The Read/Write Metaphor Is a Flawed Way to Talk About DNA

In 2014, chemist Floyd Romesberg, of the Scripps Research Institute, synthesized a new pair of artificial nucleotides and got a cell to accept them as part of its genetic code. In metaphorical terms, he extended the alphabet of life. To review, the DNA molecule is built from four nucleotides, or “letters”: adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). Each letter is one half of a pair—A always goes with T, and G with C—and each pair forms a single rung of the molecule’s twisted ladder. Romesberg’s team, after years of work, synthesized a third pair—X and Y—and inserted it successfully into the code of a bacterium, which then reproduced, maintaining its synthetic code. Life on Earth depends on …

The ordinary boys: how Ed Sheeran-inspired troubadours swept the charts

Theyre soulful, tattooed, wear hats and, from Tom Walker to Lewis Capaldi, theyre absolutely everywhere. So what does their dominance say about 2019? By the end of 2018, critics were the New York Times Jon Caramanica. In this moment of international pop utopianism, Britain, naturally, has gone the other way. Our current pop stock-in-trade is a school of male singer-songwriters with exceptional voices and wilfully unexceptional images that entrench an impression of authenticity. They are all white, despite their soulful vocals, which sing of safely secular salvation (theyll provide it), epic loves (theyve had and lost them) and struggle (broadly defined). These ordinary boys bolster their yearning with a sound that homogenises sturdy rock heft, EDM dynamism and delicate electronica, …

Can we all agree that slashing $7.1 billion from education is asinine?

Of all of the hair-brained, short-sighted budget proposal ideas, removing billions of dollars from education takes the cake. If there’s anything that people of all political persuasions should be able to agree on, it’s the importance of education. A well-educated citizenry is the chassis that supports everything we need to keep moving forward—a thriving economy, safer communities, advances in science and technology, strong international standing, and more. And as the top-performing educational systems in the world prove, a well-funded, equitable, government-funded school system is the most reliable engine humans have designed to keep the machine of civilized society running. However, the 2020 budget proposal coming from the White House includes cutting $7.1 billion from the Department of Education. On the …

From the grime MC to the model: five men on what masculinity means to them

Musician D Double E, broadcaster Jon Snow, reality star Jack Fowler and others reveal the influences that shaped them My dads given me everything from my calmness to facial expressions: Double E, 39, musician In my head, Im not masculine because Im not big, and Im not physically strong. But Im powerful as a man in my own way because I know what I want and I know how I want to be. Im a lot like my dad, I dress like my dad, we walk the same, I think hes given me everything from my calmness to facial expressions. He was everything I am, just not an artist. He was famous in the end, had the deepest swagger, 20 …