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Comment: Important, but overhyped (Score 1) 112

by payola (#41270013) Attached to: Function of 80% of the Human Genome Charted
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The publication of the ENCODE data is a big deal, make no doubt about it. But it has been overhyped and misreported in the popular press. Interestingly, this is not the fault of science journalists, but rather a consequence of the lead scientists in charge of publicity for this project. UC Berkeley biologist Michael Eisen has a couple blog posts addressing this issue, as does University of Guelph biologist T. Ryan Gregory.

Two of the main criticisms directed at the publicity surrounding ENCODE are:
(1) The fact that noncoding DNA is functional does not count as "news." Far from it. Biologists have known for many, many years that functional elements make up a significant portion of the genome.
(2) The 80% figure, which is being widely reported as the proportion of the genome that is functional, is inaccurate and misleading. A more truthful statement is that 80% of the genome is biochemically active, but this is decidedly not the same thing (a point addressed by Eisen in the second post linked above). The headline on the Slashdot article is completely wrong.

The data produced by ENCODE is extremely important and will lay the groundwork for many future studies. But it should be lauded for that, and not for the hyperbole currently surrounding it.

Comment: Important, but overhyped (Score 1) 112

by payola (#41269977) Attached to: Function of 80% of the Human Genome Charted
Whoops... forgot to log in before posting. The publication of the ENCODE data is a big deal, make no doubt about it. But it has been overhyped and misreported in the popular press. Interestingly, this is not the fault of science journalists, but rather a consequence of the lead scientists in charge of publicity for this project. UC Berkeley biologist Michael Eisen has a couple [michaeleisen.org] blog posts [michaeleisen.org] addressing this issue, as does University of Guelph biologist T. Ryan Gregory [evolverzone.com]. Two of the main criticisms directed at the publicity surrounding ENCODE are: (1) The fact that noncoding DNA is functional does not count as "news." Far from it. Biologists have known for many, many years that functional elements make up a significant portion of the genome. (2) The 80% figure, which is being widely reported as the proportion of the genome that is functional, is inaccurate and misleading. A more truthful statement is that 80% of the genome is biochemically active, but this is decidedly not the same thing (a point addressed by Eisen in the second post linked above). The headline on the Slashdot article is completely wrong. The data produced by ENCODE is extremely important and will lay the groundwork for many future studies. But it should be lauded for that, and not for the hyperbole [telegraph.co.uk] currently surrounding it.

+ - Impending CA sales tax sparks Amazon buying frenzy->

Submitted by payola
payola (1127685) writes "On September 15, Amazon will begin adding in sales tax for purchases made in California. This is sparking a buying frenzy among California residents who are rushing to buy consumer electronics and other expensive items on the site before the deadline. Of course, consumers are supposed to pay sales taxes on their online purchases anyway, but few actually do."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Not actually a proof (Score 1) 509

by payola (#27904503) Attached to: New Pattern Found In Prime Numbers
From quickly glanced through the paper, it doesn't seem to me that the authors have actually proved any theorems - at least not in the mathematical sense of the word "proof." They *have* provided ample numerical evidence that indicates Benford's Law applies to primes, but their explanation for why this is so is because the primes have a 1/log(x) density - nothing deeper than that. It's a cool paper to be sure, but there doesn't seem to be much significance for mathematics.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan

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