News of Note

Whitehouse.gov petitions: What the people really want

Earlier this month Whitehouse.gov (the official site of the White House) launched “We the People”: “Welcome to We the People on WhiteHouse.gov. This tool provides you with a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.” Any petition created within the first 30 days, that reaches at least 5,000 signatures, will receive an “official response”. This has incredible potential. It gives the Internet ...

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Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists” There is this website, Fold.it. People go there to play a video game about Protein Folding. Players can contribute to science by solving these puzzles. Wikipedia sums up the news nicely: “. . . online gamers used Foldit to decipher the crystal structure of M-PMV retroviral protease, which is linked to an AIDS-like virus. Players produced an accurate 3D model of the enzyme in just three weeks. The problem had thwarted scientists for a decade.”   This is significant: We haven’t hit the singularity yet, but the ...

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