Article: Bio-hackers sidestep Big Pharma with new open-source insulin

Cures, Drugs, Open Health

Bio-hackers sidestep Big Pharma with new open-source insulin

Estimates find that some 10 percent of all Americans have diabetes, but just three companies manufacture the life-saving medicine needed to treat it. That’s believed to explain why diabetes has become the most expensive chronic condition in the United States, with prices doubling between 2012 and 2016.

An organization called Open Insulin hopes to change the calculus by creating open-source alternatives to the insulin made by the Big Three. The non-profit group is producing not only the compositions for insulin, but also hardware equivalents to the production equipment used by major pharmaceutical companies. The idea is that any community around the world could use the instructions to spin up their own small-scale manufacturing and meet local needs.

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Article: How the U.S. Government Can Learn to See the Future

Open Governance, Standards

How the U.S. Government Can Learn to See the Future

In 1973, then-Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger argued that policymaking could be reduced to a process of “making complicated bets about the future,” noting that it would be helpful if he could be supplied with “estimates of the relevant betting odds.”

Despite Kissinger’s plea for betting odds, forecasting efforts in the government today remain underdeveloped. The early failure to anticipate and prepare for the coronavirus, despite indicators that a pandemic was likely, has cost hundreds of thousands of American lives.

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Article: A City Is Not a Computer

Cities, Innovation, Open Space

A City Is Not a Computer

“What should a city optimize for?” Even in the age of peak Silicon Valley, that’s a hard question to take seriously. (Hecklers on Twitter had a few ideas, like “fish tacos” and “pez dispensers.”) 1 Look past the sarcasm, though, and you’ll find an ideology on the rise. The question was posed last summer by Y Combinator — the formidable tech accelerator that has hatched a thousand startups, from AirBnB and Dropbox to robotic greenhouses and wine-by-the-glass delivery — as the entrepreneurs announced a new research agenda: building cities from scratch. Wired’s verdict: “Not Actually Crazy.” 

Which is not to say wise. For every reasonable question Y Combinator asked — “How can cities help more of their residents be happy and reach their potential?” — there was a preposterous one: “How should we measure the effectiveness of a city (what are its KPIs)?”

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