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Comment Re:I saw faster screening at Orlando (Score 1) 163

Except when they deny you without telling you why, with no real appeal process, because you can't JUST get pre-check, you have to get one of the other certifications instead. The most common one is Global Entry, which allows expedited customs. Have you ever forgotten to declare something small coming back into the country and they find it (even if it's not prohibited)? Then you're permanently banned from this program. Ever had someone ship you something from overseas and accidentally misdeclare customs (outside your control)? Banned. I found out I was banned after paying the $100 non-refundable fee for the latter reason because a seller didn't fill out the customs form properly.

They need to offer a way to only get pre-check without going through one of the other programs.

Comment Re:We are a colony organism (Score 1) 162

You may have me on the RNA gene count. ENCODE ruins all the best glib flippancies!

By cumulative time I meant the following: while each strain of bacteria has had the standard 3.5 Gya to evolve, there are many strains. Since every genome experiences this passage of time separately, this gives them a significant advantage in developing symbiotic and commensal relationships. (And, of course, they can test new mutations much more quickly.)

The rest, is, of course, reality; obviously the host can survive without its bacteria, and provides almost all of the colony's total functions. (And as a matter of fact, I'm studying such a minimal mouse gut flora at the moment.) I really just wanted to emphasize how significant microbes are from an ecological diversity standpoint, which was the context.

Comment Re:We are a colony organism (Score 5, Insightful) 162

As someone who does this stuff for a living, I'd argue the contrary—that the weight ratio is misleading, because it's an exception. In terms of RNA and protein-coding genes, isoforms, homologues, and selection rates, in addition to more obvious things like number of cells, they vastly outstrip the core of the body. Think also of how much more time they've cumulatively had to evolve and swap genes!

The best analogy for this, I think, is a *nix distro—the human genome is a monolithic kernel, and the bacteria are all the shell scripts and daemons that help manage it.


What Would You Do With the World's Most Powerful Laser? 143

sciencehabit writes "This week, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California announced an important milestone on the road to achieving ignition, which could lead to producing controlled fusion reactions here on Earth. But NIF isn't just about harnessing the energy of the stars—it's about learning how stars produce their energy in the first place. In fact, pushing matter to extreme pressures and temperatures lets scientists explore all sorts of unanswered questions. At the annual meeting of AAAS in Chicago four physicists sat down with Science Magazine to discuss NIF's basic science potential and what experiments they would do if they had the laser all to themselves."

Comment Re:Not from the car? (Score 1) 329

From TFA:

Shortly after the fire, seven Tesla employees visited the owner of the vehicle. The company also offered to take care of the damages and inconvenience caused by the fire, but the owner declined.

This sounds comically similar to a villain trying to conceal the remains of a failed plan to frame someone.

Comment Re:Ask... (Score 3, Informative) 387

This kind of abusive segregation-of-vendor-and-producer legislation goes back even further, to 1936: General Motors bought laws that prohibited power companies from owning transit services, gradually and systematically destroying the streetcar systems in almost every city in the United States. If that hadn't happened, I suspect combustion engine vehicles would not have attained the dominance they enjoyed during the latter half of the 20th century. The impacts this would have on the energy and ecological situations are hard to predict, but I'm willing to bet the world would've been better off by a significant margin.

The moral of this tale: any time anyone involved in the automotive industry wants something legislated, it's probably really, really fucking evil.

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