Foldit Gamers Solve Riddle of HIV Enzyme within 3 Weeks When video gamers armed with the world's most powerful supercomputers take on science and its most vexing riddles, who wins? Sometimes, it's the gamers. Humans retain an edge over computers when complex problems require intuition and leaps of insight rather than brute calculation. "Foldit attempts to predict the structure of a protein by taking advantage of humans' puzzle-solving intuitions and having people play competitively to fold the best proteins," the company explains on its website. They've been on a tear ever since. Their latest solution has resolved a problem stumping scientists for a decade. Want to discover the next cure? Game on.
Twist Aims To Replace Those Annoying Texts About Running Late, Raises $6M Led By Bridgescale As many of my friends and colleagues will tell you, I’m someone who’s perpetually running late. As a result, I’m constantly sending out text messages that offer some variation on, “Running 5 minutes late, sorry!” A new startup called Twist promises a smarter, easier approach to sending those messages. When you’ve got a meeting, you can enter the destination, time, and contact info of the participants. Ideally, they’ll just get two messages — one when you start heading to the meeting, and one when you’re about to arrive. At first, this may sound like a relatively narrow, specific problem. Co-founder and CEO Bill Lee (previously co-founder of Remarq and Social Concepts) says that previous attempts at these kinds of notifications have focused on location rather than time (telling people where you are, not when you’ll arrive). Twist will personalize its estimates to each user. Those algorithms could eventually be used outside the Twist app.
Carbon bubble will plunge the world into another financial crisis – report | Environment Global stock markets are betting on countries failing to adhere to legally binding carbon emission targets. Photograph: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images The world could be heading for a major economic crisis as stock markets inflate an investment bubble in fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars, according to leading economists. "The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed," said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics. The so-called "carbon bubble" is the result of an over-valuation of oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies. The stark report is by Stern and the thinktank Carbon Tracker. Stern said that far from reducing efforts to develop fossil fuels, the top 200 companies spent $674bn (£441bn) in 2012 to find and exploit even more new resources, a sum equivalent to 1% of global GDP, which could end up as "stranded" or valueless assets. Pension funds are also concerned.
BOINC Online Gamers Achieve First Crowd-Sourced Redesign of Protein Obsessive gamers' hours at the computer have now topped scientists' efforts to improve a model enzyme, in what researchers say is the first crowdsourced redesign of a protein. The online game Foldit, developed by teams led by Zoran Popovic, director of the Center for Game Science, and biochemist David Baker, both at the University of Washington in Seattle, allows players to fiddle at folding proteins on their home computers in search of the best-scoring (lowest-energy) configurations. The researchers have previously reported successes by Foldit players in folding proteins, but the latest work moves into the realm of protein design, a more open-ended problem. By posing a series of puzzles to Foldit players and then testing variations on the players' best designs in the lab, researchers have created an enzyme with more than 18-fold higher activity than the original. Science by intuition "You can explore things that look crazy. Baker is now looking toward more useful targets.
WriteThat.Name’s New Chrome Extension Updates Your Address Book Or CRM With Contact Info Found Online After a little bit of a rough start, the automatic address book updating service WriteThat.Name has become one of my preferred “set it and forget it” tools for keeping things organized. Built by Paris-based Kwaga, WriteThat.Name is one of those under-the-radar technologies that doesn’t get a lot of media attention, but is slowly approaching profitability with more than 40,000 paying users and revenue growth of more than 15 percent month-over-month. For those who missed it the first time around, the company last year launched a service that tackles an area in need of more attention and solutions: the address book. Initially, I’ll admit I was not thrilled with Kwaga’s product. After glowing reviews on the web promised a marvel, I was disappointed to find it engaging in some spammy techniques involving emails sent on your behalf that you couldn’t opt out of without paying.
Hamburg Unveils World's First Algae-Powered Building | Wired Design The BIQ building’s algae panels generate power. Photo credit: Arup The world’s first building powered by algae has been unveiled at the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg by engineering firm Arup. [partner id="wireduk"]The “bioreactor façade” has been mounted as a kind of “second skin” onto the sun-facing sides of the BIQ building. The panels — which are more like tanks — contain algae that grows in the direct sunlight. The algae feeds on carbon dioxide and nutrients that are supplied via a water pump, and further energy is also harvested by solar panels, with energy stored for later use in 80m deep boreholes filled with brine. The whole building is intended to be completely self-sufficient. The building was completed on March 22, but won’t be put into full operation until April 25. “Using bio-chemical processes in the façade of a building to create shade and energy is a really innovative concept.” says Arup’s research lead for Europe, Jan Wurm.
ENCODE 12 Sept 2013 - New UDR ENCODE Download Method Available The UCSC Genome Browser is pleased to offer a new download protocol to use when downloading large sets of files from our download servers: UDR (UDT Enabled Rsync). UDR utilizes rsync as the transport mechanism, but sends the data over the UDT protocol, which enables huge amounts of data to be downloaded more efficiently over long distances. Read more. 25 July 2013 - BLUEPRINT Epigenome Data Hub and Quick Reference PDF Now Available We are pleased to announce the addition of the BLUEPRINT Epigenomics Data Hub on the UCSC Genome Browser through our Public Hubs function. Also the ENCODE Quick Reference Card is now available in PDF courtesy of OpenHelix on the ENCODE Education and Outreach page. 28 May 2013 - ENCODE portal changes: New Link to NHGRI Tutorials, New External Software Tools Page, Updates to Publications including New 2013 Consortium Papers Section The ENCODE portal was updated to include informative new and expanded pages.