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Comment: Alpha ketoglutarate is produced in copious... (Score 2) 66

quantities in every cell in your body. It is one of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (Kreb's cycle) intermediates produced from either the amino acid glutamate, or from isocitrate. It is not a limiting molecule in the Kreb's cycle, and giving it to humans will not have any effect on human longevity. As noted already, many bodybuilders take it every day because they think it will give them more energy. Worms and humans do not have similar life cycles. Many things that don't affect the longevity of humans increase the lifespan of worms. The research into making geriatric worms is really a waste of time and money.

Comment: ex Mobil exec says fracking can't be done safely (Score 4, Informative) 95

by The Real Dr John (#46837355) Attached to: Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill
Retired Mobil Oil exec Louis Allstadt recently said that fracking can't be done safely with current technology. "Making fracking safe is simply not possible, not with the current technology, or with the inadequate regulations being proposed," said Allstadt, retired executive vice president of Mobil. http://www.timesunion.com/busi... This is similar to the situation with arctic drilling, but for somewhat different reasons. To do it right would require too much equipment and too many safety procedures to be cost effective. They would need to do the work quick and dirty to make a good profit. That is precisely what is happening with fracking, where gas companies have been exempted from the clean water act and other environmental protections. If they were required to comply, they couldn't afford to extract the gas. That explains the rush to frack, before the sweetheart deal is over.

Comment: Re:DNA anaylsis is fairly conclusive, so why... (Score 1) 68

by The Real Dr John (#46551721) Attached to: Mute Witness: Forensic Sketches From Nothing But DNA
You will never find the person with a crude approximation of their face, which of course is subject to all sorts of modifications and changes throughout life. You would end up bringing all sorts of innocent people in for questioning because their face looked a little bit like the reconstruction. This is no way to solve a crime.You solve crimes other ways than putting up a wanted poster with a face that may or may not look like the person in question.

Comment: DNA anaylsis is fairly conclusive, so why... (Score 1) 68

by The Real Dr John (#46550285) Attached to: Mute Witness: Forensic Sketches From Nothing But DNA
would it be necessary to come up with an approximate facial image? If you have the DNA sample, that is far more definitive than the approximated face. I don't understand how this is useful. It might be interesting, but I don't see any practical use in forensics.

Comment: Re:Only computer scientists think that computers.. (Score 2) 294

by The Real Dr John (#46432103) Attached to: Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029
It has nothing to do with processing speed, or parallel processing. Brains in general, human brains included, do not process information. They generate consciousness. They do this in ways that neuroscientists still don't understand. As a neuroscientist I can say this without hesitation. Silicon chips are not alive, and will never generate consciousness as we now understand it. But they can process information much faster than the human brain.

Comment: Re:Only computer scientists think that computers.. (Score 1) 294

by The Real Dr John (#46431545) Attached to: Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029
Absolutely, but so far nothing even close has happened. Arthur C Clark thought we would have intelligent, conversational computers by 2001, and here we are 13 years later with nothing of the sort. As a neuroscientist I just wish those involved in computer intelligence would take a look at some of the newer images of the connectivity in the human brain as shown by methods like diffusion tensor imaging. The complexity is mind boggling. See here: http://www.humanconnectomeproj...

Comment: Only computer scientists think that computers... (Score 1) 294

by The Real Dr John (#46431341) Attached to: Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029
will be able to mimic the human brain in the next several decades. Neuroscientists know that the human brain is far more complex than any foreseeable microprocessor-based computer system, and that the functions of the brain are not going to be easy to implement in silicon hardware. If newer methods of making computers that are more organic are developed, then you will have a means to start mimicking the human brain, but with silicon, you may never get there.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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