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Comment The cost of drugs for rare diseases? (Score 4, Insightful) 311

Common statin's (for lowering cholesterol) can cost more than $700 for a 30-day prescription if you don't have insurance. I think the cost issue goes well beyond prescription drugs for rare diseases, and in fact, is more detrimental in a broader sense.

But, when we as citizens don't insist our politicians address campaign finance reform, policies favoring corporations will continue to guarantee price gouging will continue. Campaign finance reform should be made the top issue... Every. Single. Election.

Submission + - SPAM: San Diego company printing liver tissue for life-extending transplants

Lucas123 writes: A San Diego-based company, which has been using a proprietary 3D bioprinter since 2014 to produce liver and kidney tissue for pre-clinical drug testing and discovery, is now producing dollar-bill sized liver tissue "patches" targeted for implant in humans to extend the life of those awaiting transplants. In mice, smaller versions of the liver tissue patches have been shown to begin circulating blood as early as seven days after the transplant and for at least 28 days after implantation. The company, Organovo, now plans to submit an "Investigational New Drug" application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its therapeutic liver tissue, and expects the transplant tissue could see commercial in medical facilities as early as 2020.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Trump team communications intercepted w/o foreigners in conversation (cnn.com)

bongey writes: The intelligence community is coming clean. Telling congress there was "incidental collection" of the Trump transition team from Nov-2016-Jan-2017. The intercepts included reports of communications between Trump team members, with team members being unmasked that were wildly disseminated throughout the intelligence community. The intercepts had little to no foreign intelligence value, and the intercepts had nothing to do with Russian investigation.

Submission + - John Goodenough responds to skeptics of his new lithium-on battery (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: John Goodenough, the University of Texas researcher who this week demonstrated new battery cells that are safer and have at least three times as much energy density as today's standard Li-on batteries, responded to skeptics who said the technology described in research published in a peer-reviewed journal, appear to defy the laws of thermodynamics. In an article published Monday by Quartz , various energy experts took exception to Goodenough's claims, even calling them "unbelievable." Goodenough is also co-inventor of the original lithium-ion battery. In an email to Computerworld, Goodenough said "any new discovery invites strong skepticism." In this case, the skeptical scientists wondered how it is possible to strip lithium from the anode and plate it on a cathode current collector to obtain a battery voltage since the voltage is the difference in the chemical potentials (Fermi energies) between the two metallic electrodes,. "The answer is that if the lithium plated on the cathode current collector is thin enough for its reaction with the current collector to have its Fermi energy lowered to that of the current collector, the Fermi energy of the lithium anode is higher than that of the thin lithium plated on the cathode current collector," Goodenough said.

Submission + - SDG&E flips the switch on a 2MW flow battery able to power 1,000 homes (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: SDG&E has installed its first vanadium redox flow (VRF) battery substation as part of an order by the California Public Utilities Commission for utilities to solicit more utility-scale energy storage. The new substation can store 2MW of electricity, enough to power 1,000 homes for four hours. CPUC is requiring utilities to meet a target of 1.3GW of additional power storage by 2020. The projects are part of a trend involving utilities that deploy battery storage to supplement grid power during peak hours rather than drawing more electricity from generating sources such as coal-fired power plants. In January, for example, Southern California Edison (SCE) flipped the switch on what was the largest lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery storage facility in the world — a substation with 80 megawatt hours (MWh) of capacity. Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts massive growth in the energy storage market, first in utilities and then in corporations seeking to reduce their overhead costs, amounting to 45 billion watts (81 gigawatt hours/GWh) of energy storage.

Submission + - Trump's proposed budget would result in big spending cuts for renewables (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: The Trump administration's newly released 2018 budget proposal outlining changes to discretionary would likely cut spending on renewable energy. For example, not only does the proposed budget cut the EPA and Energy Department budget by 31% and 6%, respectively, it would also not fund the Clean Power Plan and other climate change programs. With the CPP gone, the U.S. would likely see fewer retirements of coal-fired power plants due to carbon emissions and less impetus for the procurement of utility-grade solar power. The good news for renewables: the budget would not have any impact on the solar investment tax credit, carbon tax proposals or state-based solar subsidies, according to Amit Ronen, director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University. Additionally, renewable energy resources, such as solar panels, have gained too much momentum and aren't likely to be deterred by regulatory changes at this point, according to Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group, a clean energy research firm. For example, even with the dissolution of the CPP, the number of coal-fired generators is still expected to be reduced by about one-third through 2030, or by about 60 gigawatts of capacity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Meanwhile, wind and solar are by far the fastest growing energy sectors, which indicates an appetite by utilities and consumers that is highly unlikely to be slowed by regulatory changes at the federal level, experts said.

Submission + - Laptop SSD capacity to remain flat as NAND flash dearth causes prices to rise (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Laptop manufacturers aren't likely to offer higher capacity standard SSDs in their machines this year as a shortage of NAND flash is pusing prices higher this year. At the same time, nearly half of all laptops shipped this year will have SSDs versus HDDs, according to a new report from DRAMeXchange. The contract prices for multi-level cell (MLC) SSDs supplied to the PC manufacturing industry for those laptops are projected to go up by 12% to 16% compared with the final quarter of 2016; prices of triple-level cell (TLC) SSDs are expected to rise by 10% to 16% sequentially. "The tight NAND flash supply and sharp price hikes for SSDs will likely discourage PC-[manufacturers] from raising storage capacity," said Alan Chen, a senior research manager of DRAMeXchange. "Therefore, the storage specifications for mainstream PC...SSDs are expected to remain in the 128GB and 256GB [range]."

Submission + - Toshiba plans to ship a 1TB flash chip to manufacturers this spring (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Toshiba has begun shipping samples of its third-generation 3D NAND memory product, a chip with 64 stacked flash cells that it said will enable a 1TB chip it will ship this spring. The new flash memory product has 65% greater capacity than the previous generation technology, which used 48 layers of NAND flash cells. The chip will be used in data center and consumer SSD products. The technology announcement comes even as suitors are eyeing buying a majority share of the company's memory business. Along with a previous report about WD, Foxxcon, SK Hynix and Micron have now also thrown their hats in the ring to purchase a majority share in Toshiba's memory spin-off, according to a new report in the Nikkei's Asian Review.

Submission + - Self-driving cars, trucks may always need a human behind the wheel (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Even as self-driving car technology quickly evolves, technologists and lawmakers are still grappling with a big problem : In the event of an accident, who's to blame? For example, the U.K.'s Department for Transport announced plans this month to require owners of cars with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to carry two-in-one insurance policies: one to cover the person when they're controlling the vehicle and the other for the car when it is in autonomous mode. One glaring problem with trusting autonomous vehicle software to control a one-ton car (or a 16-ton semi-tractor truck) is that each manufacturer programs its product differently from its competitors. And, if a software glitch exists in one vehicle, it exists in the entire line of cars or trucks. André Platzer, who is part of DARPA's High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems project which learns from the military's experience in developing hardened technology for controlling autonomous vehicle system. Platzer believes autonomous vehicles should always have a human being behind the wheel so that in instances where the vehicle is outside of its operating parameters, it can alert the driver to take control. Platzer, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, is also part of a team developing software that would make self-driving vehicles self aware in the sense that the vehicle would know its operating limitations. "The world is a complicated place and that makes the road a complicated place. Most of the time, roads are the same, but every once in a while the situation is a bit different," Platzer said. "Even if you take a million of these scenarios..., you've still not tried all the cases by testing alone."

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