DNA Lounge: Wherein this is a very strange dojo.

Broke-Ass Stuart writes on The Bold Italic:

    DNA Pizza is a very strange place to get any work done. Loud, angsty music videos flash at you from TV screens, while a staff that looks like members of the Sex Gang Children serves up slices, salads, and sandwiches. Which is to say -- it's actually an awesome place to work from. I go through phases of doing my writing here. Connected to the DNA Lounge, DNA pizza is a 24-hour joint, but it's pretty empty during the day. At night it fills up with people attending whatever weird shit is happening next door. My favorite is to get a slice and people-watch on Monday nights when Death Guild is going on. There are enough goths to make the Roman Empire tremble.

Today in Mechanical Screensavers news


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Computational Cockroach

Universal computing by DNA origami robots in a living animal

DNA is a natural substrate for computing and has been used to implement a diverse set of mathematical problems, logic circuits and robotics. The molecule also interfaces naturally with living systems, and different forms of DNA-based biocomputing have already been demonstrated. Here, we show that DNA origami can be used to fabricate nanoscale robots that are capable of dynamically interacting with each other in a living animal. The interactions generate logical outputs, which are relayed to switch molecular payloads on or off. As a proof of principle, we use the system to create architectures that emulate various logic gates (AND, OR, XOR, NAND, NOT, CNOT and a half adder). Following an ex vivo prototyping phase, we successfully used the DNA origami robots in living cockroaches (Blaberus discoidalis) to control a molecule that targets their cells.

DNA nanobots deliver drugs in living cockroaches

The number of nanobots in the study -- more than in previous experiments -- makes it particularly promising, says Bachelet. "The higher the number of robots present, the more complex the decisions and actions that can be achieved. If you reach a certain threshold of capability, you can perform any kind of computation. In this case, we have gone past that threshold," he says.

The team says it should be possible to scale up the computing power in the cockroach to that of an 8-bit computer, equivalent to a Commodore 64 or Atari 800 from the 1980s. Goni-Moreno agrees that this is feasible. "The mechanism seems easy to scale up so the complexity of the computations will soon become higher," he says.

An obvious benefit of this technology would be cancer treatments, because these must be cell-specific and current treatments are not well-targeted. But a treatment like this in mammals must overcome the immune response triggered when a foreign object enters the body.

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Leaked Report Says CIA Tortured Illegally; Feinstein's Mad Somebody Leaked It

Lowering the Bar:

Let me just break it down for you:

  • The CIA tortured people;
  • Even under to the DOJ's definition of "torture," it tortured people;
  • It lied about how many people it tortured;
  • It lied about how brutal the torture was;
  • It "avoided or impeded" congressional oversight;
  • It lied about whether the torture worked; and
  • The torture didn't work.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said she was absolutely outraged by this. And by "this," of course, she meant the leak. "If someone distributed any part of this classified report," she said, "they broke the law and should be prosecuted." (That goes double for the part about how none of the torturers have been prosecuted.)

Feinstein has also been outraged by recent revelations that the U.S. government has been spying on its own people. And by "people," of course, she meant "Dianne Feinstein."

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Dr. Dong and The Case of The Urethral Jump Rope

An X-ray showed a rope with four knots stuck in the narrowest part of his urethra with 10 centimeters dangling out of the urethral opening.

A middle-aged man had a skipping rope successfully removed from his bladder and urethra after he had inserted it for sexual pleasure, a newspaper reported today.

A urologist surnamed Dong in Yichang City, Hubei Province, said the surgery was complicated because the green plastic skipping rope had knotted.

The skipping rope was 1.1-meters long and 4.4-millimeters thick.

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As a Google Attorney, I Need the Homes of 7 Teachers, and Here's Why

Jack Halprin:

There's been a lot of misinformation recently about my decision to buy a seven-unit San Francisco home and evict all the other tenants, including a city school teacher, just so I can have the place to myself.

People are saying it's a bad thing. Somehow they're using Google to spread this lie. It had never before occurred to me that such a thing could happen.

So I need to clear the record: as a Google employee, I need the homes of seven school teachers to survive. It's just a fact of life, like the food chain, or the singularity. [...]

What I'm trying to say is that, in a free society, some people make better choices than others, and we reward those people with the homes of their vanquished enemies. Some people, for example, choose to be teachers, and spend their lives teaching other people's kids things that they can Google for free. Naturally, we pay them very little money -- so little that they're practically homeless already. Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone even notices when I evict someone making under $150,000 a year. Honestly, how can you tell?

Then there are other people, like me, who make good decisions, becoming important parts of the companies that sponsor TED talks. Naturally, we pay these people what they're worth. Why am I so highly compensated? Well, if I weren't at the office every day, doing the work I do, the government wouldn't be nearly as good at spying on you.

You're welcome.

Without my taking over their homes, how do you expect Google to file patent claims against Apple -- patent claims that are more important to the future of mankind than the work of a thousand homeless teachers? Without my ability to have an extra six bathrooms at my disposal, how could Google possibly lobby city government for the right of its employees to take your homes away?

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Paper Airplane Autogun

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