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Comment: Re:Because it sucks when you can't compete..... (Score 1) 96

by blivit42 (#47975921) Attached to: European Commission Reopens Google Antitrust Investigation
Google Maps isn't a good example in this case, due to Google's ever-increasingly bad UI design (sort of like slashdot beta...). With the latest round of changes to make google more smart phone friendly, google maps became more difficult to get to (scan for non-text icon, click, search for another icon in the drop-down, click), rather than just clicking the word Maps that used to be on the top bar. I now find it faster to simply type "maps", hit return, and click the first link, than to try to navigate their more difficult to use UI. For other things, such as Google Scholar, I gave up on trying to find it in the pulldown menus entirely, and have to use google to find its own service in order to use it. So, yes, if I'm using google, and I search for one of their services, then I definitely want the google service as the first link. But this is more due to my working around poor UI design than my desire to determine which Maps site is the most popular.

Along similar lines, I have to use google to search for old slashdot stories, since slashdot search does, and always has, sucked. Same for many other forums. Also many other websites in general, where it can be difficult to figure out how to navigate/find the content that you want. I use google as a workaround to the failings of many other websites poor UI/search design. Google Maps is another example of this, so, at least from my perspective, it's not the best example to use to make your point :)

Sorry, I just felt like ranting against increasingly poor website design, and this post brought that to the surface. Not like anyone besides maybe the original author is going to read this when I'm only getting around to reading the article 2 weeks after if was posted anyways....

Comment: Re:Taste like chicken? (Score 1) 107

by blivit42 (#47865775) Attached to: Apparent Meteorite Hits Managua, Nicaragua, Leaving Crater But No Injuries
A quick google search turned up the following paper

I wouldn't go so far as to say that chicken is the closest living relative to the T-Rex, just that it is the closest in sequence similarity to this particular collagen protein, out of all of the protein sequences known in 2007 (chicken could have been the only bird represented in the database at the time, but I am not going to take the time to look into this).

I just searched the GVQGPPGPQGPR T-rex collagen sequence given in the text against the NCBI nr database, which is pretty comprehensive. It yielded the following Collagen alpha-1(I) chain perfect matches:

Brachylophosaurus canadensis [dinosaur]
Tyrannosaurus rex [dinosaur]

Sarcophilus harrisii [Tasmanian devil]
Monodelphis domestica [Gray short-tailed opossum]

Corvus brachyrhynchos [American crow]
Gallus gallus [Chicken]
Manacus vitellinus [Golden-collared manakin]
Pseudopodoces humilis [Ground tit]
Anas platyrhynchos [Mallard duck]
Geospiza fortis [Medium ground finch]
Acanthisitta chloris [Rifleman]
Columba livia [Rock dove]
Melopsittacus undulatus [Parakeet]
Falco peregrinus [Peregrine falcon]
Falco cherrug [Saker falcon]

So, that's 11 birds, 1 other dinosaur, and 2 mammals (one placental, one marsupial). The list gets bigger if we relax the sequence similarity cutoff. Based on this single fragment of a sequence, we can infer that T-rex is generally more closely related to birds than to mammals or lizards (and no lizards made the top-hit list), since there were a lot more bird matches than mammals (and the lack of mammal hits is likely not due to lack of sampling relative to birds). This is a big inference to make from a single fragment of a single protein, but I'm reasonably confident that further analysis of additional T-rex sequences would strengthen this finding.

If more sequences have been published since 2007, then perhaps we could get a better idea of which modern bird T-rex is most closely related to, but there is no way to determine this from just the single example sequence above. We cannot say with any confidence that T-rex is more related to chicken than to any other bird, unless a much more thorough analysis is performed using a lot more data. Perhaps this has already been done, but I haven't taken the time to hunt for additional literature.

Comment: Re:Comment from Tesla (Score 1) 157

by blivit42 (#47836995) Attached to: Tesla's Next Auto-Dealer Battleground State: Georgia
Autonews needs to work on their figure coloring skills. In a related article linked from the one previously mentioned, GA is colored medium orange, which indicates "Uncertain -- No formal legal or legislative challenges are known", when it should instead be colored light orange ("Legally allowed with restrictions on number of cars sold or number of stores"). From the article, it is clear that GA is legally allowed with restrictions on numbers of cars sold or number of stores, and there have clearly been formal legal or legislative challenges. Sad that they can't get their figures to match their own reporting....

Comment: Re: Debian general resolution needed (Score 1) 613

by blivit42 (#47828647) Attached to: You Got Your Windows In My Linux
If the Debian maintainers / committees are anything like Ubuntu, then I'm not at all surprised. For many years, grep -P didn't work in Ubuntu. It took them *FOUR YEARS* to fix it, with a rather bizarre discussion in the mean time. A core UNIX utility is broken and it takes four years to fix it? The earliest discussed solution, which remained the preferred solution for quite some time, was to retcon the documentation to cover it up! After 7 months, it was somehow demoted back down to "unconfirmed", and it took another 1.5 years after that re-acknowledge it was broken, after many voices of sanity finally prevailed.

After experiencing this level of cluelessness and severe disconnect with reality, I swore off Ubuntu forever. If other Linux distros are anything like the Ubuntu maintainers, I can only imagine what poor reasoning and justifications have been put forward regarding switching to systemd....

Comment: Re:Stealing attention (Score 1) 611

by blivit42 (#47724207) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year
I do have the option enabled to allow unobtrusive ads so at least I'm not that big of a dirtbag.

I used to allow unobtrusive ads, but then slashdot began causing my mouse pointer to turn into the busy pointer as these "non-instrusive" ads updated themselves. I don't mind static ads that don't take up much space, but once they start changing themselves on a frequent basis, which in turn causes my mouse pointer to animate, which I see out of the corner of my eye while reading the article I am interested in, then it quickly becomes intrusive. So, since non-intrusive ads have now become intrusive, I simply block them all. Screw 'em. They've used up all my good faith.

Comment: Re:Not gonna happen (Score 1) 111

by blivit42 (#47664283) Attached to: Injecting Liquid Metal Into Blood Vessels Could Help Kill Tumors
If the heating effect you propose did occur, and the liquid could be well-localized to the tumor, then this might yield an interesting treatment option. If you could cook only the tumor, and not so much the surrounding area, then perhaps this could be beneficial, especially when combined with other treatments that stress the tumor at the same time (chemo, radiation)?

Comment: KB2670838 (Score 1) 138

by blivit42 (#47631687) Attached to: Microsoft To Drop Support For Older Versions of Internet Explorer
I can't use IE10 or IE11 due to the forced KB2670838 update that comes with them. For me, KB2670838 breaks the Resource Monitor in Windows 7 that you can launch after bringing up the Task Manager with ctl-alt-del. I use this quite a bit to monitor memory usage of processes, disk accesses, etc. This has been a known problem for quite some time, ever since IE10 came out. Just google for "KB2670838 resource monitor". If you uninstall KB2670838 in order to get Resource Monitor to work again, it uninstalls IE10 and IE11, since evidently they depend on it for whatever reason (I am not aware of any other software that requires this update to function). I normally wouldn't be too upset over them dropping support for legacy browser versions, but if they can't get off their butts to either fix KB2670838 to not break Resource Monitor, or fix Resource Monitor to not be broken by KB2670838, then I'm going to have to give them crap over this decision. I'll start using IE11 once it stops breaking Resource Monitor.

Comment: Re:Limited? (Score 1) 208

by blivit42 (#47180771) Attached to: Lego To Produce Three Box Sets Featuring Female Scientists
I don't know why it will be a limited edtion, but the phrase "limited edition" scares me. I hope it doesn't turn into another LEGO Mars Rover. They started selling those this past January, and they sold out online within a few days. The same thing happened in February and March. Then, once they sold out in March, they stayed sold out, and rumor is that they may not produce any more, ever. I only found all this out in April once I asked a LEGO store clerk if they expected to get any in any time soon.

It really pisses me off that A) they don't say on their website which sets will ever be sold in a physical LEGO store or not, and B) whether a set is limited edition or not, and what limited edition might mean. There was no indication that the Mars Rover would never show up physically in stores, or that it would sell out by the 3rd month of the year and never be available again. I really wanted one of these. I'd been following it for a year or so, and thought I'd just have to wait for it to show up in stores 6 months later, after demand had fallen, like the Back to the Future set did (LEGO store clerks I spoke to in store said they were selling out the day the truck came in with a shipment). If a set is really popular and selling out quickly, you'd usually expect a company to make a bunch more to sell for more profit , like they did for the Back to the Future set, but for some reason this logic was not followed for the Mars Rover.

I've been looking forward to this Female Scientists set for a while now too, and I'm worried that I won't be able to ever buy one if they follow the same pattern as the LEGO Mars Rover. Paying 2x-3x on E-Bay is not an acceptable option, and mail order from the online LEGO Store directly is generally out for me as well, since there is too much risk of delivered items being stolen off my apartment doorstep. If they follow the same pattern as the Mars Rover and don't sell these in LEGO stores, and stop selling them at all after 3-4 months, then I will be very sad :(

Comment: Re:Why is it odd? (Score 1) 214

by blivit42 (#43998447) Attached to: Supreme Court: No Patents For Natural DNA Sequences

It's disastrous. cDNA is just a direct copy of the most important part of what's in the genomeâ"the actual transcript that gets used to make the final protein. This isn't a victory at all.

I agree that this isn't really a victory. The court still got things very wrong. But the above explanation isn't quite correct, either. The transcript that gets used to make the final protein would be mRNA, not cDNA.

It's still just a copy of the original, though. And a trivial copy to produce. Nature already gave us enzymes to do this, which we isolated from various bacteria (which were also patented). We then mix some stuff in a tube, and voila, we have a complementary copy of the DNA. For a not-quite-apt analogy, it would be like taking a page of text and photocopying a mirror image of it. Or, perhaps more appropriate for Slashdot, transcribing it into ROT13. However you look at it, it is a trivial to produce copy, even if it is sort of a mirror image of the original.

So, I feel that cDNA should not be patentable. It's trivial. It's obvious. It's already existing in nature. Little effort went into creating it. You should not be able to patent fragments of cDNA. Now, how you *USE* said fragments, like as a specific collection of cDNA fragments for a test kit, that's another matter, one which I don't want to get into. I don't like method patents, but that isn't the issue we're discussing right now. The court still got this wrong, due to lack of sufficient understanding of biology.

Comment: Funny acronyms (Score 1) 162

by blivit42 (#43604577) Attached to: Belgian Media Group Demanding Copyright Levy for Internet Access
It seems like the music licensing companies in many countries are equally evil. This latest move by the Belgians is just business as usual, disgusting as it may be.

But, why do they then choose acronyms that are so easy to make fun of?

ASCAP: Ass-Cap (put a cap in yo ass)
SABAM: Sa-*BAM* (like punching someone in a Batman comic book)

I'm sure there are fun mis-pronunciations for the equivalent associations in other countries as well. Anyone from other countries want to contribute more?

Comment: Re:How many (Score 1) 148

by blivit42 (#42876167) Attached to: Drug Testing In Mice May Be a Waste of Time, Researchers Warn
I can somewhat answer the inverse of this question, though: "How many drugs do we reject in clinical trials because some researcher used the wrong animal model to test?"

My memory is a little fuzzy on the exact number from when I worked in the industry, but something like 70% of all drugs that pass Phase 1 trials fail in Phase 2 trials. Phase 1 trials are small and test for safety problems, and Phase 2 trials expand to a larger cohort to test for efficacy -- does the drug work. The pharmaceutical industry loses around 70% of all its drug candidates due to them plain not working. Often times, this is due to it working in mice/rats, but not working in humans. This isn't entirely surprising, since rodents are a good bit different than humans. Also, many animal models simply mimic human disease, rather than actually being related to how the human disease works. For example, many animal models are done over a short period of time, say 30 days or less between the initial insult (do something nasty to the rodent to induce disease-like symptoms). For inflammatory diseases, real human disease may take years from the initial problem (whatever it may be) to develop into full blown disease. When you're comparing an animal model on the time scale of a few weeks to human disease over several years, and the insult is something very very different from what it could possibly ever be in a human, it should come as no surprise that the model is often biologically very different from what is going on the human. This isn't necessarily due to rodents being too different from humans, but could easily be due to the model simply being the wrong model to mimic human disease.

Long story short, many animal models just don't do a good job at representing human disease. This is not news to anyone who has worked with them or been in the pharmaceutical industry. However, not everything is gloom and doom here. There are, actually, many animal models that *DO* do a good job of modeling human disease. The trick is to know which ones are good and which ones aren't for various diseases, drugs, pathways, etc. before you start spending the big money on clinical trials....

Comment: Re:6 seconds? (Score 2) 117

by blivit42 (#42696125) Attached to: Twitter's Vine App Ready To Bomb Internet With GIF-Like Videos
Back in the early to mid 90's, when I was in undergrad and using several different unix platforms (AIX, HP-UX, SunOS, Linux, DEC-OS, dumb X-terminals, etc.), different programs on different platforms treated backspace as different things. The talk/ntalk/ytalk command on HP-UX was especially annoying. It would interpret the backspace key as a ^C and kill your talk connection to your buddy across the country using his unix account to chat with you. Imagine typing away, then hitting the backspace key to fix a typo, only to have your connection killed. Sometimes shift-backspace worked (HP-UX, ftp clients, various login prompts), sometimes DEL (usually easy to fix by setting the terminal variable and/or tset), but ^H almost always worked like it should. I believe on a dumb X-terminal on my desk that I had to use to connect to a Sun server during early graduate school, ^H was the only way I could figure out how to actually issue a backspace. So, in agreement with what other posters have said, ^H isn't really important anymore. Not like it was in days of yore, when there were MANY different ways to issue a backspace, you could never be sure which would work, and the backspace key could sometimes do unexpected things. These days, backspace and delete generally do what you'd expect them to do.

To this day, I *still* automatically use shift-backspace to fix typos during login prompts, as well as ^D to forward delete instead of the delete key :) Just don't hold down ^D at an empty unix terminal prompt, or it will auto-exit the connection. This can be especially annoying in an environment when you have multiple console windows open and you hold down ^D on a blank prompt. The first window closes, focus switches to the next window, which in turn closes due to ^D on a blank prompt, etc.. In short order, all your windows are gone, all because you started deleting at the start of the command line and it ran out of stuff to delete. I never understood why this was a "feature". I have, however, adapted and will often use ^D on a blank prompt intentionally to exit a session (it's so much faster than typing "exit") ;P

A bit further off-topic, but there was one program on one system that I used one time where neither the ENTER nor the RETURN key functioned as expected. I was forced to resort to ^M to issue newlines! Ah, the days needing to know all of the alternate ^key commands :)

Comment: Re:BCP for prosecution (Cliff's Notes version) (Score 1) 430

by blivit42 (#42673309) Attached to: After Aaron Swartz's Death, the Focus Now Falls On the Prosecutors

It should be one crime, one charge, but that's not required by law, so they interpret this type as shotgunning as within their requirement t prosecute to the full extent of the law. Don't like it? Change the law. Your congress-critter won't change the law? Change congress-critters -- this you CAN do.

This makes me think of the South Park rerun that was on last night or maybe the night before -- the one where the kids had to vote for the Giant Douche or the Turd Sandwich as their school mascot. When your choice is between a giant douche and a turd sandwich, it doesn't much matter which congress-critter you vote in -- neither choice will result in the outcome you desire above....

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.