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Comment Active scanning is a form of assult (Score 1) 681

The real problem that isn't being addressed by turning body scan images into funhouse images is that if one is using active scanning that involves either X-rays or THz radio frequencies is that it is effectively a form of assault (leaving completely aside any "illegal search" arguments).

X-rays break chemical bonds. Breaking bonds in water (much of the human body) creates hydroxyl radicals which attack DNA. Some of these attacks explicitly create or contribute to the creation of DNA double strand breaks. Repair of DNA double strand breaks corrupts the genome [1]. THz wave have recently been found to create DNA "bubbles" which will contribute to the formation of DNA double strand breaks [2].

So there is no way that these "active" searches can be done without causing damage to the individual being "searched". The only "searches" likely to be non- or minimally-hazardous are metal detectors which use magnetism or chemical sniffers which would detect the presence of hazardous materials. One might also be able to develop a non-hazardous scan based on NMR technology but I don't think we are going to see such scanners soon at airports.

1. The WRN and DCLRE1C (Artemis) genes are key actors in DSB repair and have exonuclease activity. They will chew up DNA bases in order to create strand ends which can be effectively be ligated (sewn together). This in turn produces indels (insertions & deletions) which have played a role in evolution (as seen by the hundreds of thousands of indels being found in individual human genomes) as well as in individuals where they contribute to the formation of cancer [3] and/or aging [4].
2. Bubbles (strand separation) in DNA increases the distance between single-strand breaks on opposite strands which allows the DNA to "melt" effectively producing a DNA double strand break.
3. Studies of cancer genomes have found that indels may be involved in 15-25% of cancers which have currently been sequenced.
4. Misrepaired double strand breaks accumulate over time and gradually corrupt the genome -- so if they don't occur in cancer genes they end up producing a dysfunctional genome and a generally accelerating decline in cell function.

Comment Re: THz scanning (Score 2, Informative) 1135

Actually I spoke to soon. Some recent investigations suggest that THz RF scanners may damage the DNA by "unzipping" it (which can increase the probability of DNA double strand breaks as well as other kinds of damage) [1].

So it looks like neither the AIT scanners which use back-scatter X-rays, nor the THz scanners are completely without risk of damaging the individual going through them.

I agree with Dthief that high-tech noses detecting chemical odors may be a better way to go for non-invasive, non-damaging scanning.

1. http://tinyurl.com/2fgf9f5

Comment Re:What's the deal with the rush of TSA stories re (Score 3, Informative) 1135

What isn't clear to most people that any X-ray process, in contrast to magnetic metal detectors or THz RF scanners, *will* damage your DNA [1,2].

The medical community (and presumably the TSA) would like to convince you that X-ray doses are low enough that they are harmless. But IMO there is no "safe" dose. Just greater or lesser degrees of actual physical damage.

1. The photons of X-rays and to a lesser extent short wave UV rays have sufficient energy to break atomic bonds. Breaking the atomic bonds in water can produce hydroxyl radicals which then attack DNA which can further result in DNA double strand breaks. DNA double strand break repair is error prone [3] and corrupts the genome sequence much of the time. Thus any significant quantity of X-rays will damage ones genome and will increase ones risk of cancer and/or ones rate of aging. If the TSA is really using X-ray scanners (and people are not misinterpreting the THz scanners as X-ray scanners) then the is grounds for a lawsuit and a cease and desist decision by the courts.
2. It is useful to keep this in mind when your dentist wants to take X-rays or your hospital wants to take X-rays or run a CT-scan (which involves loads of X-rays). If you can receive treatment without the need for X-rays or CT scans it is something that deserves consideration (and even prior directives to care givers/family/facilities for permanent inclusion in ones medical record). People may be subjected to X-rays or CT scans without their permission as one can observe from many TV programs involving Emergency Room treatments.
3. Courtesy of the exonuclease activities in the WRN and DCLRE1C (Artemis) proteins [genes] involved in DSB repair.

Comment Organs may be useful in derstanding aging... (Score 1) 309

While I think the method of harvesting the organs is open to lots of criticism, I think they could prove quite useful in the future (if they or samples of them have been preserved).

Both X-rays [1], neutrons and heavy ions at high velocity damage DNA and can induce DNA double strand breaks. DNA double strand breaks, courtesy of the WRN and DCLRE1C (Artemis) genes are *not* repaired reliably. They allow genome corruption to creep into the genome of each cell. This in turn can induce cancer or its lesser cousin "aging" (when the damage accumulates in genes which are not oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes).

One would suspect that nuclear industry workers are exposed to higher levels of X-rays, neutrons and heavy ions (why else would they be required to wear radiation monitoring badges?). The same is true to some extent for astronauts and to a lesser extent pilots and frequent flyers. And then of course there is your dentist and your local hospital. And don't forget about the TSA (at least as far as the X-rays go). To my knowledge there is no "safe" level of X-rays -- there are just greater or lesser amounts of damage & probable mutations caused.

Genome sequencing is now becoming cheap enough that the tissues of these workers may have their genomes sequenced. If correlated with their lifetime radiation exposures one could then determine relative risks more completely than is now the case. Relative risk determination generally involves a lot of hand-waving regarding radiation dose and type which are generally extrapolated from high dose exposures (atomic bomb blasts) or animals which have different DNA repair capabilities compared with humans. So the children or grandchildren of these individuals may yet benefit from their unapproved contribution to medicine.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 278

As I myself am dealing with issues of aging parents I will openly acknowledge that this may be one of the singular advantages of cell phones. But that could be extended to emphasize the point -- you only need some minutes of cell phone connection time per year. Having just spent an hour in a mall trying to determine how to untie two cell phones (including my 86 y.o. father's) from TracPhone and Net10 (the phones have SIM cards -- it should be possible to UnBrick them and break the addiction -- in contrast to Sprint and Verizon who claimed they would not sell cell phones with SIM cards -- thus addicting you to *their* service (as far as I understand the technology).

Why is there not a class action suit against cell phone providers regarding monopoly practices? I thought we had laws against this.

Comment Why? (Score 1) 278

As someone who recently allowed my Net10 phone subscription (note "subscription" -- not "contract") to expire (though I could probably with some amount of effort unbricked the phone); I am forced to ask *why* are people willing to pay $500+ per year to be able to talk to people whenever they feel like it [1]? What is so all fired important about being "connected" 24/7 when most of us can be connected 18/7 without any additional payments (being connected at work or home) and we presumably have to sleep 6-8 of those 24?

So far in my memory 9/11 has only happened once in a decade and the probability of securing a cell phone connection during that period would fall into a category that I would call "iffy". So what is the point?

Obviously if one is paying a phone company $500+ per year one is paying them $5000+ over ten years and I can think of much better alternatives for such a sum than an extortion fee simply to talk to people.

1. Or allow them to disturb you whenever *they* feel like it?

Comment Re:Not on my watch you don't... (Score 1) 377

Ok, having grown up in the era from 8088's to current reality intermixed with "real" CPUs, i.e. DEC PDP-10/11 CPUS (and I've got the processor handbooks sitting in my bookcase). You lay out a premise. That "Intel CPUs/MMUs had memory protection. I would assert that they did not (given the memory protection allowed on a DEC-PDP-11/45 or 70 circa 1974-1982.

And so we have to compare the CPU handbooks of the 1970's CPUs (real computers) against the 1980's or 90's CPUs (toy computers).

And the bottom line will come done to this -- was Microsoft Windows 95 a secure operating system? Compared with AT&T Bell Labs Unix or BSD Unix circa 1974-1980. And by that question I mean did the operating system take full advantage of what the hardware provided to guarantee and enforce user security.

So we have a tipping point, either you argue that Intel released chips without robust memory management that created the ongoing virus propagating culture because PCs are not secure, or you argue that Microsoft, by not taking available of hardware capabilities to protect the software (which I would argue was not done until Windows 2000), promoted the growth of the "lets use PC's to compromise PC's" culture.

I await a response documenting that the 8088/8086 had memory protection capabilities (give me the pin number on the chip -- I can go to that level). I further await a detailed explanation as to when Microsoft released operating systems actually made use of them.

And yep, I'm a "nutcase". But as a suggestion -- one best handle "nutcases" carefully -- one never knows what other qualities the box contains.

Comment And I care about this why? (Score 0, Flamebait) 158

Oh, wait, I forgot, there is not a slashdot/gmail filter that falls under the heading of "I'm still stupid enough to run windows being the case in point of a virus ridden insecure operating system because it isn't open sourced."

Google has managed to get it right. Only show people news (or advertisements) with significant relevance to the viewer. I'm sorry, I've used Unix since 1974, and although there was a brief period of time when I engaged with Windows in the mid-to-late '90s, I'm now back with Linux.

What was it that Forrest once said... Stupid is as stupid does.

Please report on whether the vulnerabilities might perhaps impact programs typically run under Linux. I run almost entirely open source but that does not mean that could be immune to exploits. Simply means we can resolve them much faster.

Comment Re:Not on my watch you don't... (Score 1) 377

Ok, yes, I caught the math mistake. Its 7,700 engineers working on nanotechnology for 10 years (even if one isn't outsourcing them from India or China). Still, given that I can count on two hands the number of really qualified nanoengineers that exist in the world today. It sounds like Intel would have some serious job training efforts required to utilize their funds effectively.

Interesting point, as I read that there are many cash rich companies who have waded through the recent downturn. Why aren't more of them spending their resources on building the future -- rather than maintaining the past?

Comment Not on my watch you don't... (Score 1) 377

There should be a CEO, or at least Members of the Board, who are saying to the individual who decided to spend $7.7B in cash for a virus surveying company (which we all know would not have existed, had not Windows 95 been released on insecurable hardware manufactured by Intel...)[1] The answer is simple. Everyone runs Linux and the McAfee investment turns out to be a boondoggle. Now I realize that may not be easy, but there is an argument that every single Linux fan reading /. should be down at their local town hall meeting citing the municipality of Munich. If they can do it we should do it -- and we should do it across the board and make both Microsoft and Intel pay for their sins. [2]

1. Point of order, for those tracking this, prior to the 8086/8088 UNIX ran on minicomputers (mostly manufactured by DEC) or before that on hardware manufactured by IBM, Honeywell, etc. And those CPUs had hardware with memory protection which prevented on from scribbling outside of ones address space. I.e. on the hardware of that era one could not corrupt other programs (most importantly the O.S.). Intel led us into an era in which the hardware could no longer secure itself. Interesting that now some 15-20 years later they are making an effort to clean up the mess they created.

2. An entirely side argument would be to say to the Intel Board -- "Buying a virus scanning company for $7.7B is the best you can do with such cash?" My god, what about nanotechnology development. Please someone tell me that my numbers are wrong -- but it looks to me like $7.7B could pay 77,000 engineers ($100K/yr) for 10 years). And that would put us a hell of a lot closer to "real molecular nanotechnology" than we are today. Oh wait, Intel doesn't want "real molecular nanotechnology" because once it hits I have no reason to pay Intel a microprocessor tax. Now it all makes sense...

Comment A better question might be... (Score 1) 220

"Who cares?" Studies have already shown that many engineers view Twitter/Facebook as a waste of time. So you have a "popular" medium which is more or less ignored by the people building the future. If one ascribes to a theory that most future perspectives are written by individuals within a high Asperger's framework (no references but simply IMO) then one would view better social networking capabilities with a big yawn.

Comment May be dying but not disassembled (Score 1) 527

The fact that someone is dying whose brain may be relatively intact gives you a lot of options. Only in the situation where the cancer was observed to have metastasised to her brain and created an abundance of tumors would I consider going the route you seem to be considering (saving the memories in a digital video/audio/written approximation).

If the cancer has not/does not metastasise to the brain the *best* thing to do is to consider whole body, or in the case of disseminated cancer, "head" (brain) cryonic suspension. I will assert that until the cancer, or you indirectly through cremation or burial, has caused a significant disassembly of the cells and synapses which contain the memories of an individual that individual IS NOT IRREVOCABLY DEAD. They are simply beyond the reach of current technologies to present the appearance of what we consider to be "alive". There is a range of states from alive to "disassembled" and unfortunately society and most backgrounds lock us into a two-state mentality. I have told and will continue to tell people in facing this situation that considering cyronics is the only rational thing to do. You may choose not to exercise that option, and there may be legitimate reasons for doing so, financial, not wanting loved ones to have to deal with semi-alive/dead states, etc. but not doing so is irrational.

I personally know the people such as Greg Fahy, Ralph Merkle, Robert Freitas and others who have worked on improving the methods of cryonic suspension and methods for eventual reanimation. These are very serious (and very bright) individuals whose commitment to this area isn't going to go away and is highly likely to eventually yield positive results (IMO).

There is also the prospect that cures to cure her cancer may be developed in the not so distant future. If it were me personally and I didn't want to take the suspension route (which involved legally "dying") I would consider a "suspended animation" route which would involve a low temperature coma state or a H2S induced "suspension state" (which would be considered "risky" to "experimental" in conventional medical circles). I would then make sure I got a set of cancer biopsy samples to a lab capable of "extreme cutting edge" genomic medicine [1] to answer the precise question of "what genetic mutations have occurred in this/these cancer(s) and what specific drugs are available to target those pathways?" [2]. Some pathway specific drugs are available now. More will be under development. Until such time as one can produce a "cocktail" of drugs, perhaps combined with site-specific nano-targeting methodology, one should pursue a strategy which slows down the individuals "rate-of-living", thus "suspended animation", as much as possible. It may be that this would require an individual to be kept barely alive for 5-10 or more years but this is not outside the realm of medical capabilities at this point (though it would likely be quite expensive). You would also have to locate a team of individuals willing to be this "experimental" with a human life.

1. For example one would want to be able to "match" the patient with one or more of the cancers being studied in the various "Cancer Genome Atlas/Anatomy Projects" which will eventually have analysed and classified tens of thousands of cancers.
2. If you are not dealing with an oncologist or oncologist team which can tell you specifically *what* oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are broken in the current cancer you are dealing with "snake-oil" physicians. Cancer genomics is *way* beyond the stage of surgery/radiation/toxic-drugs which have worked in the past yet most oncologists have probably not moved beyond those as the standard therapies.

Comment Re:Far better visions... (Score 1) 248

Yes, you understand the consequences and implications. But it begs the question -- how do we get us "there" ("there" being general purpose molecular assembly with workers with an ~$0/hr salary) [1]. We can speculate on what such a reality may be like but that does not get us any closer to it. Discussing what it will be like is less productive than discussing how to get there.

[1] There is no "free lunch". Nanorobots require energy and such can/would be harvested from the planet/atmosphere; they also have to dissipate heat; so there are very "laws of physics" determined limits to how many nanorobots one can have on the planet operating at any point in time. The estimate by Robert Freitas is ~10kg nanorobots per person. Which is more than sufficient for the needs of most individuals.

Comment Re:Far better visions... (Score 1) 248

"When you want better visions -- study the visionaries" (me, though I expect others have said it...)

In that respect:
http://www.aeiveos.com/~bradbury/Authors/Engineering/Drexler-KE/index.html

The M.S. thesis (which I have read) is particularly interesting as it details concepts of nanotechnology before they may have been fully formed in Eric's mind.

Comment Re:Vision (Score 1) 248

Your point is reasonable but I would add a few points. We don't really have general purpose factory factories (i.e. factories whose function is to produce so many factories that everyone can have one -- for extremely low cost or free). If one has the open design of a replicator and 10kg of general purpose manufacturing nanorobots [1] then everyone can have one in an extremely short period of time.

The problem with putting people out of work (unions et al) is that there is a mindset that one has to have a job to survive. A general purpose nanofactory (replicator) eliminates that concept. That is why the development of nanofactories and replicators has to be driven by people who realise they are going to "break" much of current reality. No more need for most "jobs", factories as we know them, many companies as we know them, even governments as we know them.

Mind you there will still be things to do. The fields of design (of nano-thingys) and entertainment (of the masses who no longer need to work) have pretty much unlimited potential.

1. 10kg of nanorobots per person on the Earth, operating at 100% of their capacity, hits the heat (hypsithermal) limits of the Earth.

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