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Comment 23andMe is just plain bogus (Score 2) 146

They can't do analysis, a secondary market can't do it, nobody can. The science just isn't there yet to draw useful conclusions for an individual on the basis of DNA in isolation.

Note that: in isolation. That's what 23and Me was peddling. Hospitals and genetic counselors and doctors are doing something else. They have the whole medical history. They have, or should have, enough training to understand population genetics, statistics, and where somebody's DNA data fits in to all that. (Although a comment lower down this thread talks about a blank-brained counselor. They happen. Run, do not walk, out of their offices.)

So, no, it would not be "great to see a secondary market in this kind of analysis emerge." It would be just as bogus as 23andMe, given our current state of knowledge.

Comment Re:So we should ditch Ubuntu and then (Score 1) 346

I'm sure my story is not unique. Parent is right.

Yup. Me too. Way back when, mid 1990s, I started using Redhat, but I had too many issues with it to use it full time. (CUPS? Remember CUPS before it got the finally-it-works! makeover?) Then Ubuntu came along and -- boom! -- I could switch everything over to it. That was a version or so before Dapper Duck or whatever it was called. 2004? I loved it, loved the community, spent hours helping other noobs on the forums.

After a while, they kept changing default packages to something stupid instead of seeing what you had and respecting that. It took more and more time to fix upgrades. Then they moved the buttons around AND were snooty about it. That's when I started ditching them. Unity was the final straw, with its nasty tracking by default and with its "Customizable? Whaddya mean, customizable? You'll eat your gruel and like it, jerk."

I've been on LinuxMint Debian going on three years now because LM smooths out some of the tough spots in Debian for noobs. But if LM loses its mind too at some point, then straight Debian, here I come. Together with the five or six people for whom I'm tech support.

Comment Re:Google is a business...pretending to altruism (Score 2) 87

What's offensive is not making a (reasonable) profit. It's acting all trippy and cool about helping the poors, and then being all about the profit. If they'd launched the balloon idea saying "We'll make a mint off rock concerts," people would have probably said only, "Interesting" and moved on.

Also, about that reasonable profit: GOOG has a bigger profit than the GDP of lots of countries. They're making that off tracking you and feeding generally off other people's data and the (publicly funded) internet. So where's my check for 10% of what they're making off me? Capitalism is not actually supposed to be synonymous with "rip off." (I know. I know. Ridiculous to even mention it at this point.)

Submission + - Experian Sold Consumer Data to ID Theft Service

quixote9 writes: From Krebs on Security Oct 13th. (Did I miss this earlier on Slashdot?)

An identity theft service that sold Social Security and drivers license numbers — as well as bank account and credit card data on millions of Americans — purchased much of its data from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, according to a lengthy investigation by KrebsOnSecurity. ... [A]ccording to Martin there were other signs that should have alerted Experian to potential fraud associated with the account. For example, Martin said the Secret Service told him that the alleged proprietor of Superget.info had paid Experian for his monthly data access charges using wire transfers sent from Singapore. “The issue in my mind was the fact that this went on for almost a year after Experian did their due diligence and purchased” Court Ventures, Martin said. “Why didn’t they question cash wires coming in every month? Experian portrays themselves as the databreach experts, and they sell identity theft protection services. How this could go on without them detecting it I don’t know.

With everybody from the NSA to Splunk getting into our business to "help" us and "protect" us, you'd think, since they're so worried about us, they'd be real concerned about keeping our data out of the hands of (obvious) criminals.

Comment Re:Barefaced corruption of Wikipedia (Score 1) 219

"The most outrageous part of this is that Wiki-PR claims to have Wikipedia admins on their staff, not just normal editors. There is one, and only one response to this - find out who they are and remove their admin status immediately."

Yes. Christ on a bike. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Why hasn't Wikimedia already done this? Anybody specific I can badger to tell them to hurry up?

Comment Charcoal is a soil conditioner. Not fertilizer. (Score 1) 228

If the writer of the article doesn't even know that, what else if he ignorant of? (Any potassium, phorphorus, and trace elements will act directly as fertilizer.) Furthermore, as soil conditioners go, you'd be much better off including it in a compost and then spreading the compost. Straight charcoal will make soil alkaline and plenty of crops wouldn't like that.

So this process is definitely not producing loads of free fertilizer. Energy? Sure. Gasification has been around for decades. And it sounds more carbon neutral than trying to convert bio-waste into methanol or ethanol. Plus the small fact that we're pretty bad at using waste to make ethanol. This sounds like a much more practical process to enable the use of agricultural wastes for fuel.

But spare us the ill-informed blather about fertilizer.

Comment Re:How about the old design? (Score 1) 1191

"at least it ... doesn't have somewhat related stock photos taking up space on the page."

And like everyone else says, the articles are skinnied down to newspaper width so you have to scroll and scroll and scroll and etc. And the comment organization is way better in the old system.

If you want the stuff to be all cutesy on a mobile, then just have a button near the top that says "mobile format." Sheesh. You'd think that wouldn't be something that needs saying on a geek-run site. (Or is it these days? Has Marketing taken over?)

So, yeah, like everybody else, one more vote for "Hate the new design."

Submission + - "Black body" solar collector in the works (mcclatchydc.com) 2

quixote9 writes: Ronald Ace won't say yet how he's doing it. Part of me sympathizes, given the track record of big corporations ripping off inventors. Part of me says "vaporware." But very exciting vaporware.

“Anybody who is skilled in the art and understands what he’s proposing is going to have this dumbfounding reaction: ‘Oh, well it’s obvious it’ll work,’” said Darnell, a biochemist with an extensive background in thermodynamics. ...

A major stumbling block for solar thermal energy devices invented to date has been that, as temperatures rise, increasing amounts of energy escapes, or radiates away, from their receivers. At 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, currently designed receivers would radiate as much energy as they collect, sinking their efficiency to zero, solar experts say.

In his patent application, Ace wrote that his invention amounts to “a high-temperature blackbody absorber”. ...

The key, he said, is his trap’s ability to absorb nearly 100 percent of the sunshine that hits it, while allowing only a tiny percentage of energy to escape, even at ultra-high temperatures.

Such a feat would astound many solar experts, who have had little success combating radiation losses in pilot solar plants, which use fields of mirrors to redirect and concentrate sunlight on common receivers.

Submission + - Danish scientists on brink of HIV cure (telegraph.co.uk)

quixote9 writes: HIV is hard to cure because it hides inside the patient's DNA. The Danish research follows a strategy to unpack the DNA, expose the viral bits, and then use immune stimulation to get rid of it.

The technique uses drugs called HDAC Inhibitors, which are more commonly used in treating cancer, to drive out the HIV from a patient’s DNA. ... The scientists are currently conducting human trials on their treatment, in the hope of proving that it is effective. It has already been found to work in laboratory tests. ... In vitro studies — those that use human cells in a laboratory — of the new technique proved so successful that in January, the Danish Research Council awarded the team 12 million Danish kroner (£1.5 million) to pursue their findings in clinical trials with human subjects. ... “The challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems.”

But the really interesting bit is this:

The Danish team’s research is among the most advanced and fast moving in the world, as that they have streamlined the process of putting the latest basic science discoveries into clinical testing.

Cutting edge molecular biology and bureaucratic breakthroughs. How cool is that?

Submission + - SOPA Creator Now in Charge of NSF Grants (huffingtonpost.com)

sl4shd0rk writes: Remember SOPA? If not, perhaps the name Lamar Smith (R-TX) will ring a bell. The US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology chose Smith to Chair as an overseer for the National Science Foundation's funding process. Smith is [PDF] preparing a bill which will require that every grant must benefit "national defense", be of "utmost importance to society" and not be "duplicative of other research". Duplicating research seems reasonable until you consider that this could also mean the NSF will not provide funding for research once somone has already providing results — manufactured or otherwise. A strange target since there is a process in place which makes an effort to limit duplicate funding already. The first and second requirements, even when read in context, still miss the point of basic research. If we were absolutely without-a-doubt-certain of the results, there would be little point in doing the research in the first place.

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