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Comment 1 title slashdoters will hate (Score 3) 123

How far the mighty have fallen. Now we are plucking click-bait titles from the yellowest pages of the web. Did the new managment fire all human staf and program the bots to spit out random stuff that fits a particular template:

Who wants to read about [N, where N is less than 10] [insert a noun here] that [insert a reference to a group that the reader would identify with] would [love/hate/be shocked with/never new about/should have known about/must read]

Comment Re:10 yrs out with robotics (Score 1) 875

Why do you hate the Robotic poor so much? How can they move up to the Robotic middle class without access to well paying Robotic jobs? Or do you have a hidden hate for the 1% Robotic overlords?

Robot: from Czech, from robota ‘forced labor.’ The term was coined in K. apek's play R.U.R. ‘Rossum's Universal Robots’ (1920).

These suckers ain't getting middle class pay.

Comment Re:BIA 10-2474 (Score 4, Informative) 232

This is still a speculation. The drug does seem to be called BIA 10-2474, according to recruitment materials from the drug testing company. There is only circumstantial evidence that this is a fatty acid amide hydroxylase (FAAH) inhibitor. The speculations are based on patent filings by the pharmaceutical company which ordered the trial (Bial) and the general description that the drugs was "meant to act on the body’s endocannabinoid system". FAAH is an enzyme that among other things degrades endocanabinoids. The rational is that if you slow the degradation of endocanabinoids you will experience less pain (works on mice). So far nobody who is in position to know it has made a statement as to the specific mode of action of the drug or its chemical structure.

According to fairly vague statements it seems that they were doing a dose escalation study, where different groups of people are given increasing doses of the compound in order to determine the point where the side effects start to show up. The people who got injured were in the group that received the highest dose. Usually this is done very carefully so you can stop before the side effects become severe. However, the response to drugs is not always in linear relationship with the dose and a small increase over a certain threshold may produce very severe adverse effects. This is always worked out in advance on lab animals (mice, rats, rabbits, etc). In the patent application they only cite testing in mice. Subtle differences in the biology of lab animals and humans have caused at least one other clinical trial to turn into a disaster. Of course there is always the possibility that somebody screwed up the dosing and gave them more than they should have received.

Comment Scam company (Score 4, Insightful) 97

I can't believe they are valued at ~10billion. They raise some telling red flags:
  • 1. Board of directors with no expertise in the product their are making. Their board of directors is more suited to head a military invasion of a third world country than a biotech company (two former Secretaries of State, Kissinger and Shultz, a former Secretary of Defense and couple of retired generals).
  • 2. They claim huge improvement in sensitivity (I am reading about two logs better sensitivity compared to traditional tests), but there is no information how this is achieved. Such improvement requires a radically different analytical approaches. Just miniaturizing the existing chemistries is not going to cut it.
  • 3. Their IP is protected by trade secrets rather than patents. This one actually is quite absurd for a company that needs FDA approval. FDA wants to know not only that your product works but also how it works before issuing an approval. Peer review of the research is part of the process. There is no way for them to go through the approval process and keep a trade secret.
  • 4. Virtually all the tests they perform are currently made by traditional tech. This may have changed, but initially they collected very small sample volumes. So they had to dilute their samples to do all the test, which increases the error and even the "classical" tests do not perform to specification when done by Theranos.

Who the hell invests in a company with non-existing tech and incompetent board???

Comment Musk running away (Score 4, Insightful) 414

accused Musk and other space-minded billionaires of plotting to abandon the planet to the ravages of global warming while they go to Mars to live the good life.

Seems more likely to me that Musk is going to Mars to get as far as possible from the idiot who wrote this piece and the likes of him.

Comment Re:Mostly a photo-op (Score 3, Interesting) 292

When you look at things like this in isolation you might think it does nothing, but this is the long fight. Similar to the anti-smoking movement, it took decades of incremental steps to finally get to a tipping point where not smoking became the default accepted point of view. We are still a decade or two away from the desired result, but I believe this is continuing to shift the default position from "Climate Change is BS", to "it exists, but nothing we can do", to " We can solve this". These things can take a generation to infiltrate the public conscious enough that politicians are forced to act, so as long as we're moving in the right direction, we'll get there eventually.

You analogy is wrong on so many levels.

1. Smoking hurts mostly you and to somewhat lesser degree people that live close to you, in contrast global warming impacts everyone who lives on the planed right now as well as several generations down the line.

2. Stopping smoking has immediate effect. Stopping green house gas emissions even if done completely and abruptly will have delayed impact on global warming as the gases currently in the atmosphere will need time to recede. In addition, the green house effect has a self feeding loop, by increasing water vapor, reducing ice cover, etc. Comparing it to smoking is like comparing hitting the brake on a kids bicycle to hitting the break on a freight train at full speed on a downward slope. (Hint : it will take a lot of time before the train stops).

Your suggestion that we can stop global warming by waiting for the reality to trickle down through the brains of the population of planet earth and take gradual measures is simply ridiculous. By the time this happens it will be too late. I have given up on any hope that effective measures against global warming will be taken in time to preserve the climate to anything resembling the current climate. What we can hope is to prevent a complete catastrophe and adapt to the new climate. Rich countries in high latitudes will fare better. I would really hate to be living around the tropics, especially in arid places like the middle east.

Comment Mostly a photo-op (Score 4, Interesting) 292

James Hansen is highly skeptical that this agreement will lead to anything tangible. Mostly because it consists of promises without any enforceable mechanisms. I am inclined to agree with him. It looks like large dog and pony show mostly aimed at reducing public pressure without committing to anything.

Comment Re:Can anybody explain how thos works? (Score 2) 396

People are easy to manipulate to believing into anything. This is even easier if you place them in an environment where everybody reinforces a particular view. Look at Nazi Germany, the communist Soviet Union, North Korea, every religion... When everybody around you is crazy the normal people look like loonies. Having said that, there is no way for me knowing that I am not a part of a crazy indoctrinated cult and everything I post here is pure propaganda.

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