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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:

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:

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.

Comment Woz on the watch (Score 1) 359

"I mean I love my Apple Watch, but - it's taken us into a jewelry market where you're going to buy a watch between $500 or $1100 based on how important you think you are as a person. The only difference is the band in all those watches. Twenty watches from $500 to $1100. The band's the only difference? Well this isn't the company that Apple was originally, or the company that really changed the world a lot."

- Steve Wozniak

Comment Re:Why wait over a year? (Score 1) 110

That said, I live out in the boonies nowadays and haven't experienced the DC metro for 8 or 10 years. But I recall it as being no worse than, and possibly a bit better than the Boston MTA, NYC subways, PATH, the Japanese subway and train systems, or the London underground. Has it changed?

I was in the DC area a lot about 15 years ago, and found the system much, much nicer to use to use than most of the London Underground or the NYC subway, with few technical problems. In 2013 I went back and had the alarming experience of sitting on a train that started to fill with acrid fumes as something began to burn, luckily while still at one of the above ground stations. Passengers in 2015 weren't so lucky, when a smoke incident in a tunnel caused a fatality. Decades of neglect, including inadequate cleaning and maintenance, seem to have taken their toll:

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