BITS ‘N’ PIECES
What do whales sound like? When it comes to sperm whales, they sound kind of like a creaky door hinge — and marine biologist David Gruber and a team at @ProjectCETI are on a mission to find out exactly what those sounds mean and how we could use them to speak to them one day. He and his group of scientists, linguists and AI specialists are using a combination of machine learning and noninvasive robots to analyze and understand whale language. “There’s clear structure in how these animals communicate,” explains Gruber in his talk for TED’s Audacious Project. “Sperm whales send codas back and forth to each other in sequences, and there are regional dialects like British and Australian accents.”
tiny 2-headed worms are actually a huge deal! In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists have started to crack the electrical code that dictates how living cells communicate and form into organisms. And with this knowledge, they’re figuring how to rewrite it, creating totally new creatures — kind of like living “robots” — that include one made entirely from skin cells. “This organism has never existed before,” says biologist Michael Levin PhD. “This is literally the only organism that I know of on the face of this planet whose evolution took place not in the biosphere of the Earth but inside a computer.” Yet another reason why these wee worms matter: This research holds major potential applications for medicine such as repairing birth defects, regenerating human tissue, even treating cancerous tumors.