Welcome to Reading List, a weekly collection of great tech reads from around the web. This week we explore re-engineering the human body, how New York was transformed into “Fear City,” seven myths about Silicon Valley, and more! Enjoy.


  • More and more amputees, engineers, and would-be cyborgs are rejecting the notion that the average human body is necessarily the best blueprint. With technology, we can now do a lot more than what’s biologically possible. A fascinating read on the people now experimenting with—and trying to improve—the human form. [The Atlantic]
  • Forty summers ago, a group of New York City police, corrections officers and firefighters launched a public distrust campaign that transformed the Big Apple into “Fear City.” This retrospective explores the social and political angst underlaying one of the most turbulent periods in New York’s history, and the lessons that Fear City can offer the present. [The Guardian]
  • Last week, researchers announced that they’d genetically engineered yeast cells to cook up morphine from scratch. The breakthrough, which came much more quickly than anyone anticipated, leaves the policymakers tasked with monitoring and controlling drug-producing organisms scrambling to catch up. [The New Yorker]
  • Is Silicon Valley, once a land of upstarts and innovators, teetering toward collapse? These days, America’s tech hub seems to be putting out fewer revolutionary products and more uninspired shlock than ever. Here are seven myths that Silicon Valley ought to lay to rest about itself before it implodes. [GQ]
  • A measured look at the promises and deliveries of the genomics age by veteran science reporter David Dobbs. After billions of dollars and seemingly endless hype about the revolutionary medicines genomics will bring, we still know astoundingly little about the factors underlaying our traits and our health. And that’s a problem, because big genomics doesn’t seem to want to stop making grandiose promises. [Buzzfeed]

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