Tag Archives: Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson tackles, quite brilliantly, the genius of Jennifer Doudna, one of the prime inventors of CRISPR, a system that can edit DNA

We’ve always loved the works of Walter Isaacson. Leonardo da Vinci. Einstein. Steve Jobs. He has established himself as the biographer of creativity, innovation and genius. Einstein was the genius of the revolution in physics, and Steve Jobs was the genius of the revolution in digital technology.

We are now on the cusp of a third revolution in science—a revolution in biochemistry that is capable of curing diseases, fending off viruses, and improving the human species. The genius at the center of Isaacson’s upcoming book, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race (Simon & Schuster, $35), is American biochemist and Nobel prize winner Jennifer Doudna, who is considered one of the prime inventors of CRISPR, a system that can edit DNA. (CRISPR has been used in China to create “designer babies” that are immune from the AIDS virus and in the U.S. to cure patients of sickle cell anemia.)

The Code Breaker

Doudna is also a pioneer in discovering the structure of RNA, the molecule that powers CRISPR and also the revolutionary new COVID vaccines that were approved last month. As we roll up our sleeves to get the shots, this book explains how they work. Isaacson shares how the development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer and internet.

Now we are entering a life-science revolution: Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study the code of life—and all the moral dilemmas this brings.

Another winner!

A trio of PBS Distribution DVDs that Start the New Year Off with Must-See Moments

Titles we have seen and will see again:

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World
Luther stepped onto the world stage exactly 500 years ago last fall, as he nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The printing and distribution of the Theses—and other crowd-pleasing critiques of the powerful—quickly made him the most famous person in Europe.

Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World follows this thread, and others, to offer an engaging look at the dramatic moments that shaped Luther’s life: the massive lightning storm that nearly killed him, the bleak self-punishment of his time in the monastery, the corruption that unleashed his anger, his trial before the most powerful man in Europe, and the staged kidnapping that helped him escape the death penalty.
Padraic Delaney stars as Luther. In a quest for authenticity, every word of Luther’s dialogue in the film was taken verbatim from his actual writings and speeches. Similarly, dozens of historians were interviewed, with a careful eye to ensure that all sides of the story are represented.

Mindfulness Goes Mainstream
Mindfulness meditation has gone beyond mainstream into the most unlikely places—from British Parliament to the Marine Corps to Fortune 100 boardrooms—fueled by scientific evidence that confirms its benefits and positive impact on health and well-being. No longer limited to Eastern philosophers or California hippies, mindfulness is now embraced by millions of ordinary people trying to survive in a totally stressed out world.

More than 1,500 studies have now been published citing how meditation lowers stress, improves heart and lung functionality and dramatically enhances focus and performance. Steve Jobs credited his daily meditation practice with the ability to clear his mind in order to access intuitions that led to the creation of Apple products. Tina Turner attributes meditation as the key to turning her life around. And when the coach and most of the players on the Seattle Seahawks are meditating regularly, we have crossed a tipping point.
And the best news of all is that we don’t need to sit on the sidelines and view mindfulness meditation as a spectator sport. Anyone can do it with remarkable results. In the midst of the busyness and chaos of our lives, bombarded by 24/7 news, we long to find a way to remain calm, balanced, centered and effective. Meditation, one of the oldest methods for cultivating inner calm and stability, has now been proven by modern science to have a positive impact on our health and quality of life.
Mindfulness Goes Mainstream explores mindfulness through the voices of some of the very best teachers, business leaders and experts in the field, focusing on areas where mindfulness has proven to have significant benefits, including stress, anxiety and depression; pain, cravings and mindful eating; focus and performance, and compassion and empathy.

Frontline: Mosul
The program is an extraordinary inside look at the brutal battle to drive ISIS out of Iraq’s second largest city, which some military commanders have described as the deadliest urban combat since World War II.  The people of Mosul endured the repressive rule of ISIS for more than two years. This is the story of the men who fought back–and defeated the Islamic State in their heartland. Filmed on the ground by director Olivier Sarbil over the course of the entire nine-month fight, the program is a stunning look at the high cost of the Iraqi Army’s victory over ISIS in the city—large parts of which have been destroyed, with hundreds of thousands of civilians still displaced.


A qualifier for this year’s Documentary Short Subject Academy Awards following its theatrical release in Los Angeles this past summer, this vivid documentary follows the experiences of four young soldiers in a team of Iraqi Special Forces tasked with leading the fight to drive ISIS out of Mosul as the terror group held civilians captive there.