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Comment: Not to be a downer, but... (Score 3, Informative) 255

by nasor (#38316412) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle
Any time you see a news story about an amazing scientific achievement by a child/teenager, there is a nearly 100% chance that the story is not accurately representing either 1) how significant the work actually is, or 2) how much of the work is actually attributable to the child/teen. I'm sure that sounds very cynical, but I've seen it time and again, virtually every time you see a "kid makes amazing science breakthrough in field that regularly stumps PhD researchers!" story. If you dig a little, you invariably find that it's not impressive as the news story makes in sound. Like in this case, were it appears that the whole thing was actually the idea of a Dr. Jin Xie. http://nano.cancer.gov/action/programs/pathway.asp

Nanoplatform Based, Combinational Therapy against Breast Cancer Stem Cells University of Georgia Principal Investigator: Jin Xie, Ph.D. Project Summary: This project is based on a novel nanoplatform that is comprised of an iron oxide nanoparticle core, an amine-rich intermediate layer, and an outside coating layer made of human serum albumin. In this project, the iron oxide nanoplatform is loaded with a cocktail of therapeutic agents (paclitaxel, salinomycin, and tariquidar or siRNA that targets MDR-1 gene) and is used to treat breast cancer.

Note that Dr. Xie was working at the same Stanford lab as the girl. Anyone want to place any bets on which one of them was responsible for this project? Of course, bad reporting isn't surprising; we can't expect a reporter to take the time to google "magnetic nanoparticle cancer treatment imaging stanford" and spend a few minutes looking through the results, or some similar feat of heroic investigative super-journalism. No, the interesting thing to me is how when anyone tries to point out that the story is stupid and inaccurate, people invariably freak out and accuse you of being jealous etc. It seems that a great many people can't distinguish between criticizing the child vs. criticizing the work of the reporter who wrote the story about the child.

Comment: Re:very impressive, but ... (Score 1) 255

by nasor (#38316236) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle
Look at the work of Dr. Jin Xie, who appears to have won an award for EXACTLY this work in 2010. http://nano.cancer.gov/action/programs/pathway.asp

Project Summary: This project is based on a novel nanoplatform that is comprised of an iron oxide nanoparticle core, an amine-rich intermediate layer, and an outside coating layer made of human serum albumin. In this project, the iron oxide nanoplatform is loaded with a cocktail of therapeutic agents (paclitaxel, salinomycin, and tariquidar or siRNA that targets MDR-1 gene) and is used to treat breast cancer.

Comment: Re:Did SHE do it? (Score 1) 255

by nasor (#38316196) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle

And then this happens to be a smart student that gets a promising idea to work on which actually works out surprisingly well.

The question is, did that step ever happen? Or was her project based entirely on the ideas of a PhD researcher? It appears that all the ideas described in this article actually came from a Dr. Jin Xie, who was working at the same Stanford lab at the same time as this girl. Check out http://nano.cancer.gov/action/programs/pathway.asp .

Comment: Answer: no, she did not do it (Score 1) 255

by nasor (#38316136) Attached to: 17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle
Check out http://nano.cancer.gov/action/programs/pathway.asp :

Nanoplatform Based, Combinational Therapy against Breast Cancer Stem Cells University of Georgia Principal Investigator: Jin Xie, Ph.D. Project Summary: This project is based on a novel nanoplatform that is comprised of an iron oxide nanoparticle core, an amine-rich intermediate layer, and an outside coating layer made of human serum albumin. In this project, the iron oxide nanoplatform is loaded with a cocktail of therapeutic agents (paclitaxel, salinomycin, and tariquidar or siRNA that targets MDR-1 gene) and is used to treat breast cancer.

Now check out http://nano.cancer.gov/about/meet/pathway_independence.asp#jxie

Jin Xie, Ph.D., focused his early research on the synthesis and surface modification of magnetic nanoparticles. As a postdoctoral researcher, he joined the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), where he worked with Dr. Xiaoyuan Chen on developing inorganic nanoparticle-based probes for multimodal imaging.

Note that Dr. Chen is the guy whose lab this girl was working in. It appears that Dr. Jin Xie already won an award from the NIH in 2010 for the same idea that this girl won an award for in 2011.

Comment: Re:The strike zone *is* subjective, though. (Score 1) 141

by nasor (#37691660) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Project Scope For MLB Robot Umpires?

The umpire can see where the top of your pants is when you walk up to bat, when you stretch before a pitch, etc. He defines "about" where it is. The robot has to know "exactly" where it is. There's a huge difference there.

The robot doesn't have to know "exactly" where the top of your pants are. It can define a zone of probability based on your body shape etc. and go with what it thinks to be most likely. This might not be perfect, but it would likely be much more accurate and precise than the best a human umpire could do attempting to estimate/remember where the top of the pants are.

No, he'll determine which shoulder is dominant for your stance through his experience of the game and knowledge of your swing.

It would be a relatively simple problem to program the robot to analyze the shape of a stance and determine which shoulder is dominate based on that.

The umpire will know from when you walk up where your knees are. He'll identify a spot of dirt, a loose thread, or just remember where your knee is.

See above. The robot will almost certainly be better at this than a human umpire.

An umpire will determine what your actual stance is. If I stay crouched down in a full squat during pitches I take, but bounce up straight in a swing, that is what the umpire will use to determine my strike zone, not the squat. The robot cannot do this.

Of course the robot can do that. It would be a trivial problem (by image-recognition/analysis standards) to program the robot to consider how the player's stance changed over time before and after the pitch.

The umpire *can*, however, say "Hey, you're being an asshole and squatting, and that is not your true strike zone, I'm calling anything even close a strike." which is the right thing to do.

I bet you already know what I'm going to say here. It would be easy for the robot to keep a record of previous at-bats and analyze them appropriately.

Actually they can, it's called 'thinking'.

Umm, no one is planning to ask the array of cameras and image-analysis software to write a 50 page essay on the nature of love, or anything else that requires any sort of complex, critical thought. Everything that it would need to do would be a (relatively) simply matter of heuristic image analysis and statistics.

Comment: Re:Good luck with that... (Score 1) 247

by nasor (#30036948) Attached to: Japan Eyes Solar Station In Space

Ahhh yes, the economy of scale claim. People have been making that claim since the 1960s (Seahorse) but in spite of 40 years of new technology it still isn't true.

It doesn't really have anything to do with new technology. It never came true because no one has yet attempted to launch large amounts of stuff into space. We will never have economies of scale in the space launch industry so long as we launch only a tiny amount of stuff into space, and we'll never launch more than a tiny amount of stuff into space so long as every time someone thinks about launching a large amount of stuff, they look at the cost in terms of today's small-scale cost/kg and conclude it's not feasible.

Comment: Re:Insightful (Score 1) 652

by nasor (#29995008) Attached to: Iraq Swears By Dowsing Rod Bomb Detector

Hemoglobin is not ferromagnetic at all. Ferromagnetism occurs when multiple metal atoms align their magnetic moments in the same direction due to magnetic coupling. The iron in hemoglobin exists as individual iron atoms bound up in a large organic molecule - there aren't any other metal atoms around for it to couple to, so there can be no ferromagnetism.

Comment: Re:Bad science (Score 1) 198

by nasor (#29273725) Attached to: British Company Takes Lead To Stop Asteroids
I think you need to redo your math. A 500 kg spacecraft sitting 300 meters from a asteroid's center of mass would accelerate it by (6.67*10E-11) * (500)/(300^2) = 3.7*10^-13 m/sec. Over 16 years, that allows you to move an object just 47 km - far, far less than even 1 earth radius. Also, since the acceleration due to gravity doesn't depend on the mass of the object being accelerated, you couldn't move a 1 ton object any faster than a 20 million ton object.

Comment: Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (Score 1) 408

by nasor (#29260927) Attached to: Lori Drew Cyberbullying Case Dismissed

Any one of my suggestions was at least as close to a correct application of law as the actual prosecution. Further, my suggestions are a lot less likely to damage civil liberty for the short term gain.

One of your suggestions was to charge her with a crime that does not exist, and your other was to charge her with a crime that she very obviously did not commit. It is at least somewhat plausible that she committed unauthorized computer access.

Given that the law is for the people, I find your "just leave it to the experts and don't worry your pretty little head about it" attitude unfortunate.

I never said anything of the kind.

Comment: Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (Score 1) 408

by nasor (#29255245) Attached to: Lori Drew Cyberbullying Case Dismissed

It amuses me that you think you are better qualified that the prosecutor to concoct a charge against her. Contrary to popular rumor, suicide is not a crime. Merely inflicting "emotional damage" does not qualify as assault; you have to make the other person believe that they are in immediate danger of being attacked, which clearly wasn't the case here. The prosecutor was not attempting to "grab headlines" by making it a "cybercrime"; the charge leveled against her was merely the closest thing they could come up with to an actual crime.

Comment: Re:That's only 20 Amps at 115V (Score 3, Interesting) 424

by nasor (#29098367) Attached to: NASA Developing Nuclear Reactor For Moon and Mars
The linked article doesn't really communicate the selling point, which is that these reactors are very small; the whole thing fits in a roughly 1 x 2 meter package (larger when you deploy the fold-radiators). It's true that one wouldn't be enough to power a large base, but NASA isn't planning anything like a base with a greenhouse for growing food - these things are basically meant to provide power for the astronaut's lander/trailer when it's dark outside. They just need to run the life support systems and radios.

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