Science and Technology links (August 18th, 2017)

We’d like, one day, to transplant pig organs into human beings. Sadly, this is currently very dangerous because, even though pigs are very similar to us, the small differences are cause for concern. Harvard’s George Church and his collaborators have shown that we can use gene editing (CRISPR) to make pig organs safer for human beings. It is believed that we could do the first pig-to-human transplantations within two years.

Dota 2 is a competitive video game where several human beings fight against each other. A startup called OpenAI and started by Elon Musk has defeated a single good player at the game. Details are still scarce but it seems like a worthwhile accomplishment, albeit it is not the case that human players are now obsolete.

The world’s oldest man, Israel Kristal, died. He was a Holocaust survivor and suffered tremendously, one suspects, as a young man. He was 113 years old.

You can use Google to dictate your documents in 119 languages.

Our hearts do not repair themselves very well. They inexorably age. Scientists have demonstrated that by injecting stem cells, they could rejuvenate old hearts. It works, in rats. CNN covered the study.

Arthritis is becoming more common, even after correcting for age and weight. We don’t know why.

There is no such thing as a healthy overweight person:

Conversely, irrespective of metabolic health, overweight and obese people had higher coronary heart disease risk than lean people. These findings challenge the concept of metabolically healthy obesity, encouraging population-wide strategies to tackle obesity.

Some company is making a tiny disk drive with a 50TB capacity. That’s a lot. (The American Library of Congress uses 15 TB.)

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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