathways involved in energy metabolism and removal of cellular debris by lysosomes play an important role in protecting our brain from degeneration in Parkinson's disease. Burbulla et al.identified a toxic cascade of mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction in human neurons derived from patients with Parkinson's. The dysfunction was mediated by accumulation of oxidized dopamine and α-synuclein, but it was not found in Parkinson's mouse models, owing to species-specific differences in dopamine metabolism. Inherent species-specific differences between human and mouse neurons emphasize the value of studying human neurons to identify relevant targets for treatment of Parkinson's disease and related synucleinopathies.

they tell me you are a man with true grit

Science | Infants make more attempts to achieve a goal when they see adults persist

If at first you don't succeed, try again

Does grit—the combination of perseverance and passion popularized in the media—differ from conscientiousness? Personality traits are embedded early in life and remain relatively stable, whereas grit (at least the passion component) may come and go and thus be malleable. Leonard et al. show that infants can learn from adults to persist through failure at arduous tasks (see the Perspective by Butler). Infants who had observed adults struggle for half a minute before activating a toy persisted when given their own complicated toy to play with, in contrast to the lesser grit displayed by infants who had seen only rapid and effortless adult successes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

we have nanobots in us???

bioRxiv | The condensin complex is a mechanochemical motor
that translocates along DNA

Abstract: Condensin plays crucial roles in chromosome organization and compaction, but the mechanistic basis for its functions remains obscure. Here, we use single-molecule imaging to demonstrate that Saccharomyces cerevisiae condensin is a molecular motor capable of ATP hydrolysis-dependent translocation along double-stranded DNA. Condensin’s translocation activity is rapid and highly processive, with individual complexes traveling an average distance of ≥10 kilobases at a velocity of ~60 base pairs per second. Our results suggest that condensin may take steps comparable in length to its ~50-nanometer coiled-coil subunits, suggestive of a translocation mechanism that is distinct from any reported DNA motor protein. The finding that condensin is a mechanochemical motor has important implications for understanding the mechanisms of chromosome organization and condensation.

get up off your lazy ass - even if you exercise like a beast

Annals of Internal Medicine | Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A National Cohort Study

Excessive sedentary time is ubiquitous in Western societies. Previous studies have relied on self-reporting to evaluate the total volume of sedentary time as a prognostic risk factor for mortality and have not examined whether the manner in which sedentary time is accrued (in short or long bouts) carries prognostic relevance.
Over a median follow-up of 4.0 years, 340 participants died. In multivariable-adjusted models, greater total sedentary time (HR, 1.22 [95% CI, 0.74 to 2.02]; HR, 1.61 [CI, 0.99 to 2.63]; and HR, 2.63 [CI, 1.60 to 4.30]; P for trend < 0.001) and longer sedentary bout duration (HR, 1.03 [CI, 0.67 to 1.60]; HR, 1.22 [CI, 0.80 to 1.85]; and HR, 1.96 [CI, 1.31 to 2.93]; P for trend < 0.001) were both associated with a higher risk for all-cause mortality. Evaluation of their joint association showed that participants classified as high for both sedentary characteristics (high sedentary time [≥12.5 h/d] and high bout duration [≥10 min/bout]) had the greatest risk for death.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

p. cyanescens enzymes sequenced for possible large-scale production

Chemical and Engineering News | ‘Magic mushroom’ enzyme mystery solved
The euphoria and hallucinations induced from eating Psilocybe “magic mushrooms” have earned the fungi a cult following. Sandoz chemist Albert Hofmann isolated and determined the structure of psilocybin, the main ingredient in mushrooms that leads to the psychedelic effects, nearly 60 years ago. That discovery and subsequent mind-altering experiments by Harvard University psychologist Timothy F. Leary have left scientists longing to develop a large-scale synthesis of the compound for medical uses, which include treating anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients and treating nicotine addiction. Yet no one has been able to unravel the enzymatic pathway the mushrooms use to make psilocybin, until now.
Janis Fricke, Felix Blei, and Dirk Hoffmeister of Friedrich Schiller University Jena have identified and characterized to the greatest extent so far the four enzymes that the mushrooms use to make psilocybin. The team then developed the first enzymatic synthesis of the compound, setting the stage for its possible commercial production (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201705489).

Monday, August 7, 2017

legal tactics using the ADA to protect neuroatypicals from college speech codes gone awry

Excerpted from Quillette | Mental Health Disabilities as Legal Superpowers
In an earlier article for, I outlined how campus speech codesdiscriminate against people who show various forms of ‘neurodiversity’ such as Asperger’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, or ADHD. I promised a follow-up article on how neurodivergent people might be able to use the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 to fight these discriminatory speech codes at U.S. universities.
This is that follow-up article. I’ll get much more specific about what you can do, at your university, if you have a genuine diagnosable ‘mental disorder’, to advocate for your free speech rights. Mental disorders are highly stigmatized conditions, but they have a hidden upside: they can give you legal super-powers, including a surprisingly formidable set of rights under the ADA. If enough neurodivergent students, staff, and faculty use the ‘ADA strategy’ that I’ll suggest here, I think we can quickly eliminate most of the unconstitutional speech codes that suppress free inquiry and debate on American campuses.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

eat your omega-3 fish oil!

Science Daily | Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits -- but without the psychotropic high.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

the socially awkward are a protected class too... but lose us and you lose everything you define as human progress

Quillette | The Neurodiversity Case for Free Speech
Campus speech codes discriminate against neurodiversity. They impose unrealistic demands, fears, and stigma on the large proportion of students, staff, and faculty who have common mental disorders, or extremes on the Big Five personality traits, or transient disinhibition due to sleep deprivation or smart drugs. As a practical matter, it is virtually impossible for someone with Asperger’s, bipolar, ADHD, low Agreeableness, low Conscientiousness, extreme fatigue, or Modafinil mania to understand what kinds of speech acts are considered acceptable, and to inhibit the production of such speech 100% of the time, in 100% of educational and social situations.
In a future article, I’ll outline a legal strategy to use the ADA to eliminate campus speech codes that discriminate against neurodiversity.
For the moment, just consider this: every campus speech code and restrictive speech norm is a Sword of Damocles dangling above the head of every academic whose brain works a little differently. We feel the sharpness and the weight every day. After every class, meeting, blog, and tweet, we brace for the moral outrage, public shaming, witch hunts, and inquisitions that seem to hit our colleagues so unpredictably and unfairly. Like visitors from a past century or a foreign culture, we don’t understand which concepts are admissible in your Overton window, or which words are acceptable to your ears. We don’t understand your verbal and moral taboos. We can’t make sense of your double standards and logical inconsistencies. We don’t respect your assumption that empathizing should always take precedence over systematizing. Yet we know you have the power to hurt us for things we can’t help. So, we suffer relentless anxiety about our words, our thoughts, our social relationships, our reputations, and our careers.
That era is over. Neurodiversity is finding its voice and its confidence. People with mental disorders and eccentric personalities have rights too, and we will not be intimidated by your stigma and shaming. We will demand our rights under the ADA through the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and in federal district courts. We will educate administrators about the discriminatory side-effects of their bad policies. We will shatter your Swords of Damocles and raise our freak flags to fly over campuses around the world.
For centuries, academia has been a haven for neurodiversity – a true ‘safe space’ for eccentric thought and language, for thinking the unthinkable and saying the unsayable. We will make it that haven again, and there is nothing that university administrators can do to stop us. Everything is on our side: behavioral science, intellectual history, federal law, public opinion, and liberal academia’s own most sacred values of diversity and inclusivity. Neurodiversity is here to stay, and we will not be silenced any longer.
If the neurodiverse stand up for our free speech rights, campus speech codes will go extinct very quickly. In the future, they will be considered a weird historical curiosity of runaway virtue-signaling in early 21st-century American academia. The freedom to think eccentric thoughts and say eccentric things must be protected again. The freedom to be eccentric must be restored. Newton must be welcomed back to academia.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

stfu, of course it was

BBC | BA chief executive Alex Cruz says he will not resign and that flight disruption had nothing to do with cutting costs
He told the BBC a power surge, had "only lasted a few minutes", but the back-up system had not worked properly.
He said the IT failure was not due to technical staff being outsourced from the UK to India.

*programming* any ui is like pounding sand... good work for an ai

Silicon ANGLE | Startup uses AI to create programs from simple screenshots
Artificial intelligence is threatening worker’s jobs in dozens of different professions, from manufacturing and legal to banking and driving, and many more. Now, it’s time to add programming to that list.
A new neural network being built by a Danish startup called UIzard Technologies IVS has created an application that can transform raw designs of graphical user interfaces into actual source code that can be used to build them.

Friday, May 26, 2017

kunstler knocks another one outta the park

A most curious feature in the current low state of American politics is the delusional thinking at both ends of the political spectrum. Both factions have gone off the rails mentally, and the parties they represent race toward oblivion like Thelma and Louise in their beater car. More ominously, there are no new factions with a grip on reality even beginning to form anywhere in the background — as in the 1850s when the Whigs foundered and the party of Lincoln segued into power.
To see the Democrats go on about “Russian collusion” you would think we were watching a rerun of the John Birch Society in its heyday. Americans who have done business in Russia as private citizens are being persecuted as though they were trading with the enemy in wartime. Newsflash: we are not at war with Russia, which, by the way, is no longer the Soviet Union. It is one of many European countries that Americans are entitled to do business in — even in the case of General Mike Flynn accepting a $20,000 speaking fee from the RT news company. Has anyone noticed that Ben Bernanke routinely  takes $200,000-plus speaking fees in many foreign countries whose interests are not identical to ours and no one is persecuting him.
[Ed. - Please click the link above... this snippet is simply the opening teaser of his whole article]

Monday, May 22, 2017

blockchain tech can prevent 'corruption' - hmm, would require everyone to use it though

Wired | A Curious Plan to Save the Environment With the Blockchain
MAGIC INTERNET MONEY—ALSO known as cryptocurrency—is at an all-time high. The experts who watch this stuff predict that one bitcoin (the most famous cryptocurrency) will soon be worth $2,000.
The big selling point of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is their use of something called the blockchain to make any transaction mossstly trustworthy. In a cryptocash economy, the blockchain renders treasuries, banks, credit cards, and other financial organs vestigial. Enthusiasts believe these decentralized, cryptographically-sealed databases could starve inefficient middlemen from virtually any system. And today in Nature, conservation biologist Guillaume Chapron argues that blockchains can even save the planet.
Basically, all a blockchain does is assign any piece of information a unique signature. If someone alters that information, that unique code no longer works, and you know something fishy is afoot. In bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, the whole community then reviews every attempted transaction, to ensure each is unique—preventing shenanigans like spending the same money twice. But it can come in handy elsewhere. Wal-Mart recently launched a trial using a blockchain to fight food poisoning and waste by tracking food from supplier to shelf. Say a salmonella outbreak hits Sioux City, Iowa. Wal-Mart’s supply chain blockchain would let it irrefutably trace the tainted product back to a spinach farm in Salinas, California.
“One reason why we have environmental crises, like the overexploitation of natural resources, and pollution, is because the global economy is full of actors who are doing business without much accountability,” says Chapron. “When you go buy something, you have no idea where it comes from, how it’s made. There are so many intermediaries, and it’s very easy to cheat.” Cheating, in this case, means more than companies lying about where they dump their garbage. And actors can be anyone, including nation-states.

Friday, May 19, 2017

now how do you run a car on it??? | Energy Breakthrough? China Has Successfully Mined ‘Fire Ice’ From The Sea
China has successfully extracted gas from gas hydrates—also known as ‘fire ice’ or ‘flammable ice’—in the northern part of the South China Sea, the China Geographical Survey said on Thursday.
Gas hydrate, methane hydrate in particular, is a cage-like structure of crystallized ice, inside of which are trapped molecules of methane, the chief constituent of natural gas. If methane hydrate is either warmed or depressurized, it reverts back to water and natural gas.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), global estimates vary, but the energy content of methane in hydrates is “immense, possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels”. But no methane production other than small-scale field experiments has been documented so far.
Today, the China Geographical Survey said that it managed to collect samples from the Shenhu area in the South China Sea in a test that started last Wednesday. Every day some 16,000 cubic meters (565,000 cubic feet) of gas, almost all of which was methane, were extracted from the test field.

Friday, May 12, 2017

overcome what no longer serves you

GeekWrapped | Cognitive Bias Survival Guide

What are Cognitive Biases?

You know the feeling: Every day you get flooded with new ideas and information. You barely have enough time to process it all. Sure, you’re a smart and rational person that puts a lot of thought into the decisions you make. But the brain still takes decision-making shortcuts all the time. It especially happens when you need to act quickly, there is too much information, or limited memory.

Here’s the deal: Research suggests that there are a number of intellectual stumbling blocks which can get you entangled in wrong judgment without you even noticing. They are called Cognitive Biases. The result is er
rors and irrational decisions that can hold you back. To help all of us escape this mental quicksand we’ve put together this real-world Cognitive Bias Survival Guide. It’s designed to reduce wrong conclusions and bad choices, plus protect you from charlatans trying to exploit ignorance. Think of it as anti-virus software for the brain!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

excitement at hanford

Gizmodo | Tunnel Collapses at Nuclear Facility Once Called 'an Underground Chernobyl Waiting to Happen'
Managers at the Hanford Site in Washington State told workers to “take cover” Tuesday morning after a tunnel leading to a massive plutonium finishing plant collapsed. The emergency is especially worrisome, since Hanford is commonly known as “the most toxic place in America,” with one former governor calling it “an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen.” Worrisome might actually be an understatement. The Deparment of Energy declared a state of emergency at the site.
The accident occurred near the 200 East Area, the home of several solid waste sites. The tunnel that collapsed ran to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX) facility and was filled with highly radioactive train cars that once carried spent fuel rods containing deeply dangerous plutonium and uranium from a reactor on the Columbia River to the processing facility. Those reactors once produced plutonium for America’s nuclear arsenal, though production ended in 1980. The cleanup process that followed has gone on for nearly 30 years.

but they are only 1/3 the cost!

Aspiring Minds | National Programming Skills Report

It is our pleasure to present the first edition of Automata report. Programming Ability skill is the key for jobs in IT centric world. 

In the last few years, thanks to jobs becoming global, the importance of good programmers has increased manifold. It has over the years become an important criteria of hiring for most of the IT software companies, both at the international and intra-national levels. A candidate with good programming skills is so important , because there are cases where one doesn’t understand the program statement and if does then fails to implement it properly. 

The report tries to identify patterns in employability across different regions, analyzing in detail the distribution of employability across various roles. Herein, it studies how employability varies across different groups: We do the first systematic study of Programming Ability of engineers across India. The study is based on Automata, an automated tool measuring programming skills used across the world by industries. Automata is a 60 minute test taken in compiler integrated environment. It rates the candidates on multiple parameters of Programming Ability , Programming Practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage. It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills. 

The report follows the tradition of our National Employability Reports to uncover the gaps in Programming Ability by gender, tier of college, top 100 colleges vs. rest of the colleges, etc. Based on the reports, we have come up with specific suggestions on how to improve Programming Ability in various parts of the country. 

With commitment to the development and progress of higher education in India!

Friday, April 21, 2017

cure for flu

Cell - Immunity | An Amphibian Host Defense Peptide Is Virucidal for Human H1 Hemagglutinin-Bearing Influenza Viruses


  • The frog skin peptide urumin is virucidal for H1 HA-bearing human influenza A viruses
  • Urumin specifically targets the conserved stalk of H1 hemagglutinin
  • Urumin is effective at neutralizing drug-resistant H1 influenza viruses
  • Urumin protects naive mice from lethal influenza infection in vivo


Although vaccines confer protection against influenza A viruses, antiviral treatment becomes the first line of defense during pandemics because there is insufficient time to produce vaccines. Current antiviral drugs are susceptible to drug resistance, and developing new antivirals is essential. We studied host defense peptides from the skin of the South Indian frog and demonstrated that one of these, which we named “urumin,” is virucidal for H1 hemagglutinin-bearing human influenza A viruses. This peptide specifically targeted the conserved stalk region of H1 hemagglutinin and was effective against drug-resistant H1 influenza viruses. Using electron microscopy, we showed that this peptide physically destroyed influenza virions. It also protected naive mice from lethal influenza infection. Urumin represents a unique class of anti-influenza virucide that specifically targets the hemagglutinin stalk region, similar to targeting of antibodies induced by universal influenza vaccines. Urumin therefore has the potential to contribute to first-line anti-viral treatments during influenza outbreaks.

are you woke?

Neuroscience News | What a Trip: First Evidence for Higher State of Consciousness Found

Summary: Researchers observe a sustained increase in neural signal diversity in people under the influence of psychedelics.

Source: University of Sussex.

Scientific evidence of a ‘higher’ state of consciousness has been found in a study led by the University of Sussex.

Neuroscientists observed a sustained increase in neural signal diversity – a measure of the complexity of brain activity – of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs, compared with when they were in a normal waking state.

The diversity of brain signals provides a mathematical index of the level of consciousness. For example, people who are awake have been shown to have more diverse neural activity using this scale than those who are asleep.

This, however, is the first study to show brain-signal diversity that is higher than baseline, that is higher than in someone who is simply ‘awake and aware’. Previous studies have tended to focus on lowered states of consciousness, such as sleep, anaesthesia, or the so-called ‘vegetative’ state.

The team say that more research is needed using more sophisticated and varied models to confirm the results but they are cautiously excited.

Professor Anil Seth, Co-Director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex, said: “This finding shows that the brain-on-psychedelics behaves very differently from normal.

“During the psychedelic state, the electrical activity of the brain is less predictable and less ‘integrated’ than during normal conscious wakefulness – as measured by ‘global signal diversity’.

“Since this measure has already shown its value as a measure of ‘conscious level’, we can say that the psychedelic state appears as a higher ‘level’ of consciousness than normal – but only with respect to this specific mathematical measure.”

Thursday, April 6, 2017

more impressed with cephalopods than myself - taking consciousness to the next level!

Wired | Science Reveals Yet Another Reason Octopuses and Squid Are So Weird
OCTOPUSES ARE ALIENS living on Earth. They solve puzzles, use tools, and communicate with color. They also squirt ink, open jars, and occasionally pull a prank or two. Given their remarkable intelligence and cunning ways, it takes a lot to surprise the biologists who study these wonderful creatures and their equally weird cousins the squids and cuttlefish.
But when Stanford University geneticist Jin Billy Li heard about Joshua Rosenthal’s work on RNA editing in squid, his jaw dropped. That’s because the work, published today in the journal Cell, revealed that many cephalopods present a monumental exception to how living things use the information in DNA to make proteins. In nearly every other animal, RNA—the middleman in that process—faithfully transmits the message in the genes. But octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish (but not their dumber relatives, the nautiluses) edit their RNA, changing the message that gets read out to make proteins.
Subbing out one spot in the code may seem like a minor switcheroo, but it can change how—or whether—a protein functions. Theoretically, it changes the genome’s level of complexity: Humans possess just two copies of a given gene, but add a few RNA editing sites and the number of protein variants rises exponentially. An animal could use RNA editing to change how its proteins work if its environment changes. For instance, some RNA in squid get edited when the weather changes so that their proteins work properly at different temperatures.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2 go out, 1 comes back

Washington Post | Half of Americans are responsible for only 3 percent of health care costs
Here’s a simple reason crafting health policy is so devilishly hard: Most Americans are pretty healthy and a few are really sick.
The top 1 percent of health-care spenders use more resources, collectively, than the bottom 75 percent, according to a new study based on national surveys. Slice the data a different way, and the bottom half of spenders all together rack up only about 3 percent of overall health care spending — a pattern that hasn’t budged for decades. This creates a fundamental inequality in the country's health spending that is the crux of the challenge policymakers face: They need a system that works for people who are ill, but is attractive to those who are healthy and spend little on health care.
The political debate over health care often focuses on how a new system will meet the needs of the sick: Will cancer patients or people with diabetes access and afford care when they need it? But the Health Affairs study, “Most Americans have good health, little unmet need and few health care expenses,” shows just how important the healthy people who spend very little on health care are. The message you draw from that, however, may depend on your politics.
“The key takeaway message really is most people are in good health; they don’t spend a lot of money, and yet it’s important to have them be part of our insurance system. If they’re left out of the system, we’re not going to have the funds to take care of people who are very sick,” said Marc Berk, a health policy researcher and contributing editor of Health Affairs who led the analysis.

Monday, April 3, 2017

not enough tech talent nonsense getting due treatment

Bloomberg | Trump Visa Changes Toughen Hiring of Foreign Programmers
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency issued a memorandum that makes it harder for companies to bring foreign technology workers to the U.S. using the H-1B visa process.
The new guidelines, issued late Friday, require additional information for computer programmers applying for the work visa to prove the jobs are complicated and require more advanced knowledge and experience. The new policy is effective immediately, so it will change how companies apply for the visas in an annual lottery process that begins Monday.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

here's how you defeat the us military

BBC | Small drone 'shot with Patriot missile'
A Patriot missile - usually priced at about $3m (£2.5m) - was used to shoot down a small quadcopter drone, according to a US general.
The strike was made by a US ally, Gen David Perkins told a military symposium.
"That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from did not stand a chance against a Patriot," he said.
Patriots are radar-targeted weapons more commonly used to shoot down enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles.
"Now, that worked, they got it, OK, and we love Patriot missiles," the general said.
Recently, there have been reports that some groups, for example in Iraq, have taken to attaching weapons to small, commercial drones and using them against security forces.
However, Gen Perkins suggested deploying large surface-to-air missiles as a defence was probably not economically wise.
"I'm not sure that's a good economic exchange ratio," he told an audience at the Association of the United States Army's Global Force symposium in Alabama.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

yeast genome synthetically created

Science | Design of a synthetic yeast genome

We describe complete design of a synthetic eukaryotic genome, Sc2.0, a highly modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome reduced in size by nearly 8%, with 1.1 megabases of the synthetic genome deleted, inserted, or altered. Sc2.0 chromosome design was implemented with BioStudio, an open-source framework developed for eukaryotic genome design, which coordinates design modifications from nucleotide to genome scales and enforces version control to systematically track edits. To achieve complete Sc2.0 genome synthesis, individual synthetic chromosomes built by Sc2.0 Consortium teams around the world will be consolidated into a single strain by “endoreduplication intercross.” Chemically synthesized genomes like Sc2.0 are fully customizable and allow experimentalists to ask otherwise intractable questions about chromosome structure, function, and evolution with a bottom-up design strategy.

presidential debate gender inversion experiment - backfires

NYU | What if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Had Swapped Genders?
Salvatore says he and Guadalupe began the project assuming that the gender inversion would confirm what they’d each suspected watching the real-life debates: that Trump’s aggression—his tendency to interrupt and attack—would never be tolerated in a woman, and that Clinton’s competence and preparedness would seem even more convincing coming from a man.
But the lessons about gender that emerged in rehearsal turned out to be much less tidy. What was Jonathan Gordon smiling about all the time? And didn’t he seem a little stiff, tethered to rehearsed statements at the podium, while Brenda King, plainspoken and confident, freely roamed the stage? Which one would audiences find more likeable?
The two sold-out performances of Her Opponent took place on the night of Saturday, January 28, just a week after President Trump’s inauguration and the ensuing Women’s March on Washington. “The atmosphere among the standing-room-only crowd, which appeared mostly drawn from academic circles, was convivial, but also a little anxious,” Alexis Soloski, a New York Times reporter who attended the first performance, observed. “Most of the people there had watched the debates assuming that Ms. Clinton couldn’t lose. This time they watched trying to figure out how Mr. Trump could have won.”
Inside the evening’s program were two surveys for each audience member to fill out—one for before the show, with questions about their impressions of the real-life Trump–Clinton debates, and another for afterward, asking about their reactions to the King–Gordon restaging. Each performance was also followed by a discussion, with Salvatore bringing a microphone around to those eager to comment on what they had seen.
“I’ve never had an audience be so articulate about something so immediately after the performance,” Salvatore says of the cathartic discussions. “For me, watching people watch it was so informative. People across the board were surprised that their expectations about what they were going to experience were upended.”
Many were shocked to find that they couldn’t seem to find in Jonathan Gordon what they had admired in Hillary Clinton—or that Brenda King’s clever tactics seemed to shine in moments where they’d remembered Donald Trump flailing or lashing out. For those Clinton voters trying to make sense of the loss, it was by turns bewildering and instructive, raising as many questions about gender performance and effects of sexism as it answered.