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Comment Re: Including this one? (Score 1) 336

'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?

Comment Re:Well, crap (Score 1) 57

First check if you installed the clean version:

http://www.classicshell.net/fo...

Otherwise, don't reboot yet, do a backup now, then follow the instructions from the link in the story above.

What the story doesn't mention is that MS helpfully deletes Classic Start Menu (well, moves it to Windows.old) when the Anniversary Update is installed, which is the only reason people were downloading a fresh copy of the Classic Shell installer rather than using the built-in update function (which wasn't affected by the malware).

Comment Re:The sheer scale of it (Score 1) 42

A human has about 4 billion base pairs, which are roughly 2 bits each, so that is 500 MB. You could fit that on a CDROM with room to spare. But humans share 99% of their DNA, so you would really only need to store the diffs. 1% is 5 MB.

A copy of the (haploid) reference genome encoded as 2 bits per base pair comes in at about 800MB:

http://hgdownload.soe.ucsc.edu...

Run that through something like Z-zip and you can store it in less that 640MB, so it will indeed fit on a CD. Each of us has a diploid genome, though (a copy from each parent), so you really need to store double that if you take no account of the high level of similarity between both copies. If we assume a known reference genome, however, the 'diffs' are as you suggest very small - one paper reports compression down to 4MB, small enough to email:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

Lots of analyses are done with lists of variants with respect to a reference genome, but the raw data generally comes from 'next generation sequencing' platforms, where every base needs to be sequenced many times over before bases can be called confidently, and quality scores of base calls need to be stored. The raw data usually needs to be kept since alignment and variant calling algorithms are improving all the time. Storage requirements are something like 80GB+ compressed.

Comment Ash nazg durbatuluk (Score 1) 129

There will be 20 sizes available during its trial run where it will be available exclusively for employees and partners

Let me guess:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Comment Re:Aerospace-grade aluminum (Score 2) 209

Never mind the metal. Can anyone confirm that this laptop comes with military strength encryption? I'd also hope that for that price it's fitted with an ergonomic keyboard made from space age polymers, is protected by marine grade sealing, and features superfast wifi, audiophile speakers, and a True (We Really Mean It This Time) Ultra HD display.

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