Scientists reprogram T Cells to target autoimmune diseases


Shutterstock / vitstudio

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco have uncovered a gene-editing technique which could provide safer treatments for patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases. The breakthrough — which involves the CRISPR/Cas9 system — will allow T cells (the cells which fire up our immune response) to recognize infections with greater specificity, and eliminate the need to use viruses for transferring DNA to target cells.

Viruses are quick replicators and that makes them suitable candidates for gene therapy. Typically, scientists modify viral DNA so it’s no longer pathogenic, and use the virus as a carrier to deliver the ‘correct’ DNA into damaged cells. It’s a highly meticulous and costly process, and there’s a risk viruses will insert new genes erratically or even disrupt existing, healthy genes. The UCSF approach, however, means a virus may no longer be required.

Instead, an electrical field makes T cell membranes more permeable (temporarily), and ready to accept CRISPR-edited DNA. Previous research attempts usually meant inserting long strands of DNA into T cells — which are responsible for the body’s immune response — however, this technique caused the cells to perish. On the other hand, CRISPR acts like a molecular snipping tool that selectively identifies and removes erroneous DNA sequences before the repaired sequences can be integrated, making it a much more specific form of gene therapy.

The researchers have already found success in using the modified T cells to a tackle rare autoimmune disease, that until now, has been resistant to any kind of therapies. Medical student Theo Roth said the new CRIPSR method would “significantly speed up the development of future generations of cell therapy.”

CRISPR’s potential applications are multifold — scientists have used it to increase natural crop yield in rice, develop treatments for sickle cell anemia, and detect HPV and Zika Virus, but it seems there’s work to be done before CRISPR approaches become routine treatment in humans.

from Engadget

How to Maintain Your Friendships


It’s easy to be there for friends and family members during the Big Life Events, like weddings, milestone birthdays, or a new job. These are big-ticket happenings that don’t take too much effort on our part, that allow us to show our appreciation for our friends simply by showing up.

While those moments can certainly be meaningful, it’s all of the small, seemingly insignificant moments—the maintenance—that build your rock solid, true friendships to begin with, and add depth, comfort, support and beauty to our lives.


In other words, true friendship takes work. If you’re looking for ways, big and small, to invest in your relationships with friends and family, writers at BuzzFeed’s Goodful have put together a lengthy list of ways to show true appreciation.

“On the Goodful team, we all really believe that strong and emotionally supportive relationships are such an important foundation for maintaining positive mental health and existing as a human in general,” Anna Borges, a senior staff writer for BuzzFeed and one of the authors, wrote to me on Twitter. “But, y’know, cultivating those bonds takes work and a lot of people don’t know what it takes to go from a good friend to a truly invaluable one — so hopefully this gives people a starting point.”

It’s worth reading in full, but a few stuck out as particularly useful.

Set Up Calendar Notifications for Important Dates

This one is simple, but effective: Set up calendar alerts not only for your friends’ and family members’ birthdays, but also for important dates in their lives, “especially ones tied to grief.” Your loved ones will be grateful you remembered.


It doesn’t just need to be for important dates, though. I have “catch up with friends” scheduled in my iCal every Sunday, for example, and it’s simply a reminder to send a text to or call a friend I haven’t spoken to in a bit. Ideally we wouldn’t need to be reminded, but life is busy. It’s easy to fall into a Netflix binge or spend all your time with your SO and forget that your friends deserve your attention, too.

Be Interested in Their Interests

No, this doesn’t mean you need to become a part-time LARPer or listen to all 200 episodes of the true crime podcast they’re into. But at least try to be interested.


“If they keep talking about a Netflix show or comic book they are into, or they recommend a recipe or product, make a point to check it out,” writes BF. “Even if you don’t love it, you’ll still learn a bit more about them in the process, and they’ll appreciate that you tried.”

Have a Monthly Recipe Club

Rather than a monthly book club meet up that could prove too time-consuming for your busiest buds, BuzzFeed writer Terri Pous recommends organizing a monthly recipe club instead. You pick a key ingredient or a theme—say, ricotta cheese or “global dishes”—and then everyone brings a dish tied to the ingredient or theme.


“None of us are master chefs, but pouring our hearts into making something delicious happens to be all of our love languages,” writes Pous. “Even when one of us is having a rough week or month and can only muster the energy to bring a container of pre-cut berries, we accept it for what it symbolizes—a commitment to showing up for each other.”

I like the idea of cooking for one another in particular, but any recurring event—or meeting spot—will do. The point is that you have scheduled time to do something together.

Notice Differences in Demeanor/Appearance

No, this doesn’t just mean complimenting their hair cuts and new gym routine. It means noticing small signs that something might be a little…off. As BF writes:

Pay attention to physical cues that they might not be doing great—like looking super tired/not sleeping, poor hygiene, a home in total disarray, or weight fluctuations. You don’t need to comment or anything; it’s all just data that might tell you a story if you start to notice other little flags as well.

And if you think something is wrong, offer to help them.

Support Them Even When It’s Not Convenient

If something bad happens, be there for them, even if it’s not convenient for you. Something I’ll never forget: When an ex-boyfriend broke up with me at 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, my friend K.C. immediately came over with a bottle of wine and a shoulder to (literally) cry on, despite having work in the morning and living across town. The next day she sent me a box of cookies and an inspirational note that I still have. And my friend Katie flew to New York from Detroit that weekend just to make sure I was ok. The breakup sucked, but it made me realize just how blessed I was, and am, to have such amazing friends in my life. I try to be a little more like K.C. and Katie every day.


In that case, my friends knew I just needed to complain for a while, watch crappy movies and maybe flirt with someone new to feel a little bit better. But if you don’t know how to be there for your friend, ask them. They might just need to vent, or they might need you to do something for them. And when that happens, they’ll forever appreciate your help. (And read this Twitter thread.)

Just Be Fully There

This is the most important one in my book, and something I’m guilty of not adhering to all of the time. But when you’re with someone, be with them. Actually listen to them, ask questions, be engaged—put your phone away, turn off the part of your mind running through the 1,000 things you need to do. Focus on your friend. The people I’ve come to appreciate the most as I’ve gotten older—the ones I actively seek out to spend more time with—are the ones who actually listen to me when I speak. It’s a low bar, but the number of people who surpass it is surprisingly small. Be one of the people who do. You and your friends will be better for it.

from Lifehacker

4 Latin American countries you need to visit this summer — and what to do when you get there


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There’s something heartwarming about summertime travel. Perhaps it’s the nostalgic feeling of being off from school or simply the welcome vitamin D boost after a cold, long winter. Whatever it is, planning a summer vacation is perfect for taking a break from your daily routine.

But even when you’re trying to get away from it all, staying connected to family and friends is a priority for most travelers. That’s why having a wireless service plan from SIMPLE MOBILE is a travel essential. All SIMPLE MOBILE service plans allow you to use your plan’s talk, text, & data while roaming across 16 Latin American countries — so yes, you can even post about your trip online with international roaming coverage in these countries.

And this part of the world is a fantastic option when planning your next trip because plane tickets are relatively inexpensive and flight times aren’t too long. Here are the countries you should definitely consider visiting.

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1. Mexico

Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, and it’s home to a number of incredible sights. A visit to the hidden beach on Islas Marietas is great for a secluded day trip getaway. And getting there is half the fun: You have to swim through a short tunnel carved by the sea and into a crater to reach the beach. If you’re a history buff, you can visit the third-largest pyramid in the world. Known as the Pyramid of the Sun, it’s a relic of the Teotihuacan civilization with picturesque views from its summit. You can also enjoy a trip to The Arch, an impressive rock formation located at the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas. Grab a bottle of vino, hit the beach, and watch the sunset shine off the rocks on this natural wonder.

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2. Peru

Machu Picchu is probably one of Peru’s most famous destinations, but the country is filled with a long list of extraordinary places to visit. Located in the Andes, the Rainbow Mountains are an Instagram-worthy colorful mountainside— and with SIMPLE MOBILE roaming coverage, you won’t have to wait until you’re back in the U.S. to post it to your account. The peaks’ signature look has been formed by sedimentary mineral layers exposed by erosion. To take your adventuring to the next level, visit Huacachina and do a dune buggy or sandboarding tour. The expansive desert landscape will make you feel like you’re on another planet. There’s also an aerial tour of the Nazca Lines, ancient geoglyphs that were believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD. Due to their isolation on a dry, windless, stable plateau, they’ve been naturally preserved for thousands of years and are predicted to stay intact for years to come.

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3. Dominican Republic

If traveling to a Caribbean island is more your style, the Dominican Republic is a great option to check out this summer. For a tranquil yet thrilling adventure, you should definitely visit the 27 Charcos, a series of natural waterfalls that you can climb, jump, and swim in, with the support of a travel guide. If you love to hike, make sure a trip to Cordillera Central is on your itinerary. It’s the highest mountain range in the Dominican Republic and in all of the West Indies, so pack layers to stay warm once you get to the top. Then there’s Los Tres Ojos, the perfect place to discover an expansive world below the DR surface. This 50-yard open air limestone cave also doubles as a famous film production location, having been featured in movies like “Tarzan” and “Jurassic Park.”

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4. Costa Rica

With a total width of 200 miles from coast to coast, the tropical climate and proximity to the ocean makes Costa Rica another fantastic travel option in Latin America. Though the summer months make up the country’s wet season, July through early August usually marks a short mid-year, mini-dry season, making this the perfect window of time for your visit. Tortuguero, or the Land of Turtles, is the only village in Costa Rica without cars. It’s a great way to experience the country’s diverse rainforest wildlife while floating through an intricate canal system. The Arenal Volcano is great for when you want to squeeze in a little learning with your adventuring. While it’s been relatively dormant since 2010, it’s still an incredible sight to explore, especially by going on one of Mistico Park’s hanging bridge tours. Be sure to bring a camera with you to get stunning shots of the tropical birds and foliage along the way.

Of course, these are just four of the many of the beautiful countries in Latin America you can explore for a summer getaway. These countries are rich in history and cultural experiences you won’t find anywhere else — and SIMPLE MOBILE makes it easy to stay in touch and share your adventures with everyone back home.

For a full list of countries covered, click here.

Please refer always to the latest terms and conditions of service available at

This post is sponsored by SIMPLE MOBILE.

Disclaimer: International roaming is available only in the following select countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and  Peru. SIMPLE MOBILE 30-day service plans allow calls and texts within the select roaming countries to the US and other international destinations while roaming. Data used while roaming in select  countries will be deducted from your high speed data allotment in the US. Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur in the U.S.  Device must register on our U.S. network before international use. Service may be terminated or restricted for excessive roaming or misuse. International calling while roaming is subject to the SIMPLE MOBILE  International Long Distance Service restrictions. Other limitations, terms and conditions apply. Please refer always to the latest terms and conditions of service available at

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from SAI

A bicycle with a chain-less, unchained experience


The word “unchained” fits here both literally and metaphorically. CeramicSpeed’s new drivetrain removes the ubiquitous chain that’s synonymous with two-wheelers for a drivetrain that’s mess-free, low on friction, and amazing looking. A rotating shaft replaces the need for a greasy chain, and it works spectacularly well, say the people at CeramicSpeed, reducing friction by as much as 49%.

Where chains usually wrap around toothed gears, pulling individually at each tooth, causing sliding friction at each point, the ‘Driven’ chainless drivetrain has just two points of contact, where the pedals interface with the rotating shaft, and where the shaft transfers the rotation to the rear wheel. At these points, CeramicSpeed introduces ceramic ball bearings on the shaft, causing less friction as the bearings push against the teeth of the gears and rotate too, resulting in an extremely smooth movement. With a shaft made from carbon fiber, the mechanism is incredibly lightweight, hardy, and is also capable of working at different speeds (for instance the images below show a whopping 13-speed arrangement). Still in its prototype stages, the Driven remarkably achieves 99% efficiency and is poised to radically change bicycling as we know it!

Designers: CeramicSpeed & University of Colorado Mechanical Engineering Dept.






from Yanko Design

Quantocracy’s Daily Wrap for 07/10/2018


This is a summary of links featured on Quantocracy on Tuesday, 07/10/2018. To see our most recent links, visit the Quant Mashup. Read on readers!

  • Do Fundamentals Still Drive Market Prices? Or Have ETFs Taken Over? [Alpha Architect]

    What causes a stocks price to move? A great question, and one that puzzles most market observers every day. Since this is puzzling, it is an entertaining topic to discussenter CNBC and the financial media. In the short-run, stocks prices can move for a variety of reasons noise trading, announcements from the FED, and 6 A.M. tweets from the President :). Kidding aside, short-run moves in
  • How Does VelocityShares ZIV Work? [Six Figure Investing]

    Just about anyone whos looked at a multi-year chart for a long volatility fund like Barclays VXX has thought about taking the short side side of that trade. VelocityShares ZIV is an Exchange Traded Product (ETP) that allows you to hold a short volatility position while avoiding some of the issues associated with a direct short position in VXX. Because ZIV is tied to VIX futures with at
  • Arbitrage Opportunities in Cryptocurrency Markets [Quantpedia]

    This paper studies the efficiency and price formation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency markets. First, there are large recurrent arbitrage opportunities in cryptocurrency prices relative to fiat currencies across exchanges that often persist for several days or weeks. These price dispersions exist even in the face of significant trading volumes on many of the exchanges. The total size of

The post Quantocracy’s Daily Wrap for 07/10/2018 appeared first on Quantocracy.

from Quantocracy

Useful Photography Tip #185: Why You Should Generally Underexpose Your Images


Want more Useful Photography Tips? Click here.

One of the biggest and best tips that I could possibly give any photographer about modern digital photography has to do with metering a scene. First off, if you’re using a form of evaluative metering then you should often use the light meter as a gauge and not try to always get the little blinker in the middle of the exposure indicator. You personally may want an image to be brighter, so learn how your camera handles more overexposed photos.

If you’re shooting for the edit though, you should underexpose your photos. Modern CMOS sensors (in general, those specifically made by Sony which are more or less in most cameras) have a tendency to handle the shadows a whole lot better than the highlights. That’s not to say that they can’t get details from the highlights; but if you have to gauge whether you can get more details from the highlights or the shadows, it would surely be the shadows. To that end, by underexposing your images in camera you can simply just push the shadows in post.

If you overexpose, getting those details in the highlights aren’t always guaranteed without working in lots of layers. But if you’re perfectly okay with the image just the way that it was exposed in camera; then you can totally not worry about shooting for the edit.

from The Phoblographer

Sourcing a designer for your startup


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The correct design strategy can make or break your startup enterprise. It is easy to source a designer using various dedicated job boards (check out YD Job Board to recruit now!) but the question remains how do you find one that matches your need and fits the budget of your company? Shawn Sprockett of the Airbnb, Google, and Apple fame has given his understanding of the design hiring demands of a startup. Read the write-up below for his take on the question of hiring a senior or junior designer for your startup!

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Finding good people is hard, hiring them is an exercise in gambling and salesmanship, and keeping them is both a joy and a constant stress.

I’m often approached by founders who want advice on who their first design hire should be. You usually have two choices: hire fast and cheap (junior designer) or slow and expensive (senior designer). It’s worth mentioning that when I say “junior” I don’t mean young. I mean new to the field. You could be 100 years-old and still be a junior designer having come out of retirement for an epic centenarian career shift.

Most entrepreneurs are under incredible financial and logistical pressures and want to cut as many corners as possible to get up and running. I can understand the temptation of taking the fast and cheap option.

Hiring a senior designer is a taxing, strenuous affair, especially for a new company with no brand equity and a shallow creative network. I’ve helped lots of established organizations (Airbnb, IBM, Google) do this and even with their considerable design credit is still exasperating.

By contrast, finding junior designers is easy. In Silicon Valley’s current boom, lots of people are switching careers to the magical world of Visual and UX Design. I know, because I’ve taught hundreds of them at General Assembly over the last several years. I love sharing what I know with people eager and passionate about getting into design, but I know their drive often makes them willing to work for less. I cringe knowing strapped-for-cash founders will be ready to pounce on the promise of cheap talent.

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As you might have guessed, this doesn’t go well. There are three flawed assumptions entrepreneurs make when they hire a junior designer:

Assumption 1: I can’t afford a more experienced designer.
Actually, you can’t afford a junior designer. While their salary might be lower, the organizational cost to support them will balloon invisibly in both time and money.

Without anyone in your organization to mentor them or offer advice on design processes, workflows and executions, a new designer’s growth may stagnate or decline. Sure, they’ll learn from mistakes, but those mistakes will come at a business owner’s expense and during lean early stages when margins are especially sensitive. Some organizations compensate by encouraging their junior team members to seek outside mentors. That’s a great idea, but it’s often not enough. Likely, you’ll still end up spending more time training the designer or helping them find the coach they need than you would if you’d just hunted for the right experience level, to begin with. It’s like buying a hundred cheaper products that burn out quickly instead of one expensive product that lasts.

Assumption 2: Junior designers will get us started and then I’ll bring in more experienced designers to clean up later.
While newer designers may be ready to start today, what they don’t know will likely hurt you in the long run. I’ve been behind the scenes of numerous products where the initial designer wasn’t thinking about scale-ability, accessibility or localization (to name just a few of the things you often aren’t taught in school). As such, the product was fundamentally unready for the direction the company wanted to go.

If you’ve worked at a startup before, you know how an early decision around product infrastructure or a design system can quickly lead to entire departments having redundant or wayward functions later on. The cavalry that eventually arrives to the rescue then has to spend quarters if not years repairing the lack of foresight of the initial inexperienced team. In industries where moving on opportunities quickly is a matter of life or death: this is a fatal mistake. Some of these pains are typical growth issues, but it’s noticeably worse with a less experienced team. It’s not the junior designer’s fault, they just didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Assumption 3: Junior designers will gain experience and grow from it.
Months after hiring a junior designer to lead her new company’s product, a startup founder asked me for advice. The designer she had hired was struggling. He didn’t know how to manage competing stakeholders and interests on the team. He didn’t have a point of view or any conviction about the direction he was proposing. He was tired and frustrated from spin. Unfortunately, this is a familiar story.

When you’re training in a gym, you work with the weights that are just at the upper bounds of what you can do and you practice until you’re stronger. You don’t go to the heaviest weight and try to lift it (over and over again). You’ll hurt yourself instead of growing. In a similar way, new designers that have too much asked of them without the proper support will strain and strain, doubting themselves and losing confidence along the way, without finding meaningful growth in the process.

Everyone is different and deserves to be evaluated independently.
Rarely, but sometimes, a junior designer has exceptional foresight beyond their years of experience. Their training or background may have uniquely prepared them for challenges in your space. Being aware of the risks of hiring junior designers is not the same as ignoring their applications. You should continue entertaining candidates who don’t meet your years-of-experience requirements. I am so glad some companies years ago took a bet on me.

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Apprenticeships are an amazing compromise when your organization can support them responsibly.
Dan Mall gives an excellent proposal on apprenticeships to not only raise up a new generation of designers but to make our community more inclusive as well. At Airbnb, most of the team was made up of mid-to-senior level designers with few, if any, open junior positions. As the organization grew, it slowly opened up to apprenticeship programs that allowed their treasure trove of experience to properly onboard and guide new designers. With the right support, new designers were able to make all kinds of meaningful contributions and added tremendous value to the product. The business was buttressed by strong experience and new talent was given an opportunity; it was the best of both worlds.

Finally, investing in junior designers is absolutely something you, an entrepreneur, should do.
Participate in communities like General Assembly or a local university; they often have programs that invite students to work on real-world problems. Sponsor a student project with something your company is working on. Offer time to advise and coach them giving realistic feedback and constraints. We’re talking about a mere hour or two of your time. The final work may not be perfect, but it’s a great way to invest in the next generation and expand your creative network with designers who may be a better fit later on. Many people who were at least kind enough to get lunch with me in grad school became employers or partners on projects years later.

When students finish my class and prepare to enter the real world, I often recommend that they consider bigger companies that have support for entry-level professionals. They can learn the pros and cons of corporate life. They can develop a bitter, lasting, and personal distaste for bureaucracy and then go join a startup. It’s a better strategy for finding a mentor, building your network and making friends… all while growing along the way.

We understand the complexity of choosing the right designer for your company. To help you out, Yanko Design Job Board is our undertaking to ensure you connect with the best quality applicants. Post a job now to receive highly relevant candidates who speed up your hiring process.

The original write up by Shawn Sprockett can be found here.

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from Yanko Design