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Jochen Fromm
Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany

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Bacteria fighting viruses and vice versa. Whoa. Bacteria fight viruses by cutting them into pieces, first they recognize the dangerous code snippets, then they chop them up. The system responsible for it is called CRISPR. CRISPR is an adaptive immune system bacteria use to fight viruses. Viruses in turn try to deactivate the responsible proteins and enzymes. They fight for freedom so to speak.

In humans the immune system is adaptive, and can fight both bacteria and viruses. It seems to be a "forward-looking immune system" which means "if you have a long track record of adversity, it prepares you for bacterial infections. For our ancestors, loneliness and adversity were associated with bacterial infections from wounds with predators and fights with conspecifics. On the other hand, if you are doing well and having a lot of healthy social connections, your immune system shifts forward to prepare you for viruses, which you’re more likely to contract if you're interacting with a lot of people."

In social systems, censorship and book burning in totalitarian states are a bit like this fight of bacteria against the code of viruses. It is an anti-viral response. Totalitarian states act like a huge single-cellular organism which defends itself against dangerous code snippets - this could be books, leaflets or dangerous ideas which are cut into pieces. These snippets are so dangerous because they could alter and destroy the system. 
A molecular on/off switch for CRISPR

Picture bacteria and viruses locked in an arms race. For many bacteria, one line of defense against viral infection is a sophisticated RNA-guided "immune system" called CRISPR-Cas. At the center of this system is a surveillance complex that recognizes viral DNA and triggers its destruction. However, viruses can strike back and disable this surveillance complex using "anti-CRISPR" proteins, though no one has figured out exactly how these anti-CRISPRs work—until now. For the first time, researchers have solved the structure of viral anti-CRISPR proteins attached to a bacterial CRISPR surveillance complex, revealing precisely how viruses incapacitate the bacterial defense system. The research team, co-led by biologist Gabriel C. Lander of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), discovered that anti-CRISPR proteins work by locking down CRISPR's ability to identify and attack the viral genome. One anti-CRISPR protein even "mimics" DNA to throw the CRISPR-guided detection machine off its trail. "It's amazing what these systems do to one-up each other," said Lander. "It all comes back to this evolutionary arms race."

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This looks like Javascipt. Javascript in the IoT using Node.js and NPM. What could go wrong? o_O

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Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in action...

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No country has so much aircraft carriers, stealth bombers or nuclear weapons as the US. While this is a remarkable achievement of engineering, apparently more military spending will not make the country great again, because it is already the most powerful country.

via +John Currin​

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The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth.
~ Bill Clinton

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
~ George Washington

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
~ Thomas Jefferson

I actually don't have a bad hairline.
~ Donald Trump

One of them is different. Can you spot who? Aristotle called rulers who are only interested in themselves tyrants. Chaplin portrayed a tyrant is his film "The Great Dictator" as a narcissistic person who continuously looks into a mirror. In general a tyrant thinks a lot about himself but doesn't care about the people or the law: Voltaire said "The sovereign is called a tyrant who knows no laws but his caprice" and Locke argued "Where Law ends Tyranny begins".

Aristotle defined tyranny as follows: "tyranny is a kind of monarchy which has in view the interest of the monarch only" [Politics Book 3, Part 7]. According the the Greek philosopher a "tyrant has no regard to any public interest, except as conducive to his private ends; his aim is pleasure" [Politics Book 5, Part 10]. Not surprisingly he argues that almost all tyrants have been demagogues: "History shows that almost all tyrants have been demagogues who gained the favor of the people by their accusation of the notables" [Politics Book 5, Part 10].

According to these ancient texts, who of the presidents above would be called a just ruler, and who would fall into the category "possible tyrant"? Judge yourself. 

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Major failure for Trump. Maybe #Obamacare wasn't so bad at all? What kind of president wants to take away health care from the poor to grant tax breaks to the very rich? How evil is that? WTF?

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Meanwhile in Little Britain: the Scottish part of the crew refuses to sail into the abyss. I like Scotland. They have really good whiskey :-)

Via +Gordon McIntosh​​

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I spent the last days in Venice, Italy. Here are some pictures. The city is over a 1000 years old, and still glistens like a jewel in the green lagoon. More about the city:
* John Julius Norwich, "A History of Venice"
* Paul Strathern, "The Spirit of Venice"
* Peter Ackroyd, "Venice: Pure City"
6 Photos - View album

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"Träumerei" (which means "Musing" or "Dreaming") is one of Schumann's best known pieces. It is is one of the 13 pieces of music from "Kinderszenen" ("Scenes from Childhood"), Opus 15, written in 1838, by Robert Schumann.
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