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Bacterial ‘aphrodisiac’ can trigger protist sex swarms

To the surprise of scientists, bacteria can act as an aphrodisiac for the one-celled marine organisms that are the closest living relatives of all animals.

This is the first known example of bacteria triggering mating in a eukaryote, a group that includes all plants and animals.

The organisms, protists called choanoflagellates, eat bacteria and serve as a source of food for small ocean animals like krill.

Several years ago, the lab Nicole King, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, discovered that certain bacteria make these one-celled choanoflagellates (a.k.a. choanos) develop into multicellular colonies.

The new discovery suggests that choanos “eavesdrop” on bacteria to make sense of their environment and regulate their life history.

The discovery may help reveal how humans and other animals evolved from single-celled organisms over the last 600 million years.

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A different bacterium induces the development of multicellular rosettes, which arise through multiple divisions of a single founding cell. (Credit: Arielle Woznica/UC Berkeley)

In this case, the bioluminescent marine bacterium Vibrio fischeri triggers the choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta to swarm and mate. Mating is sometimes a response to a changing environment.

“A lot of evolutionary theory favors the idea that mating happens when conditions are stressful, because you need to reshuffle the deck. With sexual reproduction, you will hopefully get a new combination of gene alleles that is more fit for whatever is coming down the pike,” King says.

“Bacteria are very good at integrating a lot of information about the environment, as different species of bacteria have different nutrient requirements. Choanos may be using bacteria as a proxy for environmental conditions, or live indicators for when its time to get ready for good or bad times,” she says.

Mating among choanoflagellates has been a mystery—even whether choanos engaged in sexual reproduction—until her team discovered in 2013 that starvation could trigger mating, although only a small percentage of cells would mate. The new study shows that Vibrio bacteria elicit a much more rapid response, with large percentages of cells mating within hours.

“Choanoflagellates have a lot of flexibility in their life history. They can go on and on being asexual, but now we’ve found that they can also be sexual, and that the switch to sexuality is induced by a bacterial cue within an hour after exposure,” says King.

Asexual gene is ‘contagious’ among water fleas

The new discovery suggests that other creatures, including some that have been difficult to study in the lab because they fail to mate, may need a little bacterial aphrodisiac to get it on.

“One possibility is that these animals need particular cues from environmental bacteria that are not being provided in the lab,” she says.

After UC Berkeley graduate student Arielle Woznica discovered that these bacteria initiated swarming, they collaborated with Jon Clardy’s lab at Harvard Medical School to track down the trigger: a protein the bacteria secrete constantly, which they dubbed EroS.

They showed that EroS is a chondroitinase, an enzyme that degrades a specific type of sulfated molecule found in the extracellular matrix of S. rosetta that was previously thought to be exclusive to animals. They also found that if this enzymatic function was inhibited, swarming did not occur, and that chondroitinases from other aquatic bacteria reproduced the aphrodisiacal effects. As the teams investigate how EroS works, they’re continuing to explore the interactions between bacteria and choanoflagellates.

Here’s more proof that having sex has its perks

As for implications for animals like humans and their bacterial partners, the so-called microbiome, King says that “we hope that by studying choanos, which are really simple, that we can identify key molecules and then go into the more complex environment of the gut microbiome, for instance, and see whether some of these molecules matter in that context as well.”

“I think by demonstrating a new type of bacteria-induced behavior, we may inspire others to look in the systems they study and see if they might have missed that bacteria play a role there as well,” says co-first author Joseph Gerdt, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School.

The National Institutes of Health funded the work, which appears in the journal Cell.

Source: UC Berkeley

The post Bacterial ‘aphrodisiac’ can trigger protist sex swarms appeared first on Futurity.

design employment • Re: Got laid off… want to relocate, but where to?

bepster wrote:
cwatkinson wrote:… i have had countless headhunters and corporations contact me which i have not pursued because of either salary or responsibilities.

So I absolutely agree that if you stay current, there are indeed jobs but I am not sure that these are necessarily the jobs you want or need when you are a bit older and that getting there does get a lot more difficult as times goes on.

That nails it. depending on where your needs take you can make it harder to find that next job…… I have a friend who is a Sr designer and his company wants him to be the design director, but he wants nothing of it. he like what he is doing and is damn good at it, and his desire to keep doing what he is doing out weighs his need to have a higher salary.

I have another friend that misses doing traditional ID work with a focus on execution but her path took her to more of a director lvl – she now struggles trying to obtain a job that fits because he skills have fallen so far behind……


design employment • Re: Got laid off… want to relocate, but where to?

The size of the company is a big factor as well. When I was running a small in house team at Sound United, I couldn’t afford to have a lot of layers of designers. I had two directors below me and everyone was either staff or senior staff below them. When I was at Nike and frog however, the organizations could support different roles for someone who still wanted to be paid a lot, but didn’t want to manage. In both cases these positions were called “principal designer” and were essentially like a super senior designer. Typically the person was super efficient, needed little to no oversight, and was too good to let slip away to the competition.

Those roles exist but in my experience they are typically someone who comes up from the inside, maybe has a manager or director position for a few years and realizes it is not what they want or are good at.

And, by the way, I totally get it. I enjoy both ends of the spectrum, leading a team, setting the vision, as well as rolling up my sleeves and doing the work (isn’t that why we got into this?) so ultimately starting my own studio was the right move.

Finding the right position is very complex. There are a lot of factors and they change on both the job seeker and employer sides of things as time goes on. What an organization needs today is not what it needs tomorrow. What you need today is not what you will need tomorrow. It tends to work better when someone embraces the chaos of it and realized that paths overlap for only so long. sometimes they cross right over each other, sometimes they run parallel and never touch. In rare cases the align for long periods of time.


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Men’s And Women’s Work Wear You Can Afford With Your Entry-Level Salary

You may associate fall clothes shopping with going back to school, but research shows that August and September are also the months when adults tend to think about refreshing their professional wardrobes.

To help you update (or build) your professional closet, we’ve scoured the market to find workwear staples. We then tested them to make sure that they are well-made and will keep you looking polished from your first meeting to cocktail hour. And good news for those just starting out: Each item on this list is under $100, so you can afford to look professional on an entry-level salary.

I tested all the womenswear, and my colleague, staff writer Cale Weissman, tested all the menswear, then provided detailed notes. Here’s our list.

Menswear

Bonobos: Long, Wrinkle-Free Days

Daily Grind Shirt ($98) and Stretched Washed Chino ($98)

After testing many outfits, Cale liked Bonobos best. Part of the reason for this is that the clothes fit well, which made him look stylish and feel great. Both trousers and shirts are made from wrinkle-free material, which means that at the end of long days running in and out of the office, Cale says he still looked and felt sharp.

The clothes come in a wide range of sizes, plus different fits: “slim,” “tailored,” or “standard.” (Trousers come in the additional “relaxed” fit.) To top it all off, each item comes in a wide range of patterns and colors. The end result is an outfit that looks like it was customized to your body type and style.

However, given that there are so many sizing options, Cale suggests getting fitted by Bonobos beforehand, if you can. The brand has stores, known as Guideshops, in dozens of locations across the country, where you can get fitted for free. “This will save having to return many pairs, which I had to do,” Cale says.

Everlane: Classic Shirts At Unbeatable Prices

Air Oxford ($58) and Slim Fit Poplin ($55)

Everlane stands out for its simplicity. Rather than offering a wide range of options, the brand’s designers curate a classic look, using high quality materials and manufacturing. The style is low-key and muted; they are designed to fit in rather than stand out. “Everlane has a quietness about its style that I’ve always appreciated,” Cale says.

The shirts come in far fewer sizes than Bonobos, but Cale found that both shirts fit him well, once he was able to nail down the right size. The Air Oxford is a classic tailored shirt, but it is made from a breathable and temperature-regulating material. The Slim Fit Poplin is a more relaxed shirt that looked just as good at work as it did on the weekend. “You could wear those clothes anywhere and they would seem appropriate,” Cale says. “People seemed to like those shirts most and gave me many compliments. Which is nice–I love to receive compliments!”

Ministry of Supply: Workwear Of The Future

Future Forward Longsleeve Polo ($90) and Daystarter Band Collar Shirt ($95)

Ministry of Supply is known for experimenting with high-tech materials, many first invented by NASA. We picked two shirts from their collection that we felt could get you through any occasion that pops up in your week.

The Future Forward Longsleeve Polo, for instance, is made of a fabric called Phase Change Materials, which is temperature regulating. It’s a carefully designed to work in many contexts. It comes with buttoned sleeves and a starched collar, so it looks structured enough to be worn in a casual office, but it also easily goes into weekend activities. The Daystarter Band Collar Shirt is a slightly more formal alternative. It comes with a Nehru collar, which adds a stylish flair. While it has a crisp look, it is made from high-tech fabric that is moisture wicking and wrinkle resistant. Both shirts are machine washable.

Cale was impressed by how effectively these shirts managed perspiration. He wore them in the heat of the summer and even on the hottest days, there were never any sweat stains. “A minor miracle for me!” he says.


Related: These 6 Women’s “Work Uniforms” Will Make Your Mornings Easier


Womenswear

Modcloth: Feminine But Professional Work Frocks

So Sixties A-Line Dress ($79.99), Archival Arrival ($89.99), and Outline of Work Midi Dress ($64.99)

If your work closet consists largely of dresses, you can’t go wrong with Modcloth, which is known for its wide selection of frocks. The brand has hundreds of work-appropriate dresses to choose from. In the past, the brand was known for its slightly vintage flair. While some dresses have ’60s or mod flair, many look timeless. The best part is that the vast majority come in at under $100 and they come in a wide range of sizes, from XS to 3X.

We picked out three that would be a fun new seasonal addition to your wardrobe, but also would work in a range of contexts and take you between seasons. In the summer, I wore the Outline of Work dress with platform heels, but on a cooler day, I wore them with knee-high boots and a cardigan. I found that depending on how I styled it, it worked well both in a formal meeting as well as in a more casual setting, like going out for brunch on the weekend.

The Archival Arrival Dress has a secretary bow that gives it a formal edge, but it is made from a stretchy jersey material that makes it very comfortable to wear throughout the day. If you’re in the market for something a little more structured and formal, the So Sixties dress is a perfect fit. It comes in several bright colors, which will add some vibrancy to what might otherwise be a monochromatic fall closet, but thanks to the button at the waist and the pleated skirt, it manages to look formal enough for even the starchiest office.

Aritzia: Elegant Blouses Galore

Tadema ($75), Granados ($98), and Niccolo ($85)

One of my favorite transitional looks is a pair of tight fitting black trousers or jeans, plus an interesting blouse. Artizia is a great one-stop shop for beautiful blouses at reasonable prices. These long-sleeve shirts are great for fall days when it might be too warm for a sweater or blazer, but too chilly for a sundress.

I picked three blouses in muted colors that have interesting architectural flair. The Tadema, for instance, is made from a fluid fabric that comes with a bow that you can tie at the waist. The Granados has a high collar, plus puffed sleeves that give the shirt a nice drape. And the Niccolo has a nice secretary bow on the front that I like to wear long, rather than tied. They all come in beautiful fall colors like dark green and aubergine.

The great thing about all of these shirts is that even though they feel like silk, they are machine washable. They are also generally wrinkle-resistant. I wore them while driving around from interview to interview and the seatbelt didn’t crease them.

J.Crew: Staples With A Twist

No. 2 Pencil Skirt ($79.50), Stretch Perfect Bodysuit ($68), and Martie Slim Crop Pants ($79.50)

If you’re looking to load up on classic year-round items for your work uniform, J.Crew has several great options that are very well designed. The most interesting piece I discovered was the Stretch Perfect Bodysuit. On the surface, it’s the classic white tailored shirt that every woman needs in her closet. But button-down shirts often bunch up when you try to tuck them into your pants. J.Crew solved this problem by making the shirt part of a bodysuit. It looks perfect and unwrinkled when you wear it with jeans or trousers.

If it’s time to stock up on skirts and pants, J.Crew has a couple of key choices. The Martie trousers are carefully designed to look flattering, by flattening the stomach and defining the bottom. And the No.2 Pencil Skirt is made of cotton, but comes with two-way stretch, so it adapts to your body’s movements, rather than wrinkling when you sit down. Both of these come in a wide range of colors, including reds, blues, and hot pinks. These are great everyday clothes that will make getting ready in the morning easier.

portfolios • Re: ‘GGLEE7′ – Industrial Design Portfolio Website

Technically your projects are very good. Nice presentation and overall good form language. I like the designs but most of them could be a little more daring and conceptual – it looks so “corporate” even though this is a student portfolio. Also I would like to see some (real) design models, prototypes and process. For my taste it is too “clean” and doesn’t show your personality and your overall approach to design. You need to convince me that you are not a guy sitting down at your computer in the morning, firing up a CAD software and Keyshot and have a design ready in the evening.
But not a bad job at all so far! The visualization skills alone could probably land you a job. But if you don’t want to end up in a position where you mostly do renderings of other people’s designs better add some more process meat!

Your website constantly and randomly crashes for me on chrome, though. Also get rid of the music… RIGHT NOW! Forced music playback in the browser is one of the great evils of our time.


H&M may have just figured out how to recycle textiles

Even the most eco-minded fashion companies have had a hard time figuring out how to recycle mixed-fiber textiles (you know, like poly-cotton blends). Now, fast fashion giant H&M may have cracked the code.

H&M Foundation, the Swedish company’s independent charitable foundation and investment arm, tasked Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles to help them find an open-source solution for textile blend recycling that could be commercially viable by 2020. They’ve already struck on something that could make recycling fabric a reality. According to H&M, the new process uses a combination of heat, water, and 5% of a biodegradable agent to separate the cotton from the polyester into high-quality, reusable materials. H&M Foundation says the resulting polyester and cotton fibers are good enough to be used in new textile production. Now, they are building an industrial-scale plant to pilot the project. The H&M Foundation plans to license the technology out to help the entire fashion industry become more eco-friendly by 2020.

[Via Business Insider]

Three Resume Trends That Are Actually Worth Following And Two That Aren’t

In our fast-paced world, trends are constantly coming and going, whether you’re talking about the latest music, fashion, or toys (I’m lookin’ at you, fidget spinners). And this doesn’t just occur in the realm of pop culture–it also occurs in the job seeking and recruiting space. The things that recruiters and hiring managers look for, and the way that candidates try to get their attention, are ever-evolving. So if you don’t keep up, you might be left behind.

This is especially true when it comes to the single most important document in the job search: your resume. You only get one shot for your resume to make an impression, so you want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of the hottest trends, and staying away from the ones that are better off ignored. But what exactly does that look like today? Here’s what career experts have to say.

Three Trends To Embrace

1. Short And Sweet

If you got into a routine of sprinkling in filler words and flowery language to help you reach a minimum word count in school, now’s the time to kick the habit. Studies show that recruiters only spend between six and seven seconds on your resume–so don’t waste time writing content they won’t read. But keep in mind that if you’re going to cut down the length of your resume, you need to make every word count.

“Shorter resumes are easier to read but they need to get to the point immediately and with powerful, precise language. Unlike the trend a few years ago to tell a story through countless examples of accomplishments, the goal now is to show what you are qualified to do, why, and how the company will benefit,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.

The exact information you should include, as well as the format, may vary depending on your role, so “get feedback from industry and company insiders who can explain what to include on your resume and how to format the content,” Cohen suggests. “When your resume is shorter AND it gets the message across loud and clear, you are essentially punching above your weight. That is always a desirable theme in a job search: The candidate who offers better value.”

2. Hyperlinks

One easy way to make sure that your resume stays concise but still packs a punch? Providing hyperlinks to relevant information and resources.

“A hyperlink is the equivalent of CliffsNotes for your resume. You have the freedom to reference a much larger and more significant item and to expand on a key point,” Cohen says. “Brevity is the goal for most resumes. An abbreviated message that can be backed up addresses the needs of both the short attention span reader and the reader who wants to dig deeper into your background and qualifications.”


Related: This Is The Part Of Your Resume That Recruiters Look At First 


A couple best practices when including hyperlinks: “Use links appropriately and only to showcase illustrations that support you as a candidate. Make sure that you highlight these links clearly so that the reader of your resume neither ignores or overlooks this valuable information,” Cohen advises.

3. Digital Add-Ons

You might be wondering: Which resources should you be hyperlinking to within your resume?

For starters, you may want to try a video cover letter. “A quick video will capture [recruiters’] attention and leave them learning more about you than they would through those six seconds” spent scanning a resume, Sheth shares. “Applicants should record videos with the intention of showcasing their personality, communication style, and why they are the right person for the job.”

Or, “if you are applying to a role where work product is relevant, like in many creative industries, you can create a digital portfolio of your work and include a link to your portfolio so that recruiters can review it,” Sheth says. “This will show you’re prepared, qualified and will leave a lasting impression.”

Two Trends To Avoid

1. Design Over Functionality

Sure, an eye-popping resume can look good on paper. But if you get too caught up with making a visually appealing resume, you might prevent your resume from ever getting in the hands of a recruiter.

“One of the newest resume trends is using Etsy-styled templates that have a lot of columns and graphic design,” says resume writer and career transition coach Wendi Weiner.

But while “this approach shows off your creative ability and eye for design… it likely won’t make it past an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which many companies use as a screening method to weed out resumes that don’t meet specific on-page standards (think keywords, industry buzzwords, and conventional headlines),” shares Zachary Painter, career adviser and hiring manager at ResumeGenius.com.


Related: Three Ways To Add Personality To Your Resume (And Three Ways Not To) 


To get around this, “stick to a sophisticated yet professional template that enables your headlines to stand out–a reader’s eyes naturally gaze at the center of the page, so make sure your headlines are centered in the middle of the page for easy reading. Consider also having a line underneath the headline title (professional experience, education, core skills, etc.) so that the sections of your resume are separated,” Weiner suggests.

On the other hand, if you’re applying for a position in a highly visual field where creative resumes are a boon, take advantage of those hyperlinks again by “providing a link to your portfolio in your online application and on your printed out, physical resume. This will satisfy ATS bots and land safely in the hands of a hiring manager or department head,” Painter says.

2. Skill-Points Systems

It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers love when you can quantify your success–but it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

“Over the years, the term ‘quantification’ –as it applies to resumes–has gotten taken out of context. Basically, applicants think it’s smart to rate their additional skills on a resume by ranking each skill with a number ranging from one to ten,” Painter says. (E.g. Photoshop: 7/10, Microsoft Word: 4/10, Excel: 8/10).


Related: Career Experts Mercilessly Revised My Entry-Level Resume 


But the problem is that quantifying your skillset is vague and arbitrary — and too many applicants are tempted to give themselves top marks for everything. If you rate every skill as a nine or 10 out of 10, recruiters and hiring managers will probably be skeptical.

“The best solution is to mention that you have experience or familiarity in the additional skills you provide. Go for something like this:

  • Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite
  • Familiar with WordPress
  • Experienced with Javascript, HTML, and CSS languages

This communicates better than a vague ‘skills point system’, and hiring managers will appreciate it more,” Painter says.


This article originally appeared on Glassdoor and is reprinted with permission. 

This Is Where Cassini Died And Its Legend Was Born

An ode to the incredible engineering of NASA’s largest deep space vessel.

This is where Cassini plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere in a blaze of glory. After 19 years and 335 days in space—most of it spent spinning around the Saturnian System—Cassini took this one last photo as she descended into the atmosphere of the ringed planet. “This is where I will die, my friends,” I can imagine her thinking as she patiently beamed it back to Earth, “It was good while it lasted, right?”

Read Full Story

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Molecular ‘time machine’ shows chance’s role in evolution

By studying a massive set of genetic variants of an ancient protein, scientists have been able to examine the myriad other ways that evolution could have turned out. Their work reveals the key role random chance plays in the history of evolution.

The study is the first to subject reconstructed ancestral proteins to deep mutational scanning—a state-of-the-art technique for characterizing massive libraries of protein variants. The strategy allowed them to compare the path that evolution actually took in the deep past to the millions of alternative routes that could have been taken, but were not.

Starting with a resurrected version of an ancient protein that evolved a new function some 500 million years ago—a function critical to human biology today—the researchers synthesized a massive library of genetic variants and used deep mutational scanning to analyze their functions. They found more than 800 different ways that the protein could have evolved to carry out the new function as well, or better than, the one that evolved historically.

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Tyler Starr holds a vial of yeast cells engineered with a library of proteins comprising millions of possible evolutionary paths from our ancient ancestor to its modern function. (Credit: Matt Wood/U. Chicago)

The researchers showed that chance mutations early in the protein’s history played a key role in determining which ones could occur later. As a result, the specific outcome of evolution depended critically on the way a serial chain of chance events unfolded.

“By comparing what happened in history to all the other paths that could have produced the same result, we saw how idiosyncratic evolution is,” says Tyler Starr, a graduate student in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago, who performed the paper’s experiments.

“People often assume that everything in biology is perfectly adapted for its function. We found that what evolved was just one possibility out of many that were just as good, or even better, functionally than what we happened to end up with today,” he explains.

Back through time

Over the last 15 years, Thornton, senior author on the new study and a professor in ecology and evolution and human genetics at the university, led research that pioneered “molecular time travel” using ancestral protein reconstruction.

In 2013, his team resurrected and analyzed the functions of the ancestors of a family of proteins called steroid hormone receptors, which mediate the effects of hormones like testosterone and estrogen on sexual reproduction, development, physiology, and cancer. The body’s various receptors recognize different hormones and, in turn, activate the expression of different target genes, which they accomplish by binding specifically to DNA sequences called response elements near those targets.

“There’s nothing special about the history that happened, except that a few chance steps brought us to this singular chance outcome.”

Thornton’s group inferred the genetic sequences of ancient receptor proteins by statistically working their way back down the tree of life from a database of hundreds of present-day receptor sequences. They synthesized genes corresponding to these ancient proteins, expressed them in the lab, and measured their functions.

They found that the ancestor of the family behaved like an estrogen receptor—recognizing only estrogens and binding to estrogen response elements—but during one specific interval of history, they evolved into a descendant group capable of recognizing other steroid hormones and binding to a new class of response elements. The researchers found that three key mutations before the emergence of vertebrate animals caused the ancestral receptor to evolve its ability to bind to the new target sequences.

Evolution pop quiz: How much do you know?

That work set the stage for the current study. Knowing precisely how evolution played out in the past, Thornton’s group asked: Was this the only evolutionary path to evolving the new function? Was it the most effective one, or the easiest to achieve? Or was it simply one of many possibilities?

Paths not taken

Starr began working on the project during his first year as a graduate student, developing the technique to assess massive numbers of variants of the ancestral receptor for their ability to bind the new response element.

First, he engineered strains of yeast in which the ancestral or new response elements drive expression of a fluorescent reporter gene. He then synthesized a library of ancestral proteins containing all possible combinations of amino acids at the four key sites in the receptor that recognize DNA—160,000 in all, comprising all possible evolutionary paths that this critical part of the protein could have followed—and introduced this library into the engineered yeast.

He sorted hundreds of millions of yeast cells by their fluorescence using a laser-driven device, and then used high-throughput sequencing to associate each receptor variant with its ability to carry out the ancestral function and the new function.

Most of the variants failed to function at all, and some maintained the ancestral function. But Starr found 828 new versions of the protein that could carry out the new function as well, or better than, the one that evolved during history. Remarkably, evolution could have accessed many of these even more easily than the historical “solution,” but it happened not to, apparently wandering around the space of possible mutations until it arrived at the version of the protein in our bodies today.

“We all share the same gene sequence for this protein, so it might seem like evolutionary destiny, as if we’ve arrived at the best possible version. But there are hundreds of other directions that evolution could just as well have taken,” Thornton says. “There’s nothing special about the history that happened, except that a few chance steps brought us to this singular chance outcome.”

Evolution’s winning groups have these 3 traits

Thornton says that deep mutational scanning will be a powerful tool for evolutionary biologists, geneticists and biochemists, and he looks forward to using the approach on successive ancestors at different points in history to see how the set of possible outcomes changed through time.

“We have a molecular time machine to go back to the past, and once we’re there, we can simultaneously follow every alternate history that could possibly have played out,” Thornton says. “It’s a molecular version of every evolutionary biologist’s dream.”

The study appears in the journal Nature.

Source: University of Chicago

The post Molecular ‘time machine’ shows chance’s role in evolution appeared first on Futurity.

design employment • Re: Beginner in MEDICAL device design_Advise/Books/website/.

I am a designer surrounded by people in the medical field but have no experience myself in that field – the best thing you can do is talk to people in the field so they will amp up your thinking and make you aware of the most pressing issues. I did find a good introductory MIT course on the topic now published at https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mechanical-engineering/2-782j-design-of-medical-devices-and-implants-spring-2006/index.htm