Tag Archives: #longread

Scientists are developing ways to edit the DNA of tomorrow’s children

If anyone had devised a way to create a genetically engineered baby, I figured George Church would know about it.

At his labyrinthine laboratory on the Harvard Medical School campus, you can find researchers giving E. Coli a novel genetic code never seen in nature. Around another bend, others are carrying out a plan to use DNA engineering to resurrect the woolly mammoth. His lab, Church likes to say, is the center of a new technological genesis—one in which man rebuilds creation to suit himself.

When I visited the lab last June, Church proposed that I speak to a young postdoctoral scientist named Luhan Yang, a Harvard recruit from Beijing who’d been a key player in developing a new, powerful technology for editing DNA called CRISPR-Cas9. With Church, Yang had founded a small company to engineer the genomes of pigs and cattle, sliding in beneficial genes and editing away bad ones.

As I listened to Yang, I waited for a chance to ask my real questions: Can any of this be done to human beings? Can we improve the human gene pool? The position of much of mainstream science has been that such meddling would be unsafe, irresponsible, and even impossible. But Yang didn’t hesitate. Yes, of course, she said. In fact, the Harvard laboratory had a project to determine how it could be achieved. She flipped open her laptop to a PowerPoint slide titled “Germline Editing Meeting.”

Here it was: a technical proposal to alter human heredity.

“Germ line” is biologists’ jargon for the egg and sperm, which combine to form an embryo. By editing the DNA of these cells or the embryo itself, it could be possible to eliminate disease genes and to pass those genetic fixes on to future generations. Such a technology could be used to rid families of scourges like cystic fibrosis. It might also be possible to install genes that offer lifelong protection against infection, Alzheimer’s, and, Yang told me, maybe the effects of aging. These would be history-making medical advances that could be as important to this century as vaccines were to the last.

The fear is that germ line engineering is a path toward a dystopia of super people and designer babies for those who can afford it.

That’s the promise. The fear is that germ line engineering is a path toward a dystopia of super people and designer babies for those who can afford it. Want a child with blue eyes and blond hair? Why not design a highly intelligent group of people who could be tomorrow’s leaders and scientists?

Just three years after its initial development, CRISPR technology is already widely used by biologists as a kind of search-and-replace tool to alter DNA, even down to the level of a single letter. It’s so precise that it’s widely expected to turn into a promising new approach for gene therapy treatment in people with devastating illnesses. The idea is that physicians could directly correct a faulty gene, say, in the blood cells of a patient with sickle-cell anemia (see “Genome Surgery”). But that kind of gene therapy wouldn’t affect germ cells, and the changes in the DNA wouldn’t get passed to future generations.

In contrast, the genetic changes created by germ line engineering would be passed on, and that’s what has always made the idea seem so objectionable. So far, caution and ethical concerns have had the upper hand. A dozen countries, not including the United States, have banned germ line engineering, and scientific societies have unanimously concluded that it would be too risky to do. The European Union’s convention on human rights and biomedicine says tampering with the gene pool would be a crime against “human dignity” and human rights.

But all these declarations were made before it was actually feasible to precisely engineer the germ line. Now, with CRISPR, it is possible.

The experiment Yang described, though not simple, would go like this: The researchers hoped to obtain, from a hospital in New York, the ovaries of a woman undergoing surgery for ovarian cancer, caused by a mutation in a gene called BRCA1. Working with another Harvard laboratory, that of antiaging specialist David Sinclair, they would extract immature egg cells that could be coaxed to grow and divide in the laboratory. Yang would use CRISPR in these cells to correct the DNA of the BRCA1 gene. The objective is to create a viable egg without the genetic error that caused the woman’s cancer.

As with several other scientists whom I’d asked about human germ line engineering, Yang stopped replying to my questions, so it’s hard to know if the experiment she described is occurring, canceled, or pending publication. Church, in a phone call, termed it a “non-project,” at least until it has generated a publishable result, though Sinclair said a collaboration between the labs is ongoing. (After this story was published, Yang called to say she had not worked on the experiment for several months.) Regardless of the fate of that particular experiment, human germ line engineering has become a burgeoning research concept. At least one other center in Boston is working on it, as are scientists in China, in the U.K., and at a biotechnology company called OvaScience, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that boasts some of the world’s leading fertility doctors on its advisory board.

The objective of these groups is to demonstrate that it’s possible to produce children free of specific genes that cause inherited disease. If it’s possible to correct the DNA in a woman’s egg, or a man’s sperm, those cells could be used in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic to produce an embryo and then a child. It might also be possible to directly edit the DNA of an early-stage IVF embryo using CRISPR. Several people interviewed by MIT Technology Review said that such experiments had already been carried out in China and that results describing edited embryos were pending publication. These people didn’t wish to comment publicly because the papers are under review.

All this means that germ line engineering is much farther along than anyone imagined. “What you are talking about is a major issue for all humanity,” says Merle Berger, one of the founders of Boston IVF, a network of fertility clinics that is among the largest in the world and helps more than a thousand women get pregnant each year. “It would be the biggest thing that ever happened in our field,” he says. Berger predicts that repairing genes for serious inherited disease will win wide public acceptance, but beyond that, the technology would cause a public uproar because “everyone would want the perfect child” and it could lead to picking and choosing eye color and eventually intelligence. “These are things we talk about all the time. But we have never had the opportunity to do it.”

Editing Embryos

How easy would it be to edit a human embryo using CRISPR? Very easy, experts say. “Any scientist with molecular biology skills and knowledge of how to work with [embryos] is going to be able to do this,” says Jennifer Doudna, a University of California, Berkeley, biologist who in 2012 codiscovered how to use CRISPR to edit genes.

To find out how it could be done, I visited the lab of Guoping Feng, a neurobiologist at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, where a colony of marmoset monkeys is being established with the aim of using CRISPR to create accurate models of human brain diseases. To create the models, Feng will edit the DNA of embryos and then transfer them into female marmosets to produce live monkeys. One gene Feng hopes to alter is SHANK3. The gene is involved in how neurons communicate and, when it’s damaged in children, is known to cause autism.

“You can do it. But there really isn’t a medical reason. People say, well, we don’t want children born with this, or born with that—but it’s a completely false argument and a slippery slope toward much more unacceptable uses.”

Read more here: http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/535661/engineering-the-perfect-baby/

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How Would the Buddha Handle North Korea? Mindfulness in Diplomacy

(source http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seokhyun-hong/how-would-the-buddha-hand_b_6027544.html )

Today’s diplomacy is dysfunctional, and it seems as if the more we try to fix things without negotiations, the more serious the problems become. Recently the challenges in places like Iraq or Syria have grown so dire that we have to wonder whether we simply have the fundamentals wrong.

It may seem odd that this age of global integration would give birth to serious diplomatic tensions and occasionally to brutal conflicts. Part of the problem can be traced back to fundamental assumptions in the Western diplomatic tradition that have dominated international strategy since the seventeenth century.

The Western frame of mind that informs international relations assumes rivalry to be an essential principle. Throughout Western diplomatic history it has been assumed that one side must win over others through a winner-take-all struggle for hegemony.

But is such a vision appropriate for this age of the global community and of shared concerns such as climate change? Do all our exchanges have to take place in a Hobbesian world of all against all?

My experience in diplomacy suggests that the Eastern philosophical traditions of Daoism, Hinduism and above all Buddhism offer alternative approaches to diplomacy that have come of age. Buddhism places emphasis on harmony, rather than rivalry, and offers concrete strategies for engagement that help us to respond to the diplomatic challenges of an interconnected world.

The Buddhist approach does not naïvely assume that humans will always cooperate. Rather, it provides insights into the potential for true progress in all circumstances, a potential one can only grasp when one sees the duality and complexity of relations. There are deeper patterns in human relations that go beyond the simplistic impressions of good and evil that we find everywhere in the media, depictions that often apply and exploit an unstated religious framework in a Judeo-Christian interpretive matrix.

Many assume that diplomacy is a ruthless game of hegemony in which one just gives lip service to harmony as a strategy for justifying one’s actions. But what if harmony was actually the goal of diplomacy?

To be sure, the concept of harmony among nations is not foreign to the Western diplomatic tradition. The historical diplomatic aim of achieving a “concert of Europe” would seem to appeal to just such a longing for peaceful, cooperative order. Despite the appealing metaphor, though, we would better understand this term as a euphemism, a pleasant name for the disposition of the affairs of small countries by the great powers, to the advantage of the latter. In the words of one historian, the “concert of Europe” implied a harmony that “really meant that the smaller nations were coerced into carrying out what the great powers had agreed upon among themselves.”

Buddhism regards such hegemonic approaches to international relations as simply less effective in assuring security than simple dignity and a commitment to harmony. There is a deeper order beneath the surface of things and our sense of harmony, played out through small symbolic steps, can change the very nature of the debate in a positive direction.

The game of chess has come to symbolize diplomacy in the Western tradition. Just as in the game of chess, the Western strategist assumes a zero-sum framework wherein you must take the opponent’s pieces and eventually checkmate his king. (Tellingly, the English word “checkmate” derives ultimately from a Persian expression that means “the king is dead.”)

But the more dignified approach to game-play in the East is based on the assumption of the possibility of co-existence and co-prosperity. Asian games like weiqi (Chinese chess) or baduk (known as go in Japanese) differ from Western chess fundamentally in that the game assumes a mutual harmony even in competition, rather than ruthless elimination of the enemy.

Western chess assumes only one simplistic victory based on hegemony: you go after the king and destroy him, at which point the game ends. But in weiqi, there are millions of ways of winning the game. You can win with a half-house, or you can win by several hundred houses. There is a winner, but the myriad of potential games unfolds like a dance, without an assumption of total domination. Success in weiqicomes from harmony and balance.

The metaphor of balance, like that of harmony, has long had a place as a term of art in the Western tradition of diplomacy. From the eighteenth century through the early twentieth, the concept of a “balance of power” guided the conduct of international relations among the European great powers. Acting in accordance with this principle, diplomacy wove shifting alliances and international understandings in an effort to prevent the rise to hegemony of any one power or bloc. Yet the nature of the balance sought was curiously limited. This approach recognized and served only the aims and interests of the established club of the great powers; other nations and peoples often played the role of pawns, or of the stakes of the competition, in the scramble for domination and colonial mastery.

Also, the constant need to reestablish equilibrium among the powers was made necessary by the very fact that no nation regarded the principle of balance as, in itself, a desirable goal or guiding principle. Rather, it was the means available to prevent rivals or enemies from achieving the unstated goal privately maintained by each participant in the game, namely that of reaching the top of the hierarchy of relative status and power and of exerting a determining influence in the affairs of the other competitors. In this light we see that the balance maintained by this system of relationships was of an unstable sort that could last only so long as circumstances did not allow one side to upset the balance to their own advantage: there was no commitment to balance, or to the benefits that could follow from it, as worthwhile ends in their own right. The dangers inherent in this unstable equilibrium can hardly be overstated, as clearly shown by the outbreak, one hundred years ago at this writing, of the First World War.

Balance is an essential value in Buddhism, and that approach to human affairs has an immediate application with regards to North Korea. Many Western strategists approach Pyongyang with a hegemonic way of thinking. They simply assume that you “go after ” North Korea and win by changing the regime, or by getting rid of the top person. But, as we know from experience, such an approach does not necessarily lead to success. Decades of US intervention in Latin America and the Middle East have shown that each unilateral intervention carries with it the threat of later “blowback,” the unforeseen consequences that complicate and escalate conflicts. Although you may achieve your short-term goal, you will so disrupt the harmony as to create new problems, especially for ordinary people. After all, where North Korea is concerned, eliminating nuclear armaments is important, but if that process is disruptive, it will lead to only greater problems.

In my own diplomatic career, I have constantly fallen back on the wisdom of Buddhism, finding uses for mindfulness, balance and awareness in all aspects of international relations.

It is essential that when one is distressed by a diplomatic situation, when the situation seems hopeless, to take time out and return to one’s inner self. I find that taking time to meditate, to feel at peace with oneself and regain composure, can do wonders for one’s perspective. One should not make a serious decision until one has been centered.

Whomever I may be working with, I want to imagine a win-win situation, rather than fantasizing about destroying my opponent. The act of seeking harmony as an end in itself can lead one to discover previously unimaginable solutions. And in today’s interconnected world, we have no choice but to think about harmonious solutions that avoid dangerous confrontations.

One valuable concept in Buddhism is “mushim” which is an important part of my personal practice. Mushim means something like “no mind,” or more precisely “no fixed thinking.” It is a state in which the mind is open to all things and is not occupied by a thought or an emotion. In such a state, one is always neutral and calm, with a perspective from outside of one’s self. In such a state one can move beyond one’s prejudices and see one’s counterpart as he is.

Step one is taking the emotions out of diplomacy. There is no reason to lose your temper at the remarks or the actions of your counterpart. They are not part of you. You should be like a mirror that reflects back those comments and actions. A mirror does not become irritated by the images that it reflects back. They come and go. But of course one should be aware of those images, those shifts in message and in direction. And one should be aware of one’s own emotional responses. If one can keep up that detachment, can be aware of what is happening and of one’s emotional responses, then one reaches a state of mushim.

An analogy to the ocean is useful. Your mind is like an ocean rocked by waves throughout the day. Shocks and insults cloud your thinking. But if one achieves an even, level state with few disruptions, the ocean can reflect the sky perfectly. So also can the mind reflect on the world with remarkable accuracy if it is not churned by emotions. Things come and go. When you can let things come and go, you catch the essence. You become a more objective observer of yourself and your counterpart as your ego fades from the dialogue.

The most common error we make is to mistake our obsessiveness, our fascination with events and images, with true mindfulness.

Buddhism suggests that meditation helps in any profession. Even thieves will do a better job if they meditate! That is to say that meditation is not a matter of value judgments. It is rather about focus and awareness. For the same reason, Buddhist practice does not conflict with any particular religion. Mindful practice mixes well with Christianity or Islam.

After all, moral judgment is a matter of perspective. If you think in terms of history on the scale of thousands of years, you can come to a judgment of an event or actor with some detachment. But you will be far away from the actual moment. But if you focus in on the moment and make a value judgment, what you thought was right may prove to be the opposite in a month, a year, or a decade.

Thus I once met an American who spoke about the North Korean regime and said to me, “We cannot trust North Korea, we should attack the WMD sites and push for a regime change.”

In response, I started out by expressing my agreement with the goal in a general sense of transforming North Korea and eliminating nuclear weapons. But I then continued his logic, asking about what the consequences of our actions would be for ordinary North Koreans. I kept coming back to the ultimate purpose of change in North Korea, suggesting that co-prosperity and coexistence, in whatever form, was the goal. I also suggested that, although not everything is possible at one time, there is a win-win out there. I never denied the validity of his position. I only suggested that there were other approaches that needed to be exhausted first.

I sensed that he was obsessed with one goal without thinking out the variety of paths by which that goal might be reached. I tried to get him to focus more on process, on the issues faced by specific people in the North, in the South, in surrounding nations.

While I was ambassador to the United States during the regime of the Roh Moo-hyun government, I received many comments to the effect that Korea is not sufficiently concerned about human rights in North Korea. My response then was to say: I’m very concerned with the human rights issues, in a big sense. I fully understand the tragedies that the people from the North suffer through.

I then explained that if we become obsessed with the images we see in the media, and fail to understand the larger institutional and cultural issues behind these injustices, then we are likely to respond impulsively and will inadvertently make human rights issues worse for the short and medium term.

In this sense, mindfulness means a true awareness of human rights as something more than just the right to vote or freedom from arbitrary arrest. We need to consider the millions of people who are undernourished or starving to death. How are we bringing human rights to them? That is an essential question for us.

Buddhism offers to diplomacy a focus on the long term and on balance in all relations. Progress can be made in international relations, but we must consider always the Buddha’s middle way. To the degree that we can create a win-win for all players, and avoid extremes, we can go forward in a meaningful way. If we try to force the issue by insisting on one perspective and by falling back on military strikes, we are unlikely to get more than a temporary result that will soon be reversed. Action undertaken in this spirit could easily lead to a worse result than doing nothing.
Only by remaining mindful of how our impulsive reactions, winner-take-all outlook, and shifting policy objectives can undermine our deeper commitment to the common causes of humanity can we establish a balance, not of power, but of perspective, and in the process aspire to a harmony among nations worthy of the name.

The author is chairman of JoongAng Media Network — one of South Korea’s leading media groups, including the prestigious JoongAng Ilbo daily and a former South Korean ambassador to the United States.

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How a doctor, a trader, and the billionaire Steven A. Cohen got entangled in a vast financial scandal.

As Dr. Sid Gilman approached the stage, the hotel ballroom quieted with anticipation. It was July 29, 2008, and a thousand people had gathered in Chicago for the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease. For decades, scientists had tried, and failed, to devise a cure for Alzheimer’s. But in recent years two pharmaceutical companies, Elan and Wyeth, had worked together on an experimental drug called bapineuzumab, which had shown promise in halting the cognitive decay caused by the disease. Tests on mice had proved successful, and in an initial clinical trial a small number of human patients appeared to improve. A second phase of trials, involving two hundred and forty patients, was near completion. Gilman had chaired the safety-monitoring committee for the trials. Now he was going to announce the results of the second phase.

Alzheimer’s affects roughly five million Americans, and it is projected that as the population ages the number of new cases will increase dramatically. This looming epidemic has added urgency to the scientific search for a cure. It has also come to the attention of investors, because there would be huge demand for a drug that diminishes the effects of Alzheimer’s. As Elan and Wyeth spent hundreds of millions of dollars concocting and testing bapineuzumab, and issued hints about the possibility of a medical breakthrough, investors wondered whether bapi, as it became known, might be “the next Lipitor.” Several months before the Chicago conference,Barrons published a cover story speculating that bapi could become “the biggest drug of all time.”

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As the economy gets ever better at satisfying our immediate, self-serving needs, who is minding the future?

A half-hour east of Seattle, not far from the headquarters of Microsoft, Amazon, and other icons of the digital revolution, reSTART, a rehab center for Internet addicts, reveals some of the downsides of that revolution. Most of the clients here are trying to quit online gaming, an obsession that has turned their careers, relationships, and health to shambles. For the outsider, the addiction can be incomprehensible. But listening to the patients’ stories, the appeal comes sharply into focus. In a living room overlooking the lawn, 29-year-old Brett Walker talks about his time in World of Warcraft, a popular online role-playing game in which participants become warriors in a steampunk medieval world. For four years, even as his real life collapsed, Walker enjoyed a near-perfect online existence, with unlimited power and status akin to that of a Mafia boss crossed with a rock star. “I could do whatever I wanted, go where I wanted,” Walker tells me with a mixture of pride and self-mockery. “The world was my oyster.”

Walker appreciates the irony. His endless hours as an online superhero left him physically weak, financially destitute, and so socially isolated he could barely hold a face-to-face conversation. There may also have been deeper effects. Studies suggest that heavy online gaming alters brain structures involved in decision making and self-control, much as drug and alcohol use do. Emotional development can be delayed or derailed, leaving the player with a sense of self that is incomplete, fragile, and socially disengaged—more id than superego. Or as Hilarie Cash, reSTART cofounder and an expert in online addiction, tells me, “We end up being controlled by our impulses.”

 

……

If we could step back a century, before the rise of the consumer economy, we would be struck not only by the lack of affluence and technology but also by the distance between people and the economy, by the separation of economic and emotional life. People back then weren’t any less wrapped up in economic activities. The difference lay in where most of that activity took place. A century ago, economic activity occurred primarily in the physical world of production. People made things: they farmed, crafted, cobbled, nailed, baked, brined, brewed. They created tangible goods and services whose value could be determined, often as not, by the measurable needs and requirements of their physical, external lives.

That relationship changed with the rise of the consumer economy. Sophisticated, large-scale industrial systems assumed the task of making many of the things we needed, and also began to focus on the things we wanted. As the consumer economy matured, an ever-larger share of economic activity came from discretionary consumption, driven not by need but by desire, and thus by the intangible criteria of people’s inner worlds: their aspirations and hopes, identities and secret cravings, anxieties and ennui. As these inner worlds came to play a larger role in the economy—and, in particular, as companies’ profits and workers’ wages came to depend increasingly on the gratification of ephemeral (but conveniently endless) appetites—the entire marketplace became more attuned to the mechanics of the self. Bit by bit, product by product, the marketplace drew closer to the self.

…..

The “shareholder revolution,” as Wall Street dubbed it without irony, was a shock to the nation’s business psyche. For more than half a century, corporate America, heavily pressured by labor and an openly interventionist government, had hewed to a paternalistic capitalism, under which a large share of profits was reinvested in everything from worker training to community charities. But those times were over, for according to many conservative economists, it was partly such misplaced corporate generosity that had weakened U.S. companies in the first place. For these critics, the only way American companies could help society was, paradoxically, to jettison the older notion that business had any separate, social obligations other than making maximum profit. As Milton Friedman, an icon of conservative economics, argued in a seminal New York Times essay, “There is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” And the best way for government to help this happen was to turn companies loose, by cutting taxes and regulations, and thereby allow the efficiencies of the marketplace to find the most direct route back to wealth.

The shareholder revolution would have upended American society in any case. But its effects were magnified by a second shock—a potent new technology, the microprocessor, which made computing vastly more powerful and much cheaper. By the 1980s, computer speed was doubling, and computer costs were halving, every two years—a trend, known as Moore’s Law, that quickly transformed every sector of the consumer economy. Business processes, from design to marketing, could now be supercharged and accelerated. (In Detroit, for instance, the time needed to bring a new car from drawing board to showroom fell from four years to 18 months.) By cutting the time between investment and profit, computers gave business a potent new tool to generate the faster returns that Wall Street was demanding—but also to deliver the gratifications consumers were now coming to expect.

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Life is a game. This is your strategy guide

Real life is the game that – literally – everyone is playing. But it can be tough. This is your guide.

Basics

You might not realise, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games – like dancing, driving, running, and sex – but the key to winning is simply managing your resources.

Most importantly, successful players put their time into the right things. Later in the game money comes into play, but your top priority should always be mastering where your time goes.

http://oliveremberton.com/2014/life-is-a-game-this-is-your-strategy-guide/

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    Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, a widely used herbicide made by Syngenta. The company’s notes reveal that it struggled to make sense of him, and plotted ways to discredit him. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/10/140210fa_fact_aviv
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    In Mike McQueary, some see a hero who brought down a monster. Others see a liar who railroaded a legend. At the upcoming trial that will close the book on the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno's former protégé will have the final word. http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10542793/the-whistleblower-last-stand
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    Meetings are such a fixture in our work lives that we constantly hear the same advice: have an agenda, keep it short, don’t invite too many people. However, despite the commonality of this well-meaning advice, research from Harvard suggests that half of all meetings are unproductive. http://99u.com/
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  • 74
    A few weeks ago David Carr profiled Kevin Kelly on page 1 of the New York Times Business section. He wrote that Kelly's pronouncements were "often both grandiose and correct." That’s a pretty good summary of Kevin Kelly's style and his prescience. http://www.edge.org/conversation/the-technium
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  • 73
    Nate Weiner is neither a journalist nor a publisher. He’s a developer bent on changing publishing, and he’s built the platform to do it. With 10 million users, Pocket is the largest save-for-later service on the market. But more than market share, what sets Pocket apart is its ability to…
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So what motivate Kobe Bryant from NBA ?

Despite spending the better part of the last two seasons recovering from a pair of injuries, Bryant is optimistic that he can close out his nearly two-decade career on a high.

Fan support for Bryant in China goes beyond mere cheering to a deeper sense of engagement.

The fan reaction to Kobe in China is different than it is in the U.S. In Shanghai, these admirers showered him with unconditional love.

Bryant’s focus at this point in his life and career is on efficiency. He knows what he needs to do to return to the level of play that expects for himself and for his team. He is also keenly aware of the importance of finding a purpose for his life beyond basketball.

While Kobe says that he and his father, Joe (Jellybean) Bryant, “couldn’t be more opposite,” the son has lately been showing the sort of joy in the game for which his father was so well known.

Bryant’s career has been marked by transformation. He began as the precocious heir to MJ, then won titles as the uneasy sidekick to Shaquille O’Neal, weathered a reputation-damaging trial for sexual assault (the charges eventually dropped) and finally emerged in 2009 as a champion again, this time on his own.

His 19th season awaits him, and Bryant appears determined to will himself and his team to a level beyond what reasonably could be expected. Beyond that, the NBA’s most fearsome competitor faces new challenges with the same fierce spirit.

Read this longform here : http://www.si.com/longform/kobe/

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          Motivation is a fire that must  constantly be refueled if it is to continue to burn.      
    Tags: success
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    In Mike McQueary, some see a hero who brought down a monster. Others see a liar who railroaded a legend. At the upcoming trial that will close the book on the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno's former protégé will have the final word. http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10542793/the-whistleblower-last-stand
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  • 57
    Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, a widely used herbicide made by Syngenta. The company’s notes reveal that it struggled to make sense of him, and plotted ways to discredit him. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/10/140210fa_fact_aviv
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  • 56
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Terrifying History of Viruses Escaping From Labs

The public health danger posed by potentially pandemic-causing viruses escaping from laboratories has become the subject of considerable discussion, spurred by “gain of function” experiments. The ostensible goal of these experiments—in which researchers manipulate already-dangerous pathogens to create or increase communicability among humans—is to develop tools to monitor the natural emergence of pandemic strains. Opponents, however, warn in a variety of recent research papers that the risk of laboratory escape of these high-consequence pathogens far outweighs any potential advance.

http://www.slate.com/

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  • 71
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The Untold Story Of Larry Page

One day in July 2001, Larry Page decided to fire Google’s project managers. All of them.

It was just five years since Page, then a 22-year-old graduate student at Stanford, was struck in the middle of the night with a vision. In it, he somehow managed to download the entire Web and by examining the links between the pages he saw the world’s information in an entirely new way.

What Page wrote down that night became the basis for an algorithm. He called it PageRank and used it to power a new Web search engine called BackRub. The name didn’t stick.

By July 2001, BackRub had been renamed Google and was doing really well. It had millions of users, an impressive list of investors, and 400 employees, including about a half-dozen project managers.

 

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/

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    Tags: company, #longread, years
  • 49
    Google Glass shares much of its electronics and software with the smartphone, but it’s a very different machine. You hold a smartphone in your hand. And we do—at restaurants, at the movies, walking across the street, and even in bed. We use smartphones to check our mail, update Facebook, get…
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  • 48
    Jan Koum picked a meaningful spot to sign the $19 billion deal to sell his company WhatsApp to Facebook earlier today. Koum, cofounder Brian Acton and venture capitalist Jim Goetz of Sequoia drove a few blocks from WhatsApp’s discreet headquarters in Mountain View to a disused white building across the…
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  • 43
    Onstage at TED2014, Charlie Rose interviews Google CEO Larry Page about his far-off vision for the company. It includes aerial bikeways and internet balloons … and then it gets even more interesting, as Page talks through the company’s recent acquisition of Deep Mind, an AI that is learning some surprising…
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  • 42
    Why is America’s largest cable TV company buying its biggest rival for $44 billion? Well, not to oversimplify things, but that’s easy to explain: http://qz.com/176837/one-sentence-and-six-charts-explain-why-comcast-is-buying-time-warner-cable/
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The history of statehood on the territory of #Ukraine #longread

The history of statehood on the territory of Ukraine begins with two archetypically European encounters. Medieval statehood on the territory of today’s Ukraine, like that of France and England, includes an encounter with Vikings. The men from the north sought to establish a trade route between the Baltic and Black Seas, and used Kiev, on the Dnieper River, as a trading post. Their arrival coincided with the collapse of an earlier Khazar state, and their leaders soon intermarried with the local Slavic-speaking population. Thus arose the entity known as Kievan Rus. Like all of the states of medieval eastern Europe, Rus was a pagan entity that did not so much convert to Christianity as choose between its western and eastern variants. Like all of its neighbors, it hesitated between Rome and Constantinople before its rulers chose the latter. Rus was seriously weakened by problems of succession before its destruction was ensured by the arrival of the Mongols in the first half of the thirteenth century.

http://www.newrepublic.com/

 

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  • 65
    Putin’s preferred outcome in Ukraine is to engineer a financial and political collapse that destabilizes the country, and for which he can disclaim responsibility, rather than a military victory that leaves him in possession of – and responsible for – part of Ukraine. The financial collapse of which Soros had been…
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  • 64
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    5 REASONS FOR INVESTORS TO CARE ABOUT RUSSIA’S MARKET TURMOIL It might be tempting to think in realpolitik terms about Russia’s financial woes right now — the idea that a weakened Russia has less weight to throw around in conflicts such as the Ukraine and Syria. But the reality is…
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  • 56
    A Russian occupation of Crimea raises the specter of the Cold War, in which the nuclear stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union devolved into regional disputes around the world. While military and political frictions made the biggest headlines, the Cold War couldn’t be well understood without using…
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Run Your #Meeting Like a Boss: Lessons from #Mayer, #Musk, and Jobs

Meetings are such a fixture in our work lives that we constantly hear the same advice: have an agenda, keep it short, don’t invite too many people. However, despite the commonality of this well-meaning advice, research from Harvard suggests that half of all meetings are unproductive.

http://99u.com/

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    Real life is the game that – literally – everyone is playing. But it can be tough. This is your guide. Basics You might not realise, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games – like dancing, driving, running, and sex – but the key to winning is simply…
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