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Comment PMT (Score 3, Informative) 108

The other place vacuum tube technology in a big way still exists is Photomultiplier tubes. Photodiode technology has come on significantly, but for very low light level applications PMTs win. They lose out in quantum efficiency to silicon and ingaas photodiodes at almost all wavelengths of light PMT are actually useful at. But the internal amplification of the tubes means dark noise is very low at low light levels. To the point that PMTs can detect single photon events (photon counting) with a collection area of an inch or larger. Avalanche photodiodes (photodiodes with internal amplification) can do photon counting but only on devices less than a mm, which limits their applications.

Of course PMTs have their weirdnesses. The gain you apply is not able to be known accurately. The devices have weird non-linearities at low gain. They have a polarisation bias. And many more.

Comment Re:CVS or Subversion (Score 3, Informative) 325

It is perfectly possible to branch in SVN and manage it. Git is better for branching and developing in complex and large team environments. But this is not the case here. They probably have max 3 guys maintaining and max 3 guys on a development branch. SVN is more than capable of handling that.

Comment No new components needed (Score 1) 153

VW use exhaust gas recirculation EGR as a core part of their emmisions control . This is throttle-able to vary the amount of EGR for different loads and conditions and so can also be essentially shut off by the engine control system.

There are more then enough sensors on a modern car to sense test bed situations. There are accelerometers for the traction control and airbag systems that can sense lack of real acceleration during apparent acceleration on the speedometer. And there are steering wheel position sensor which has inputs for the traction control system.

All that is required to combine this information into a "defeat device" is some code.

Comment A cynical strategy (Score 1) 372

The issue here is actually the FDA rules on generics and how it doesn't work for "orphan drugs". The FDA demands that a generics manufacturer do some basic clinical trials to prove the drug is as effective as the original. Simply showing it is the same chemical entity is not enough.

This creates a problem, as the generics company has to buy the drug on the open market to compare to. An often expensive and difficult endeavour. It also advertises to the original manufacturer exactly what they are doing, so it is hard to keep generics development quiet.

In this particular case the medication is given in controlled clinical environments, so it can essentially have it's distribution controlled by the original manufacturer to prevent a generics company comparing to it.

It should be noted that the big companies pull similar tricks to delay launching of competing generics.

A generics company could create the same drug, and go through full approval for the FDA. It will end up not being "interchangeable" though, which means one prescription for the original drugs can not be used for the generic.

The simple solution is to enact a law that forces all marketed drugs to also be sold for reference use at the current marketed price, for exactly this type of comparison.

Comment Re:Uh seriously? (Score 4, Interesting) 71

That doesn't mean Coca cola can solve those problems.

Actually they can. See

Basically coke success has been built on it's supply chain. It can deliver coke to nearly anywhere in the world. That supply chain expertise is being tapped to deliver various other medical essentials to remote places as well.

Comment Where you based (Score 1) 479

You don't happen to be based in SE england? Got a CV I can look at?

Your experience is useful. The PhD put into the right context (this is where CV writing skills come in) show a complex problem solving skillset that is more useful in the more interesting dynamic environments more than the lock and key set of on trend skills.

Where your job search is actually failing is the wall of stupid HR and recruitment agency keyword searching techniques. To get around the flood of CV's non-technical people are used to screen CV's before they hit the manager actually hiring. They use key word searchs to find the skillsets, the hiring manager gets to choose from a small selection of people that can write in the right languages and use the right technologies without training.

What you have to find is a way around that barrier. Which is harder than it seems.

Comment Re:Playing the ball... (Score 1) 770

So your argument is we will run out of fossil fuels after a massive rise in cost (essentially peak oil). Therefore the max amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be lower than predicted.

If that is the case to protect the economy in the future there should be short term efforts (high carbon taxes, subsidies move to renewable and non-fossil fuel energy sources) to move the economies infrastructure off fossil fuels so there are no nasty economic shocks in the future.

Either way the solutions the same.

Comment Playing the man and not the ball. (Score 4, Insightful) 770

For climate change skeptics are always attacking the science and the scientists. But they never deal with the known facts.

1. CO2 concentration is measurably increasing year on year and accelerating. If you want a running tally have a look here:
This is one of a number of different high quality analytical chemistry studies that all tell the same story. CO2 concentration is increasing significantly.

2. We know this is because of release of fossil fuel sequestered CO2. By careful investigation of the change in carbon isotopic ratios, and by simply accounting for the CO2 released. Human release of CO2 more than enough accounts for the CO2 increase in the atmosphere, and actually shows that a significant proportion is actually getting absorbed into the ocean and other carbon sinks. But clearly no where near all of it.

3. CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat due to the wavelengths of light it does and does not absorb.

This is all hard chemistry measurement, and are known with a high degree of confidence. These are not up for debate!

The only debatable point is what do these facts mean for the climate and the environment going forward. And here we get into prediction and modelling. The best models and predictions shows that the climate will increase in temperature, and that will have significant and mostly detriment effect on most of the worlds environments and sustainability of human populations going forward.

If you are a climate change skeptic scientist, what you have to come up with is a model that sensibly and scientifically shows why this increase in CO2 won't have any significant detrimental effects. Then put it up for publication in peer reviewed journals. And if your scientific argument has any legs it will change the scientific consensus. All the other stuff being thrown around is political motivated bull shit, with no scientific basis and should be simply ignored.

Comment Hotel wifi. (Score 2) 72

As a Common international business traveller,, I know very well the issues with hotel wifi.

First of, there is the dodgy reception interference issue. What compounds this is as soon as the wifi is flaky in a hotel, everybody gets the 3/4g wifi hotspots out compounding the problem. My solution is a high power (600mw) usb wifi adapter and high gain antenna in my suitcase. Cuts through all the crap. This one was a boon in a hotel in Lawrence Kansas, and whenever I get stuck in THAT room with sucking wifi reception.

Second is the throttling issue, where each device is throttle. Once I found In a nice hotel in Orange county had wifi hard throttle to 1mbps, I also found I could use the external USB adapter, the laptops internal adapter, and the rooms wired ethernet, and carefully created routing table, to get 3x 1 mbps streams....

I've once had the whole wifi in a hilton hotel come down, after the main login server got a virus, (short hills NJ). On the other hand the best wifi I've ever had at a hotel was at a hilton group hotel (doubletree in chesterfield MO).

Submission + - NHS and UK government

sugar and acid writes: The UK government through the NHS is supporting a project to sequence 100,000 genomes from 40,000 NHS patients and their relatives. . The technology behind it appears to be the Illumina HiSeq technology claiming $1000 per human genome sequenced,

The concept is to identify cancer and genetic disease patients within the NHS. Sequence their genomes and their close relatives to identify the specific gene sequences involved.

In the case of cancer the Genome of both the healthy cells and the cancer cell will be sequenced to identify the mutations that triggered the cancer, and also identify inherited genes that predispose people to certain cancers.

Their is assurances that all identifying information about a patient will be removed from the medical diagnosis to protect privacy.

Adapt. Enjoy. Survive.