December 2019

A genetic editing tool based on a jumping gene for more reliable results

An article published in the journal “Nature” reports the use of cryo-electron microscopy to capture images of a genetic modification tool called INTEGRATE in the course of its work. A team led by Sam Sternberg of Columbia University applied this technique that uses a transposon to improve the results of a CRISPR-Cas system thanks to its ability to reliably insert DNA sequences into a genome. In essence, the use of a transposon eliminates the potential errors that CRISPR-Cas systems can create by cutting DNA.

Lethbridge-Stewart - Times Squared by Rick Cross

The novel “Times Squared” by Rick Cross was published for the first time in 2016.

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart arrives in New York City with his fiancee Sally Wright and his nephew Owain Vine for what’s supposed to be a vacation. Instead, since his arrival in the USA he gets involved in a series of mysteries that begin with a group of people hospitalized because they became comatose without any apparent cause.

Lieutenant Adrienne Kramer is investigating with a private detective, Paul Dawson, when he’s killed in mysterious circumstances. Kramer continues the work on her own but is forced to involve Lethbridge-Stewart to try to shed light on what appears to be a new Great Intelligence plan.

Michael Moorcock in 2016

Michael John Moorcock was born on December 18, 1939 in London, England. As a writer, his career began in the fantasy genre with the first stories of what’s his most famous character, Elric of Melniboné, to continue for decades adding novels and short fiction in which he interprets the heroic fantasy genre in a personal way.

Michael Moorcock’s production is very varied and in some cases difficult to label because it mixes genres and subgenres in various ways. His activity is made more complex by his musical projects he alternates with literary ones, and by the fact that in various cases he published revised editions of some works with significant changes.

Michael Moorcock’s activity continued expanding the various cycles and sub-cycles with more or less interconnected novels and short fiction. In recent years he seems to be less active in the literary field and more in the musical field but his production is already so big as to require an encyclopedia to explain the great multiverse he created with all the interconnections among the various universes and their heroes generated by this writer’s extraordinary fantasy.

Regina King in 2018

Warning. This review contains spoilers about the 1st season of the TV show “Watchmen”!

On December 15 the 1st season of the show “Watchmen” ended.

The comic series “Watchmen” written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons was published between 1986 and 1987 in the USA. His deconstruction of the classic superhero image had a remarkable influence that went even beyond the world of comics, winning a Hugo award. In 2009 it was adapted into a movie that caused considerable controversy. The TV show created by Damon Lindelof is a sequel to the comic series set over thirty years later and tells of events that are increasingly linked to the comics over the course of the episodes. The consequence is that to understand the various references you need to have read the comics or, if you’re satisfied with a general understanding, you must have at least seen the movie.

The main plot of the TV show takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in an alternative 2019 where a group of white supremacists known as Seventh Kavalry who uses masks inspired to Rorschach are the main threat three years after an attack against the city’s police officers. The consequence is a new law that requires police officers to keep their profession secret, even wearing masks during work. However, the show contains many flashbacks about the lives of the various protagonists.

The Star Collector by Matthew William

The novel “The Star Collector” by Matthew William was published in 2019.

Joe Corbit is a sheriff in a space frontier where problems are generally limited but his life and that of his deputy Tammy change when an investigation leads them to come across an artifact belonging to the Talashaa, an ancient alien civilization that got extinct for mysterious reasons long before the birth of the human species.

When Joe Corbit takes possession of the alien artifact, his intention is to put it up for auction knowing that there are people who are willing to pay a lot of money for a Talashaa artifact. However, the Chinese Galactic Empire was working with the Martian mob to smuggle it for reasons that go well beyond archeology and they want to get it back at all costs.