What all the really cool kids are doing right now

crisprcas

It’s CRISPR/Cas. I’m feeling a bit square because I’m not doing it yet. But maybe you’re so squaresville that you don’t even know what the heck it is. You’re saved like a hipster at a flea market: here’s a primer on CRISPR/Cas so you can pretend to be one of the with-it kids.

Simply put, this is a tool that combines targeting information that homes in on a precise location within the genome (that’s the CRISPR part), with the ability to generate DNA breaks at that site once it arrives there (that’s Cas’s job). Such tools are integral to the process of gene editing, because the ability to interrupt a continuous strand of DNA at a specific location is the first step to altering the information encoded there. There are other gene editing tools currently in use in research labs, but CRISPR/Cas has quickly gained popularity for the very practical reason that it’s a bit easier and less expensive to use than the other options.

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A region well-known for coffee, depression, and fatalism

pnwrupture

It’s very strange to see all the hullabaloo about this New Yorker article on imminent catastrophic demise of the Pacific Northwest. I grew up there, I consider it one of the best places in the world to live, and most of my family still lives there…I ought to be horrified, terrified, and frantically calling my mother and telling her to move.

Unfortunately, we get this same story every few years. I lived in the Green River Valley, and every once in a while someone would notice that all that fertile farmland was built on top of a pyroclastic mudflow, and the valley was actually a great big chute for deadly lahars from Mt Rainer to the gates of Seattle.

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Normalizing the intolerable

hamsterwheel

I tell you, the Careers section of Science magazine is a perpetual source of pain and aggravation. In the latest, Eleftherios Diamandis explains exactly what you need to do to be a success in science. The secret, apparently, is to be noticed, and the way to be noticed is…by doing exactly the same thing all the other lab rats on the exercise wheel are doing.

Be an excellent scholar. Publish well. Work hard. Communicate with the public and your peers. But a well-planned, long-range effort to ensure your visibility among those who have hiring responsibilities can be the deciding factor.

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Friday Cephalopod: Adorable! I will name him George and I will hug and pet him and squeeze him!

bluerings

Uh, maybe not. What if it gives you a tiny little nibble?

Now, 10 minutes later, you notice something strange. Your lips are going numb. So is your face. You want to yell for help but can’t: It’s getting harder to speak. And your stomach feels—oh, gross! Right in front of everyone.

Somebody calls an ambulance. It’s getting tough to stand. It’s getting tough to breathe. The numbness is spreading to your hands, feet, and chest. And you continue to be aware for every agonizing moment of it.

You get to the hospital in time. You get hooked up to a ventilator, the machine forcing air into your lungs because your diaphragm is paralyzed. No antidote, the doctors say. You have to wait it out. About 15 long hours later, your muscles start working again. They take you off the ventilator. You can breathe.

Don’t run, learn

That story about an arrogant surgeon? It’s gone. Totally deleted.

Of note, “Hope” has since deleted her blog and Twitter account.

After consideration of your feedback on Twitter, consultation with the MedPage Today editorial team, and analysis by “Orac” at Respectful Insolance, and Peter Lipson and Janet D. Stemwedel at Forbes, I have removed the story from the website.

Whoa. That’s not a good response to what ought to be a “teaching moment”.