Vol 2.32 | 08.09.19

Read time: 2 minutes
This Is How Bad Movies Start

A team of scientists in China and California are working on a project to mix human stem cells in with the embryos of monkeys with the goal of breeding animals that contain fully human organs for use in human organ transplants. I mean, what could possibly go wrong here?

Who Owns the Building Blocks?

Not of biology, but of art. Where exactly should the lines for copyright protection be drawn in this age of digital information, which — as Kevin Kelly has been arguing for some time now — wants to be copied, edited, remixed, sampled? A jury in Los Angeles just ordered Katy Perry and Capitol Records to pay nearly $3 million in damages to the Christian rap artist “Flame” over the purported copying of a four note segment. How small does a piece of music get to be before it is less a song protected by copyright and simply a few notes, like a chord, usable by any and all?

The Scandal of Stock Buybacks

That may sound salacious, but it’s tame compared to what the headline writers at The Atlantic used: swindle. You read and be the judge … but I must confess this one example alone is pretty convincing: “Merck insists it must keep drug prices high to fund new research. In 2018, the company spent $10 billion on R&D—and $14 billion on share repurchases and dividends.”

The Soviet Union’s Apollo 13

No, it didn’t feature a dramatic explosion turning a then-routine trip to the moon into a live tv drama with the lives of thee astronauts in the balance. That said, the Soviet mission to rescue its silent and marooned space station Salyut 7 did feature some gutsy space flying and docking, and spacewalking bravery of two cosmonauts in a dark and frozen station, working with winter coats over their space suits to keep warm. Yes, really.

Take a 3D Tour of Apollo 11’s Columbia

The Command Modules of the Apollo Program were far more than just a slightly bigger space capsule than that of the Gemini Program to accommodate a third crew member. In my mind, I’ve always struggled to envision how, though. It’s always looked like a tiny compartment with just barely enough room for the 3 astronaut “couches” and the instrumentation and control panel. I never quite understood how they had room to change out of their pressure suits, where food and bathroom supplies were stored, and where containers full of moon rocks could possibly be kept for the ride home. Then I discovered this wicked cool, fully navigable, 3D-rendered model of the inside of Columbia, the Command Module for Apollo 11, built and hosted by the Smithsonian.