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Comment: Re:Not always about the money... (Score 1) 160

by xaxa (#48198195) Attached to: Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

The tiny sums mentioned in the article were a surprise. If it can be that cheap to make significant progress on such an intractable problem, imagine what some serious dough could do! Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation have some resources.

That might not be the total cost. I tried to find what that was, and who funded it, but can't. I got as far as the sources of support for the research department: -- but the actual operation was done in Poland, and I think going further might require reading Polish.

Comment: Re:Not always about the money... (Score 1) 160

by xaxa (#48198009) Attached to: Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

According to

"The lack of financial incentive for the pharmaceutical industry could help explain why it has taken so long for the research to get this far. Using a patient's own cells to heal them means there is no profit for the pharmaceutical industry."

But I'm not sure where the funding did come from, some at least came from the Polish government. The scientist mentioned in the BBC article works at UCL (University College London), which has a large NHS teaching/research hospital (UCLH), but it won't necessarily be 100% NHS funding for this work. I think this is the paper: .

I can't find a single place "advertising" all the research the NHS funds. Here's a couple of sites:

Comment: Re:GBP50 = 63 Euro (Score 1) 314

The new (year-old) £50 has probably removed some problems, it has the modern security features that the previous one lacked. I haven't used one myself, I rarely have more than £80 in my wallet.

Occasionally cash machines in Germany (and elsewhere) will dispense €50s and even €100s. I have withdrawn €100 (one note), walked into a nightclub and apologised while buying a cola. The bartender didn't see a problem.

Last time I was in Italy the local supermarket was a bit like Harrods, and the man in front of me paid about €545 for his wine^Wshopping in three €200s. The cashier did check them with a machine, but not the €50 he handed over to make the change nicer.

I use my contactless card a lot, since my shopping is rarely over £20. I've bought lots of £1.45 bus / tube fares (in London). The cheapest thing was probably around £1 from the local Tesco. Or €1.50 for a drink in a museum in Amsterdam (that was mostly seeing if it worked).

Comment: Re:About things "accidentally breaking" (Score 4, Insightful) 455

by xaxa (#47773393) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Crowd-Source the auditing. All footage to be audited by the public, anything flagged goes to IA.

No -- that's very bad for protecting victims and witnesses. The main argument agaist the cameras is innocent victims and witnesses end up being recorded.

Here (PDF) is a report from using the cameras in the UK, way back in 2007. Here: says video is deleted after 30 days, unless it's part of an investigation.

Comment: Re:EIGHT weeks??? Nukes need to be more modular. (Score 2) 120

by xaxa (#47651545) Attached to: Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

Taking that many GW-hrs of production offline for that length of time is a serious outage.

It's still summer here, so there's probably lots of space capacity elsewhere. Few homes have air conditioning, the outside temperature tomorrow is forecast to peak at 21C in London. August is the month with the lowest demand.

There are some graphs and dials here: http://www.gridwatch.templar.c...

I'm surprised nuclear power varies over the year -- does anyone know why?

Comment: Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (Score 1) 246

by xaxa (#47648999) Attached to: I'd most like to (personally) explore:

I assume you're correct, with local knowledge, but what I said was true from what I saw -- though I can't prove it.

I've not been anywhere else in South America, so I only have Europe, the US and Canada, and some of East Asia to compare to. Ecuador is bottom of that list, but not that far behind the US.

The people in Ecuador with the worst stories were born there, so maybe they're remembering the old times.

Comment: Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (Score 2) 246

by xaxa (#47643399) Attached to: I'd most like to (personally) explore:

Earlier this year I went to the Cuyabana reserve in Ecuador. There wasn't really any reason to be scared of the jungle.

You wouldn't know where to go on your own, and organising transport would be a hassle anyway, so book an organised tour. I was travelling round Ecuador alone, and there were five others on my tour. A 12 hour bus journey to Lago Agrio, a 2.5 hour car drive east, then a 2.5 hour motor canoe journey and we were very much in the jungle.

(I only spent four nights in the jungle, you can obviously do a lot more.)

I will add some photos to Wikivoyage later this evening.

(Ecuador felt like the most dangerous place I've ever been, but not because of the animals. In the cities there's relatively high crime -- on one occassion a little girl warned me that I was about to walk into a slum, where I'd get robbed at best, and possibly killed. Many shops and all banks had armed guards. But, outside the cities it seems to be fine. If this puts you off, try South East Asia instead.)

Comment: Re:A Progression of Complaints (Score 3, Interesting) 190

by xaxa (#47570101) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

I, for one, will NEVER ride in or own a vehicle that does not have a steering wheel, foot-actuated throttle pedal, foot-actuated brake pedal, foot-actuated clutch pedal (where applicable), gear selector lever, etc. and I know I'm not alone in this. I don't care HOW foolproof they make them. I will NEVER put my life in the hands of some programmer or team of programmers, not even if they're riding in the car with me.

Have you ever used a train, including a metro train? A good many are electronically controlled (rather than levers etc), and -- especially on metro systems -- many have no more input from a driver than a "ready to proceed" button. Some don't even need the driver to press the button -- usually when there's not a union in the way. Signalling systems have been electronic for ages.

(Yes, cars are a lot more complicated -- but automatic trains have been running since the 1980s.)

Comment: Re:A Progression of Complaints (Score 1) 190

by xaxa (#47568733) Attached to: UK To Allow Driverless Cars By January

In fact, above 55 mph or so, the rates of injuries and fatalities in accidents mostly plateaus; that is to say, a wreck at 85 mph is not significantly more dangerous than one at 65.

Nonsense. Stopping distance at 55mph is 350ft, at 85mph it's 530ft.

190ft of the latter is "thinking distance", so at 85mph you'll hit close-ahead obstacles at full speed. (e.g. obstacle 200ft away, 85mph collision at 85mph, ~30mph (guessing) if you were at 55mph).

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.