• Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie
    Monsanto is known for the genetically modified crops, but now they’re taking a different approach and cross breeding vegetables to improve them. Of course, they are using what they’ve learned from genetics to make this process faster.

    In 2006, Monsanto developed a machine called a seed chipper that quickly sorts and shaves off widely varying samples of soybean germplasm from seeds. The seed chipper lets researchers scan tiny genetic variations, just a single nucleotide, to figure out if they’ll result in plants with the traits they want—without having to take the time to let a seed grow into a plant. Monsanto computer models can actually predict inheritance patterns, meaning they can tell which desired traits will successfully be passed on. It’s breeding without breeding, plant sex in silico. In the real world, the odds of stacking 20 different characteristics into a single plant are one in 2 trillion. In nature, it can take a millennium. Monsanto can do it in just a few years.

  • The Big Sleep
    The story of the Ambien-killer-to-be

    But orexin-related work promised pharmaceutical novelty, which is extraordinarily uncommon. Most new drugs are remixes of old drugs—clever circumventions of patent protections. The last truly original medicines in neuroscience were triptans, for the treatment of migraines, introduced in the early nineteen-nineties. “The science is really what drove us,” Renger said. “To have a new target—to know the genetics of the brain’s control system and to be able to focus on that specifically to control sleep—is a pretty rare event. It’s like the thing people keep promising: you know, the ‘cancer gene.’ This was the first time there was the ‘sleep gene.’ ”

  • Why Taylor Swift is the Biggest Pop Star in the World
    An incomplete bio/promo/conversation with Taylor Swift as she prepares for her fifth studio album.
  • Far From Home
    A quick look at the life of two Filipino citizens who are immigrant workers to Dubai

    The room in which the television stands—the sala, the big family room—has over the years been wholly reinforced. The construction was done bit by bit; Teresa’s parents would tell her about it in long-distance conversations, how every few months a little more of the money Teresa wired was being funneled into repair. First the sala. Then the kitchen. Then the sleeping area, with the old bamboo mats on the floor. “Slowly by slowly,” Teresa said, “they made it stones.”

  • Cheap Words
    This is a very long article strongly biased against Amazon. I wouldn’t say it’s an attack article, but it talks about all the “little” book publishers that Amazon stepped on in its rise. If you hate Amazon, this would be a fun article to read.