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Apr 16, 2019

A Jeff Bezos-backed startup just inked a deal with $84 billion biotech Gilead to make drugs for a troubling and increasingly common disease

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Insitro and Gilead are teaming up to create drugs to treat a liver disease affecting millions. The startup is backed by Jeff Bezos, Andreessen Horowitz, and GV.

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Apr 16, 2019

Apple will help rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral after its massive fire, according to CEO Tim Cook

Posted by in category: futurism

“We are heartbroken for the French people and those around the world for whom Notre Dame is a symbol of hope,” Cook said.


Apple is pledging to assist in the rebuilding efforts of Notre-Dame after the historic cathedral took damage from a massive fire on Monday.

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Apr 16, 2019

Inside Arzeda’s synthetic biology lab, where industrial ingredients are brewed like beer

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry

Alexandre Zanghellini can’t help but think about what makes up the world around him. Sitting in a conference room, Zanghellini considered the paint on the walls, the table, the window shades, the plastic chairs. It’s all oil.

“The entire world is made from oil. We just don’t realize it,” he said.

Zanghellini’s job, as the CEO of Seattle-based synthetic biology company Arzeda, is to reconsider how we make the basic molecules that go into anything and everything in the human world. And he has a bias for processes that use living organisms. “The tools of biology, proteins, are better at doing chemistry than chemists,” he said.

Continue reading “Inside Arzeda’s synthetic biology lab, where industrial ingredients are brewed like beer” »

Apr 16, 2019

Today’s Biggest Threat: the Polarized Mind

Posted by in category: neuroscience

As the bitter strife between left and right, citizen and noncitizen, white and non-white attest, the greatest threat to humanity today goes beyond political and religious divides, economics, and psychiatric diagnoses. It goes beyond cultural conflicts and even the degradation of the environment—and yet it includes all of these.


To counter it, we call for a mobilization of mindfulness practices and dialogue groups on the scale of a public works program for human civility.


Apr 16, 2019

Drug-resistant bugs discovered in animal hospital prompts health warning

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Pets in a British animal hospital have been found to be harbouring potentially lethal drug-resistant bugs that could be transferred to owners.

Tests by Public Health England (PHE) revealed three cats a dog were colonised by bacteria able to fend off Linezolid, a “last-resort” antibiotic used to treat superbugs such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

No staff or owners are known to have been taken ill as a result, however the agency last night warned veterinary surgeries to enforce proper cleaning practices after this first discovery of its kind.

Continue reading “Drug-resistant bugs discovered in animal hospital prompts health warning” »

Apr 16, 2019

Drug-resistant fungus is sprouting worldwide, and it has health researchers worried

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Drug-resistant fungi are appearing around the globe, and some are known to cause illness in humans.

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Apr 16, 2019

Go Subterranean With This DARPA Challenge

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Whether it comes to rescuing people from a cave system or the underground maze of sewers, tunnels and the like that exist underneath any major city, having accurate maps of the area is always crucial to know what the optimal routes are, and what the expected dangers are. The same is true for combat situations, where such maps can mean the difference between the failure or success of a mission. This is why DARPA last year started the Subterranean Challenge, or ‘SubT’ for short.

This challenge seeks new approaches to map, navigate, and search underground environments during time-sensitive combat operations or disaster response scenarios, which would allow for these maps to be created on-demand, in the shortest amount of time possible. Multidisciplinary teams from the world are invited to create autonomous systems that can map such subsurface networks no matter the circumstances.

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Apr 16, 2019

DNA reveals origin of Stonehenge builders

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The ancestors of the people who built Stonehenge travelled west across the Mediterranean before reaching Britain, a study has shown.

Researchers in London compared DNA extracted from Neolithic human remains found in Britain with that of people alive at the same time in Europe.

The Neolithic inhabitants appear to have travelled from Anatolia (modern Turkey) to Iberia before winding their way north.

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Apr 16, 2019

90 New Cases of Measles Reported in U.S. as Outbreak Continues Record Pace

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

The number of new measles cases in the United States rose again this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday, bringing the total number to 555 in 2019. This year’s outbreak is on course to be the worst since the country eliminated measles as an endemic disease in 2000.

Health authorities reported 90 additional cases as of April 11, with outbreaks in New York, Washington, California, New Jersey and Michigan, up from 78 the week before. Those cases were largely linked to travelers returning from countries seeing outbreaks of their own, including Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines.

The disease then spread through populations in which large numbers of people are unvaccinated, the C.D.C. said.

Continue reading “90 New Cases of Measles Reported in U.S. as Outbreak Continues Record Pace” »

Apr 16, 2019

African research projects are failing because funding agencies can’t match donor money

Posted by in category: economics

Although African countries appreciate research grants from donor countries, they often chafe at the condition that they bring in their own money in order to be eligible. Some research projects fall by the wayside because African granting agencies simply have no way to provide their share of the money, sometimes called counterfunding, the heads of 15 national science councils in Africa said at a meeting held here on 4 and 5 April.


“Counterfunding,” desired by donor countries, can be 50% of a project’s cost.

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