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Comment Re:FB is a de facto monopoly, just like Microsoft (Score 1) 65

Facebook is VASTLY easier to avoid than the Microsoft monopoly ever was. A windows tax was added to nearly every computer, even ones that shipped without any os at all. They used their monopoly to make using almost any other product that competes with their painful. They leveraged the OS to push their browser and it worked until VERY recently.

Facebook is fairly easy to avoid and pretty much no pressure related to it.

Comment Do literary awards matter? (Score 5, Insightful) 252

Do these awards even matter? My understanding is that science-fiction sells pretty well.

Before you buy a book do you check to see if it has won awards? Do you even care?

It certainly seems that amazon doesn't use awards when recommending books that would interest me.

I understand that people want to receive recognition but in the end does it actually matter? It seems to me that just like other award ceremonies they just matter less and less. Kind of like when the Oscars don't represent the actual movies that people really liked they stop mattering to people.

In the end read what you want and let computer algorithms figure out what you are more likely to want to read and ignore the silly awards.

Comment Re:Software patents could be workable. (Score 2) 294

I could agree with this also. If you create yet another ecommerce system you should not be allowed to patent it.

If you create a deep learning algorithm that can classify human emotion accurately based on the video camera and microphone on a standard laptop or smartphone that should be patent-able. If you create an non-linear non-gradient based descent algorithm with general case performance better than something like GA that should also be patent-able.

The kind of stuff I see as patent-able is the stuff that takes engineers and scientists years to figure out and often a LOT of money and if we don't protect those ideas it will be harder to get more of them done. If universities can patent actual useful software algorithms and license it out they can use the money to fund more development.

Comment Re:No SD card slot? (Score 1) 116

That is why I don't get any of their phones.

I work somewhere with VERY poor cell reception and the wifi has a lot of non-research stuff throttled. I have a 64gb SD card in my current phone and I can store all my music, podcasts and some videos on it just fine.

I have a limited amount of data every month and even on the commute the network coverage is not very good. Probably because the train is just a large metal box.

In the end Google's everything in the cloud approach just does not work for me in my phone.

Comment Re:mosquitoes CANNOT be controlled with biotoxins (Score 2) 244

One of the types of mosquito that carries zika only needs as much water as a bottle cap. There is no way to remove water to that level. Even leaves can have enough water on them for that.

Spraying is also a bad idea since it is indiscriminate and as you said they reproduce too fast to be effective.

For this problem we should be using genetic engineering. Infertile male mosquitoes would be the most obvious first step. It would dramatically cut the population and it is highly targeted and does not require removing standing water to an impossible level.

There has also been work on RNA based insecticides where the sequence is designed for a particular organism. That technology is too new to use for something like this but in time that would probably be an ideal method to solve this problem.

Lets go with what works and that is using gene drive mosquitoes to destroy the species without harming any other species. No chemicals, no off target effects, no harm to bees and no harm to other mosquito species that don't bite humans. This last one is very important since they will just move into the niche left behind by the species we wipe out and not harm any other species that depend on eating mosquitoes.

Comment Overall I prefer the IEEE stats more (Score 2) 232

The IEEE seems to have a much better methodology and ways to look at the data based on web, mobile, enterprise and embedded markets.


It just seems that the TIOBE results are much easier to bias by things like universities using a language as a teaching language. There are far more online courses on things like java and languages commonly used for web work but that does not make them more commonly used just more common to have webpages written about them.

Comment humans should not be driving cars (Score 1) 153

Humans have proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that they can't be trusted with these multi-ton vehicles. No matter how much you say about not drinking, texting, playing games etc while driving they keep doing it and it is OTHER people that pay for it. 7 years for at the very best criminal negligence leading to a death is just not ok and making harsher punishments won't help since the people that do this where not thinking in the first place.

ALL cars on the road should have mandatory collision avoidance systems that if they detect the vehicle is about to hit a pedestrian, bicyclist or other vehicle it will try to stop the car. Any residential and city area should have speed limits enforced by the vehicle. I don't care how much you think it is okay to drive through a residential area with a speed limit of 25 at 45 the car should not allow it.

Everything we can take away from the humans should be done and if your car does not meet the standards you have x years to get one that does before it is not allowed on the road. If your want your antique car to be taken somewhere then put it in a trailer and keep it off public roads.

It is not feasible to armor all the pedestrians and cyclists to survive getting hit by a car and it is clear that nothing you do will change the humans driving the car so humans just can't be allowed to drive.

I have had to jump out of the way a couple times when someone blew right through an intersection and crosswalk against a red light and never even looked up. Our current systems are good enough that car should have stopped itself instead of running a red light.

Just so tired of this car worship that is it acceptable to deal with all the deaths they cause since they are mostly among people that don't do as much driving. You don't have the right to kill someone just because you are bored while driving and want to do something else. Any form of distraction is negligence.

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.

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