Alien Technosignatures, GPT-3, and Scanning Single Proteins: Lux Recommends #303

2 min readNov 12, 2021

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #303, this week’s edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (want to receive this by email? Sign up here).


He Can’t Cure His Dad. But a Scientist’s Research May Help Everyone Else: “The muscle wasting disease that has debilitated Sharif Tabebordbar’s father motivated a life in science that led to an important medical discovery.” — Ankeeta

She Died With Long Covid. Should Her Organs Have Been Donated? “Heidi Ferrer’s family feared her organs were unsafe. The case points to gaps in protocols for organ donation amid the pandemic.” — Adam K

GPT-3 is No Longer the Only Game in Town: “GPT-3 was by far the largest AI model of its kind last year. Now? Not so much.” — Sam

The Brain Can Recall and Reawaken Past Immune Responses: ‘The brain not only helps to regulate immune responses, but also stores and retrieves “memories” of them.’ — Ankeeta

The secret lives of cells — as never seen before: “Cutting-edge microscopy techniques are allowing researchers to spy on the innards of cells in all their crowded glory.” — Adam G

Energy, and How to Get It: “All of us know people who have more energy than we do, but the science of the phenomenon is just coming into view.” — Lux Recommends reader Parag Pande

The search for alien tech: “There’s a new plan to find extraterrestrial civilisations by the way they live. But if we can see them, can they see us?” — Sam

How we uncovered Patient Zero of the Aids epidemic: “A new documentary pays tribute to John Eaddie, who is believed to be the first in Britain to die of the virus” — Adam K

For the Best ‘Jeopardy!’ Players, Beware of a Case of the Mondays: “The recent defeats of two of the show’s “super champs” suggest they’re most vulnerable at the start of the week” — Lux Recommends reader Lboca

Scanning a single protein, one amino acid at a time: “Using nanopore DNA sequencing technology, researchers have managed to scan a single protein: by slowly moving a linearized protein through a tiny nanopore, one amino acid at the time, the researchers were able to read off electric currents that relate to the information content of the protein. The new single-molecule peptide reader marks a breakthrough in protein identification, and opens the way towards single-molecule protein sequencing and cataloguing the proteins inside a single cell.” — Ankeeta


The final play of the last 50 World Series — Lux friend Jeff Cooper

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