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Comment Re:And so it starts... (Score 1) 85

I don't want to come out and name companies or anything and I am not really sure how much has been released to the public so far.

My understanding is that the primary cause of the problems is the formation of inclusion bodies inside neural cells that interfere with cell functioning. There are some molecules that can dissolve these bodies without harming the cells but it has been almost impossible to get those molecules into peoples brains and then into the cells where it could work and so the stuff only worked in a petri dish pretty much. However, one company recently figured out how to make a chaperone molecule that can be attached to the target molecule that will cause most of the target molecule to be taken across the blood brain barrier and inside the cells where it can be effective.

I don't know anything about avoiding zinc or aluminum only about the formation of inclusion bodies due to misfolded proteins that also cause other proteins to misfold. At least with some of the research I have read and some of the researchers I have talked to it looked like cell function was restored once the inclusion bodies where removed.

Genetic manipulation is absolutely the long term way to fix this and there is a lot of work being done on that also. Thankfully genetic manipulation works on adult organisms and not just in the few cell stage of development.

Comment Re:And so it starts... (Score 1) 85

No the "cure" I am talking about is dissolving the inclusion bodies and allowing the cells to function normally again.

Lets says you have a condition that for whatever reason is forming these bodies in your cells at a certain rate and as you age your cells get worse at running correctly so at 60 your cells are damaged enough you are diagnosed with alzheimers. We could give you the treatment and completely restore the cells to full functioning. The problem is you still have the condition and will still make more of these inclusion bodies but the process is very slow. At 80 you would probably need another treatment to restore full function and another at 100 etc. That is why these are not permanent cures but there is also no reason not to just use it again.

I have no interest in just having you live longer in a nursing home and suffer. If that is the condition you end up in then I can completely understand wanting to go. Most of the stuff I am aware of is trying to restore full functionality. That is why restoring the brain is so important since it is a major reason to end up in a nursing home.

One of the next most common issues is muscle degeneration. There is the same kind of cure being tested for that right now also but the effects would not last as long. You would likely need a shot once per year or so and it would regenerate most of your muscles (including your heart).

In the end you are a biological robot. You age and fail because parts are not made correctly anymore or not made at all anymore or because damage is accumulating. The idea is to find stuff that people who are healthy are making correctly that allows them to function right and then make those exact same molecules so others can have them. This technology is why we can no regenerate someone's immune system while they go through chemotherapy and they have a very high survival chance now.

The world is changing very rapidly right now and the biggest problems that exist for many of these drugs is just manufacturing them. It is insanely hard to make protein based drugs and they have as much in common as small molecule drugs as a rowboat has with an aircraft carrier.

Comment Re:And so it starts... (Score 1) 85

There are actual "cures" being tested right now that are showing amazing progress. They are not true cures since they are not permanent since whatever caused the damage in the first place would still go on and solve the problem again so you would need a treatment again in another 40 or 50 years if you last that long.

The basic problem is that misfolded proteins cause other proteins to misfold also. These misfolded proteins aggregate together into inclusion bodies that are very hard for your cells to get rid of. However, this can go on for a long time since cells have quite a lot of space in them before their functions fail. There has been major progress recently at dissolving these inclusion bodies and some are being tested by the FDA right now and looking very promising.

Another piece of good news for this is that until the cell reaches an actual terminal stage if the inclusion bodies can be dissolved the cell regains full function. There is every reason to expect that within 5 to 15 years that demetia and alzheimers will be essentially cured.

If you end up demented and there is no hope left I can understand just getting pain killers but if we have a cure you might want to try that instead of the pain killers. :) If your mind is truly screwed though and we can't fix the problem then I agree you might as well be dead since the body doesn't matter.

Comment Re:Many things are worse than bad comment punctuat (Score 3, Insightful) 523

I don't agree with this viewpoint at all.

I have been working on some scientific simulator code and the comments have the math equations that a block of code is based on. It makes it so much easier to understand since it is often not obvious how an equation is mapped into implementation (things like discretization make things far more complex).

Comments should not say what code does it should be why. I don't need you to see that your code is adding up a bunch of numbers but knowing why it is doing it is very important.

Comment Re:Wow. (Score 1) 470

Consumers don't know what they actually want.

How do you label a food as GMO? What is GMO exactly?

If you mutate a seed with radiation or you cross breed with chemical mutagens that is currently qualified as organic in the USA and EU. Those are considered to be completely safe and traditional methods of engineering.

Why is using radiation okay but inserting a specific gene at a specific location not okay?

Saying something is GMO tells you nothing and it is just feeding into fear.

Comment I think it depends on the type of job you have (Score 1) 135

I know chemical engineers that where called in to the plant for an actual emergency. It could be anything from a failure that will endanger the surrounding area or something like a piece of equipment is going to fail and they need to do everything they can to shut it down safely. I have even know engineers that where called in to try and save equipment that was worth tens of millions of dollars.

One thing in common with all of those is that in all those cases I haves seen companies more than make up for it afterwards and that the requests are not idle requests. Something on a website not working right is inconvenient and can be fixed the next day. A chemical plant that is about to release deadly gas into the water, air etc is an emergency.

For most jobs I support legally limiting the types of contact you have with work since employers often abuse that. For other types of jobs I really see no way that you can make it off limits to contact people after work. If you are a production engineer at a chemical plant then you have specialized knowledge and may be one of a very small number of people capable of preventing a catastrophe. At the same time you should only be called if it is an actual emergency.

Comment Re:Delete the fucking delete button. Apple would. (Score 1) 348

You are entirely right that the Enter key also changes behavior on a page based on context and that is also a very bad design.

It frustrates me to see people defending bad UI design as somehow better and fixing it as dumbing down. You certainly can dumb down interfaces but this case has nothing to do with that. This is just taking a button that does two different things transparently and destructively and changing that so it does not do the destructive behavior. Enter is the same way and should also be fixed.

Comment Re:Delete the fucking delete button. Apple would. (Score 4, Informative) 348

This one actually seems like a good design decision.

On pc the backspace and delete buttons both exist and they work exactly as they should. Darned if I care what apple does.

On chrome I also see back, forward and refresh/stop just fine.

However the problem with backspace going back is that if you are typing in a textarea and you hit backspace it deletes your text (which is what you want). However if you tab to another control that is not text editable and you hit backspace you have now gone back a page and lost what you where entering. It violates all kinds of UI principles.

Backspace to go back is just a bad UI and fixing it should definitely be done. There is no dumbing down involved.

Comment Re:and it never did (Score 2) 190

The problem is that what is good and bad for you is not as simple as we once thought.

Recommendations where based on the best science we knew at at the time. However, that science was still in the very early stages.

It has only been very recently that we have started to learn how important gut bacteria are and the role they play in your health. Your particular genetic and genetics also play a major role. It is likely there is no one best diet for humans. There won't even be one best diet for certain ethnic groups. In the end we are heading towards figuring out the best die for you.

There are lots of things we can say in general and while they are right on average within people of the similar descent they won't be anywhere close to absolute.

One of the fascinating things about biology is there are experiments I can do 100x and get almost that many different results. Biology has randomness, it has mutations, and nothing is every simple.

In the end what it comes down to is that building a mars colony is simpler than figuring out the right diet. It would be easier to colonies on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn than cure cancer.

Comment Re:Pro-science (Score 1) 740

That is why I advocate that we need real labeling laws where the full information for a product is available online and you just scan something like a QR code with the food. That way you can put in all your food biases into your cell phone and then just scan the food to see if it is okay.

Adding an Organic or GMO label doesn't help you make an informed decision it just makes it easy for you to make a decision that you feel better about but has done nothing for you. The problem is that decisions are being made based on fear and lack of understanding and long term that hurts everyone.

I just can't support playing in to people's fears and giving information that does not actually help in any way.

If this happens the very next thing that anti-GMO people will start saying it that if it was not dangerous it would not have a special label and then they will push to ban it for safety reasons even though no such reasons exist. The anti-GMO thing is almost 100% based on some kind of food religion and not on any science and I do not want to play into that crap.

Food needs to have COMPLETE labels. That means all the chemicals the food is grown with, DNA, protein expression, presiticides, herbicides, heavy metals, location, fair trade etc etc etc. Then you just scan it with a phone. Partway just does more harm than good.

Comment Re:Corn and other grains (Score 2) 740

This statement is completely wrong and that is what makes me sad about this whole debate. People make decisions that they are not qualified to make.

Selective breeding is MUCH less predictable than direct gene editing. With gene editing I know exactly what I am inserting and where it goes and like a computer program I also know what it does.

With selective breeding you are selecting for visible traits and not for the DNA. Selective breeding of tomatoes to make them solid red also dramatically cut their nutrition content. The tomatoes that where red with a little green on the top where healthier for us but selective breeding eliminated healthy parts along with selecting for solid red.

The same has been done with corn and many other foods we eat.

If you want to make a plant more drought resistant then directly add the gene for it, Don't try to selectively breed for it since you will get a lot of other changes to the plant also.

Comment Re:Why conceal it? (Score 3, Interesting) 740

Do you want research and development to be done on seeds that have been engineered to get all or part of their nitrogen from the air? It is a major area of research to make nitrogen fixing plants and it would HEAVILY cut the usage of fertilizers and that would have a HUGE environmental benefit.

If it takes decades to get it to work right and billions of dollars but you can't license the technology you realize we won't get that tech right?

Would it be better for us as a species if the seed company was able to make and license those seeds and tell them at a price where the farmer pays more for the seed that a regular seed but less for fertilizer so in the end the farmer pays less than they do now? The environment is helped and the farmer is better off than before and the research gets done.

There is lots of effort in trying to make the food healthier and better for the environment. All of that would go away if you can't own and license the seeds for at least a limited time. The problem is that this effort takes many billions of dollars and large teams of scientists to do the work. Government is not funding this research on anything other than a trivial scale. If you ever want to see this actually get used then allowing a corp to temporarily own their work and charge for it is the only way.

Monocultures are a huge problem but they are not a GMO problem. Organic and GMO are both grown as monocultures.

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