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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.

Comment Re:Troll (Score 5, Insightful) 585

I've been to Soviet Russia (Stalingrad (now St. Petersberg)) and lived in it personally, first hand.` Have you? I agree with the poster who said he'd take free market capitalism over socialism ANY DAY.

And I having been to Leningrad (now St. PetersbUrg) call bullshit on your post. Not only you haven't lived there but you are off by 1000 miles in your geography. I also doubt that you are old enough to have actually lived in Stalingrad and being able to tell about it on Slashdot. Stalingrad was renamed to Volgograd back in 1961. You can say anything about USSR, but they made damn sure they taught their geography and history at school. There is no way for somebody who has lived in USSR to mix Leningrad with Stalingrad. So stop trolling please.

Comment Pharma industry/drug development (Score 1) 203

I like to read Derek Lowe's blog "In the pipeline". It has good insights on the pharma industry, drug development, etc. If you go there be sure to check the "Things I won't work with" page. It makes for some very entertaining reading on "exciting" (as in "oh my god we all gonna die") chemical substances.

Comment Re:Dogfights?! What year is it?! (Score 3, Interesting) 843

When was the last time you've ever heard of a dogfight?

In pretty much every war every war where both opponents had air capability, including the first Gulf war and the Balkan war. In the first Gulf war air-to-air combat usually happened after the pilots could get visual confirmation that the target is not a friendly. If you are in visual range you are pretty much in a dog fight. Pierre Sprey, the man who brought us the F16 and the A10, has the best description of the F-35:

If you read the article, you will notice that the F-35 failed a test that was stacked in its favor - The F-35 did not carry any load, while the F16 was saddled with two external tanks.

Comment Re:Time to recompile humanity (Score 1) 62

How exactly is "1-map out everything and figure out what/how everything works, so there are no unexpected results." different from "2-try stuff out and see what happens."? Is far as I know the way we "figure how something works" is to "try stuff out and see what happens". We do this with lab animals and then try as best as we can to show that the animal model is a good approximation to the human. If this is the case we can assume that we whatever "stuff" we tried on the animal will work the same way in humans without doing human experimentation. You can also "experiment" on humans without being unethical. That's why we study human disease. In this case the some random "stuff" has been already broken by nature and we can see the consequences. What is left to us is to figure out what the "stuff" is.

Comment Re:Time to recompile humanity (Score 1) 62

So you'd then have two repair mechanisms.

And by "two" you mean "three". The two mechanisms dealing with this type of damage in human cells are Nucleotide Excision Repair and Trans-Lesion Synthesis. There are multiple published works showing that the resistance of human cells to UV radiation increases when they are made to express photolyase. Doesn't matter if one mechanism is better than the other as long as having two (or three) does a better job than one.

Comment Re:Time to recompile humanity (Score 1) 62

Yeah, but we can do better than random modifications if we have a solid understanding of ourselves.

Can you do better? May be you could in the simplest of cases, where we know that the gene variant in another organism works better than the variant we have. Even in such cases you will need to brace yourself for the unexpected consequences. The number of nonlinear interactions between different genes, and between genes and the environment makes it very hard to predict outcomes. There is a virtue in having a population with buggy, unstable and diverse genomes. If the environment changes, and it alwys does, the population as a whole has a better chance of surviving the changes, compared to a population with stable and uniform genomes.

Having said that here is the number one on my list for bettering the human genome:DNA Photolyase, an enzyme that directly repairs the most common type of DNA damage caused by UV light. For reasons that are poorly understood most mammals, including humans lack this enzyme. The health benefit is obvious - a photolyase will reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

Comment Re:I thought this was already banned (Score 4, Interesting) 851

In the past few years, I don't recall coming across a single product that had any trans fat.

FDA had mandatory labeling for transfats, which contained a loophole. You could put a label stating "0g transfat" if your product contains less than 0.5g of transfat per serving. If you define your serving size as 1g than your product can be made of nearly 50% transfats. Many bakery products, particularly the ones with long shelf life do contain transfats and can be labeled as "0g transfat". That's why some manufacturers use a label "No transfats" to indicate that there are indeed no transfats in their product.

Comment Re:intuitively I would think steam would be better (Score 1) 217

Yeah, in the tropics it very well may be better. Move somewhere cold and every bit of steam that escapes almost instantaneously turns into ice. If you want to park your aircraft carrier in the Bering's see or further north, the steam catapults will turn into nightmares.

Comment I call shenanigans (Score 4, Insightful) 203

How is this physically possible? 1000 transplants in under three years! This is more than one serious microsurgery per day. An article in WSJ says he leaves the brain stem of the acceptor along with the so that it can control breading and hearth beat. This would mean that he is just connecting the blood vessels of the donor head to the circulatory system on the acceptor, without connecting the nerves. This seems more feasible to me, but hardly warrants the bombastic headlines. Does anybody have a link to an original research paper?