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Comment: To add to: Summary is terrible (Score 1) 52

by DeathByLlama (#47502967) Attached to: Genetically Modifying an Entire Ecosystem
Actually, the paper that this summary is referencing goes the opposite direction and talks about the 1) numerous studies that have already been performed to evaluate safety and 2) outline numerous more that will need to happen.

Fourth, our current knowledge of the risk management (5,11,36,37,95) and containment (35,38) issues associated with gene drives is largely due to the efforts of researchers focused on mosquito-borne illnesses. Frameworks for evaluating ecological consequences are similarly focused on mosquitoes (39) and the few other organisms for which alternative genetic biocontrol methods have been considered (96). While these examples provide an invaluable starting point for investigations of RNA-guided gene drives targeting other organisms, studies examining the particular drive, population, and associated ecosystem in question will be needed.

Go ahead and check out the references (and the rest of the paper) if you're genuinely interested in this topic. This is not mad science, nor is it Pandora's Box.

Comment: Back to spending hours at the library... (Score 1) 239

by DeathByLlama (#47372181) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches
Journalist: // Sits at the library sorting through articles, looking for that 2007 piece on O'Neal //
Journalist: Dang, I wish there was a better way of doing this
Google: I can help you!
EU: No. You can't. Journalist, I'm afraid you're going to have to do this by hand if you want the data.
Journalist: But the data is still there... can't Google just help me sift through it?
EU: No. Go home. There's nothing to see here.
EU: // Thinks about removing the data all together. Stupid libraries, always archiving news... We should just write our own history. //

+ - Ask Slashdot: Which Router Firmware for Bandwidth Management? 1

Submitted by DeathByLlama
DeathByLlama (2813725) writes "Years ago I made the switch from DD-WRT to Tomato firmware for my Linksys router. I lost a couple features, but gained one of the best QoS and bandwidth management systems I have seen on a router to date. Admins can see graphs of current and historical bandwidth usage by IP, set minimum and maximum bandwidth limits by IP range, setup QoS rules, and see and filter graphs and lists of current connections by usage, class or source/destination — all from an elegantly designed GUI. This has allowed me to easily and intelligently allocate and adjust my network's bandwidth; when there is a problem, I can see where it's coming from and create rules around it. I'm currently using the Toastman's VPN Tomato firmware, which has about everything that I would want, except for one key thing: support for ARM-based routers (only Broadcom is supported). I have seen other firmware projects being actively developed in the last few years, so in picking a new 802.11ac router, I need to decide whether Tomato support is a deal-breaker. With solid bandwidth management as a priority, what firmware would you recommend? Stock Asuswrt? Asuswrt-Merlin? OpenWRT? DD-WRT? Tomato? _____?"

Comment: Academic Labs != Industry (Score 0) 153

The whole idea behind safety is that you follow certain rules. These simply *cannot* exist in academia the same way that they can in industry.

In academia, you're trying new things every day, often using protocols that you've made up, or have never used before at the very least. This is just the nature of the beast.

In industry you're generally making a well-defined product. You already know how to produce it, or your project would be in academia. If you already know what you're doing and have Standard Operating Procedures already in place, then OF COURSE you're going to make less mistakes!

Comment: Entirely Overstated Article (Score 0) 149

by DeathByLlama (#43030067) Attached to: Software Lets Scientists Assemble DNA
The technology to synthesize DNA has existed for decades, but is limited in the length of DNA pieces that it can produce. Companies like genescript (mentioned in the article) can put the pieces together for you, but there's even a limit to how much they can put together for you. Plus they've been around for many years now. So first off, this is nothing new.

Second, the program that's reference here isn't really that amazing. There are scores of tools that exist for copying and pasting DNA sequences. Back in the day I used to do it in notepad (and still do from time to time). The fact that they let you essentially "edit the text of your essay" and that it integrates databases of "essays" is cool, but there have been lots of tools like this in the past, (I use them all the time).

I guess what I'm saying is this: there's nothing new here, and even if it was... all you're getting in the mail is DNA -- not the organism. As others have stated, it's an entirely different thing. DNA is completely benign and is just a dry powder at the bottom of a vial. You could eat the suff, no matter the sequence.

Comment: Re:Monsanto takes .. (Score 0, Troll) 419

by DeathByLlama (#42890989) Attached to: Monsanto Takes Home $23m From Small Farmers According To Report
Perhaps Monsanto isn't as bad as they're portrayed here...

That said, I believe the farmer who sold his seeds to the grain elevator was in the wrong, not the farmer (who didn't even know better) who purchased the seeds. This is similar to the file sharer being in the wrong, as opposed to the pirate.

When farmers use Monsanto seeds, they have to realize that they can't redistribute those seeds (or seeds made from those seeds). If this were legal, then Monsanto could be cut out of the picture after the first sale. Farmers could just go to "special" grain elevators who were known to have Monsanto seed progeny and pick up some good cheap stuff. In this case, Monsanto would never be able to recoup the time and billions of dollars spent developing those seeds. It's important to therefore realize that farmers who use Monsanto seeds forfeit their right to distribute seeds to grain elevators; this is their choice.

Farmers choose to use Monsanto seeds. If they still want to distribute seeds to grain elevators, then they can't use Monsanto's products. If it's so crucial that they use Monsanto products, then all hail Monsanto for saving the grain market -- it would have failed (or at least done more poorly) otherwise. And if Monsanto is price gouging, then competitors should have no problem creating alternative products and undercutting them... but they can't because of the aforementioned time and billions spent (which Monsanto needs to recoup or they can't make these "crucial" products).

Although it's easy to paint a David and Goliath portrait here and shed tears for the poor farmers getting sued by a big corporation, right and wrong aren't so black and white here. There's a reason why the laws (made by the people) are defending Monsanto's products here. It's simply not an easy case.

Comment: Re:Related to huge spike of spam? (Score 1) 47

by DeathByLlama (#42866553) Attached to: Widespread Compromise Of Yahoo-Backed Email In New Zealand
I think it's much more likely that this problem exists for more than just New Zealand's yahoo servers. A couple years back I deleted my rarely-used Yahoo account because I got a hacked email sent to my common email address from it (as did others in my address book). I hadn't been logged in for quite some time, and I had a very secure password. Whatever the security flaw was, I really don't think it was at the user end (I consider myself to be pretty adept at computer security), and I didn't want any part of it.

Comment: We keep finding "earth-like" planets... (Score 1) 104

by DeathByLlama (#42562369) Attached to: Mysterious Planet May Be Cruising For a Bruising
It's great to keep finding these earth-like planets, but wouldn't it make more sense to first focus our searches on:

1) Star systems of the right elemental makeup where planets could have iron cores
2) Star systems of the right age, where the earth-like planets with iron cores would likely still have a molten core capable of producing a magnetosphere

I think we've all but proven that finding planets of the right size, within the right distance of their star, are perhaps abundant enough (see mars). That's great, and we can postulate that there might be liquid water on them because of this, but what we really need to worry about is their ability to produce a magnetosphere capable of holding in all that good stuff against the sweeping winds produced by their star.

Does anyone have some insight as to how easy or hard it would be to try to identify star systems with these characteristics *before* looking to see if we can find earth-like size/distance planets?

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