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Submission + - Metabolically Engineered Plants Produce New Drugs (gizmag.com)

fergus07 writes: Scientists have been engineering new genes into plants for a number of years in an effort to expand on naturally occurring medicinal compounds. Now chemists at MIT have gone one step further, using an approach known as metabolic engineering to alter the series of reactions plants use to build new molecules, thereby enabling them to produce unnatural variants of their usual products.

Comment Re:Distributed search engines failed (Score 1) 378

It's ironic that Grub returns nothing but sites that want to sell me jerseys when I search for an NFL player, whereas the top Google links are always the player profile pages from NFL.com and other major sports sites, and the player's Wikipedia entry. Add to that the easy access to "news" for the player and there's little question which search engine is the more useful.

Google works because their ranking system works. If it stopped working well, they would lose market share very quickly.

Comment Re:...And one generation behind on HTML5 (Score 2, Informative) 341

h264 isn't going to be a practical problem for the vast majority of users, since Firefox can just use a system codec (non-Windows-users would have to make sure they have one, of course).

As for JS speed, Mozilla are very ardent in their speed claims, so it's hard not to believe they have something to back it up. It's difficult for users and external testers to figure out exactly how fast they are, despite being open source, because the Moz team is pursuing several parallel tracks to increase JS speed. There's "fat-val", "tracer JIT" and "method JIT". Each is currently significantly faster than the "normal" versions, but there hasn't been any public testing on a build that combines all three.

Mozilla claim they'll be faster than everyone else and while they may be scuppered by new advances from Google and Opera, it seems reasonable that they will at least be faster at launch than where everyone else is now. That alone would ensure "next-generation JS performance".

Where they trail Chrome is in "use speed". Chrome starts and shuts down a lot faster -- and I think that's going to be a problem for Firefox moving forward (more than it already is).

Comment Re:Keyword: fast*ER* ... sometimes (Score 1) 222

They are complementary only in a way icecream and fish are complementary. They don't seem to have overlap, but you don't want fish with your icecream.

Since bunratty's reply provides a technical description of why they are truly complementary (possibly even orthogonal), I'm going to believe that argument over your rather weak ice cream simile.

Comment Re:Keyword: fast*ER* ... sometimes (Score 4, Informative) 222

I think you're missing the point of what is being benchmarked. Mozilla hasn't released benchmarks of their new JS engine with both "method" and "tracer" JIT combined. They are being evolved separately, but are (according to Moz) complementary. Thus, we don't know how far they actually are from their goal yet.

Check out http://www.arewefastyet.com/ for benchmarks and description.

From what I can gather from the associated bug report, the "fatval" optimizations are also not applied to the portions of JS code that is traced... which would imply that the better job the tracer engine does, the less the "fatval" optimizations are applied.

The result is that an unknown "free" speed increase is waiting in the wings. What the magnitude of this increase is... well, that's the question, isn't it?

Does 1 September seem like a really tight deadline? Yes, sure does, but more in terms of stability and robustness than actually getting to a specific speed milestone.

Comment Doubled in 4 hours (Score 1) 290

About 4 hours later, total sales have roughly doubled:

- Total raised $103,758
- Average contribution $7.96
- Number of contributions 13038

I can't help but wonder how long this thing has been running. The article claims "7 days", but considering the current timer state (6days19hours35min) and the article timestamp (-5hours), that appears unlikely to be entirely accurate.

Comment Updating apps without updating OS (Score 1) 319

There are a few options here:

1) Enable the backports repository (and perhaps even -proposed, if you're desperate).

2) Check if the the app devs make a package available for download.

3) Download the source and compile yourself ;)

It's worth noting that there's a simple reason why new versions of apps are not supported on old versions:


Take a look at pretty much any package for Ubuntu and note how many other packages it depends on. In the Windows world (or indeed Mac world) the vast majority would be included when compiling (instead of linked to). The problem with the inclusion-model (aside from bulky programs) is that you don't get security updates applied centrally. Not that the link-model is perfect -- you noted it's biggest (IMHO) weakness.

Comment It's not a bug, it's a feature... (Score 0) 464

It has only been running since this morning (about 6 hours ago), but top shows that it has 5644 MB resident. This is after some moderate browsing of some news sites, Slashdot, and then letting it sit until a few minutes ago.

Generally, you WANT Firefox to use all the memory you have. After all, the reason you paid for all that fancy memory in the first place was for programs to use it. The issue is solely whether Firefox releases it again, if another application needs the memory. If it does, then there's no bug, but a very good feature.

Comment Re:This will fail (Score 1) 276

google is not better. It's just synonymous with internet.

Have you TRIED Bing lately? I did, multiple times in the last few days (two more or less pristine Windows7 installs -- pristine only because they're virtually never used) and the results were staggering. I had expected Bing to return results of about the same quality as Google, expecting only to be slightly annoyed at the layout (like I am every time the layout of something I'm used to is changed, even if it's for the better in the long run).

My queries were technical, but not insanely odd or anything. Bing returned a bunch of links to Czech (I think) blogs and forums, which may of may not have contained a solution to my problem. No, I don't live in Eastern Europe. Yes, I had Bing return "all results". Clicking "only in English" weeded out the weird language results, but the top page of results was still completely useless. Switching to Google solved the problem.

This may be a result of "niche" searches, but I was very surprised that Bing basically didn't work.

Comment Frogger (Score 1) 607

My 3rd XBox 360 went bad a couple of months ago


As I see it, I'm not buying the hardware, I'm paying for a 3 year lease on the hardware


Oddly, the only reason I bought a 360 in the first place was because the DVD drive on my original XBox went bad


Before that, I only bought a new console when I wanted to upgrade to the latest technology.


These days, I only buy a new console to replace a broken one

And you're NOT seeing the insanity of your actions?

Boiling frog indeed...

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