Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Comment Re: I liked the cartoon that read: (Score 1) 662

"I don't personally believe these statistics, therefore they are false" How about the survey in 2006 showing the large minority of Muslims in the UK supporting Sharia law? When I visited Niger, even those very Islamic people did not want Sharia, so I'm not sure why so many I the UK apparently do, but it's anti-human. You sound like a sane, good person, like so many other Muslims I know. That doesn't change the fact that Islam, along with the other Abrahamic religions, is a brutal, archaic religion that needs to be left to history. And for the record, I am supportive of this kid regardless of TFA, even if he was pretending it was a bomb, it clearly isn't. The whole thing is a combination of the worse aspects of 21st century America.

Comment How about linux-based cameras? (Score 1) 212

This might not be what the OP is looking for, but I've had great luck with Sharx security cameras. They appear to run Linux (though I've never gotten console), and they have all the smarts you need internally. If one fails or is damaged, the rest keep working. They can email you when there's a motion alarm, if you like, record to server, and/or record to a file server. They have both wireless and PoE, indoor and outdoor models, with IR illumination and cutoff filters. We don't live in an area with a lot of violent crime, but burglaries are common. Especially for my office nearby, I have several Sharx cameras set up, indoor and outdoor, recording directly to an Amazon EC2 server (cost: ~$10/mo) whenever there's motion during specified times of day / in specified regions. Add a dog and a few properly placed/secured firearms and you should be good to go. There are also some good driveway motion alarm type products (we have one made by Chamberlain) that you can use to alert you when someone's outside your home, and they're inexpensive and simple to operate.

Comment Pharma development is hard and expensive (Score 5, Informative) 165

Here's approximately how the drug development process works, to the best of my knowledge. I'm not in pharma but I've discussed some research projects with pharma folks and done a few projects on contract with them. I am not a pharmacologist or chemist. I am involved in medical device development and clinical trials for that purpose.
  1. Pick a target condition (based upon need, existing treatments, size of market, whatever)
  2. Based upon pharmacology, look at possible pathways to address said condition
  3. Develop/find compounds that might address those pathways
  4. Do whatever possible to narrow down these compounds by screening for safety before doing any trials, animals or otherwise. Select very carefully for screening techniques that won't give you false dangerous results becuase even if the compound is actually safe in the end, if you have a screen that looks bad at this stage the FDA is not going to like it down the road and it exposes you to liability.
  5. Do animal trials with the promising compounds and hope some both work and don't cause harmful effects. Depending on the animal model this can get very expensive and time consuming.
  6. Do human trials with promising compounds. A well-powered study will be VERY expensive (easily tens of millions of dollars or more), and depending on the condition being targeted, may also be very time consuming. Hope that what worked in animals works in humans, and no harmful effects crop up.
  7. Assuming you make it through FDA approval, and they don't make you do more trials or enroll more patients before you get it, now you can produce the drug.
  8. Try to sell enough of the drug to recoup your R&D expenses on ALL the compounds you checked out for the condition, all the trial expenses, etc, before the IP protection expires and the drug goes generic.

This "open source" model is neat and it may help a lot, especially in places where you can get away with less regulatory approval, but the way it's done is not because pharma companies are evil. It's because drug development is hard and expensive, and anything less than a blockbuster drug carries a high risk of never recouping the R&D expenses.

I think there's a lot of hubris to the idea that it can be done so much better this other way, but I will be happy to be proven wrong, because it really is a problem that needs solving.

Comment Re:I run a WISP. No. (Score 1) 190

Around here (rural area) 4G is being backhauled more commonly with microwave and even unlicensed links. I have to concede your point that ultimately fiber can always do better, I was thinking more of the 1Gbps FTTH that people typically talk about. For that there's plenty of stuff out there. When you go to licensed microwave links you can do a lot more, but you're talking $10k minimum and easily quite a bit more. That's what I was trying to say.

Comment I run a WISP. No. (Score 5, Informative) 190

Wireless can do as well as fiber, but it's going to cost a LOT more and you'll have trouble scaling it. I run a small rural wireless ISP, and while wireless is cheap and fast to deploy, it's not fiber, and it's never going to be. That said, with a good high point and backhaul, you can start providing speeds up to 40Mbps for less than $5k.

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.