The Daily Dose: CRISPRbabies just gets worse; your hot cocoa’s dirty destiny

CRISPRbabies just gets worse: It’s been a week since the news of He Jiankui’s momentous and misguided initial foray into the genetically modified, made-to-order CRISPRbabies field and it’s still as shocking as the day of its announcement. Here Nature poses and answers six questions: Is He Jiankui in trouble? Are He’s claims accurate? How exactly did CRISPR edit the twins’ genomes? When will there be another gene-edited human? Will He’s revelations hamper ethical efforts to do germline editing? How will scientists ensure better oversight of germline editing in future?

Bullying in academia: In recent years, the Ivory Towers of academia have had their wallpaper torn off the walls revealing a moldy, corrupted, and decaying coat of paint just below the surface. In this case, the prevalence of bullying in scientific research settings has prompted well known researchers to lose their positions, and perhaps more appallingly, their funding. Nazneed Rahman is just one name out of plenty. She also represents a particularly high profile example. Funders like the  Wellcome Trust have pulled out millions of dollars from under scientists feet.

The Dyson Sphere revisited: Freeman Dyson’s 1960 paper, “Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Raddiation,” proved that the line between scientific theory and hard science-fiction that extrapolates on speculative situations using science as its limits. Dustin postulated that “If extraterrestrial intelligent beings exist and have reached a high level of technical development, one by-product of their energy metabolism is likely to be the large scale conversion of starlight into far-infrared radiation.” He went on to suggest that scientists search for sources of infrared radiation to prove extraterrestrial life. He goes on to suggest the possibility that the aliens could, in theory, construct a massive spherical shell, surrounding a star, and capturing its energy that way. The so-called Dyson sphere would glow with the luminosity of the star but with an infrared spectrum.

Conquering AIDS means diagnosing it: The European Center for Disease control along with the Public Health England and the National AIDS Trust published a report documenting the current status of the European drive to dominate HIV in 52 countries in Europe and Central Asia. The largest hurdle the face is proper and timely diagnosis of asymptomatic carriers.

Hot cocoa’s unavoidable destiny: Winter is practically here for certain parts of the world and that means more people are drinking more hot cocoa by the day. Everyone is familiar with the thick, gloopy chocolate sediment that forms at the bottom of your mug. Turns out, it’s unavoidable. This is because as the drink begins to cool, the cocoa powder loses its solubility in the water or milk. Once this begins, the formerly mixed powder begins to precipitate forming the gunk at the bottom. So you can stop blaming Swiss Miss and start blaming the laws of chemistry.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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