Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:DIY? (Score 2) 126

Even in research, most of the sequencing at whole genome level is outsourced to big companies (like, for example, Complete Genomics) since investing in the capabilities, machinery and computer power to sequence whole genomes is simply too big for sequencing one or a few individual genomes (you currently need to invest a few millions to get started with the sequencing of whole genomes). You can DIY sequencing of small fragments (for example, to determine whether a known genetic cause of a hereditary disease that is looming in your family is also affecting you) but it still requires quite a few skills in molecular biology and a few thousand euros/dollars of investment to get to this level.

Comment Moore's law is too slow (Score 3, Interesting) 126

We've been observing this decrease over the last few years at our sequencing lab too. Some people might find it fascinating, but I, as a bioinformatician, find it frightening.

We're still keeping up at maintaining and analysing our sequenced reads and genomes at work, but the amount of incoming sequencing data (currently a few terabytes of data per month) is increasing four-to-five-fold per year (compared to doubling each 18-24 months in Moore's law). Our lab had the first human genomes at the end of 2009 after waiting for almost 9 years since the world's first human genome, now we're getting a few genomes per month. We're not too far away of running out of installing sufficient processing power (following Moore's law) and no longer being able to process all of this data.

So yes, the more-than-exponential decrease in sequencing costs is cool and offers a lot of possibilities in getting to know your own genome, advances in personalized medicine, and possibilities for population-wide genome sequencing research, but there's no way we'll be able to process all of this interesting data because Moore's law is simply way too slow as compared to advances in biochemical technologies.


Chinese Reactions To Google Leaving China 249

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Most people have already heard western media reactions to Google leaving China proper and redirecting search traffic to its Hong Kong branch, but ChinaSMACK has translated comments from average Chinese internet users so that non-Chinese can understand how the Chinese public feels. While many of them are supportive of the government on some level, they were able to obtain many comments by those critical of the government before they could be 'harmonized' (deleted) and translated those as well. The deleted comments often complain about the wumao (50 cent party), government employees who are paid 50 cents RMB per post supporting the government, and worry that the Chinese Internet will become a Chinese LAN."

Comment Computers have stopped. Biology has not. (Score 4, Interesting) 712

Answering this question from the viewpoint of IT, CS or electronics in general, yes, I have the same feeling.

However, if you look at other sciences, like biology, there's an amazing evolution of technologies, methodologies and revolutionizing new insights that are going to change the world around is, possibly in more disruptive ways than computers have. If the 20th century is the century of computers, we're still strongly believing that the 21st century will see (and is seeing) a lot of revolutions in biology.

So if you feel, like me, that CS is dead and still want to go on a technological quest, try something else.

The Internet

Submission + - Belgium activates its Great Firewall

MoobY writes: "The Belgian justice department has taken harsh action in a dispute over the legality of stopkinderporno.com, a site that reports the whereabouts of child abusers. Belgian visitors trying to visit the site are now redirected to a so-called stop page (in Dutch) stating that '[They] have been redirected to this stop page because the website [they] are trying to visit offers content that is considered illegal according to Belgian legislation.' The disputed regulation is being put into place to stop illegal child porn, phishing or gambling sites, but, ironically, this case of suppression is aimed at an anti child porn site."

Submission + - Can Bacteria be Trained to Deliver Drugs?

Hugh Pickens writes: "While it may seem unlikely that single-celled organisms could be trained to salivate like Pavlov's dog at the sound of a bell, researchers say that bacteria can "learn" to associate one stimulus with another by employing molecular circuits and raises the possibility that bioengineers could teach bacteria to act as sentinels for the human body, ready to spot and respond to signs of danger. As with Pavlov's dog, the bacteria in the model learn to build stronger associations between the two stimuli the more they occur together. Now called Hebbian learning, it's often expressed as a situation in which "neurons that fire together wire together." Bacteria, of course, don't have synapses or nerve cells but Eva Jablonka, who just published a paper on conditioning in single-celled organisms (PDF), says it seems "quite possible at the theoretical level, and I don't see great obvious hurdles for the construction of the suggested vectors." The trick will be to train bacteria to recognize chemical processes in the body that are associated with danger like an adverse and dangerous reaction to a drug, or to the presence of tumor cells."

Hubble Stops Sending Data, Mission On Hold 141

mknewman writes to tell us that NASA is no longer receiving data from the Hubble Space Telescope, which could possibly delay the shuttle launch planned just two weeks from now. There is a backup system installed which may be used instead of training the astronauts on the installation of the new component, but that would itself leave no fallback option. "NASA is reviewing whether the mission should be delayed a couple of months so that plans can be made to send up a replacement part for the failed component, said NASA spokesman Michael Curie. It would take time to test and qualify the old replacement part and train the astronauts to install it in the telescope, Curie said. NASA also would have to work out new mission details for the astronauts who have trained for two years to carry out five Hubble repair spacewalks."

Slashdot Top Deals

No man is an island if he's on at least one mailing list.