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Comment: Too late (Score 1) 104

by NCatron (#40742877) Attached to: Nanoparticle Completely Eradicates Hepatitis C Virus

While interesting, this research is far too late to be remotely useful. There are multiple Phase III trials currently ongoing with new generations of HCV treatments - at least one of these will become the de facto standard of treatment for HCV cures in the future, with REAL human cure rates of > 90% if not 100%, depending on genotype and statues re: failed previous treatment courses of course. That puts them about 8 years ahead of these guys. Interesting science though, and I wish them luck.

Comment: "Analogue" extremely misleading (Score 5, Interesting) 364

by NCatron (#40200895) Attached to: How Chemistry Stymies Attempts To Regulate Synthetic Drugs

Working in drug discovery, I'm still amazed at how often a small change of sometimes even a single atom of a molecule can take an pharmacologically active molecule and make it near-worthless - or even worse take a (relatively) safe molecule and turn it unacceptably toxic. I'd stay FAR away from any "analogue" being created with the sole purpose of rounding a ban without having any sort of safety and probably minimal efficacy testing.

I'd say this kind of story gives even stronger evidence for why illicit drugs (the less-toxic at least) should be legalized & controlled - if this article is not overly sensational and there really is an escalating war of chemistry we could get into some pretty nasty stuff being marketed to consumers who do not know any better.

Security

Help Rename the Department of Homeland Security 382

Posted by samzenpus
from the department-of-silly-claims dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "James Fallows writes tongue in cheek that U.S. Department of Fear, led by Secretary of Fear Malcolm P. Stag III, is running a poll. To what should we re-name the Department of Homeland Security? 'Possibilities include Department of ScaredyCatLand Security, reflecting the prevailing mentality of an era, and Department of Fatherland Security, to make us sound strong,' writes Fallows. 'There are many more to choose from, plus you can write in your own nominees. But act now, because the polls close Tuesday.'"
Cloud

Inside Facebook's Cyber-Security System 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the anti-social-network dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Facebook Immunity System (FIS) processes and checks 25 billion actions every day, or 650,000 actions every second. The social networking giant's cybersecurity system was developed over a three-year period to keep the service's users safe from spam and cyberattacks. FIS scans every click on Facebook for patterns that could suggest something malicious is spreading across the social network."

+ - Netflix - streaming only; Qwikster - DVDs by mail

Submitted by grahamsaa
grahamsaa (1287732) writes "Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, sent an e-mail to subscribers this morning apologizing for the way they handled recent pricing changes. It also announced that Netflix will be split in two. A new service called Qwikster will handle all DVD mailings for Netflix. Netflix will now only provide streaming content. According to Hastings, "Streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two different businesses, with different cost structures . . . "

Is this a good move for Netflix, or a sign of tough times ahead?"
Education

Reform the PhD System or Close It Down 487

Posted by Soulskill
from the trickle-down-edunomics dept.
jamie points out an opinion piece by Columbia professor Mark C. Taylor in Nature News decrying the state of PhD education in the US, calling it "broken and unsustainable." Quoting: "The necessary changes are both curricular and institutional. One reason that many doctoral programmes do not adequately serve students is that they are overly specialized, with curricula fragmented and increasingly irrelevant to the world beyond academia. Expertise, of course, is essential to the advancement of knowledge and to society. But in far too many cases, specialization has led to areas of research so narrow that they are of interest only to other people working in the same fields, subfields or sub-subfields. Many researchers struggle to talk to colleagues in the same department, and communication across departments and disciplines can be impossible. If doctoral education is to remain viable in the twenty-first century, universities must tear down the walls that separate fields, and establish programmes that nourish cross-disciplinary investigation and communication. They must design curricula that focus on solving practical problems, such as providing clean water to a growing population. Unfortunately, significant change is unlikely to come from faculty members, who all too often remain committed to traditional approaches."

Comment: J Applied Polymer Sci? (Score 2) 68

by NCatron (#35905164) Attached to: Synthetic Skin Could Replace Animal Subjects'

Honestly, if a "revolution" in animal testing is going to occur, they watershed paper will not be out of this journal. The researchers appear to be microscopy specialists, not animal research specialists. Not to denigrate their work, but the literature is littered with people making grandiose claims about how their research can be applied with very little understanding about the other discipline where they suggest it could be useful.

Comment: False statement in TFA (Score 1) 102

by NCatron (#31324532) Attached to: Tracking Water Molecules Could Unlock Secrets

"...to improving chemotherapy drugs whose side effects arise from their solubility or insolubility in water."

This is absolutely not true. The side effect is inherent to the molecular structure of the molecule, not its solubility or lack thereof. (If it's insoluble it doesn't get into the body, and hence doesn't have a side effect... but then it has no effect at all.)

First Person Shooters (Games)

New Left 4 Dead DLC Coming Next Month 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the mo-zombies-mo-problems dept.
Valve said yesterday that they're working on a new campaign for Left 4 Dead, and they plan to release it in September. It's called Crash Course, and while it will be free for owners of the PC version, Xbox 360 users will need to purchase it. The new campaign "bridges the gap between the end of the 'No Mercy' campaign and the beginning of 'Death Toll' in the original game, expanding the game universe with new locations, new dialogue from the original cast, and an explosive finale." Crash Course isn't as long as the other campaigns, a deliberate decision by Valve to enable players to finish a Versus-mode game in about 30 minutes. A preview of the new content on Destructoid notes, "Since we've got a shorter campaign, much more has been packed into a smaller space. Lucky players who know where to look can upgrade to second-tier weaponry almost straight away. However, they'll have their work cut out for them, because there's a chance to get swamped by the horde right from the very beginning."
Television

Original Futurama Cast Seals Deal With Fox 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-news-everyone dept.
Svippy writes "As we discussed earlier, 20th Century Fox Television was attempting to recast Futurama. As it turns out, this was just part of a big negotiation ploy, and the original cast have now completed their deals to return with the show's new episodes. For those of you who did not follow the story, a chronology of the events and reactions from the cast members are available at Infosphere and Voice Actors in the News. Series creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen said, 'We are thrilled to have our incredible cast back. The call has already gone out to the animators to put the mouths back on the characters.'"
The Internet

Are Amazon's Web Services Going Open Source? 42

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the great-place-to-make-open-source-work dept.
ruphus13 writes "Amazon has been one of the early movers in the cloud computing space, with its AWS offerings, including S3 and EC2. Now, there is a lot of chatter around the imminent open sourcing of all its APIs and services and the impact that will have on the other 'clouds' out there — public or private. From the article, 'Amazon faces significant threats from open source cloud computing efforts if it pursues a purely proprietary path [...] Amazon can't ignore the cost advantages and diversity of product offerings that open source players are already offering in the cloud computing space. The company's best move is to open source its tools, which will end up diversifying them, play on a level field in terms of cost with the open source alternatives, and charge for services. Absent these moves, the company will lose potential customers to free, open source alternatives [...] Word is Amazon's legal team is currently 'investigating' open sourcing their various web services API's including EC2, S3, etc.', although these have not been confirmed by Amazon."
Television

CNN To Release Debates Under Creative Commons 151

Posted by kdawson
from the coming-to-their-senses dept.
remove office writes "After calls from several prominent bloggers and a couple of presidential candidates, CNN has agreed to release the footage from its upcoming June presidential debates uncopyrighted. Senator Barack Obama was the first candidate to call for all presidential debates to be released under Creative Commons, with fellow Democratic hopeful John Edwards following shortly afterwards. CNN will be the first to do so with their June 3rd and 5th Democratic and Republican debates. MSNBC hosted the first presidential debates recently but refused to release them under Creative Commons, opting instead to post online only commercial-ridden clips in Windows Media format."

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