Archive for the 'tech' Category

Cell-free biotech will make for better products

May 8, 2017

Cell-free biotech will make for better products Gr8 screening, quickly making proteins from oligos HT @EmilyLeproust

“A typical recipe for making cell-free protoplasmic gloop is this. Take four litres of culture containing E. coli (a gut bacterium favoured by genetic engineers). Split the bacterial cells open by forcing them through a tiny valve at pressure, thus shredding their membranes and DNA, and liberating the ribosomes. Incubate the resulting mixture at 37°C for an hour, to activate enzymes called exonucleases that will eat up the fragmented DNA. Centrifuge, to separate the scraps of cell membrane and other detritus from the gloop that contains ribosomes. Dialyse to remove unwanted ions. Then stir in amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), sugar and an
energy-carrying molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to power the process. Finally, add a pinch of new DNA to taste, to tell the gloop which proteins it is supposed to produce.”

Inside the Hunt for Russia’s Most Notorious Hacker

April 28, 2017

Inside the Hunt for Russia’s Most Notorious #Hacker A
progression: Zeus, the Business Club & then espionage

“As far as anyone could tell, GameOver Zeus was controlled by a very elite group of hackers—and the group’s leader was Slavik. He had reemerged, more powerful than ever. Slavik’s new crime ring came to be called the Business Club. A September 2011 internal announcement to the group—introducing members to a new suite of online tools for organizing money transfers and mules—concluded with a warm welcome to Slavik’s select recipients: “We wish you all successful and productive work.””


April 27, 2017

Pardon? Like sensitive electronic equipment, ears can be easy hurt but also easily enhanced technologically

Damage to hair cells or to the nerve synapses they’re attached to is the most common source of hearing loss. Aging and noise are the leading causes; among the others are the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, the aminoglycoside family of antibiotics, and various autoimmune diseases, including the one that deafened (but didn’t silence) Rush Limbaugh. Corey showed me another electron micrograph, from the ear of a mouse that had been exposed for two hours to sound as intense as that experienced by someone using a chainsaw. The cilia looked like tree trunks thrown around by a tornado.

Hair cells can recover if a noise isn’t too loud and doesn’t last too long, but permanent injuries accumulate. A widely cited damage threshold for sustained exposure is eighty-five or ninety decibels. (The human hearing range is so wide that it has to be described logarithmically to keep the numbers from becoming unmanageable: every ten-decibel increase represents a tenfold increase in sound energy.) An unsettling number of everyday activities lie at or above the danger line, including lawn-mowing, motorcycle-riding, rock-concert-going, Shop-Vac-ing, milkshake-making, subway-riding, and power-tool-using. “Most carpenters have lost a lot of hearing by the time they’re fifty,” Corey said. “I’m sometimes around construction sites, and I often pass out ear protection.”

How the New York Times Is Using Strategies Inspired by Netflix, Spotify, and HBO to Make Itself Indispensible | WIRED

April 26, 2017

How…the @NYTimes Is Clawing Its Way into the Future Digitizing a traditional company w. a recalcitrant culture
[tags nytimes,therm0mg,from,tbg

How The New York Times Is Clawing Its Way into the Future

Family owned (and run) business, calcified culture, old business model, looking to remake itself…

In-browser Mac OS 7.0.1 emulation, compatible software suite arrives at the Internet Archive

April 23, 2017

In-browser [classic] Mac OS7 emulation…arrives at the Internet
Archive Gr8 for old file formats if upload possible

Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever

April 10, 2017

SV’s Quest to Live Forever Cal. restriction to #Singularity: Immortalists v Healthspanners, Meat Puppets v RoboCops


“Immortalists fall into two camps. Those who might be called the Meat Puppets, led by de Grey, believe that we can retool our biology and remain in our bodies. The RoboCops, led by Kurzweil, believe that we’ll eventually merge with mechanical bodies and/or with the cloud. Kurzweil is a lifelong fixer and optimizer: early in his career, he invented the flatbed scanner and a machine that reads books aloud to the blind. Those inventions have improved dramatically in subsequent iterations, and now he’s positive that what he calls “the law of accelerating returns” for human longevity is about to kick in.”

“The battle between healthspanners and immortalists is essentially a contest between the power of evolution as ordained by nature and the potential power of evolution as directed by man. The healthspanners see us as subject to linear progress: animal studies take the time that they take; life sciences move at the speed of life. Noting that median life expectancy has been increasing in developed nations by about two and a half years a decade, Verdin told me, “If we can keep that pace up for the next two hundred years, and increase our life spans by forty years, that would be incredible.”

The immortalists have a different view of both our history and our potential. They see centuries of wild theorizing (that aging could be reversed by heating the body, or by breathing the same air as young virgins) swiftly replaced by computer-designed drugs and gene therapies. Bill Maris said, “Health technology, which for five thousand years was symptomatic and episodic—‘Here are some
leeches!’—is becoming an information technology, where we can read and edit our own genomes.”

Many immortalists view aging not as a biological process but as a physical one: entropy demolishing a machine. And, if it’s a machine, couldn’t it be like a computer?

“And yet. Last year, the geneticist Nir Barzilai hosted a screening of a documentary about longevity, and afterward he posed a question to the three hundred people in the audience. He told me, “I said, ‘In nature, longevity and reproduction are exchangeable. So Choice One is, you are immortalized, but there is no more reproduction on Earth, no pregnancy, no first birthday, no first love’—and I go on and on and on.” He laughed, amused by his own determination to load the dice. “ ‘Choice Two,’ I said, ‘is you live to be eighty-five and not one day sick, everything healthy and fine, and then one morning you just don’t wake up.” The vote was decisive, he said. “Choice One got ten or fifteen people. Everyone else raised their hands for Choice Two.”

This wish to preserve life as we know it, even at the cost of dying, is profoundly human. We are encoded”

Learning and earning: Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative | The Economist

April 8, 2017

Lifelong Learning Future for colleges? Microcredentails & Nanodegrees inspired by albums unbundled into iTunes songs

interesting view of where short “workshops” fit relative to the traditional course

Scott DeRue, the dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, says the unbundling of educational content into smaller components reminds him of another industry: music. Songs used to be bundled into albums before being disaggregated by iTunes and streaming services such as Spotify. In Mr DeRue’s analogy, the degree is the album, the course content that is freely available on MOOCs is the free streaming radio service, and a “microcredential” like the nanodegree or the specialisation is paid-for iTunes.

How should universities respond to that kind of disruption? For his answer, Mr DeRue again draws on the lessons of the music industry. Faced with the disruption caused by the internet, it turned to live concerts, which provided a premium experience that cannot be replicated online. The on-campus degree also needs to mark itself out as a premium experience, he says.

How To Host a Simple Website Using Dropbox

April 4, 2017

Here, there and everywhere | The Economist

April 2, 2017

Here, there & everywhere Overview of #quantum computing mentions using it to #encrypt transmission of genomic data

Thanks to the development of ever more secure links, quantum cryptography has recently been deployed more widely. ID Quantique has installed quantum links between data centres of KPN, a Dutch telecoms firm; of Battelle, an American non-profit research firm; and of Hyposwiss and Notenstein, two Swiss private banks. It offers links between financial institutions in Geneva and a disaster-recovery centre 50km away. In 2015 researchers at Toshiba in Japan began sending quantum-encrypted genomic data from a research facility in Sendai to Tohoku University, 7km away.

How the Bitcoin protocol actually works | DDI

April 2, 2017

How…#Bitcoin…works, by @michael_nielsen Overview focusing on why in addition to how; highlights #privacy issues

How anonymous is Bitcoin? Many people claim that Bitcoin can be used anonymously. This claim has led to the formation of marketplaces such as Silk Road (and various successors), which specialize in illegal goods. However, the claim that Bitcoin is anonymous is a myth. The block chain is public, meaning that it’s possible for anyone to see every Bitcoin transaction ever. Although Bitcoin addresses aren’t immediately associated to real-world identities, computer scientists have done a great deal of work figuring out how to de-anonymize “anonymous” social networks. The block chain is a marvellous target for these techniques. I will be extremely surprised if the great majority of Bitcoin users are not identified with relatively high confidence and ease in the near future. The confidence won’t be high enough to achieve convictions, but will be high enough to identify likely targets. Furthermore, identification will be retrospective, meaning that someone who bought drugs on Silk Road in 2011 will still be identifiable on the basis of the block chain in, say, 2020. These de-anonymization techniques are well known to computer scientists, and, one presumes, therefore to the NSA. I would not be at all surprised if the NSA and other agencies have already de-anonymized many users. It is, in fact, ironic that Bitcoin is often touted as anonymous. It’s not. Bitcoin is, instead, perhaps the most open and transparent financial instrument the world has ever seen.