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Comment Re:Yet another company that does not need to exist (Score 1) 107

What Groupon primarily attracts is cheapskates. People who are only interested in the lowest price and then move on. Belligerent assholes who come into your business with an coupon they know has expired and then scream at you for not honoring it. This is well documented by the many businesses who have lost money on the Groupon scam.

That may be one kind of customer but my wife and I used Groupon to have new experiences we otherwise never would have tried.

For example, we used Groupons to get an archery lesson, to take a massage class, to stay in a Victorian mansion turned B&B, and to take guided kayak tour of a local slough.

The businesses *might* have made money on us (I have no idea about their cost structures) but without Groupon they never would have seen us as customers because a full-price archery lesson (for example) wouldn't have attracted us as customers.

I think service business might make money on Groupon, I don't know. It seems a few services and "experience" businesses are always on Groupon.

Comment Re:The question that come with this is... (Score 2) 37

Turning a neuron "off" doesn't make much sense unless you are destroying it.

Neurons work in two ways, they are either "excitatory" in which case they tend to create further firing, or "inhibitory" in which case they tend to suppress further firing. I'll assume you meant "making it more inhibitory" when you said turning it off.

We are a long way from such things, but you could imagine the utility of "turning off" or making neurons more inhibitory in the case of Parkinson's Disease where there is too much superflous random firing that leads to tremor.

Another case where we might want to calm the neurons are in people that experience PTSD or severe depression.

Yet another case is Epilepsy. You can kind of think of Epilepsy as a "neural storm" (this is a ROUGH analogy). So, one option to control it is if you can sense a seizure starting up you can shut down it's ability to propagate through the brain.

These are just some of the possible uses of "switching a neuron off".

Comment misleading (Score 4, Insightful) 37

Again, the summary was highly misleading. Optogenetics only works with GENETICALLY MODIFIED neurons, so won't easily work as a therapeutic technique. That's OK, because what it is used for is basic neuroscience research.

The idea is if you want to look at specific neural pathways you can optogenetically modify them to light up when you are shining a laser on them AND they are performing a task you are interested in. You can think of an optogenetically modified neuron as a neuron that you can probe at high speeds.

This is exciting because you can see, for example, functional connectivity at full speed in real, operating brains. This could enable the creation of a functional connectome which is kind of a traffic map of the brain (neurological connection studies give you the road map, optogenetics can give you the traffic). Previous techniques (such as neurotransmitter tagging) are far too slow to make such a "traffic map".

Prior to this "sonogenetics" research, only really flat specimens could be used since lasers cannot penetrate deeply. This is nice development.

Comment Re:Dell has sold someone else's hardware forever (Score 1) 74

I'm not sure what *you're* smoking.

What do you think Microsoft hardware is? Made in a factory in Redmond by Microsoft employees? Hahaha. Microsoft has long had their hardware designed by ODMs and made by CMs. According to this article [], Taiwanese company Pegatron makes the Surface tablets, and is also an iPad supplier.

*Every* American electronics company these days outsources their manufacturing and frequently their design to Asian companies. No one does any of that stuff here any more, except defense contractors of course.

That is simply not true. Many electronics companies have outsourced their manufacturing but they still mostly keep the design in-house. The Surface was designed in Redmond, WA, (

Apple products are famously designed for the most part in Cupertino. Amazon designs its Kindles in Silicon Valley. I could go on...

Comment Too many choices (Score 5, Insightful) 508

I'm an Apple fan and I'm concerned they are falling into the trap of customer confusion. For example, when I bought my iPad (which I love) I went to the Apple Store and picked up the iPad. It was done quickly and I was a happy customer. Now, there are *5* different iPads.

Which one do I pick? Christ, I have to research this now? What's my use case? How important is screen size, battery life, cost, etc etc etc.. This is why I hated buying anything from Dell.

On a related note, which Apple laptop should you buy? MacBook, Air, Pro? What's the difference? Customer confusion leads to customer paralysis.

Apple's been down this road before. In the mid 90s there were so many different Apple models, Performa, Centris, Quada, God knows what else, that I had no idea what to get. You know which one I got? None of them. That's when I finally went to PC.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs' genius when he returned to Apple was to make it EASY to buy a Mac. Just get an iMac. Pick the color and you're done. Want an iPod or an iPhone? You didn't need to research and weigh the pros and cons of 5 different models. Now you do. I strongly believe a good part of why Apple revived was a clean product line with minimal choices.

I fear Apple is making a mistake that may come back to bite them.

Comment Re:Knowing when not to (Score 1) 345

You started out claiming that writing code only you can decipher is a good thing for a programmer (otherwise you're "thinking like a manager". Now you're backpedaling to the old "well I'm unique and it works for me" angle.

For most people, doing competent work that can be understood and extended in your absence is not only a good idea, it is the very essence of professionalism.

Comment Re:Yes, It's Culture (Score 1) 266

And in 99 cases of 100, his son will end up unemployed. That's why Europe prefers stability, being an older culture, they've learnt that it's better for 100 sons to all be employed, than 1 son is rich while the other 99 starve.

And yet, historically, the United States has significantly lower unemployment than Europe.

Comment Re:this technology has been in use for years (Score 2) 55

You're correct but earlier cryo-EM cameras are also tailored to the bio industry. This advancement is huge, don't get me wrong, it's just it was made 8 years ago. Take for example the K2 Summit camera.

It's a winner in structural biology. The reason you care about seeing atoms in structural biology is you're trying to design drugs that physically interlock with important molecules. You have to see the atoms to truly know the structural layout of a molecule.

Comment this technology has been in use for years (Score 4, Informative) 55

This is not a worthy story. Cryo-EM is a fast growing, exciting field but higher resolution electron microscopes that what this article trumpets have been available for years. For example, the TEAM microscope built in 2008 at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has a resolution of 50 pm:

I personally saw individual gold atoms deposited as a nanobridge on a graphene substrate. In 2010.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.