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Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 5, Interesting) 39

by ljw1004 (#49766177) Attached to: Machine That "Uncooks Eggs" Used To Improve Cancer Treatment

Wonder if "untangling" proteins could help with Alzheimers and "Mad Cow?.

There are two main theories about Alzheimers. The dominant theory is that it's caused by beta-amyloid protein which forms plaques. The minority theory is that it's caused by tau protein which forms long filaments called "tangles"; these tangles gum up the neuron and eventually cause it to burst.

My father during his PhD discovered that a common dye, methylene blue, causes those filaments to untangle. He formed a small pharmaceutical company to pursue this idea. They tweaked the chemical a bit, including with heavy duty computer number-crunching to simulate its 3d structure and mode of interaction. They had great results in Phase 2 trials, and their Phase 3 trials are currently underway. Fingers crossed.

That said, Alzheimers disease is a graveyard of pharmaceutical funding. $18+ billion dollars put into drug trials so far (not just "foundational research"), primarily on the beta-amyloid hypothesis, but with nothing yet to show.

Comment: Re:How about ... (Score 2) 530

by ljw1004 (#49751931) Attached to: Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users

No one likes advertising, but everyone wants free stuff. Why do you think advertising is attached to free stuff? Who do you think is paying for the free stuff?

WE are paying for the advertising and the free stuff. I only saw figures from early 2000s, when the total amount spent on advertising in the US averaged out at about $20k per citizen.

That's a HUGE advertising tax that we're all paying. And what do we get from this tax? Better healthcare? Job security? Vacations and time off? No, what we get is to subsidize the parasites working in the advertising industry, and we enable them to force unwanted ads onto our eyeballs, and we get a few tiny geegaws thrown our way.

I can't opt out of paying the advertising tax (through everyday higher prices of every single damn object I purchase). But I sure as heck will opt out of everything I possibly can.

But it's two-year-old level childish thinking at it's finest to think you can get all the free and subsidized stuff out here in the world without the advertising that pays for it.

I think you have a mental block on the question "who pays for the advertising that pays for the free stuff". Please hold off the accusations of childish thinking.

Comment: Re:Reality Check (Score 3, Informative) 228

by ljw1004 (#49630235) Attached to: Self-Driving Big Rigs Become a Reality

Strip mining companies spend millions on giant trucks whose only function is to shuttle minerals on a private road, from the bottom of the mine to the unloading dock. Until the technology of driving robots has clearly proven itself in a setting like this, it should be kept off the public streets and highways.

The technology of driving robots has already clearly proven itself in mining. For instance:

(from a google search for "robot mining truck")

Comment: Re:News? (Score 1) 425

by ljw1004 (#49622957) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth

I love this tidbit: "If you could measure programming ability somehow, its curve would look like the normal distribution." So, they're saying that they know the result of the measurement despite admitting that they don't even know how to perform the measurement. I see.

Well, yes. It's justified earlier in the article: "Almost every skill that we know how to measure ends up showing a distribution that looks like that curve."

There would have to be solid evidence that programming is different from most other skills. In the absence of such evidence, of course it makes sense to assume a bell curve.

Comment: Re:Wireless Networking (Score 2) 484

by ljw1004 (#49552825) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days?

In my experience many problems can be attributed to networking.

Same here. I had no end of problems with my old Buffalo running Tomato, needing a wifi base station reset once every few weeks. In the end I switched to an Airport Extreme base station. It hasn't failed once in over a year. I'm so happy with it that I bought one for my parents too.

Comment: Re:Must hackers be such dicks about this? (Score 1) 270

by ljw1004 (#49496857) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment

Replace "tweet" with "stand up and announce" and "laptop" with "metal pipe" and the story becomes "Man stands up in aircraft cabin and announces he 'could disable flight instruments' with metal pipe." Not that he necessarily was going to. Just that he could...and he's got to the tool to do so right here...kinda maybe thinking about it...

How would it be "unreasonable" to seize the man's metal pipe on the spot? No warrant required.

Let's fill out your analogy more completely...

* An expert researcher on the use of metal pipes for their use in disabling various things
* Who had done known research on the use of metal pipes for disabling aircraft instruments
* Which is interesting because it's not generally known or understood that metal pipes can disable aircraft instruments
* Is going to a conference to give a talk (on the use of metal pipes for disabling aircraft instruments?)
* Announces -- to fellow professionals in the field of disabling things with metal pipes -- that he knows how it's possible to use metal pipes to disable flight instruments, contrary to the general understanding

Yep, no matter how you dice it, detaining the fellow and seizing his metal pipe still seems ludicrous.

Comment: Re:Accepting a story from Florian Meuller? (Score 1) 110

So far their acclaimed commitments seem to be mostly fluff with very little real substance in them..

How about completely opening .Net, moving their build system to GitHub, and moving the compiler to LLVM? Those seem to have some real substance to me. Then there's them embracing Docker for Windows Server 10 and open sourcing that work. This is not your fathers Microsoft.

...and how much of that is usable on any non-Microsoft platform? A percentage would be fine as an answer.

I think it's close to 100%, on mac+linux. When Microsoft open-sourced their VB+C# compilers a year ago, Miguel was on stage as well to show it running on mac.

Comment: The Cloud (Score 1) 446

The answer is still the cloud.

You're not vulnerable to hackers because you encrypted it before uploading it.

You're not vulnerable to the company going out of business because you still have your local machine. The only vulnerability is that the company goes unexpectedly out of business with no advance warning on the same day as your house is burned down. The great thing about two such radically different forms of storage (home + cloud) is that their failure models are uncorrelated and so vanishingly less likely to both fail at the same time.

Comment: Re:Yeah, right. (Score 1) 892

From your first link:

"The holdout cities — those where the earnings of single, college-educated young women still lag men's — tended to be built around industries that are heavily male-dominated, such as software development or military-technology contracting. In other words, Silicon Valley could also be called Gender Gap Gully."

Air is water with holes in it.