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Vaccine Source Code, Roger Penrose, and the Game of Life: Lux Recommends #259

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #259, a longer-than-usual New Year’s edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (want to receive this by email? Sign up here).

Well-Employed in Pandemic Times: Landscaping Goats: “The animals are hired to clear land because of their insatiable hunger for weeds. And they don’t have to honor lockdowns.” — Deena

A singular mind: Roger Penrose on his Nobel PrizeSam

COVID-19 virus enters the brain, research strongly suggests: “A new study shows how spike protein crosses the blood-brain barrier” — Deena

The Journalist and the Pharma Bro: “Why did Christie Smythe upend her life and stability for Martin Shkreli, one of the least-liked men in the world?” — friend of Lux Tom Kane

The coming war on the hidden algorithms that trap people in poverty: “A growing group of lawyers are uncovering, navigating, and fighting the automated systems that deny the poor housing, jobs, and basic services.” — Deena

Covid-19 Propelled Businesses Into the Future. Ready or Not: “Spurred by the pandemic, business changes that normally might have taken years unfolded in months. Now, shifts that began as temporary fixes are likely to become permanent.” — Peter

Do These A.I.-Created Fake People Look Real to You? — friend of Lux, Josh Caspi

Astronomers Get Their Wish, and a Cosmic Crisis Gets Worse: “We don’t know why the universe appears to be expanding faster than it should. New ultra-precise distance measurements have only intensified the problem.” — Deena

The Lasting Lessons of John Conway’s Game of Life: ‘Fifty years on, the mathematician’s best known (and, to him, least favorite) creation confirms that “uncertainty is the only certainty.”’ — Sam

Archaeologists uncover ancient street food shop in PompeiiPeter

A Powerful AI Tool Could Help Medical Professionals Treat Serious Motor DysfunctionDeena

Reverse Engineering the source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 VaccineZavain

How mRNA went from a scientific backwater to a pandemic crusher: “For decades, Katalin Karikó’s work into mRNA therapeutics was overlooked by her colleagues. Now it’s at the heart of the two leading coronavirus vaccines” — Deena

How a New Doc Reclaims the Bee Gees’ Legacy: “Director and producer of How Can You Mend A Broken Heart discuss tackling the Australian trio’s saga and introducing their music to a whole new generation” — Adam K

All Your Genes Are Belong To UsDeena

Dave Barry’s Year in Review: 2020 was a year of nonstop awfulnessPeter

And 26 Hours on a Saharan Freight TrainAdam K

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson: “a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with a remarkable ability.” — Sam

Enormous xylophone in the woods of Kyushu, Japan plays a Bach tune when a wooden ball rolls down each “key.”Adam K

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