WIRED takes a tour of the new LEGO House in Billund, Denmark. The "home of the brick" was designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and completely inspired by LEGO. The building uses the same dimensions as LEGO bricks, so you could technically build it out of LEGO.
Once inside, visitors are treated to the ultimate LEGO experience, with lots of opportunities to get building and to admire master LEGO builders' breathtaking creations. Subscribe to WIRED
Saeed Ahmed, CNN
There are about 7.6 billion people in the world. And around 24% of them -- 1.8 billion -- are fasting from sunup to sundown. Every day. For an entire month.
It's Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar.
But what if you're not a Muslim -- just a caring, considerate person. Is there anything you should do so you don't come across as insensitive to your fasting friends in the US during Ramadan?
Short answer: No. Long answer: No.
But you can earn some cool points if you follow these 10 tips:
9. You can say 'Ramadan Mubarak' ...
There's no "war on Christmas"-level controversy surrounding the greeting (it means "Happy Ramadan"). Your Muslim co-worker will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
10. ... but please don't say, 'I should fast, too. I need to lose weight'
Ramadan's not about that. Plus, one of Ramadan's side effects is obesity (it's all that post-sundown overeating).
By Leo Babauta
On my 46th birthday recently, my (mostly adult) kids wrote out a list of lessons I’d taught each of them in their lives so far. Each wrote their own list, and my wife Eva sweetly put them together in a notebook.
As I read through them, I felt like crying. It’s so incredibly touching that they appreciate what I’ve been trying to pass on to them, things I’ve been learning and want them to understand.
As a father, there are few things more meaningful than to see how you’ve helped your kids through your example and talks over the years. We have a mixed family of 6 kids, aging from 13 years old to 26 years, and all of them are wonderful human beings.
It turns out, there were some lessons that all or most of the kids put on their list, which I’m going to share with you here. These lessons they had in common made me wonder if these were the more powerful lessons, or if they were simply the ones I talked about the most. :)
So here they are, roughly ordered in how frequently they showed up on my kids’ lists:
I love my kids with all my heart, and it has been a privilege to be their dad. I take 10% of the credit and give the rest to their moms, grandparents, and themselves.
Also … from them, I’ve learned some lessons that are just as important:
By Tim Harford
t isn't easy to type "QWERTY" on a qwerty keyboard.
My left-hand little finger holds the shift key, then the other fingers of my left hand clumsily crab sideways across the upper row. Q-W-E-R-T-Y.
There's a lesson here: it matters where the keys sit on your keyboard. There are good arrangements and bad ones.
Many people think that qwerty is a bad one - in fact, that it was deliberately designed to be slow and awkward.
Could that be true? And why do economists, of all people, argue about this?
It turns out that the stakes are higher than they might first appear.
But let's start by figuring out why anyone might have been perverse enough to want to slow down typists.
In the early 1980s, I persuaded my mother Deb to let me use her mechanical typewriter, a miraculous contraption which would transcend my awful handwriting.
When I hit a key, a lever would flick up from behind the keyboard and whack hard against an inked ribbon, squeezing that ink against a sheet of paper.
On the end of the lever - called a type bar - would be a pair of reversed letters in relief.
I discovered that if I hit several keys at once, the type bars all flew up at the same time into the same spot.
Fun for a nine-year-old boy, less so for a professional typist.
Typing at 60 words per minute (wpm) - no stretch for a good typist - means five or six letters striking the same spot each second. At such a speed, the typist might need to be slowed down for the sake of the typewriter. That is what qwerty supposedly did.
Then again, if qwerty really was designed to be slow, how come the most popular pair of letters in English, T-H, are adjacent and right under the index fingers? The plot thickens.
The father of the qwerty keyboard was Christopher Latham Sholes, a printer from Wisconsin who sold his first typewriter in 1868 to Porter's Telegraph College, Chicago. That bit's important.
The qwerty layout was designed for the convenience of telegraph operators transcribing Morse code - that's why, for example, the Z is next to the S and the E, because Z and SE are indistinguishable in American Morse code. The telegraph receiver would hover over those letters, waiting for context to make everything clear.
So the qwerty keyboard wasn't designed to be slow. But it wasn't designed for the convenience of you and me, either.
So why do we still use it?
The simple answer is that qwerty won a battle for dominance in the 1880s.
Sholes' design was taken up by the gunsmiths E Remington and Sons. They finalised the layout and put it on the market for $125 - perhaps $3,000 (£2,271) in today's money, many months' income for the secretaries who would have used it.
t wasn't the only typewriter around - Sholes has been described as the "52nd man to invent the typewriter" - but the qwerty keyboard emerged victorious.
The Remington company cannily provided qwerty typing courses, and when it merged with four major rivals in 1893, they all adopted what became known as "the universal layout".
And this brief struggle for market dominance in 1880s America determines the keyboard layout on today's iPads.
Nobody then was thinking about our interests - but their actions control ours.
And that's a shame, because more logical layouts exist: notably the Dvorak, designed by August Dvorak and patented in 1932.
It favours the dominant hand (left and right-hand layouts are available) and puts the most-used keys together.
The US Navy conducted a study in the 1940s demonstrating that the Dvorak was vastly superior: training typists to use the Dvorak layout would pay for itself many times over.
So why didn't we all switch to Dvorak? The problem lay in co-ordinating the switch.
Qwerty had been the universal layout since before Dvorak was born.
Most typists trained on it. Any employer investing in a costly typewriter would naturally choose the layout that most typists could use, especially when economies of scale made it the cheapest model on the market.
Dvorak keyboards never stood a chance.
So now we start to see why this case matters. Many economists argue qwerty is the quintessential example of something they call "lock in".
This isn't really about typewriters.
It's about Microsoft Office and Windows, Amazon's control of the online retail link between online buyers and sellers, and Facebook's dominance of social media.
If all your friends are on Facebook apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp, doesn't that lock you in as surely as a qwerty typist?
This matters. The lock-in is the friend of monopolists, the enemy of competition, and may require a robust response from regulators.
But maybe dominant standards are dominant not because of lock-in, but just because the alternatives simply aren't as compelling as we imagine.
Consider the famous Navy study that demonstrated the superiority of the Dvorak keyboard.
Two economists, Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis, unearthed that study, and concluded it was badly flawed. They also raised an eyebrow at the name of the man who supervised it - the Navy's leading time-and-motion expert, one Lieutenant-Commander… August Dvorak.
Liebowitz and Margolis don't deny that the Dvorak design may be better: the world's fastest alphanumeric typists do use Dvorak's layout. In 2008, Barbara Bradford was recorded maintaining a speed of 150 words per minute (wpm) for 50 minutes, and reached a top speed of 212 wpm using such a keyboard.
But they were just not convinced that this was ever an example where an entire society was desperate to switch to a hugely superior standard yet unable to co-ordinate.
And in fact these days, most of us peck away at our own emails, on devices which can actually let you switch your keyboard layout. Windows, iOS and Android all offer Dvorak layouts.
You no longer need to persuade your co-workers, other employers and secretarial schools to switch with you. If you want it, you can just use it. Nobody else is even going to notice.
Yet most of us stick with qwerty. The door is no longer locked, but we can't be bothered to escape.
Lock-in seems to be entrenching the position of some of the most powerful and valuable companies in the world today - including Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.
Maybe those locks are as unbreakable as the qwerty standard once seemed.
Or maybe they risk being crow-barred off if restless consumers are tempted by something better.
After all, it wasn't that long ago that people worried about users being locked in to MySpace.
If you're opening a restaurant where five restaurants have failed,
make sure you find out why.
In Start Your Own Business, the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors outline 10 important criteria you should evaluate when considering a location for your new business.
Before you start shopping for business space, you need to have a clear picture of what you must have, what you'd like to have, what you absolutely won't tolerate and how much you're able to pay. Developing that picture can be a time-consuming process that's both exciting and tedious, but it's essential you give it the attention it deserves. While many startup mistakes can be corrected later on, a poor choice of location is sometimes impossible to repair.
Be systematic and realistic as you consider the following 10 location points.
Style of operation
Is your operation going to be formal and elegant? Or kicked-back and casual?
Your location should be consistent with your particular style and image.
If your business is retailing, do you want a traditional store, or would you like to try operating from a kiosk or booth in a mall or a cart that you can move to various locations?
There are two important angles to the issue of demographics. First, consider who your customers are and how important their proximity to your location is. For a retailer and some service providers, this is critical; for other types of businesses, it might not be as important. The demographic profile you have of your target market will help you make this decision.
Then take a look at the community. If your customer base is local, does a sufficient percentage of that population match your customer profile to support your business? Does the community have a stable economic base that will provide a healthy environment for your business? Be cautious when considering communities that are largely dependent on a particular industry for their economy; a downturn could be bad for business.
Now think about your work force. What skills do you need, and are people with those talents available? Does the community have the resources to serve their needs? Is there sufficient housing in the appropriate price range? Will your employees find the schools, recreational opportunities, culture, and other aspects of the community satisfactory?
For most retail businesses, foot traffic is extremely important. You don't want to be tucked away in a corner where shoppers are likely to bypass you, and even the best retail areas have dead spots. By contrast, if your business requires confidentiality, you may not want to be located in a high-traffic area.
Monitor the traffic outside a potential location at different times of the day and on different days of the week to make sure the volume of pedestrian traffic meets your needs.
Accessibility and parking
Consider how accessible the facility will be for everyone who'll be using it--customers, employees, and suppliers. If you're on a busy street, how easy is it for cars to get in and out of your parking lot? Is the facility accessible to people with disabilities? What sort of deliveries are you likely to receive, and will your suppliers be able to easily and efficiently get materials to your business? Small-package couriers need to get in and out quickly; trucking companies need adequate roads and loading docks if you're going to be receiving freight on pallets.
Find out about the days and hours of service and access to locations you're considering. Are the heating and cooling systems left on or turned off at night and on weekends? If you're inside an office building, are there periods when exterior doors are locked and, if so, can you have keys? A beautiful office building at a great price is a lousy deal if you plan to work weekends but the building is closed on weekends--or they allow you access, but the air conditioning and heat are turned off so you roast in the summer and freeze in the winter.
Be sure there's ample convenient parking for both customers and employees. As with foot traffic, take the time to monitor the facility at various times and days to see how the demand for parking fluctuates. Also make sure the parking lot is well-maintained and adequately lighted.
Are competing companies located nearby? Sometimes that's good, such as in industries where comparison shopping is popular.
You may also catch the overflow from existing businesses, particularly if you're located in a restaurant and entertainment area. But if a nearby competitor is only going to make your marketing job tougher, look elsewhere.
Proximity to other businesses and services
Take a look at what other businesses and services are in the vicinity from two key perspectives. First, see if you can benefit from nearby businesses--by the customer traffic they generate--because those companies and their employees could become your customers, or because it may be convenient and efficient for you to be their customer.
Second, look at how they'll enrich the quality of your company as a workplace. Does the vicinity have an adequate selection of restaurants so your employees have places to go for lunch? Is there a nearby day-care center for employees with children? Are other shops and services you and your employees might want conveniently located?
Image and history of the site
What does this address say about your company? Particularly if you're targeting a local market, be sure your location accurately reflects the image you want to project. It's also a good idea to check out the history of the site. Consider how it's evolved over the years.
Ask about previous tenants. If you're opening a restaurant where five restaurants have failed, you may be starting off with an insurmountable handicap--either because there's something wrong with the location or because the public will assume your business will go the way of the previous tenants. If several types of businesses have been there and failed, do some research to find out why -- you need to confirm whether the problem was with the businesses or the location. That previous occupants have been wildly successful is certainly a good sign, but temper that with information on what type of businesses they were compared to yours.
Find out if any planning restrictions, ordinances or zoning restrictions could affect your business in any way.
Check for the specific location you're considering as well as neighbouring properties -- you probably don't want a liquor store opening up next to your day-care centre.
The building’s infrastructure
Many older buildings don't have the necessary infrastructure to support the high-tech needs of contemporary operations.
Make sure the building has adequate electrical, air conditioning, and telecommunications service to meet your present and future needs.
It's a good idea to hire an independent engineer to check this out for you so you're sure to have an objective evaluation.
Utilities and other costs
Rent composes the major portion of your ongoing facilities expense, but consider extras such as utilities--they're included in some leases but not in others. If they're not included, ask the utility company for a summary of the previous year's usage and billing for the site.
Also find out what kind of security deposits the various utility providers require so you can develop an accurate move-in budget; however, you may not need a deposit if you have an established payment record with the company.
If you have to provide your own janitorial service, what will it cost? What are insurance rates for the area? Do you have to pay extra for parking? Consider all your location-related expenses, and factor them into your decision.
When asked ‘how many hours of sleep do I need?’ most people will answer ‘eight hours’, without knowing why or where that number comes from. Yet many people are surviving on more or less sleep than this. Have you ever challenged the assumption that you need eight hours to function?
In this article, we’ll examine exactly how much sleep you should be getting and why. We’ll also talk about whether it’s possible to be healthy if you miss out on sleep and whether you can sleep too much.
Here is how much sleep people of different ages need, according to the National Sleep Foundation:
Why We Need to Sleep
It’s important to understand exactly why we need sleep; after all, we spend a third of our lives unconscious. So there has to be a good reason for it! We imagine that our brain shuts down to allow us to be unconscious, but this isn’t the case. It’s still very active throughout the night.
We’ve come to understand a lot about what happens during sleep, through sleep deprivation studies. By measuring the negative effects of sleep deprivation, scientists have come to understand what the brain and body are doing while we slumber. While there is no definitive conclusion, experts generally agree that this is what happens when we get proper rest:
Do You Need Eight Hours?
So how much sleep do you actually need? Are those eight hours cutting it or could you survive on less? In short, there is no one size fits all answer. It depends on several factors such as age, gender, genetics and how active you are during the day.
This graphic from The National Sleep Foundation gives an overview of how much sleep do you need at each age. According to the chart, adults (aged between 26 and 64 years) should be getting no more than 10 and no less than 6 hours each night. The graphic also shows that the correct amount of sleep for young adults is 7-9 hours. For teens and elders, 8 hours also falls within the recommended range. Most experts agree with these guidelines, so it’s likely that this is where that all-encompassing eight hours comes from. Babies and children need more sleep, but we discuss them less because they usually have no trouble dropping off. Troubles with sleep usually come to prominence in early adulthood and remain throughout our lives.
As for how the experts got to those numbers, there are a few different methods. One method was the analysis of data from hundreds of sleep studies to find the averages.
In two experiments, participants had no indications about the time of day, remaining in the dark with no access to clocks. In both instances, the majority of participants would still sleep for eight hours; no more, no less.
So that’s how much sleep do you need according to your age, but what about gender?
The article doesn’t suggest any hard and fast rules but focuses on the factors that can interrupt us at bedtime. For example, pregnant women may need to get more than the recommended range as they experience a huge toll on their energy. Whereas men can be more prone to sleep disorders, needing more hours of sleep to compensate.
Genetics can play a part in how much sleep you’re likely to need. If you have inherited qualities that lead to sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, it’s important to sleep longer to make up for your poor quality sleep. People who are active during the day do more damage to their muscles which takes longer to recover.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
While we sleep, our brain goes through different stages; REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement). Further to that, NREM sleep is also characterized by three distinct stages. Both REM and NREM cycles alternate throughout the night, lasting a varying amount of time.
So it stands to reason that interrupting these essential sleep stages can be harmful. But it’s quite surprising just how risky it can be. This is a general overview of the effects sleep deprivation has on your mental and physical state:
As you can see, getting an adequate amount of sleep is vital to preserve your mental and physical health. Your brain needs to be able to run through these essential sleep cycles so that it can heal and repair. Dozing off for a few hours does not give the brain enough time to carry out the necessary work.
Can You Train Yourself to Need Less Sleep?
It is not advisable to get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Yet, data from American Sleep Association, shows that 35.3% of adults sleep for less than 7 hours per night. This number rises to 40% reporting a short sleep duration after the age of 40.
Sleep expert, Jim Horne, suggests that it is possible for people to get good quality sleep, even in a 6 hour period. He conducted a study where participants reduced their sleep duration over time and still managed to function throughout the day. But even he doesn’t advocate for intentionally sleeping in short bursts.
Rather than training ourselves to need less shut-eye, we can relax if we don’t get the recommended amount of hours every night. After all, trying to force yourself to sleep and worrying about not sleeping are stressful. It becomes a vicious circle; you’re stressed about not sleeping, so you can’t get to sleep, then you worry about the impact of that lack of sleep.
Can You Get Too Much Sleep?
The previously mentioned BBC article suggests that you can ‘bank’ sleep. This is the act of sleeping more than eight hours in anticipation of not getting a full night at some point. Yet, Sleep Health Foundation disagrees, saying that you cannot ‘bank’ sleep. They also state that when you suffer sleep deprivation, you will build up a ‘sleep debt’ which you need to ‘pay’ back. Meaning that, when you can, you will sleep more to make up for it.
With all this talk of ‘banking sleep’ and ‘sleep debts’ you might ask whether it’s a good idea to try and build up more hours when you have the chance.
Evidence suggests that this isn’t a great idea either.
It’s worth noting that the data showed sleeping for less than 300 minutes produces the lowest survival rate.
Controversially, Dr Christopher Winter argues that we don’t all need the recommended amount of sleep. Instead, we should get what we need. He explains that you can sleep too much and that your body will let you know if it’s getting too much rest. This includes waking before your alarm, waking throughout the night and taking a long time to fall asleep.
Some sources even say that too much sleep can lead to the same health concerns as sleep deprivation. According to WebMD, you can count diabetes, heart disease, depression and a high mortality rate, among the risks of sleeping more than 9 hours every night.
How to Get Good Quality Rest
So you shouldn’t get too much sleep and you shouldn’t get too little. It’s not easy to know exactly how much you do need. However, with a stress-free bedtime routine, you will soon begin to get the best amount of hours for you. When you can drop off and wake up without any hassle, that will be the amount of sleep you actually need. In fact, Sleep.org suggests sleeping without an alarm for a week to let your body find its rhythm naturally.
One thing is certain; getting the best quality sleep beats getting a lot of poor quality sleep. In this article, we outline ten steps you can take to ensure that you get the best night’s sleep. These tips address what might stop you from dropping off and will help to reduce any factors that might disrupt you once you’re asleep. Having a regular, healthy sleep routine will be sure to help you get to sleep. But to stay asleep, you need to address the interferences that may wake you throughout the night.
We talk about how it’s essential to have a relaxing environment so that you can drop off with ease. But this is also important so that you’re not woken up through the night. For example, it’s difficult to fall asleep in noisy surroundings and to stay asleep when you’re still exposed to noise disruption. Likewise for having comfortable bedding and a cool environment. If you are shifting around a lot and overheat, your brain will wake you up to take care of the problem.
Waking several times throughout the night is detrimental to quality rest, even if you sleep a lot to make up for it. The brain needs to work through the stages of sleep and if it can’t do that uninterrupted, you will miss out on essential healing and repair.
So it seems like that eight-hour figure could be the golden number after all. At least as a starting point. Sleep much more, or less, than this and you could find yourself with a host of health problems. Of course, that number only applies to young to middle-aged adults. It should be adapted depending on your gender, genetics and activity levels. It would be sensible to aim to get the recommended amount of sleep, but even more important not to become stressed out trying to do it. Try to get eight hours, but don’t worry if you can’t get that every night.
How much sleep do you need to build muscle?
Poor sleep quality can result in reduced muscle mass. In one study it was found that men having more than eight hours of sleep had better muscle mass than that who had six or seven. For this reason, it is advised to get at least eight hours of sleep.
How much sleep do you need when sick or have a cold?
The common cold can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep through the whole night. We know that not getting enough sleep is bad for your immune system. For this reason, it’s recommended to get a few hours more sleep than you normally get while you are sick. Review the chart at the top of this article with sleeep demands by age. Try to hit the minium if not the maximum while sick.
How much sleep do you need after surgery?
Sleeping after a surgery can be difficult. Most patients return to their normal sleep cycle after a week. A recent study has found that sleep-promotion therapy may be helpful. It is smart to get as much sleep as your body feels like it needs after a surgery. Often this may be more than normal as your body heals.
By Robert Cohen
Money laundering is the world's third largest business after foreign exchange and oil and gas. The IMF puts the scale of money laundering at 2%-5% of the world's gross domestic product; that's upwards of $1.5 Trillion USD of illicit money circling the globe.
Indeed, it is said that if you walk a mile in any direction from the main central railway station in any major city in Europe or America - be it London, Paris, Rome, New York, Toronto, etc. - you will pass within "elbow's distance" of a property that is either owned, managed or has been constructed by "dirty money".
And that, most likely, in the past thirty days you have done business, knowingly or unknowingly, with a money launderer.
Origins of Money Laundering
Interestingly, money laundering has been around since biblical times. Back then, merchants often resorted to hiding their hard-earned profits to avoid punitive tax measures imposed by the despotic ruler of the day.
Money laundering, though, really didn't rise to prominence until the 1930's when it became the "weapon of choice" of a most unlikely mob boss: a 5 foot, 3 inch, Polish-born, New York Jew and 9th-grade school drop-out who - unusual for a gangster of that era - relied on his brain, rather than on firepower or muscle, to become the highest ranking non-Italian in what was referred to then as "The Syndicate". He was affectionately known as the "mob's accountant" - and his name was Meyer Lansky.
Note: "Money laundering", as an expression, is of fairly recent origin. The term first appeared in print in 1973 in newspapers reporting the Watergate scandal, referring to the activities of President Nixon's cronies, Attorney-General John Mitchell and Secretary of Commerce Maurice Stans, who secretly undertook to build a campaign war chest in violation of existing U.S. campaign laws.
Here's what you need to know -
Money laundering refers to the processing of criminal proceeds to disguise or legitimize their illegal origin. Typically, there is an attempt to deceive the authorities by making assets appear to have been obtained through legal means with legally-earned income or to be owned by third parties who, in fact, have no relationship to the true owner or source of the funds.
There are four factors common to all money laundering operations:
There are three distinct stages to the "wash cycle":
(a) Immersion (referred to also as "Placement" or "Consolidation")
(b) Heavy Soaping (referred to also as "Layering")
(c) Spin-Dry (referred to also as "Repatriation" or "Integration")
United States, Canada, and Mexico
People in most of the United States, Canada, and Mexico's northern border cities set their clocks forward one hour when Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 10, 2019.
Sunrise will be one hour later on the Sunday morning than the day before, but in return, there are months of long, light summer nights to look forward to.
Equinox on March 20 / 21
On the equinox, night and day are nearly equal – 12 hours each. It is the start of astronomical spring or fall, depending on which side of the equator you are on.
DST Starts in Europe – despite EU Effort to Scrap It
Most Europeans set their clocks forward to DST on Sunday, March 31, 2019, two weeks after the US and Canada.
In September 2018, the European Commission issued a draft directive to permanently scrap DST in the EU and proposed that this upcoming DST adjustment would be the very last EU-wide clock change.
In a public survey, more than 80% of 4.6 million respondents voted to put an end to seasonal clock changes altogether, but the EU Member States called for more time before putting an end to the practice.Several member states have since called for more time to prepare, and a final decision on how and when has not yet been reached.
The cannabis plant may no longer be needed for THC and CBD.
By Yasmin Tayag
One of the biggest hurdles to getting people on board with medical marijuanais that some people don’t like marijuana. Even as legalization becomes widespread, weed has a long way to go before it fully sheds its bad reputation. In the meantime, the findings of a Nature study published Wednesday could help make marijuana useful to people who are leery of its past. By hacking the biology of yeast, scientists found a way to make marijuana’s active ingredients without the marijuana plant.
The study, led by Jay Keasling, Ph.D., a University of California, Berkeley chemical engineering and bioengineering professor, shows that yeast can be genetically modified to produce some major cannabinoids, the chemical compounds found in marijuana.
The most well-known cannabinoids are THC, known for its ability to get people high, and CBD (cannabidiol), associated with relief from pain and anxiety. These compounds, and the dozens of other known cannabinoids in the plant, seem to play various roles in the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. Keasling and his colleagues show that yeast can be used to produce THCA (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), the chemical precursors to THC and CBD.
This technique is nothing new: Genetically modified yeast has previously been modified to produce hops to impart beer’s flavor, synthetic egg whites, and even chemicals to flavor chocolate. Genetic modification techniques like CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to hijack the yeast’s usual processes for producing compounds by allowing scientists to insert a gene from a different organism — carrying the instructions for making a different chemical — into the genome of the yeast. As the yeast cells carry on their lives as usual, they produce the desired chemical, which the scientists can then collect.
In this case, the team gave their yeast a Cannabis-derived gene that carries instructions for producing olivetolic acid, a precursor compound to THC or CBD. They also gave them Cannabis genes that would create the enzymes that could actually turn olivetolic acid into THC and CBD. And so, together with a steady diet of the simple sugar galactose, the yeast had everything they needed to do the team’s bidding.
“Together,” the team writes, “these results lay the foundation for the large-scale production of both natural and synthetic cannabinoids, which could improve pharmacological research into these compounds.”
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