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Welcome back to our Cool Stuff Roundup, where we collect the best stories shared on Freethink’s internal Slack channel, and share them with you.

Virtual reality promises to change the way we experience everything from video games to live sports, but will it also change the way we dream? A new study suggests that VR users experience more lucid dreams than conventional computer users. Researchers think it’s because “engagement in dream-like environments—like many virtual-reality programs are—increases lucid dreaming frequency.”

vr
VR headset at SXSW. Photo via Flickr user Nan Palmero

Another incredible stem cell therapy case: Last week we told you about the experimental stem cell treatment that restored Vanna Belton’s vision, and the fight over whether patients should be able to receive that treatment at all. The case of Kris Boesen offers more super promising evidence that stem therapy works: Three months after receiving a stem infusion for a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the neck down, Boesen was “able to feed himself, use his cell phone, write his name, operate a motorized wheelchair, and hug his friends and family.”

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Kris Boeson. Image via USC

Turns out DNA is a great way to store data, and not just the genetic kind: In a development you probably didn’t see coming, Microsoft transferred the entirety of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace by translating the 1s and 0s that make up digital data into nucleotides. Lead researcher Karen Strauss says “a shoebox worth of DNA could hold the equivalent of roughly 100 giant data centers.”

Can we cure every disease with $3 billion? Pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, want to try. Over the next decade, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is investing $3 billion toward “helping cure, prevent, or manage all disease” within their children’s lifetime. Of that $3 billion, $600 million will go toward the creation of Biohub, a physical facility that will bring together software engineers and medical researchers from Stanford, Berkeley, and other elite Bay Area institutions. Tall order, long runway, best of luck.

The Back to the Future shoes are finally here: Sneaker heads have been fantasizing about the self-lacing shoes worn by Marty McFly for 30 years, and Nike finally made them. The Hyperadapt has a motor in the sole, a censor in the heel, and can lace itself up.

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Dispatches
A Tumor-Killing Virus Could Treat Eye Cancer and Save Children's Sight
A Tumor-Killing Virus Could Treat Eye Cancer and Save Children's Sight
Dispatches
A Tumor-Killing Virus Could Treat Eye Cancer and Save Children's Sight
The only treatment for retinoblastoma is surgical removal of the eye—but scientists may have found another way: cancer-killing viruses.
By Hemant Khanna

The only treatment for retinoblastoma is surgical removal of the eye—but scientists may have found another way: cancer-killing viruses.

Dispatches
Tiny Satellite “Constellations” Could Bring the Entire World Online
Tiny Satellite “Constellations” Could Bring the Entire World Online
Dispatches
Tiny Satellite “Constellations” Could Bring the Entire World Online
SpaceX is out in front, but the race for global satellite internet is getting crowded.
By Dan Bier

SpaceX is out in front, but the race for global satellite internet is getting crowded.

Dispatches
Zika Could Be a "Smart Missile" for Brain Cancer
Zika Could Be a "Smart Missile" for Brain Cancer
Dispatches
Zika Could Be a "Smart Missile" for Brain Cancer
Zika can devastate fetal brains; scientists want to turn it against brain tumors instead.
By Dan Bier

Zika can devastate fetal brains; scientists want to turn it against brain tumors instead.

On the Fringe
Could Freezing Your Body Offer a Chance at Immortality?
Could Freezing Your Body Offer a Chance at Immortality?
On the Fringe
Could Freezing Your Body Offer a Chance at Immortality?
In a lab in Arizona, dozens of bodies sit preserved at 320 degrees below zero. They each paid $200,000 to…
By Blake Snow

In a lab in Arizona, dozens of bodies sit preserved at 320 degrees below zero. They each paid $200,000 to be frozen on the hope that, one day, medicine will advance far enough to once again bring them back from the dead.

Coded
The Evolution of a Dissident: How Ladar Levison Became Someone Who Said "No" to...
The Evolution of a Dissident: How Ladar Levison Became Someone Who Said "No" to the FBI
Coded
The Evolution of a Dissident: How Ladar Levison Became Someone Who Said "No" to...
For Ladar Levison, founder of secure email service Lavabit, everything changed when the two FBI agents showed up at his…
By Mike Riggs

For Ladar Levison, founder of secure email service Lavabit, everything changed when the two FBI agents showed up at his door.

The New Space Race
Here's What Happens to the Human Body in Outer Space
Here's What Happens to the Human Body in Outer Space
The New Space Race
Here's What Happens to the Human Body in Outer Space
As the idea of colonizing space becomes mainstream, it’s important to keep in mind that traveling in outer space does…
By Mike Riggs

As the idea of colonizing space becomes mainstream, it’s important to keep in mind that traveling in outer space does some crazy stuff to our bodies.

The New Space Race
Can We Make It In Space?
Can We Make It In Space?
Watch Now
The New Space Race
Can We Make It In Space?
What if one day, everything in space was made in space? 3D printing may hold the answer.
Watch Now

NASA intern turned Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Jason Dunn, saw what was holding humans back from colonizing outer space...and decided to do something about it. With his company Made in Space’s cutting-edge 3D printer, astronauts can break their reliance on costly resupply missions from Earth and—for the first time ever—build new supplies for themselves in space. Dunn and his team believe their invention will usher in a new era of dramatic…

Superhuman
Meet the Paralyzed Man Who Can Walk Again
Meet the Paralyzed Man Who Can Walk Again
Superhuman
Meet the Paralyzed Man Who Can Walk Again
Robert is paralyzed from the chest down. But now a robotic exoskeleton is giving him what he calls "a second…
By Mike Riggs

Robert is paralyzed from the chest down. But now a robotic exoskeleton is giving him what he calls "a second chance at life."

COMING SOON
Superhuman Season 5 | Trailer
Superhuman Season 5 | Trailer
Watch Now
COMING SOON
Superhuman Season 5 | Trailer
Our best original series is back! Watch now for a look into our Superhuman future.
Watch Now

Superhuman is back with Season 5! Premiering Wednesday, August 7th, we'll be meeting the scientists, cyborgs, and real life heroes who are pushing the frontiers of groundbreaking medical technology. Can't wait until then? Get to know the Superhuman cast below. The Emerging Cyborg Meet Alec McMorris When his cousin’s car skidded into a guardrail on an icy Utah road in 2013, Alec McMorris rushed to help him. While trying…