Underwater Cables Connect the World to the Internet (Vox)


Hundreds of submarine cables currently lace the seafloor and transmit large amounts of data across the world. Their importance in connecting the global world to the internet is why corporations like Google and Facebook are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in cable system consortiums. Phil Edwards from Vox discusses the history of these cables and makes the case for why they are represent modern-day trade routes. Read the article here.

Sweet and Sour: Sugar’s Effects on the Brain (TED-Ed)

Why is sugar addictive and how does it affect the brain? Nicole Avena from Ted-Ed Original explains in an illustrative video how sugar reinforces our cravings for sweets by increasing our levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s rewards and pleasures. Seen from this perspective, sugar’s “activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine,” writes Avena.

Success of Genetically Altered Beagles Has Big Implications (Smithsonian)

beagleResearchers from China have successfully edited the genes of two beagles to enhance their muscle growth. Using a technology known as CRISPR, the team from Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health disabled a gene that blocks muscle growth and injected the edited gene into beagle embryos.

The result? “The beagles have ‘more muscles and are expected to have stronger running ability, which is good for hunting, police applications,'” says Liangxue Lai, one of the researchers. Could this lead to genetically edited pets?  Read the article here.

New Study: Medication Errors Frequent in Surgeries (Bloomberg)


A new study found evidence that roughly half of anesthesiology surgeries completed at Massachusetts General Hospital involved some kind of medication error or medication-related harm. The study raises important questions about the potential for hospitals to improve patient safety, particularly at the intersection of medication and surgery.

“In the operating room things happen very rapidly, and patients’ conditions change quickly, so we don’t have time to go through that whole process [of safeguards], which can take hours,” says Karen Nanji, an anesthesiologist at Mass General and the lead author of the study. Read the article.