DNA data storage, hacking political power, space studies for health on Earth

[20 - 24 January 2014] The editors’ note about your science week

An interesting variety of subjects this week on MyScienceWork, if we do say so ourselves! And such a variety of unexpected applications for scientific and technical knowledge. Using DNA to store data? Finding a new form of political power in IT skills? Turning to space for insights into human health on Earth? Read on for more about these surprising topics we discovered this week.

An interesting variety of subjects this week on MyScienceWork, if we do say so ourselves! And such a variety of unexpected applications for scientific and technical knowledge. Using DNA to store data? Finding a new form of political power in IT skills? Turning to space for insights into human health on Earth? Read on for more about these surprising topics we discovered this week.

(Flickr / Joseph.Morris

DNA is often described as storing the information necessary to build an organism: which genes to express, where, and when. But what if DNA could be used to store any data that we wanted? Like all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets? That has, in fact, already been done, and the data was retrieved with 99% accuracy. Ewan Birney, associate director of the European Bioinformatics Institute, spoke about the prospects for this technique, in:

Storing data as DNA – as easy as ACTG?

 

The ability to manage information in an altogether different sense can lead to other sorts of power – political, for instance. This week, the final volume of a trilogy on hacktivism showed how hacker-activists use their specialized knowledge to defend freedoms, but in a non-hierarchical way. “By diffusing knowledge, hacktivists are transforming power.”

Hacktivism: The Road to Anarchism?
The paths to power are no longer unfathomable – Part 3

 

On Tuesday evening, MySciencework did its part to diffuse some interesting knowledge to the public following on Twitter for the first Space Tuesday of the year! This month’s perhaps surprising topic focused on health research in space. What aspect of health? Why space? This week’s article explained the link, and check out the live-tweet from the evening for more details, with the hashtag #CNEStweetup.

Health and Well-Being, Thanks to Space – The First “Space Tuesday” of 2014!

 

We hope you’ll find something pleasing to your science palate in this week’s fare.  Enjoy reading, and see you next week! 

The MyScienceWork Team