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Comment: Re:size? (Score 4, Informative) 94

by reverseengineer (#46468849) Attached to: Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered

The 22 and 40 look like lower and upper bounds. In section 6.1 of the paper, it says, "we infer the lowest current mass of the system to be 22±5 [solar masses]" . They mention this value comes from a calculation based on Kepler's 3rd law. So it looks like the lower bound comes from orbital mechanics based on the orbit of the companion star and the upper bound of 40 comes from their interferometry observations and modeling of that data, but they consider it more likely that the true value is closer to the higher value.

Comment: Re:Whine (Score 1) 412

I get the sense that the Daily Doubles have historically been located in the high dollar values of a category because it has been more traditional behavior for contestants to start at the top of the board and work their way down. That way, the Daily Doubles tend to get exposed later in the round, when contestants generally have more money to wager and the game situation is more likely to be swung by a big win or loss. As I understand it, the DD wager may still be made for up to the highest dollar amount on the board for the round even if the player's current score is less than that amount, but it still is undesirable from an audience point of view for the only DD of the first round to be "wasted" on the first question.

Of course, from what you might call a "power player" perspective, the Daily Double spaces are very valuable, both in terms of the potential money you can earn and in terms of denying your opponents that potential. It's smart to try and find them as soon as possible. Making the DD spaces truly random on the board may limit the use of the "harder levels first" strategy, but there's still value in building an early lead (this is assuming that as a "power player," the hard questions on Jeopardy aren't going to be substantially harder for you than the easy ones) and maintaining control of the board, so I don't think it would totally go away.

Comment: Re:"A molecule nearly identical" (Score 1) 131

by reverseengineer (#45914069) Attached to: Metal-Free 'Rhubarb' Battery Could Store Renewable Grid Energy

I don't know why the focus is on rhubarb specifically. Anthraquinones are found all throughout nature, usually as some sort of red or yellow pigment (like the pigment carmine, for instance, made from cochineal insects). Rhubarb contains some compounds call anthraquinone glycosides, but I wouldn't characterize them as being "nearly identical" to anthraquinone disulfonic acid on account of sugar molecules not being very similar to sulfonic acid groups.

Comment: Re:Cafestol and Kahweol (Score 3, Informative) 49

It's something that's been known for awhile- there are papers on it going back to the early 1980s, though I'd imagine it may not have been heavily publicized at first due to the American preference at the time for paper-filtered drip coffee. Methods that retain more of the oils or the grounds themselves in the finished coffee, like boiled coffee or French press tend to have much higher concentrations.

This paper and this paper have some more information.

Comment: Re:No water processing plant (Score 2) 274

Apples to apples? Hanford Site cleans 1.4 billion gallons of groundwater a year, which is about 14.5 million liters a day. I'm sure you'll object that the levels of contamination are lower (though there's a lot of nasty stuff there), and yes, it's quite possible that nothing exists exactly like what is needed at Fukushima, in large part because the other massive radioactive material cleanups were different sorts of situations. However, the quote was , "You can't filter that much. Nobody can." A statement of possibility, not of existence. Do you really believe this to be physically impossible, rather than merely unfeasible, or just very expensive?

Comment: Re:No water processing plant (Score 2) 274

400 tonnes of water is 400000 liters. From the link in the GP, the two treatment plants (at a Superfund site that used to process thorium into lantern mantles) process 60.5 million liters of water a year, for an average of 165000 liters a day. Building treatment plants with 400000 liter/day capacity doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.

Comment: Re:This can't end well (Score 1) 492

by reverseengineer (#44643241) Attached to: New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

I did mention the "for research purposes" part, but yes, I should have emphasized that means analytical chemistry methods and in vitro testing, not running your own clinical trial. Honestly, I didn't mean for the sales quote to be taken seriously- the poster I replied to speculated on the properties of this mysterious compound, and I just thought it was funny that with a little Googling, I found it not only identified, but available for sale. I can't imagine anyone actually ordered some based on my post, but yeah, this stuff is not in any way meant for human use. Up to 4% impurities, and it's likely that those impurities, like SR9009 itself, can cross the blood-brain barrier. And many carbamates are cholinesterase inhibitors, which is to say, nerve agents.

Comment: Re:Might not work for healthy people (Score 1) 492

by reverseengineer (#44636175) Attached to: New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

The same group did a study last year that used unmodified mice (well, largely unmodified- they had been put on a diet that promoted obesity, but they were not transgenic).

Based on the alterations in energy metabolism and gene expression we observed in normal C57BL6 and Balb/c mice, we sought to examine whether a REV-ERB alpha/beta agonist would be efficacious in a rodent model of obesity. We initiated the study with 20-week old C57BL6 mice (average weight = 41g) that had been maintained on a high fat diet for 14 weeks (20% carbohydrate 60% fat). The mice continued on the HF diet and we initiated twice per day dosing (i.p.) of SR9009. While the stress of handling and twice-daily injections caused weight loss in vehicle-treated controls, weight loss of SR9009-treated animals was 60% greater (Fig. 5a). During the treatment period, there was no significant difference in the food intake of SR9009 and vehicle treated animals, although handling itself reduced food intake explaining the weight loss observed in the controls. SR9009 treated mice exhibited a more severe reduction in adiposity (Fig. 5b). In addition to the decrease in fat mass we also observed a 12% decrease in plasma triglycerides (TGs) and a 47% decrease in plasma total cholesterol (Chol) (Fig. 5c). Plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were also reduced (23%) along with plasma glucose (19%) in the SR9009 treated animals (Fig. 5c). There was also a trend toward a decrease in plasma insulin levels (35%).

Comment: Re:This can't end well (Score 4, Informative) 492

by reverseengineer (#44635939) Attached to: New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

SR9009 is available for research purposes, $150 for 25 mg. From the structure, I would say it's likely to be only slightly soluble in water; also, the only solubility data given is in DMSO. It requires storage by refrigeration or freezing, and comes packaged under inert gas, so I would say its environmental persistence would be rather low. I don't know if a molecule like this would be stable enough for oral administration, actually. In their mouse study, injections were made.

Comment: Re:Carbyne != Carbine (Score 2) 82

by reverseengineer (#44588845) Attached to: Carbyne: a Form of Carbon Even Stronger Than Graphene

From the non-chemistry side of the etymology, it is apparently not known with certainty why a short rifle is called a carbine in the first place:

short rifle, 1580s, from French carabine (Middle French carabin), used of light horsemen and also of the weapon they carried, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Medieval Latin Calabrinus "Calabrian" (i.e., "rifle made in Calabria"). A less-likely theory (Gamillscheg, etc.) connects it to Old French escarrabin "corpse-bearer during the plague," literally (probably) "carrion beetle," said to have been an epithet for archers from Flanders.

Comment: Re:Carbyne != Carbine (Score 1) 82

by reverseengineer (#44588769) Attached to: Carbyne: a Form of Carbon Even Stronger Than Graphene

The -yne ending is already in common use for carbon compounds with a triple bond. For example, ethyne (the IUPAC systematic name for acetylene). It's not a very good name in this case though- "carbyne" already refers to a type of reactive species of carbon with three unpaired electrons, in analogy to the more common "carbene" which has two unpaired electrons. Wikipedia suggests a better name for the carbon chain to be "linear acetylenic carbon," though I'll admit it doesn't roll off the tongue. Shorter versions of this molecular chain, which terminate with a hydrogen on each end are generally called polyacetylenes or polyynes.

Comment: Re:Yay! (Score 4, Informative) 217

by reverseengineer (#44584589) Attached to: New Treatment From Australia For All Cancers

There is reason to think that a drug like this would be broadly effective against different kinds of cancer. TR100 disrupts the actin cytoskeleton vital to all cells, and specifically disrupts its formation by targeting an isoform of the protein tropomyosin. Isoforms are different structures for the the same protein- every cell needs tropomyosin to regulate their actin filaments, but cancer cells preferentially use a certain structure of tropomyosin. Compounds with anti-actin activity have been looked at for a long time as anticancer compounds, but the known ones have been nonspecific. TR100 also has the advantage of being a relatively simple small molecule instead of a complicated biomolecule, which could make its development as a commercial drug much easier.

It is however, still (potentially) just a new chemotherapy agent, one of many out there. From what has been observed from other chemo agents, just because a compound targets a basic cellular function doesn't mean a cancer can't develop resistance. The taxanes and the Vinca alkaloids arrest mitosis (by targeting microtubules), and are excellent, widely used drugs, but are not the The Cure for Cancer. I'd imagine this compound to be along those lines- another weapon in the oncology arsenal, but not a magic bullet.

Comment: Re:Does anyone, and i mean ANYONE, question the ag (Score 2) 84

by reverseengineer (#44517961) Attached to: 4-Billion-Year-Old Fossil Protein Resurrected

Right, but the object of the paper is to then advance what is known in that very area, in which I think it is highly successful. Varieties of thioredoxins are present in every free-living organism on earth. One of their many functions is to donate electrons to an enzyme called ribonucleotide reductase which converts ribonucleotides into deoxyribonucleotides, so in a roundabout way, working thioredoxin proteins are necessary to make DNA. Between its ubiquity and general structural similarities in modern organisms, there is reason to think that the general structure of thioredoxins was settled long ago in the history of life, before archaea and eukaryotes split off from bacteria. As other posters have noted, the timeframe of this event is generally held to have been ~3.5-3.8 billion years ago.

Counting in octal is just like counting in decimal--if you don't use your thumbs. -- Tom Lehrer