Why it’s dangerous to liken DNA to computer code

Watson and Crick with a model of DNA, the code of biological life, in 1953. Photograph: A Barrington Brown/Science Photo Library Afew days ago, on my way to a discussion in the exquisite little McCrum theatre, which is hidden away in the centre of Cambridge, I had to pass through the courtyard of the Eagle pub in Bene’t Street. As I did so, I suddenly remembered that this is the hostelry where, on 28 February 1953, Francis Crick, rushing in from the nearby Cavendish Lab, announced to astonished lunchers that he and James Watson…

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Why are we still pretending ‘trickle-down’ economics work?

Art Laffer’s career has been heavy on punditry, light in academic rigor, and absolutely destructive for the average American and the long-term health and sustainability of our economy. Photograph: AP Next Wednesday, Donald Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the arch-conservative economist Art Laffer. Sadly, Laffer’s career has been heavy on punditry, light in academic rigor, and absolutely destructive for the average American and the long-term health and sustainability of our economy. A number of economists have already dismissed Laffer’s signature supply-side economics theory as pure nonsense. For his…

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Why the world is due a revolution in economics education

Economic thinking governs much of our world. But the discipline’s teaching is stuck in the past. Centred around antiquated 19th-century models built on Newtonian physics, economics treats humans as atomic particles, rather than as social beings. While academic research often manages to transcend this simplicity, undergraduate education does not – and the influence of these simplified ideas is carried by graduates as they go on to work in politics, media, business and the civil service. Economists such as myself tend to speak in tightly coded jargon and mathematical models. We speak of “economic…

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Why All Runners Should Consider Adding Yoga to Their Routines

“Down Dog,” the teacher says. It’s the last one of class; by now my body is dripping in sweat and my muscles are particularly loose. With 10 minutes until beloved Savasana, I know which pose is coming next. “Lift your right leg to the sky and pull it through for Sleeping Pigeon. Keep your right thigh parallel to the mat, and make sure your foot stays flexed.” I glide my foot forward just as she says, anticipating what I’m about to feel. Sleeping Pigeon, a deep hip opener, is one of…

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