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Comment Re:Is it even possible? (Score 2) 418

Is it even possible to retroactively change the terms of a software license like that?
Or did the new license only apply to new versions of the software?

Even before he went completely off the rails, the author had this weird thing where the user had to click to agree with the CURRENT version of the licence (which he could change at any time) every time the package was run, or else create a text file in a specified format (which the software would check on startup) where they promised always to abide by the latest licence and basically be his bitch. Whether this sort of nonsense is actually legal is another thing, of course.

Comment Re:Free Speech (Score 2) 418

It's a BMC journal, born in the Web age - it didn't exist in the 70s. But there may well be other software that's no longer available even in the lifetime of the journal just through link rot (which is why they encourage authors include a copy of the software and ideally the source as supplementary material).

Comment Re:Storm in a glas of water (Score 1) 267

That was my first, second and third thought. I don't generally bother with themes as such, but Classic Theme Restorer is what has kept me from switching to Palemoon or Seamonkey as it currently provides the best of both worlds - access to the huge library of Firefox plugins and the occasional useful innovation in the core browser, with an interface I can make look like a subtly updated 3.x (for me the high point of FF interface design). CTR is an extension rather than a theme, but I assume it hooks into the same code as 'Complete Themes' to do its magic (does anyone know for sure?) If it's unaffected by the changes, or if the same thing can be done by whatever new mechanisms the Mozilla developers put in place, then I'm likely to stay with FF. But if it's permanently broken and nothing takes its place, then the alternatives are going to look pretty attractive. CTR has been downloaded a couple of million times, and has over 400,000 active users, so I'm not likely to be the only one making a switch. The range of plugins and the ability to customise are what make Firefox still relevant in the age of Chrome - developers mess with these features at their peril!

Comment Re:Open Source Personal Analysis Tool (Score 1) 96

SNP genotyping can still be useful for detecting losses or duplications of large parts of a chromosome ("structural" variations)

Maybe you are just being lazy with your terminology, but SNP genotyping, by definition, does not look for structural variations. SNP == single nucleotide polymorphism. There are separate arrays to look for these variations, but they are not SNP arrays.

You can certainly use SNP arrays to look at losses, duplications, and copy number changes in general - this is done routinely. Full SNP array data gives you not just variant calls, but also signal intensity etc. for each probe. You can't look directly at other forms of structural variation like translocations and inversions, although it may be possible to pick up focal copy number changes at the breakpoints.

Comment Re:Open Source Personal Analysis Tool (Score 1) 96

That was really just a comment for biology geeks about the kind of data they provide. With a true raw file, you can get more out of SNP array data (e.g. genomic copy number). The 23andMe pricing is pretty keen, though, perhaps only about double what what you'd pay an academic service provider to run a SNP array of similar size (you'd get full raw data, but would have to do the DNA extraction and data interpretation yourself). An exome costs about 10x the price of the cheapest SNP array, and a whole genome maybe double the exome price (more if you want high depth of coverage), so I agree that SNP arrays still look good for some applications. There's more than enough data on the 600k 23andMe array to run into the multiple testing problem if you aren't careful with the stats! 23andMe themselves only report on a very small fraction of the variants, but the rest of the calls are available in the 'raw' output.

Comment Re:Open Source Personal Analysis Tool (Score 1) 96

23andMe use SNP arrays (custom Illumina BeadChips) rather than NGS at the moment. The 'raw' data they supply isn't really raw at all, but a processed list of several hundred thousand variant calls:

You can convert this into something standard like VCF, which most tools that deal with variants will read.

Comment Re:bitrot (Score 2) 80

There's the small chance the BBC could cease to exist, of course, but then the world would have way bigger problems than a few of us Brits not being able to rewatch Doctor Who box sets.

There's a rather larger chance the BBC will not exist in its current form in the medium term, especially given some of the noises the Tory government are making. But that's not the only issue. From the T&Cs:

'We cannot guarantee that you will be able to stream or re-download Content that's in your BBC Store account forever. Where our right to make content available has expired, you will no longer be able to stream or download that content from your BBC Store account. We'll try not to take down expired content without first notifying you that it is due to expire, so that you have the opportunity to download and playback the content through the Store Download Manager.'

If your 'purchase' is no longer available from the store, downloaded content presumably only lasts as long as the device does.

Comment Re:This doesn't make sense. (Score 2) 23

Recognizing that a particular genome contains sequences related to heart disease or lung cancer in no way makes it identifiable or linked to a particular person.

It's the other way around. Here you already know the identity of the person and their genome sequence, and are trying to work out if that genome is present in a database of genomes devoted to, say, heart disease, implying that this person (or perhaps a family member) has the condition. Although the 'beacon' databases that the attack targets release only small pieces of anonymous data, the results of multiple queries can be combined to figure out if the database contains the genome of interest.

This is just another scare mongering story, probably clickbait ... nothing to see here, please move along.

Judge for yourself - here's the original paper:

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.