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Give the Homless Homes - The New Yorker

Give the Homless Homes ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPH NIEMANNIt turns out that housing the homeless is far cheaper than leaving them out on the streets: "A Colorado study found that the average homeless person cost the state forty-three thousand dollars a year, while housing that person would cost just seventeen thousand dollars."

Read about Give the Homless Homes at the New Yorker

(One of the Dan David Prize categories for 2016 is combatting poverty. Learn more here: selected fields 2016

Elastic drug delivery technology releases drugs when stretched

NC State researchers create a stretchable drug delivery mechanism.In a remarkable breakthrough, researchers from two North Carolina universities have developed a drug delivery technology that enables an elastic patch to be applied to the skin and release medications when the patient stretches and compresses microcapsules embedded in the patch. Inside the microcapsules are nanoparticles that can be filled with the relevant drug.

The developers also incorporated "microneedles" on top of the microcapsules, which are painless but nonetheless capable of delivering drugs that need to be infused directly into the bloodstream.

(Nanoscience is one of the categories for the 2016 Dan David Prize. Learn more here: selected-fields-2016)

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Project uses crowd computing to improve nanotechnology water filtration

1056px-FilterDiagram.svg.pngNearly 800 million people worldwide don't have access to safe drinking water, and some 2.5 billion people live in precariously unsanitary conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Together, unsafe drinking water and the inadequate supply of water for hygiene purposes contribute to almost 90% of all deaths from diarrheal diseases -- and effective water sanitation interventions are still challenging scientists and engineers.

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2013 Dan David Prize laureate Leon Wieseltier responds to criticism in Michael Oren's new book.

Wieseltier-on-OrenMichael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States now serving in the Knesset, has harsh words for numerous American Jewish journalists in his new memoir, Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide. In it, Oren likens criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leveled byJoe Klein of Time, David Remnick of The New Yorker and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times to the sort of antagonism “traditionally triggered by the Jews.” Oren also recalls a private conversation with Leon Wieseltier, the longtime New Republic literary editor now at The Atlantic. In the pages of The New Republic, Oren writes, Wieseltier once described Netanyahu as a “gray, muddling, reactive figure” and “a creature of the bunker.” “When I suggested to Leon that his hatred of Bibi had become pathological,” Oren writes, “he merely shrugged and admitted, ‘Yes, I know, it’s pathological.'”

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Bioinformatics—Biology meets Big Data

  dan david june 20155The Black Plague killed between 75-200 million people across Eurasia, decimating 30-60% of Europe’s population in less than 10 years. Blamed for the 14th century pandemic were astrological alignments, lepers, Romani and the ‘poisoning of wells by Jews’, of whose population 200 villages were exterminated in retribution. While humans gradually advanced from that era of misguided superstition, it has only been in very recent years that scientific thought, with the aid of powerful computational capabilities, has begun to take on the largest biological questions and to grasp definitive answers. Enter the Age of Bioinformatics.

Paulien Hogeweg and Ben Hesper coined the term Bioinformatics in 1970 to describe the study of information processes in biotic systems. It was the work of Margaret Oakley Dayhoff and Nobel Prize winning biochemist Frederick Sanger, however, that ushered in the era of Bioinformatics with the use of computers to sequence proteins as early as the 1950s. As the relationship between genes and disease became understood and computing tools more advanced, information technology established its place as an indispensible tool of biology.

Fast forward to the 21st century—“The Big Data” era, where high powered computing systems and sophisticated algorithm designs are powering an incredible velocity of data-influenced advancement in every imaginable field. Computer processing speed having reached the practical nexus of “Moore’s Law,” technology tools can now help us quickly analyze and cross reference massive data sets on everything from retail sales to weather patterns.

These advances have not passed over biological science. Human Genome sequencing is complete. Rapid advances in gene-based drug discovery and development are afoot. Scientists use Bioinformatics systems as complex and ingenious as the organic systems they study to extract useful results from terabytes of statistical and visual data, predicting outcomes with never before possible accuracy. The results are promising—In 2014, a gene sequencing enabled therapy appears to have “cured” most trial patients of the congenital “bubble boy” syndrome which perplexed doctors for decades.

Some of the most important research may come in the ongoing effort to cure cancer. Companies like Google backed Flatiron are aiming to collect complex data from treatment of 1 million cancer patients by 2016 in order to arm physicians with enough statistical insight to determine the best treatment option for each individual patient.

From a growth perspective, the Bioinformatics market —estimated at $4.2 billion in 2015 —is poised to reach $13.3 billion by 2020, growing at a 21% CARG. Harvard, Stanford, MIT and other universities offer specialized Bioinformatics Master and PhD degrees.  The market has welcomed more than a dozen highly sophisticated workflow management systems for Bioinformatics, while a constellation of Bioinformatics conferences and professional organizations have popped up in response, all adding to the rapid proliferation and advance of the industry.

Thanks to Bioinformatics, things even look bright for the Black Plague. In 2001 scientists at the aptly named Sanger Center in Cambridge, England finally cracked the complete genome code of Yersinia Pestis—the bacterium behind the pandemic.

References:

http://archive.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2001/10/47288

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioinformatics#cite_note-Hogeweg2011-1

http://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/index.ssf/2015/04/pricing_data_suggests_moores_l.html

http://www.wkrg.com/story/28831377/Bioinformatics-market-growing-at-209-cagr-to-2020-by-sectors-products-services-application-and-geography

http://fortune.com/2014/07/24/can-big-data-cure-cancer/