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Comment: Re:Question for sequencing expert. (Score 3, Informative) 106

by kinko (#48209663) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

I don't know if ancient samples are processed differently, but for 'fresh' samples, the DNA gets broken up into small fragments (200-1000 base-pairs long), and then these fragments get sequenced. All bits of the genome have roughly even chance of getting sequenced, and with thousands or millions of copies of each fragment, you normally get reasonably even coverage over the whole genome.

The problem is when you map your sequences back onto a reference genome (ie the currently known chr1, chr2, chrX, etc). The aligning software will have trouble deciding where to place a fragment that is part of a highly repetitive sequence (like centromeres or telomeres) , or is duplicated several/many times (eg large gene families that have large sections of the genes in common, or pseudogenes that look like copies of other genes). In addition, we don't even know the exact sequence for some of these regions, so our reference human genome is contantly being updated (currently up to version 38).

For bioinformatics analysis, sometimes it is easier to sweep some of this under the rug. For example, some people use a reference genome that masks out the centromeres and telomeres (ie our reference sequence just has NNNNNNNNNNNN bases here, instead of As,Cs,Gs and Ts). Otherwise there are databases that list the regions containing repeated sequences or duplicated segments, so you can check any of your findings to make sure they aren't in a suspicious region.

Comment: Re:Why..... (Score 2) 259

by kinko (#48147861) Attached to: "Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

That's generally what each country does to the companies operating inside it.

But here's the problem. Lets say an iPhone costs $400 to make, and sells retail for $1000. One Apple-related company pays $400 to get the phone made in china, and then sells the phone to Apple Ireland. Apple Ireland pays $450 to get the phone, then sells the phone for $995 to Apple Australia or Apple USA or whatever. Australia/USA can tax the profits of the local company, but the local company only made $5 per phone, and then used most of that for local expenses/advertising. Apple Ireland books most of the profit, and at a tax rate far less than other Western countries.

Social Networks

Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+ 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the finally-batman-can-set-up-a-profile dept.
An anonymous reader writes When Google+ launched, it received criticism across the internet for requiring that users register with their real names. Now, Google has finally relented and removed all restrictions on what usernames people are allowed to use. The company said, "We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be."
Government

NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats 134

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-didn't-buy-the-premium-package? dept.
Master Moose writes with an excerpt from stuff.co.nz indicating that New Zealand's government "wants to override privacy laws to supply the U.S. Government with private details about Americans living in New Zealand. As part of a global tax-dodging crackdown, the U.S. is forcing banks and other financial institutions to hand over the private financial details of U.S. 'persons' and companies based overseas. From July this year, Kiwi banks and insurers will be required to provide U.S. tax authorities with American customers' contact details, bank account numbers and transaction history. The move comes amid continuing criticism of New Zealand's participation in Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement talks, aimed at securing a wider-reaching free trade deal with the U.S. and other countries. Critics say the secretive talks could restrict New Zealand's ability to make its own laws on everything from the environment to employment."

Comment: Re:PHB's strike again (Score 1) 207

by kinko (#45982105) Attached to: Previously-Unseen Photos of Challenger Disaster Appear Online

from what i remember the worker bees warned against a launch due to ice and whatever but the bosses said to launch

what if I told you that every single launch has had some worker bees who thought their part of their module wasn't up to scratch, or might not work in the current conditions, and voiced this opinion to their manager? People with an engineering mind-set don't like uncertainty....

I don't have any evidence that this is actually the case, but it seems likely when so many people are involved in a project.

Space

Smaller Than Earth-Sized Exomoon Discovered? 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-no-moon dept.
astroengine writes "Through the technique of microlensing, a candidate exomoon has been discovered in orbit around a free-floating planet about 1,600 light-years away toward the galactic bulge. The microlensing event, MOA-2011-BLG-262, was detected by the MOA-II telescope at Mt. John University Observatory (MJUO) in New Zealand and it appears to have a mass of approximately half that of Earth. The host planet is around 4 times the mass of Jupiter. Unfortunately there cannot be further studies of his particular exoplanet-exomoon pair (as microlensing events are transient and random), so the astronomers who made the discovery are remaining cautious and point out that although the exoplanet-exomoon model fits the data the best, there's a possibility that the lensing object may have been a more distant star with a massive exoplanet in tow. Microlensing surveys are, however, sensitive to low mass exoplanets orbiting massive free-floating planets, so this is a tantalizing first-detection. The study's pre-print publication has been uploaded to the arXiv."

Comment: Re:Geo-fencing, nothing more. (Score 1) 188

by kinko (#45232123) Attached to: Online Retailers Cruising Tor To Hunt For Fraudsters

Ever ask yourself why the merchant would spend money on this? I mean there's no risk to the merchant. If stuff is bought with a stolen credit card then the credit card company or the bank bears the risk.

No, it's the merchant who bears all the risk. If someone disputes a charge, the merchant's acquiring bank writes a friendly letter asking for proof of the card-holder's authorization, eg a signed receipt. If you can't offer evidence that it was authorized, then you get a chargeback (ie they deduct the purchase amount from your account) and you are out of the value of whatever you mailed out to the customer.

When we sold stuff online, obviously we don't get physical signatures, but normally we could convince the customer that they had made the purchase (normally they forgot, or didn't recognise our name on their credit card bill) and the customer cancelled the dispute.

Why would the bank voluntarily eat the loss for fraud/disputes? :)

Privacy

New Zealand Government About To Legalize Spying On NZ Citizens 216

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.
Flere Imsaho writes "After admitting they have illegally spied on NZ citizens or residents 88 times (PDF) since 2003, the government, in a stunning example of arse covering, is about to grant the GCSB the right to intercept the communications of New Zealanders in its role as the national cyber security agency, rather than examine the role the GCSB should play and then look at the laws. There has been strong criticism from many avenues. The bill is being opposed by Labor and the Greens, but it looks like National now have the numbers to get this passed. Of course, the front page story is all about the royal baby, with this huge erosion of privacy relegated to a small article near the bottom of the front page. Three cheers, the monarchy is secure, never mind the rights of the people. More bread and circuses anyone?"

Comment: Re:95% die, not survive (Score 1) 204

I understood that the high mortality is because most pancreatic cancers are not detected until the cancer has already spread. At which point it usually has already mutated enough to pick up a number of tricks that make it harder to kill, and thus less responsive to chemotherapy.

most solid tumours in organs are like that... they are asymptomatic until they get to an advanced stage.

But in this case, 95% of pancreatic cancers are in the tissue around the pancreatic duct. The other 5% are in a different type of pancreatic tissue and aren't as aggressive, so if they are detected and removed then most patients survive.

China

Graphene-Based Image Sensor To Enhance Low-Light Photography 103

Posted by timothy
from the bright-light-of-the-moon dept.
cylonlover writes "A team of scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore has developed a new image sensor from graphene that promises to improve the quality of images captured in low light conditions. In tests, it has proved to be 1,000 times more sensitive to light than existing complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) or charge-coupled device (CCD) camera sensors in addition to operating at much lower voltages, consequently using 10 times less energy."

Comment: Re:"HP's Playbook" (Score 1) 113

by kinko (#43134919) Attached to: Harvard Secretly Searched Deans' Email

That would seem to be the new HP tablet that looks like a BlackBerry PlayBook but with a worse display and camera. What has that got to do with Harvard seeming to have forgotten the difference between a university and a corporation?

Some years ago, HP's board of directors approved spying on some of their own top executives to try to find the source of a leak. "Playbook" was supposed to be a metaphor for "game plan", not a product name :)

Music

NZ Copyright Tribunal Fines First File-Sharer 102

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the additional-fines-issued-for-bad-taste dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that the first successful case was brought before the copyright tribunal under NZ's three strikes law. From the article: "The first music pirate stung under new file-sharing laws has been fined $616 but 'didn't realise' the actions were illegal. The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) — which represents music studios — took an unnamed offender to the Copyright Tribunal last year for sharing songs on the Internet — a track by Barbadian pop-star Rihanna on two occasions and the other by Nashville band Hot Chelle Rae. In a decision released today, the tribunal found in RIANZ's favor and ordered the offender ... to pay a penalty $616.57." Torrent Freak has a slightly different perspective: a lack of evidence and pushback from the tribunal resulted in much smaller fines than the RIANZ wanted.
Data Storage

Kim Dotcom Reveals Mega Will Offer 50GB of Free Storage 203

Posted by timothy
from the beats-google-drive-skydrive-and-dropbox dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Kim Dotcom on Thursday used Twitter to reveal some interesting new tidbits in regards to his upcoming Mega service, which will be hosted at the New Zealand-based domain Mega.co.nz. Two days before the service is to go live, Doctom says he plans to offer 50GB of free storage to all members and is also working on bringing over users' Megaupload files and data, but has so far run into legal issues." To say that Kim Dotcom has "run into legal issues" is like saying that Julian Assange is having a sleepover at the Ecuadorian embassy.
Government

Dotcom Drags NZ Spook Agency Into Court 165

Posted by timothy
from the it-is-your-methods-we'd-like-to-reveal dept.
New submitter d18c7db writes "Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom has won another court victory, today given the right to drag the secretive GCSB into the spotlight of a courtroom. Forcing the GCSB to be tied to the court action opens it up to court ordered discovery — meaning Dotcom's lawyers can go fishing for documents as they continue to fight extradition to the U.S. to face copyright charges. But the GCSB claimed any disclosure of what [was] intercepted would prejudice New Zealand's national security interests 'as it will tend to reveal intelligence gathering and sharing methods.' Dotcom and his fellow Mega Upload accused asked Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann for the right to have the GCSB become part of the proceedings, amend their statement of claim, and for additional discovery. In a judgment issued today she gave that permission."

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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