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Comment: Re:at least the nuclear weapons will be gone (Score 4, Funny) 487

by RDW (#47927385) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

I was presuming that the nukes in Scotland would be moved south, as the Scots have made it clear they don't want them.

Yes, but have you seen the recently leaked list of key military and economic assets to be targeted by Trident in the event of Scottish independence?:

(1) Alex Salmond's secret command bunker, 'The Salmon's Lair'.

(2) MIRV attack on all Speyside distilleries, centred on Glenlivet.

(3) The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Global Headquarters, Glasgow.

(4) The Gilded Balloon theatre, to neutralise the threat from Edinburgh Fringe elements, once and for all.

(5) Submarine detonation at Loch Ness, in an attempt to create a rampaging Godzilla-style radioactive monster.

Comment: Re:Now I just have to ... (Score 2) 441

by RDW (#47807515) Attached to: In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

I want to read that novel.

Check out the Amazon extract ('But amid all the despair and hopelessness, people were working indefatigably to stabilise the nation and alleviate the prevalent tumult; and on 28 August 2298, the sedulousness of these committed inidividual was recompensed.') and you might change your mind. Still, if the original article is accurate there's no justification for his treatment, and the implications are deeply disturbing. Have we been told the full story?

Comment: Re:Will download (Score 1) 67

by RDW (#47794925) Attached to: Post-Microsoft Nokia Offering Mapping Services To Samsung

This might be a problem with Google Maps 7. I haven't noticed it with Maps 6, which seems to do full caching, and is a superior app all round. If you're on Android, there are various methods of 'upgrading' to the previous version here:

You're still stuck with the annoying marketing-driven 30 day limit, though with a proper manager for the cached maps in 6.x it's easy enough to download exactly the same area again. There are a number of other apps that handle offline maps on Android, of course, but I've yet to find anything that's otherwise as useful as Google Maps 6. A shame Nokia seems to be making Here a Samsung exclusive - Google could use some serious mapping competition across Android.

Comment: The two essential apps (Score 5, Funny) 167

by RDW (#47792315) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

There are, of course, hundreds of thousands of apps you might consider installing, but I think most people will agree that only two are absolutely essential for everyone:

Hypnotic Spiral:


this will allow you to make anyone else do your bidding, making a large majority of other apps completely redundant.

I Ching - Divine Your Future:

(sample review: 'Excellent! The only I ching app that uses sticks and not coins. Much more reliable. The editable entries are also a bonus. Great work, thanks!' )

This will help you make all the major decisions in your life, including what apps to install. It is also useful for understanding the plot of The Man in the High Castle. I meditated on your situation, and using the yarrow stalk method received the wisdom of Hexagram XLII ('The second SIX, divided, shows parties adding to the stores of its subject ten pairs of tortoise shells whose oracles cannot be opposed. Let him persevere in being firm and correct, and there will be good fortune.'). I hope this is helpful.

Comment: Re:Do the math (Score 1) 338

by RDW (#47736253) Attached to: New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W

They haven't finished banning things yet. The common Class C halogen bulbs that fit in standard GLS light fittings are going to be killed off in 2016 in the UK: http://www.nationallampsandcom...
Don't know if anyone has bothered marketing a 'rough service' bulb of this type. The lighting quality is very nice, and the GLS halogens are/were a good drop-in replacement

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 218

by RDW (#47671423) Attached to: How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

Slashdot editors - please fix the submitter's grotesque misreading of the linked article in the summary! Creating fictional outbreaks of lab viruses leading to thousands of deaths should be left to bad movies, not 'news' sites. Which isn't to say, of course, that there aren't genuine risks to consider. High level containment of various viruses in China and elsewhere has been breached on a number of occasions in the last few decades, sometimes with fatal consequences, e.g.:

"... there have already been three escapes from BSL-4 containment since 1990: a Marburg virus laboratory-acquired infection at the Vector facility in the Soviet Union in 1990, a foot and mouth disease virus escape from the Pirbright facility in England, and a SARS virus laboratory-acquired infection from a BSL-4-rated biosafety cabinet in a Taiwan laboratory."

"SARS has not re-emerged naturally, but there have been six escapes from virology labs: one each in Singapore and Taiwan, and four separate escapes at the same laboratory in Beijing."

Luckily, none of these incidents involved 'gain of function' strains, but the potential for a catastrophic incident is certainly there.

Comment: Re:Also get the karyotypes please (Score 3, Insightful) 65

by RDW (#47588005) Attached to: DNA Project 'to Make UK World Genetic Research Leader'

You can process genome sequencing data to get the same sort of information you'd get from a karyotype (translocations, missing or extra copies of chromosomes or particular cytobands, etc.), but at much higher resolution. Unlike a traditional karyotype it generally won't be derived from a single cell, though (which has advantages and disadvantages).

Comment: Re:First steps (Score 1) 65

by RDW (#47587995) Attached to: DNA Project 'to Make UK World Genetic Research Leader'

It wouldn't help the individual patients, as the risk factors are pretty difficult to avoid in today's world.

It can help at the time of treatment. We are already sequencing not just the germline DNA of the patient, but also the damaged genome of the tumour tissue. If a specific gene is found to be mutated that can be targeted by an existing drug, then the treatment can be tailored to the individual case.

Comment: Re:Online in England, maybe (Score 5, Interesting) 282

by RDW (#47578117) Attached to: UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Maybe they forgot that the Internet has no borders?

No, they remembered:


'The only way as we see it to resolve questions of jurisdiction and access to communications data would be by international treaty.'

Coming soon to a legislature near you!

Comment: Re:Did they sampled it? (Score 1) 100

by RDW (#47548297) Attached to: Newly Discovered Virus Widespread in Human Gut

There's a bigger problem with the summary than that - timothy has misread the BBC article, which refers to 'half of all samples from the gut'. These aren't human cell samples, they're faecal samples. The phage presumably infects gut bacteria, not human cells. From the proteins that the phage encodes, the researchers predict the genus of bacteria the host belongs to (Bacteroides).

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.