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Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 2) 186

I disagree with you on what science is about. I think this article sums it up better by saying that science is about "becoming less wrong" about things (http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/science-isnt-broken/). For some areas, this can get to black and white answers (benefits of vaccines). Other areas remain gray (almost anything diet).

As you noted, folks can ignore science and quote mythical facts or just deny science (climate change deniers). But that is their fault, not the fault of Science.

Comment Re:"Drug Companies Seek to Exploit"!!! (Score 1) 93

Well said. One point to add is that people contributing to develop the therapies should all reap some sort of reward commensurate with their level of contribution. So, those folks harboring valuable mutations, who will not benefit from therapies, they should receive some compensation for giving up private information. I am not sure if this regularly happens or if they usually give away their information for free because they feel it is the right thing to do.

Comment Re:Real Science Is No Longer In the Academic Lab (Score 1) 444

The problem is that it restricts science to a narrow set of topics. Areas of research that do not have an obvious payout at the end will not be initiated, even though they could provide substantial benefits to humans. Vaccine development is one example of an area of applied research that is not a big money maker and thus not picked up by companies. Basic research where knowledge and understanding is the end product is also not much of a money maker. But, it is important. New genome editing tools are good examples of recent basic research advances that will probably change humanity. This area of research never would start in a company.

Comment Re:I'm all for this (Score 2) 299

One point is that the off-target effects have a chance of messing up other parts of the genome while repairing the CFTR mutation. We still don't really have a good handle on how bad these off target effects are, and how to control them. So, until that is figured out, I don't think it is such a slam dunk decision.

If we can eliminate these concerns, then the decision seems rather simple in cases like CF.

Comment Not just lack of funding (Score 2) 348

It is also the mechanism whereby it is distributed that is the problem. We get grants for a few years at a time for discrete projects. When one of these grants is not renewed, a lab can basically collapse and then shut down completely. This prevents long term thinking and taking the risk on something that won't fit in that 2-5 year window and on that specific project. The NIGMS at NIH is trying out a new way to provide more stable funding in exchange for less overall funding for some labs. Think of it as funding people rather than projects (http://watersheding.wordpress.com/72314-mira-mira-on-the-wall-whos-the-fairest-grant-funding-system-of-all/). I think it is a good start.

Comment Re:Is there any 'value' to Star Wars? (Score 1) 98


My 5 year old boy and 7 year old girl freakin love Star Wars.They have watched and rewatched all six movies.

Most of their little friends love Star Wars, too. Take a look at toy stores, and you fill find sections of Star Wars junk, indicating the continued interest among youngsters..

Star Wars.has already been "passed down" to the next generation.

Comment Re:medical devices directive (Score 1) 41

I don't think this is as big of a problem as you do.

Regardless of the instrument's origin (bought for big $ from company or open source built), scientists are going to run positive controls. It's a common practice for GOOD experiments. In this case, apply treatment X to a mouse, and you should see response Y as measured by the instrument. If you don't see response Y in the positive control, you cannot trust experimental results. If the positive control give expected results, then reviewers have little choice but to accept the experimental result.

You need to do the same thing for fancypants commercial instruments to make certain they are working properly, operated properly, and the rest of the experimental variables (the mice, the treatment) are as expected.

Bottom line is that if the homebrew instruments work reliably for the positive controls, they will be easily accepted.

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek