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Comment: Physical structure of the phage? (Score 2) 98

by Guppy (#47549427) Attached to: Newly Discovered Virus Widespread in Human Gut

I'm the last author on the paper and it was discovered in my bioinformatics lab in the CS department at SDSU ...

Quick question -- I see from your paper, do you have an idea what it looks structurally? A bunch of media sites have pictures but are using what is obviously stock art (mostly of T-even phages), but from your paper I see that it has no close phylogenetic relationship to known phages (and if your group had e-microscopy or crystallographic data, it would have been in the paper already).

Still, I figured someone skilled in virology might be able to identify some capsid sequences or something, and be able to make a decent guess.

Comment: Re:cause and/or those responsible (Score 2) 667

by Guppy (#47497723) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Btw. does anyone here remember the USS Vincennes?

Funny thing, I once bought a used Science Fiction pulp novel from a used book store (up in State College, PA), sometime in the late 90's. Only later did I realize that "USS Vincennes" was stamped on one of the edges, indicating it must have come from some on-board library. It's a small world.

Anyway, to continue with your question -- yes, I remember it pretty well. And there were plenty of talking heads in the media trying to shift some of the blame onto Iran (that it must have been a martyrdom operation where Iran sacrificed it's own citizens to make us look bad, or that Iran shouldn't have operated civilian and military aircraft out of the same airport, or that the pilot should have known better than to fly on a path directly crossing that of a U.S. warship -- all bunk excuses).

But the U.S. government never denied that we were the ones who shot it down, they admitted it quickly and bluntly.

Comment: Re:I'll buy anything from China except food (Score 1) 431

by Guppy (#47258769) Attached to: Chinese-Built Cars Are Coming To the US Next Year

At this point, a majority of the apple juice and tilapia we eat in the U.S. is now imported from China -- as well as food additives such as citric acid, sorbic acid, some vitamin additives, and artificial vanilla flavoring.

And while they haven't yet reached a majority market share, frozen spinach, garlic, mushrooms, and cod have large fractions of the supply coming from China.

Comment: Predicting the next epidemic (Score 2) 172

by Guppy (#47220575) Attached to: Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall

Just force all blood donors to get tested for infection, regardless of orientation, then give the clean ones a certfification with expiry. Re-test as required to continue donating.

Back in the 80's, one of the things we learned from the opening stages of the AIDS epidemic is the possibility that a new disease agent will enter the human population, sight unseen. If such a new virus were to appear, it could spread silently for years before being identified (just has HIV did).

It is this risk which had led to the exclusion of the gay population. The elevated risk for HIV infection in that population serves as a marker -- it demonstrates that they have the epidemiological risk characteristics to become the initial host for such a new disease, should it ever appear. By excluding higher-risk groups, the idea is to slow down the opening stages of the next epidemic.

Comment: Washington Post Comment (Score 5, Informative) 593

by Guppy (#47136245) Attached to: HR Chief: Google Sexual, Racial Diversity "Not Where We Want to Be"

From the Washington Post's Blog section: Eugene Volokh, On google's employee demographics

... non-Hispanic whites are 61 percent of the Google work force, slightly below the national average. (That average, according to 2006-10 numbers, is 67 percent.) Google is thus less white than the typical American company. White men are probably slightly over-represented; assuming that the 30 percent number it gives for women Google employees worldwide carries over to the U.S. (the article gives no separate number for U.S. women Google employees), white men are 42 percent of the Google work force, and 35 percent of the U.S. work force — not a vast disparity.
Indeed, if the goal is “reflecting the demographics of the country” as to race... ...Google can only accomplish that by firing well over three-quarters of its Asian employees, and replacing them with blacks and Hispanics (and a few whites, to bring white numbers up from 61 percent to 67 percent).

Comment: Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) (Score 1) 298

by Guppy (#47069269) Attached to: Is It Really GPS If It Doesn't Use Satellites?

FYI, while GPS specifically refers to the American implementation, the generic term for a GPS-type system is a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). As a nationality-neutral term, it applies equally to GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, and anything else satellite-based that might come along.

Comment: Will computers ever be as *fast* as us? Briefly. (Score 1) 189

by Guppy (#47027491) Attached to: Understanding an AI's Timescale

We have never built an "AI". And in fact we have NO reason to believe -- no evidence whatsoever -- that its speed of perception and interpretation would be any faster than our own. There is a very good chance that it would be much slower... at least in the beginning.

At the beginning, yes. Eventually it might be much faster -- but your point still stands, processing speed is irrelevant because the AI could easily be designed such that it could emulate any slower speed it wished, like toggling the Turbo button on an old 286.

Comment: Franklin Roosevelt (Score 1) 126

by Guppy (#46936169) Attached to: Polio Causes Global Health Emergency

That's only a problem with polio if you drink where you shit. Why should anyone living on more than 5$ per day be worried about this? Are you commonly concerned about the anal-oral route for pathogens?

Quick reminder that polio outbreaks occurred periodically in the U.S. up through the 1950's, prior to the development of effective vaccines.

Even being born to a wealthy and high-status family in the U.S. was no guarantee of safety from polio infection, as was experienced by Franklin Roosevelt, at the age of 39.

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz