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Comment Re: It was user error, not a spreadsheet problem . (Score 2, Interesting) 329

No, this would be a disaster. The acronyms have the advantage that they are, relatively, semantics-free., If we turned them into long hand, then they would describe the gene in some way. Which means that the descriptions in the knowledge would go out of date, or would have to be changed. It's a recipe for instability.

It is very easy to laugh at biologists and think that you know how to manage data better than they do. In some cases, you may be right, but in this case it is not so. Identifiers are there to identify and not describe. This is something we learned with Linneaus, and have stuck with since.

Comment Re:It was user error, not a spreadsheet problem .. (Score 2) 329

The problem is that the not all tools require a ' to stop this behaviour. And, in fact, adding this may well break these tools.

Ultimately, this is not a new problem. It was first noted about a decade ago in yeast (which uses a lot of very date like gene names). It's a bit depressing it's still happening.

I'm unconvinced that this can be classed as a user error, though. Excel is using a heuristic to determine the data type of a field (probably on a per cell, not per column basis). And that heuristic is failing.

Comment Re:As it's been said... (Score 1) 621

The situation is not equivalent. If remain had won, then yes, there could have been calls in the future for a new leave vote. The leave vote on the other hand, if it is enacted, is very hard to reverse, although, if we leave then yes, there will have to be a campaign to re-enter.

It may not happen. It all depends how quickly the economy gets screwed, both by the uncertainty, by the significant cost of rewriting 40 years of laws, as well as half the countries IT systems, aside from the problems that will occur when very little of what we voted for actually comes to pass.

Comment Re: Naw, it's Doctors (Score 1) 696

There is actually good research on this. In the UK, the cycling position that is recommended by the Department of Transport as a result of, you know, actually looking systematically at the evidence is called "primary position" which is well out from the left, near the middle of the lane. It massively increases your visibility, although it does sometimes cause irritation to drivers.

So, the OP is probably correct that this works in the US as well, except that you should be well out from the right. The space you need is the space that is necessary to keep you safe, and nothing at all to do with the space you need to manoeuvre.

Still don't let evidence stand in the way of your good anecdotes which are, I am sure, a far better basis for public policy.

Comment Re:Four word subtitle (Score 1) 1032

Actually, I don't think he said he was a victim -- quite the opposite. He said "now I have used the system to my advantage". He got an education, and avoided paying for it.

And he has. If he was richer, of course, people would say "you're just criticising because you are jealous". But because he only gained enough to allow him to spend time as a writer, he will be portrayed as a scrounger.

Comment Re:Pay them market value (Score 2) 234

Struggling to see how a "ton of travel" makes up for a fringe benefit. Sitting in an airplane for hours, so that you can get to the hotel from where you commute to the conference venue then back again. Depends on whether you have a life or not, of course, but the travel is a substantial cost for many people, hardly a fringe benefit.

Comment Re:Capitalism (Score 1) 429

Capitalism also requires the approval of government. It's largely through the government that ownership is defined in the first place. Without this, you have nothing to trade.

What is wrong with it? Well, the problem seems to be that those with large amounts of capital can use this to buy time from other people. And, over time, the rate at which the large capital blocks gain wealth is greater than the rate at which the overall economy grows. Eventually, we move into a situation were most of the wealth is in the hands of very few individuals, at which point, they control society and any notion of democracy disappears.

Don't worry about it, though, I am sure it will be a long time before we have such enormous disparities of wealth that we have to worry about this.

Comment Re:GPL is necessary and sufficient. (Score 3, Interesting) 64

"How many times has this happened"

MySQL is the obvious example, I think. It can happen with GPL, but it can only happen with the agreement of all the copyright holders, which is, in practice, unlikely. So, for instance, the linux kernel is unlikely to ever be released under any license other than GPL because there are so many copyright holders. Projects with a single copyright holder, usually through a copyright assignment policy could be relicensed.

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