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Comment Re: great (Score 1) 380

I think I remember reading about a study done in Africa where somebody found old blood samples from the 1950s (maybe earlier?), tested them for HIV antibodies, and found not one, but *several* that subsequent testing confirmed. HIV might not have reached *America* until the 60s or 70s, but it was *definitely* making its way around Africa at least a decade or two earlier.

The two earliest confirmed HIV samples are from Leopoldville (now Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and were collected in 1959 and 1960. Their genomes are about 12% different to each other, suggesting divergent evolution of virus strains had already been going on in infected humans for years or decades. Current estimates suggest the true 'patient zero' probably dates back to the early 20th or possibly even the late 19th century.

Comment Re:Too Late (Score 1) 394

He has zero chance of winning, which makes his being better or worse irrelevant.

Hardly. Neutral predictions put his odds of winning at about 1 in 6 at the moment, and a lot can happen in the next 3 weeks. Voting for a third candidate might make sense when there are two sane though unappealing mainstream candidates. But Trump is as close to Mussolini as the US is likely to see. It's harder to think of a more dangerous time to use a protest vote.

Comment Re:Not really open source if the source isn't open (Score 1) 117

So, not open source, eh?

No, not Open Source, which rather makes my point. The Open Source Definition explicitly forbids restrictions on commercial use ('No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor'). The developers claim there are 'many definitions' of Open Source, which isn't correct for software, and the current version of the Wikipedia page they link to doesn't support this claim. This is not the main problem with the LinuxSampler licence, however. Instead of writing their own licence, they've added a restriction to the GPL, which isn't allowed if you still want to call it the GPL. This means that their licence contradicts itself, which is one reason why you won't find Linuxsampler in (say) Debian non-free. The developers are of course perfectly free to distribute their software for non-commercial use only, but they just haven't gone about it in the right way. They should just drop the 'Open Source' claim and come up with their own licence (which could be based on the GPL, but should not include the preamble, GPL branding, or anything else that conflicts with their non-commercial clause).

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 127

There are any number of Unix/Linux applications that have never been ported to Windows by their developers and have no direct equivalent in the MS world. If most of your work is in Windows, it makes obvious sense to run that as your main OS, but having the ability to use additional Unix/Linux packages fills a real need. I've been doing this by varous means since the 90s, using Cygwin, VMs, and now this thing. It may possible to (e.g.) use Windows-native GNU tools (MinGW, etc.) to build the software you need, but that's not always straightforward or worth the bother - much easier to 'apt-get install' and get on with your work.

Comment Re:Not really open source if the source isn't open (Score 2) 117

I wonder if some developers genuinely don't understand what Open Source means, and just use the tag as a convenient buzzphrase? Describing projects that aren't really Open as Open Source is a problem that goes back to the early days, and affects software as well as hardware. e.g. LinuxSampler still defiantly claims to be Open Source a decade or so after after being dropped from major Linux distributions because it clearly isn't (and has a contradictory licence that doesn't make it properly non-free either).

Comment Re:And Yawn! (Score 1) 17

Besides, maybe with a little luck, MSFT will nickel-and-dime Adobe hard-core along the way, and they become victims of the same rental scheme they've inflicted on their own customer base. Couldn't happen to a more deserving company, really.

I'm also hoping Affinity will eat their lunch with reasonably priced software with perpetual licenses. So far they have excellent Photoshop and Illustrator alternatives for Mac, with a DTP and DAM package to come. Windows versions are on the way, with Designer (cf Illustrator) already in beta:

Comment Re:And after 1 year you will need to buy new car t (Score 1) 52

The earlier Nokia version of HERE for Android was very good for offline use - whole countries or large regions like US states were downloadable in one go as usefully searchable maps with SatNav routing, all for free. Google's limited offline capabilities looked pretty feeble in comparison. Now that the car companies have got hold of it and renamed it HERE WeGo, they've changed the interface to make it much more more oriented to providing turn-by-turn directions rather than map exploration, and long-term users are finding it slower and buggier, with a flakier offline mode:

Comment Re:Meanwhile the EU is saying... (Score 1) 315

If Labour campaigns under an "Elect us and Brexit won't happen as long as we're in charge." platform, then it's certainly possible that they could get a lot of support.

It won't, though. The current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been a Eurosceptic for most of his political life, and despite coming out (unconvincingly) for the party's established Remain policy before the referendum, did the bare minimum to promote it, and has since seemed content to follow through with Brexit. He's now facing a leadership challenge, but his faction, though it has little support in the parliamentary party, has comprehensively taken over the wider party and will very probably vote him straight back in. Polling suggests he has very little chance of winning a general election, however - his wildly popular Sanders-like status amongst party members is not reflected in the opinions of ordinary voters. Labour has lost its way at the worst possible time, when a truly effective opposition would be doing all it could to hold an unelected Prime Minister to account over a crisis precipitated by her predecessor's ill-advised attempt to resolve internal conflicts in the Conservative party.

Comment Re: Including this one? (Score 1) 349

'Defective by design' is exactly it. On a standard Windows/Office system everything is set up to make this error the default behaviour, and the problem with gene names is so prevalent that we include a warning about it in our genomics course. The typical situation is: some upstream tool generates a very long gene list (maybe with thousands of rows) in CSV format. So far so good. But then a naive user wants to do some simple manipulation of the data and double-clicks the file to open it. Its icon includes the Excel logo and, sure enough, Excel is registered as the default application for CSV files, so it opens as a spreadsheet in Excel. Everything seems to be fine - there's a nice column of gene symbols that all seem to be correct. But hundreds or thousands of rows further down, something looks like a date and has been 'helpfully' converted into one by Excel. At this point, you can't reverse the change by changing the data type of the column - the corruption has happened silently on import and will be permanent in any saved (even CSV) version of the file. The counterintuitive but correct way to deal with a genomics CSV file (if you're mad or uninformed enough to use Excel in the first place) is to open Excel first, then run a file import with the data type specified for each column (for gene symbols, you need 'text' rather than 'general'). The answer to all this is education (avoid Excel, but if you must use it, understand the dumb way it works), but would it kill Microsoft to change the default behaviour to something more sensible (this can hadly be the only use case where this is an issue), and to include a global setting to switch it off?

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