Thursday, October 6, 2016

Friday Thinking 7 Oct. 2016

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9

Content
Quotes

Articles
For Fun


“There is an understandable impatience from some quarters over why all this deep insight about human nature is being used to increase the likelihood of people clicking through ads, rather than addressing the larger problems facing humanity.”

There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only a very few of them. And possibly only one profession is phonier. Advertising design, in persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress others who don’t care, is probably the phoniest field in existence today. Industrial design, by concocting the tawdry idiocies hawked by advertisers, comes a close second.

Replace “industrial design” with “experience design”, and “advertising design” with “online marketing”, and I think that sentence still pretty much articulates the sentiment Dan is referring to — and I think it is a valid concern to have. However, while it is easy to look at persuasive design or gamification or design with intent and just scold them as “evil,” or to bemoan that they falls short in ambition, just scolding people for being evil is hardly an effective strategy for changing them.

Aristotle asks what the ultimate goal of human existence is: What is it that we strive for for its own sake, that we put everything else in service of? He says it’s eudaimonia, well-being, flourishing, identifying and cultivating and perfecting our individual unique potential as a human being. And because we are social animals who couldn’t and wouldn’t want to survive without others for long, we need to do so together — to find a form of coexistence that allows us to survive and enables us to perfect our individual well-being and flourishing together.

Moral Gamification - An interview with Arjan Haring



In May 2015, two articles published in prestigious scientific journals broke the records in their respective fields for number of co-authors. The first paper, which focused on a genome segment of Drosophila melanogaster, was published with a list of 1014 co-authors. The reactions were immediate: while certain genomics specialists felt that so many names debased the meaning of authorship, others wondered about the actual contribution of each author. The second article concerned the most precise evaluation of the Higgs boson to date and had no fewer than 5154 co-authors. Yet despite being five times longer, this astonishing list of authors aroused no particular indignation among physicists. How to make sense of such a difference?

Despite regular insistence on the individual exploits of renowned scientists through biographies, prestigious awards, and so on, science is not a business of solitary minds and exceptional geniuses making major discoveries unassisted. Scientific research is in fact a long-term project involving close collaboration with other researchers, engineers and technicians. There is thus considerable tension between the organization of collective work on the one hand, and the evaluation of individual contributions on the other.

Authorship in Science: All for One?



The future is definitely focused on cities - here is a review of the possibilities of a smart city in the next decade. Worth the read for anyone interested in trying to understand how important old and especially new digital infrastructures will be and some vital design principles for shaping the control of developers.

Here's what cities could look like in 10 years

The data confirm it: Cities are the way of the future.
As the years go by, more and more people are choosing to leave behind their suburban and rural lives in search of greater urban opportunities.

To get a sense of what city life might look like in the future, Business Insider called on futurists, urban planners, and designers to weigh in on trends related to transportation, housing, automation, the Internet, the environment, and jobs.

Together, their predictions paint the world's future cities as crowded hubs that run on renewable energy and harness the Internet in every facet of daily life. Vehicles are electric, self-driving, and shared by residents.
Welcome to our urban future.
Cities will be always ready to dispense enormous amounts of data that help people and governments live and work better.
Cities will have so much data at their disposal, they'll basically think for themselves.
Transportation will become a centrally-controlled system in which cars run autonomously and can talk to other vehicles on the road.
  • I would add perhaps also a self-organizing system
People will live in small spaces that are packed tightly together.
Public spaces will be easy to navigate, flexible, and friendly to pedestrians.
Full-time work may start to seem outdated as robotic automation takes over.
Facial recognition technology could make security as simple as taking a picture.
Renewable energy will be a visible part of daily life as cities increasingly run on wind and solar power.


Here’s a very interesting article that may be a ‘weak signal’ of a larger trend toward business model better suited to the emerging network platforms and the economics of digital infrastructures.

Here's my plan to save Twitter: let's buy it

Corporate sharks are circling around the platform we love. But there is another way: shared ownership, where the community takes control
If you ask Wall Street, Twitter is in trouble. The user-base is growing, but not quickly enough. Ad revenue is growing too, but not as quickly as it once did. The only answer to this leveling-out, it seems, is the platform’s acquisition by a bigger corporate bird, which can regurgitate an influx of capital and absorb our tweets into its own data-craving metabolism. Disney, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google’s parent Alphabet are all circling above Twitter’s wobbly stock price, salivating.

For lots of us users, it’s a different story. Twitter is pretty great. We reporters rely on its instant access to the chatter of the world more than we like to admit. The running commentary of friends and celebrities has turned horrible presidential debates and State of the Unions into Mystery Science Theater 3000. And the platform nurtures communities fighting for justice; historian Anthea Butler has argued, for instance, that Black Twitter has come to inherit the mantle of the Black Church. It also delivers us frequent access to Donald Trump’s id, if we want.

The trouble is, Wall Street’s economy has become Twitter’s economy, even if Wall Street’s view of the platform’s usefulness isn’t necessarily our view. But what if we changed Twitter’s economy? What if users were to band together and buy Twitter for themselves?

This is the kind of thinking at work in the growing movement for platform cooperativism – a series of experiments in shared ownership and governance for online platforms. But it’s an old idea, too. When I mentioned a Twitter buyout to co-op and crowdfunding veteran Danny Spitzberg, he reminded me of the Green Bay Packers. Have you ever wondered why the small-ish city of Green Bay has held onto its really good football team? It’s because, rather than being traded around by billionaires, the team started selling shares to its fans, starting in 1923. That has resulted in sold-out games, affordable ticket prices, tasteful stadium advertising, and an all-around successful, sustainable business model for generations.


There is lots of discussion these days about a guaranteed livable income - and the question related to providing this is what would people do?
Here’s something that critiques the mania of productivity as a basis for an experience of human wellbeing. This is a 1 ½ hour video

Design Against Productivity

Why Our Secular Religion of Productivity Sits at the Root of Today’s Wellbeing Crisis
“You cannot not communicate,” Paul Watzlawick once famously said. Similarly, whatever designers put in the world influences others, for good or ill. As “software is eating” the world, technology companies have become increasingly aware of their impact and ethical responsibility, and begun to design digital products and services not just to serve instrumental needs, but to further the wellbeing of users. However, few of these initiatives engage in or foster any deliberation over what kind of wellbeing we should be striving for and why, instead of retaining a focus on reproducing a secular vision of ever-fitter, happier, and therefore more productive individuals. In this talk, I argue that our secular religion of productivity is at the root of today’s health and wellbeing crisis, and asks: What might a true technology of wellbeing look like?


This is an hour long video talk - well worth the listen for anyone interested in understanding the change in conditions of change that machine learning and algorithmic mastery represents - more importantly he elaborates some very important principles around enabling the digital environment to transform into a more powerful knowledge system.

Pedro Domingos: "The Master Algorithm" | Talks at Google

Machine learning is the automation of discovery, and it is responsible for making our smartphones work, helping Netflix suggest movies for us to watch, and getting presidents elected. But there is a push to use machine learning to do even more—to cure cancer and AIDS and possibly solve every problem humanity has. Domingos is at the very forefront of the search for the Master Algorithm, a universal learner capable of deriving all knowledge—past, present and future—from data. In this book, he lifts the veil on the usually secretive machine learning industry and details the quest for the Master Algorithm, along with the revolutionary implications such a discovery will have on our society.

Pedro Domingos is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, and he is the cofounder of the International Machine Learning Society.


We used to talk about the ‘speed of the Internet’ - and that’s an accelerating speed - that many have yet to grasp. This is not simply the speed of information flow, nor the speed of change - but most importantly it’s becoming the necessary speed of learning.
When people fluent in two languages were asked to compare the work of Google’s new system against that of human translators, they sometimes couldn’t see much difference between them.
Participants used a scale from 0 to 6 to rate the fluency of translations of 500 sentences taken randomly from Wikipedia or news articles. For English to Spanish, Google’s new system scored 5.43 on average, not far off the 5.55 given to human translations. Google’s new system also scored close to human translators for French to English.

Google’s New Service Translates Languages Almost as Well as Humans Can

A jump in the fluency of Google’s language software will help efforts to make chatbots less lame.
Google’s latest advance in machine learning could make the world a little smaller.

The company is re├źngineering its translation service after Google researchers invented a system that is significantly more accurate. In a competition that pitted the new software against human translators, it came close to matching the fluency of humans for some languages, such as when translating from English to Spanish.

Google has already begun rolling out the new system for translations from Chinese to English (see examples showing the improvement). The company expects to replace its current translation system altogether.

Making it easier to read Web pages or exchange messages across language barriers could help people around the globe communicate with one another. Google researcher Quoc Le says Google’s big translation upgrade could also lead to improved relations between people and machines.


Here’s a very interesting piece of analysis using the same neural network - machine learning capabilities - this opens up many new possibilities for social science research of qualitative content.

How Vector Space Mathematics Reveals the Hidden Sexism in Language

As neural networks tease apart the structure of language, they are finding a hidden gender bias that nobody knew was there.
Back in 2013, a handful of researchers at Google set loose a neural network on a corpus of three million words taken from Google News texts. The neural net’s goal was to look for patterns in the way words appear next to each other.

What it found was complex but the Google team discovered it could represent these patterns using vectors in a vector space with some 300 dimensions.

It turned out that words with similar meanings occupied similar parts of this vector space. And the relationships between words could be captured by simple vector algebra. For example, “man is to king as woman is to queen” or, using the common notation, “man : king :: woman : queen.” Other relationships quickly emerged too such as  “sister : woman :: brother : man,” and so on. These relationships are known as word embeddings.

But today Tolga Bolukbasi at Boston University and a few pals from Microsoft Research say there is a problem with this database: it is blatantly sexist.

And they offer plenty of evidence to back up the claim. This comes from querying the vector space to find word embeddings. For example, it is possible to pose the question: “Paris : France :: Tokyo : x” and it will give you the answer x = Japan.

But ask the database “father : doctor :: mother : x” and it will say x = nurse. And the query “man : computer programmer :: woman : x” gives x = homemaker.


Now if this sort of text-content analysis seems revolutionary - this is a Must View video of the future of some aspects of social science research, robotics interface, marketing and much much more. It will also augment face-recognition software in ways hard to imagine right now. This is a link to a 2 min video - below is the abstract of the paper - with a link to the paper.

EQ-Radio: Emotion Recognition using Wireless Signals

ABSTRACT This paper demonstrates a new technology that can infer a person’s emotions from RF signals reflected off his body. EQ-Radio transmits an RF signal and analyzes its reflections off a person’s body to recognize his emotional state (happy, sad, etc.). The key enabler underlying EQ-Radio is a new algorithm for extracting the individual heartbeats from the wireless signal at an accuracy comparable to on-body ECG monitors. The resulting beats are then used to compute emotion-dependent features which feed a machine-learning emotion classifier. We describe the design and implementation of EQ-Radio, and demonstrate through a user study that its emotion recognition accuracy is on par with state of-the-art emotion recognition systems that require a person to be hooked to an ECG monitor
Link to the paper is here


Here’s an early example of the Internet-of-Things that are Cognified - integrated with AI - and how an unimaginable responsiveness - response-able digital environment is emerging.

Solo Radio uses AI to match songs to your facial expression

At this week's London Design Festival, design firm Uniform displayed Solo Radio. Stand in front of the device and it scans your face for input into software that assesses your emotions. Then it plays a song via Spotify algorithms with the appropriate mood.


Here’s another article to file under the ‘Moore’s Law is Dead - Long Live Moore’s Law’ file.
“In current processors you don’t utilise all the circuitry on the processor all the time, which is wasteful,” Kia said in a statement. “Our design allows the circuit to be rapidly morphed and reconfigured to perform a desired digital function in each clock cycle. The heart of the design is an analogue nonlinear circuit, but the interface is fully digital, enabling the circuit to operate as a fully morphable digital circuit that can be easily connected to the other digital systems.”

Chaos-based microchips propose a challenge to Moore’s Law

Moore’s Law is being challenged by new, nonlinear, chaos-based integrated circuits that enable computer chips to perform multiple functions with fewer transistors.
Developed by researchers at North Carolina State University, the integrated circuits can reportedly be manufactured with off the shelf fabrication processes and could lead to novel computer architectures that do more with less circuitry and fewer transistors.

Moore’s law states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double every two years in order to keep up with processing demands. This goal has so far been addressed by shrinking the size of individual transistors so that more could be added to the chip. However, that solution is becoming untenable, and the semiconductor industry is looking for new ways to create better computer chips.

“We’re reaching the limits of physics in terms of transistor size, so we need a new way to enhance the performance of microprocessors,” said Behnam Kia, senior research scholar in physics at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the work. “We propose utilising chaos theory – the system’s own nonlinearity – to enable transistor circuits to be programmed to perform different tasks. A very simple nonlinear transistor circuit contains very rich patterns. Different patterns that represent different functions coexist within the nonlinear dynamics of the system, and they are selectable. We utilize these dynamics-level behaviours to perform different processing tasks using the same circuit. As a result we can get more out of less.”

“We believe that this chip will help solve the challenges of demands for more processing power from fewer transistors,” Kia said. “The potential of 100 morphable nonlinear chaos-based circuits doing work equivalent to 100 thousand circuits, or of 100 million transistors doing work equivalent to three billion transistors holds promise for extending Moore’s law – not through doubling the number of transistors every two years but through increasing what transistors are capable of when combined in nonlinear and chaotic circuits.”


And one more celebration of Moore’s Law.

Nvidia teases Volta GPU in next-gen Xavier self-driving car computer

Nvidia's upcoming 512-core Volta GPU will help next-generation Xavier supercomputer chip make self-driving cars safer
Xavier provides unprecedented computing horsepower, allowing cars to recognize images, analyze on-road situations and take actions. Much of the processing will happen on an integrated 512-core Volta GPU.
Xavier will power the successor to Nvidia's current self-driving car computer called Drive PX 2.

The upcoming chip hints at Volta's graphics capabilities. It has dual 8K HDR video recording capabilities, suggesting the new GPU architecture will explore areas beyond 4K graphics.

Xavier also has a custom eight-core CPU and a new computer vision accelerator. It's the most advanced chip ever built by Nvidia, the company said in a blog post.
Xavier delivers 20 TOPS (trillion operations per second) of computing power while consuming only 20 watts of power. It has 7 billion transistors and is made using the 16-nm chip process. Those specs hint at the Volta GPU showing big gains in performance and power efficiency.


Wow - here’s an article worth reading about a planned electric car. This is an Indiegogo project and the article includes the short video pitch.

Solar panels cut down on range anxiety in German compact EV

As electric power becomes more widespread, novel workarounds to minimize range anxiety are becoming more common. From fast charging to fuel cells, eking more mileage out of batteries will be crucial if electric cars are to win over devotees of gas and diesel. German company Sono Motors plans on using solar panels to solve the problem, with its compact Sion commuter.

The Sion can can be charged like a regular electric car. Urban models use a 14.4 kWh battery for a maximum range of 120 km (74 mi), and the more expensive Extender uses a 30 kWh battery for 250 km (155 mi) of silent running.

Both models can be charged to 80 percent in just half an hour, or topped up more slowly using a regular wall socket. The 50 kW motor can take the car up to 140 km/h (87 mph), which should be more than enough for most inner-city and suburban commuters.

The team at Sono Motors has surpassed its Indiegogo funding goal, and is now pushing to put the Sion into production. Should it see the light of day, the Urban is expected to cost around €12,000 (US$13,500), and the Extender will be worth around €16,000 ($18,000). All things being equal, deliveries will kick off in 2018 - not all that far away, considering there's no pictures of a working Sion in action yet, only renders.


Another way to ease anxiety about ownership is to re-imagine car ownership.

People who can’t afford Teslas are using car-sharing networks to pay for them

Car manufacturers are clearly preparing for a future when people don’t buy many cars. Ford plans to launch its ride hailing service in 2021. GM just invested $500 million in Lyft. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s “Master Plan” tells Tesla owners that in the future they will able to add their car to a shared fleet that will “generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation.”

But if you can’t wait, you can still get someone else to pay for your car today. Car-sharing services for privately-owned vehicles are a small but increasingly popular way to pay off monthly payments, or turn a luxury vehicle like a Tesla Model S into an affordable purchase.

Car-sharing services are now used by more than 1.5 million people in North America who rented more than 22,018 vehicles in 2015, estimate researchers at the University of California Berkeley. The number of users is expected to top 4.4 million this year. In Europe, the market is even bigger. Car-sharing emerged in Europe during the 1940s and gained in popularity in the 1990s as services such as ZipCar began renting out cars by the hour in major cities. Enabled by smartphones, services such as Getaround and Turo (formerly RelayRides) now invite private owners to rent out their vehicles as well.


This is an excellent example of AI and Robotics literally as a human prosthetic - enhancing capabilities.

This Accessory Makes VR So Real a Surgeon Could Train with It

Using this exoskeleton in a virtual environment, a baseball feels firm, and an egg light and fragile.
The Dexmo glove, with its gleaming white carapace and jet-black connecting joints, looks much like a prop stolen from a Stanley Kubrick film set. On your hand, it gives you a cartoonish silhouette, as if some kind of humorous cheat code had been applied to reality to grant humans oversized, clod-like paws.

In fact, Dexmo’s world-altering properties are focused in the virtual realm. Used alongside compatible virtual-reality software, the Dexmo exoskeleton allows its wearer to touch, grasp, and feel virtual objects as if they were real. A virtual baseball feels firm in the hand, an egg fragile. Pick up a digital rubber duck while wearing the Dexmo, and it can be squished pleasingly between the fingers.

The exoskeleton, designed by a team of seven young roboticists and engineers, uses five custom-built force-feedback units to apply torque to your fingers. These motors dynamically alter the direction and magnitude of the force in order to simulate a specific virtual object’s stiffness. In this way they provide light resistance when handling a soft object like a sponge or a piece of cake, and heavy resistance for a denser object, like a pipe or a brick. Tiny motors also provide haptic vibrations to your fingertips that simulate the impact of tapping a keyboard, or running your finger along a piece of rough concrete. The glove’s resistance is so powerful that it will physically prevent your fingers from penetrating through objects in VR.


There may be a lot of fear about Do-It-Yourself genetics and biology homelabs - but there’s also significant positive reasons to support open-source matter and bio hacking. Not the least of which is free us from being held hostage to rent-seeking incumbents who continue to make intellectual property a barrier to innovation instead of a way to incentivize invention. Remember a treatment created by bigPharma is much more profitable than a cure discovered in a university.

It Costs $30 to Make a DIY EpiPen, and Here’s the Proof

The medical maker collective Four Thieves Vinegar made an “EpiPencil” for a tiny fraction of what the EpiPen manufacturer Mylan charges.
The recent furor over the drug company Mylan jacking up the price of lifesaving EpiPens has brought out the biohackers. A team of DIY enthusiasts calling themselves Four Thieves Vinegar have published plans that will allow anyone to build a device to self-inject epinephrine on the cheap.

EpiPens are meant as a last-ditch measure to ward off anaphylaxis—a potentially fatal allergic reaction that can result from exposure to anything from peanuts to insect stings. The drug itself is over 100 years old, but the device makes it easy for anyone to inject, which is an attractive proposition when flirting with death.

The pharmaceutical company Mylan, which is the only manufacturer of the device, was recently shown to have raised the prices of a single device from $57 to $318—that’s a 461 percent increasesince acquiring rights to it in 2007. The backstory is a bizarre tale that involves corporate greed, Congress, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Sadly, the cost prevents some people from having access to an incredibly reliable way to treat anaphylaxis.


Some more potentially very good news related to new antibacterial medicines.
"We’ve discovered that [the polymers] actually target the bacteria and kill it in multiple ways," Lam told Nicola Smith from The Telegraph. "One method is by physically disrupting or breaking apart the cell wall of the bacteria. This creates a lot of stress on the bacteria and causes it to start killing itself."

The science world is freaking out over this 25-year-old's answer to antibiotic resistance

Could this be the end of superbugs?
A 25-year-old student has just come up with a way to fight drug-resistant superbugs without antibiotics.
The new approach has so far only been tested in the lab and on mice, but it could offer a potential solution to antibiotic resistance, which is now getting so bad that the United Nations recently declared it a "fundamental threat" to global health.

In addition to common hospital superbug, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), scientists are now also concerned that gonorrhoea is about to become resistant to all remaining drugs.

But Shu Lam, a 25-year-old PhD student at the University of Melbourne in Australia, has developed a star-shaped polymer that can kill six different superbug strains without antibiotics, simply by ripping apart their cell walls.

The research has been published in Nature Microbiology, and according to Smith, it's already being hailed by scientists in the field as "a breakthrough that could change the face of modern medicine". ...it's still very early days. So far, Lam has only tested her star-shaped polymers on six strains of drug-resistant bacteria in the lab, and on one superbug in live mice.

But in all experiments, they've been able to kill their targeted bacteria - and generation after generation don't seem to develop resistance to the polymers.


Now I’ve been waiting for this for about a decade - although it’s still not ready for prime time - it’s getting nearer.

Will Dentist Help You to Grow New Teeth?

Kinder and more lasting treatments could reduce your pain at the dentist.
…..significant amounts of people who fear the dentist avoid visiting until they really need to. That could help explain why 92% of American adults have tooth decay in their permanent teeth.

But there is good news on the horizon as well—recent research also suggests that we might soon be able to refill the holes in our teeth with healthy, living tissue, giving our permanent teeth a second chance.

We may never evolve to grow a third set of teeth, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from attempting to find a way to replace extracted teeth with new, live replacements. One lab at King’s College London has successfully implanted bio-teeth into mice. Using gum tissue from humans and tooth forming cells in mice, they were able to grow teeth with dentin and enamel in mice. “What’s incredible is that the researchers can implant this developing tooth germ and it’s able to re-orientate itself to form and recruit blood vessels from surrounding tissue to make a live tooth,” Tucker says.


Here’s a 2 min video outlining new 3D printed matter for surgeons dealing with bone problems.
“This is a neat way to overcome the challenges we face in generating bone replacements,” says Jos Malda, a biomaterials engineer from Utrecht University in the Netherlands who was not involved in the work. “The scaffold is simpler to make than others and it offers more benefits.”

Print-on-demand bone could quickly mend major injuries

If you shatter a bone in the future, a 3D printer and some special ink could be your best medicine. Researchers have created what they call “hyperelastic bone” that can be manufactured on demand and works almost as well as the real thing, at least in monkeys and rats. Though not ready to be implanted in humans, bioengineers are optimistic that the material could be a much-needed leap forward in quickly mending injuries ranging from bones wracked by cancer to broken skulls.

Surgeons currently replace shattered or missing bones with a number of things. The most common option is an autograft, where a piece of bone is taken from a patient’s own body, usually from a hip or a rib, and implanted where it’s needed elsewhere in that same patient’s skeleton. Surgeons prefer autografts because they’re real bone complete with stem cells that give rise to cartilage and bone cells to provide extra support for the new graft. (Humans can’t regrow entire skeletons from scratch with stem cells, but existing bone can signal stem cells where to grow and what to grow into.) What’s more, because the new bone replacement comes from a patient’s own body, there’s no risk of immune rejection. But only so much of a person’s skeleton is available for grafting, and doing so tacks on another painful surgery and recovery for the patient.


Gene sequencing has been experiencing a ‘Moore’s Law’ rate of development that has created an exponentially decreasing cost of sequencing and increasing speed of producing results. This article discusses another significant innovation that can enable gene sequencing to become an inexpensive standard item for everyone.

A Superfast DNA Sequencer Based on Motion Detection

For more than 20 years, the practice of using a low-intensity electric current to pull long strands of DNA through nanometer-scale pores in a membrane and measure the electric field variations of the four nucleic acids—A, C, G, T—has been growing as the main approach for DNA sequencers.

We’ve seen the development of this technology reach the point where U.K.-based Oxford Nanopore has been offering portable DNA sequencers based on this fundamental measurement principle for more than a year. Meanwhile, in the research labs, scientists have been tinkering with better materials for the membrane and have started to work with the “wonder material” graphene to see what benefits it might provide in these types of devices.

Now researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) may have changed the technology paradigm for DNA sequencers in their proposal for an entirely new material architecture that would represent the first DNA sequencer based on sensing motion in the membrane as the DNA thread passes through it.

In the paper, the NIST researchers performed numerical simulations of how fast and accurate this DNA sequencer could be, and they concluded that the membrane would be 79 to 86 percent accurate in identifying DNA bases in a single measurement at speeds up to about 70 million bases per second. It is this speed and accuracy that the NIST researchers see as a game changer.


For Fun
Twitter is an amazing platform - one of my first loves on Twitter was #haiku, then #sixwords, then #micropoetry and now I’ve found #microfiction - an endless story in 140 characters or less - the very germ of narrative is a metaphore that creates an entailing frame. For anyone who loves the creative challenge - open a twitter account and use the ‘hashtag’ (a hash is #) and a tag (is the words without spaces that follow the # symbol). On Twitter you can search a hashtag - and the result is a stream of all tweets that use the hashtag - it’s like listening to a conversation.
My first few tweets in #microfiction were:
#microfiction The ground was unknownable and lonely till she figured it out.  
#microfiction  a smooth white sheet covers her curves and begins to glisten, then melt as he rises over her and streams his fertile heat
#microfiction  The Moon howls the Wolf - yearning a wildness in his shadows till the Sun wakes him naked in his garden of bright remorse.
#microfiction  the servant transgresses to gain secret powers of perception & knowledge - accused of theft he solves the crime & is given freedom
#microfiction He finally heard her & realized his descriptions of leaping peak-to-peak was simply avoiding connection & fell in her gravity

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