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Comment Not the holy grail (Score 1) 399

1) It's not the holy grail. It's been shown that if our energy consumption continues to grow along its current trajectory, then the temperature at the surface of the earth will reach the boiling point in several hundred years. Now, presumably the growth of our energy consumption will slow down at some point. But what this thought experiment demonstrates is that any power source that generates denovo heat on the earth is part of the problem. Ultimately, the source of our power will have to be the sun.
2) Even if a fusion generator could be created, it would also have to be cheaper than current sources of energy such as solar. Good luck. This hurdle may be more difficult than creating the fusion generator in the first place.
3) However, the real answer to the question: There have been so many failed predictions about when we would have practical fusion power, that no one believes in it enough anymore to put even more money into it.

Comment what will you treat with these robots (Score 1) 27

What exactly do people hope to treat with these things? You can't treat pneumonia or diabetes. You can't treat dementia. You can't treat cancer (trust me on this - the obstacles are mind-boggling). You can't treat COPD or any kind of endocrine disorder. You might be able to treat blood clots (heart attacks, strokes) and atherosclerosis. Maybe. What does the article say:

"deliver a highly targeted dose of drugs or radioactive seeds" - hmm we can already do this, and much more easily.
"clear a blood clot" - okay, that would be good. Although, it would have to work very fast. (Then how do you get the robots out again?)
"perform a tissue biopsy" - hmm, already easily done. Plus you need a reasonable large sample (the bigger the better) - how do you get the sample out of the body after you have it?
"even build a scaffold on which new cells could grow" Hmm, first you would have to destroy whatever tissue is already there to make space. Then where do the new cells come from? I don't think so...

Comment Who is using this? (Score 2) 88

I bought a couple of these keys a few years ago - they are still sitting around in a drawer somewhere. I wasn't too worried about the durability - it seems fine. When I tried it, my issues with were:

1) Very few websites supported it, and those that did made it a pain to set up. Looking at their website, it is supported by gmail, lastpass, dropbox, evernote. I suppose there is a complete list of supported websites and I'm too lazy to go look for it. Any banks support this?
2) Using it on Linux required installing additional software
3) Too expensive - $18 - $50 each. That's fine if I only needed one, but if I have to buy a few in case I lose or break one, then buy a few for the wife and the kid, and then it is only supported by a few websites... Well, not worth it for me.
4) The website is hard to read - written more for IT people than for the lay person. FIDO? OATH-TOPT? I've got no idea what they are talking about on most of their website. The "For Individuals" page is easy to read, but light on details and as soon as you leave it, you are in deep water. Also, can you get duplicate keys in case you lose one? I could never figure out this question from the website. Some sites like gmail allow you to associate more than one key. If there is a list of supported applications and websites, does it also state whether they allow a backup key? If the Yubico wants me to buy and use this thing, it needs to do the research for me and tell me exactly how and why I would want to use it. Something like this hypothetical example*:

1) Buy a Yubikey Neo to use wirelessly with your phone. Keep it on your keychain. Use it to access Lastpass on your phone.
2) Buy a Yubikey Standard for each computer at home and keep it plugged in. Associate it with the same Lastpass account as in #1 - for convenient use on your home computer and as a backup for the one on the keychain.
3) Associate the home Yubikey's with every family member's Lastpass account so that the whole family could share them.

*No idea if this scenerio is possible. Anyone? How would you use it with an ipad or iphone? (do the latest ones have NFC yet?)

Comment Highway vs Surface Streets (Score 1) 258

It seems that every week there is another headline trumpeting the imminence of self-driving cars. However, when I read articles written by researchers in this field, I get the impression that self driving cars are going to be here sometime between 10 years and never. I think the disconnect is that any car that drives itself will do so on the freeway, but a human will have to drive it on the surface streets.

Comment A working automated vehicle (Score 5, Insightful) 320

Call me when they can make an automated car that car drive in snowy conditions when no lane landmarks are visible. Or one that can turn into a lane of busy traffic that currently requires you to make eye contact with another driver to get them to slow down and let you in. Then we can worry about legalizing it. Legalization is trivial compared to the technical challenges. Personally, I suspect that there won't be a truly automated cars in my lifetime.

Comment Re:Robots? (Score 4, Informative) 421

There is virtually nothing (not even Ebola) that can get through basic procedures, even with humans treating them. Even without full isolation, just making sure that direct bodily contact does not occur is enough to stop basically anything - hence why doctors wear rubber gloves even if they digging into your internals with blood everywhere.

Such a thing would be so unbelievably infectious that we'd all have it - planet-wide - within a couple of days. It's just not in the nature of such things to be that infectious. Ebola is actually no worse than AIDS, from what I can tell from a quick search.

There are so many things wrong with this, it is hard to know where to start...

Many diseases are much more infectious than ebola. I recall from medical school that you can catch chicken pox (if you haven't had it or been vaccinated) from the air two hours after a patient has left the room. Influenza is also much more infectious than ebola, which is why is spreads around the world in weeks/months every year.

Fortunately ebola is not nearly so infectious. But if someone is having continuous watery diarrhea and bleeding everywhere (e.g. Ebola) and your job is to roll them over every hour, while they are thrashing around, to clean up their bloody virus-laden excrement, and your only protection is mask/gloves/gown - well, good luck.

HIV requires that you get infected bodily fluid (usually blood) into your own bloodstream, which is much hard than catching Ebola.

Comment My List (Score 4, Informative) 531

Adobe Lightroom - does 95% of what I would do with photoshop, works on raw images and simplifies my workflow tremendously. I almost never use photoshop anymore.

Ubuntu, Windows 8.1, Libreoffice, Adobe Reader, - self explanatory.

Firefox with Adblock plus and Better Privacy and HTPS Everywhere installed.

KeepassX - Password manager. Multiplatform, much less buggy than Keepass2 (note to develepers: please take it out of alpha status!)

F.Lux - warms up the color of your monitor in the evenings so that it doesn't interfere with your circadian rhythm, hopefully improves sleep. (hey - it's free!)

Videolan (VLC) - excellent video player (despite the crappy name)

Sandboxie (paid $$) - Sandbox your browser and various other programs

FastOne Image Viewer - excellent, free sildeshow software

Secunia PSI - makes sure your programs are kept up-to-date

Comment Higher potency? (Score 4, Insightful) 294

As a physician, I am not sure I understand the concern after reading the article. After all, if a drug is higher potency, you just prescribe less of it. Higher potency does not equal higher efficacy (efficacy if the maximum effect that a drug can produce, potency refers to how much of the drug it takes to get that effect). We already have a ton of highly addictive opioids on the market, and hydrocodone is hardly one of the most effective narcotics. If the main ingredient is hydrocodone, how can it be more potent than other hydrocodone containing drugs? Maybe the concern is that it will be easier to get than other narcotics, but hydrocodone is being switched to the more-restrictive Schedule II drug class like oxycodone. Maybe this pill provides a higher dose of hydrocodone than existing medications? The article doesn't say. No doubt people will abuse this new pill, but it is not clear to me why it is thought that this will cause more addiction than already exists...

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne