First living robots created from frog stem cells


XenobotDouglas Blackiston

Researchers in the US have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that move around under their own steam…

These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”…

Roboticists tend to favour metal and plastic for their strength and durability, but Levin and his colleagues see benefits in making robots from biological tissues. When damaged, living robots can heal their wounds, and once their task is done they fall apart, just as natural organisms decay when they die.

Their unique features mean that future versions of the robots might be deployed to clean up microplastic pollution in the oceans, locate and digest toxic materials, deliver drugs in the body or remove plaque from artery walls…

Wow! A dramatic start to an entirely new genre of bio-engineering.

Yes, there’s a chunk of space at the end of the article dedicated to ethical considerations – which may be relevant in a few decades. I’ll leave the navel-gazing to academics. They’ll have enough to deal with – certainly, in the GOUSA, with religious nutters.

Republican Party still trying to block the Equal Rights Amendment

…The Equal Rights Amendment, which passed Congress in 1972 and would amend the Constitution to give women equal standing under the law, is on the verge of ratification. Within the next few weeks, Virginia is expected to become the 38th state to ratify the ERA, clearing the Constitutional threshold for ratification, which is three-fourths of the states.

Already, Republicans are in court trying to block the ERA’s inclusion in the Constitution. At the end of December, three GOP attorneys general filed a suit in a federal court in Alabama to block the ERA’s ratification, arguing that it’s not constitutional…

The litigation marks the start of a new chapter in the decadeslong fight to get women’s rights into the Constitution…

“It’s kind of disturbing that in 2020 that any state would spend resources trying to maintain women’s second-class citizenship in this country,” Wendy Murphy said.

Some Democratic attorneys general also put out a strong statement…lambasting their Republican counterparts for being on the wrong side of history.

Nothing surprising to me about today’s Republican Party dedicating all its resources to reactionary and bigoted causes. Is anyone actually surprised?