Timothy Lu seeks to combat disease by reprogramming biological systems

MIT associate professor Timothy Lu has devoted his career to coming up with novel ways to engineer cells, both bacterial and human, to perform new functions. Using this approach, he hopes to develop new therapies for a range of diseases, from cancer to drug-resistant infections. Source: mit

Chinese Startups See Latin America as a Land of Opportunity

Chinese startups pushing into the region include Hangzhou-based Tian Ge Interactive Holdings, which wants to build an internet finance platform in Mexico. Phonemaker Transsion Holdings is preparing to set up operations in Colombia. China Mobile Games & Entertainment Group plans to distribute mobile games in Mexico. Ofo, the Beijing-based bicycle sharing service, is preparing to […]

Can Many-Worlds Theory Rescue Us From Boltzmann Brains?

Can you trust the world to be consistent? Scientists don’t have much choice. They need to assume that objective observations of the universe can be trusted. This assumption has allowed us to develop powerful theories about the inner workings of the cosmos, but it has, paradoxically, also shown us the possibility that we might be deceived […]

Spooky action at a distance, how an AWS outage ate our load balancer

Distributed systems are complex beasts and notoriously hard to debug. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how an outage on one service will affect another, and no matter how much we think we understand a given system, it will still surprise us in new and interesting ways. What follows is the story of one of those […]

He’s not just saying he feels her pain—he really is

The perception of pain is impacted by social, emotional, and psychological factors as well as biological ones, and these factors can all affect one another. Skin-to-skin touch—a clearly social phenomenon—is known to alleviate pain. What is not quite known is how. Source: arstechnica

Scotland’s floating wind farm is showing how powerful offshore wind can be

The world’s first commercial floating offshore wind farm, called Hywind, started sending electricity to the grid last October. Since then, the six-turbine, 30MW installation has been working well. Really well. In fact, Hywind has had a 65-percent capacity factor over the last three months according to Statoil, the Norwegian mega-corporation that built the wind farm off […]

Is it time to take the Hyperloop seriously?

Imagine traveling the length of the United Kingdom—from London to Edinburgh, 400-plus miles—in under an hour. A journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco would take less than 30 minutes (five hours less than the average drive between the two cities). Your journey would be safe and comfortable, your carbon footprint almost non-existent. Source: arstechnica

DNA nanobot ‘starves’ tumors

A DNA nanorobot programmed to transport blood-coagulating proteins specifically into tumours so that their blood supply is blocked could make for a promising new cancer therapeutic. The new system, which literally “starves” the tumour, only destroys cancer cells and not surrounding tissue. It has been shown to work on breast, lung, melanoma and ovarian tumours […]

Some of the World’s Biggest Lakes Are Drying Up

We were driving on the lake bottom, yet we were more than 12,000 feet above sea level. The spring air was lip-chapping dry. Many of the fishing villages that have relied on Lake Poopó for thousands of years have emptied too, and we drove past clusters of abandoned adobe homes. Dust devils danced around them, […]

Exploring the Linguistics Behind Regular Expressions

Little did I know that learning about Chomsky would drag me down a rabbit hole back to regular expressions, and then magically cast regular expressions into something that fascinated me. What enchanted me about regular expressions was the homonymous linguistic concept that powered them. Source: dev