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Comment Re:Fortran (Score 1) 627

I'm not quite old enough to have used FORTRAN.

What does age have to do with anything? I took a computational linear algebra course in the late '90s that used FORTRAN nearly exclusively.

That said, I started out, like most kids in the '80s, with BASIC and assembly language (6809 and 6502, in my case). I started college early enough that the introductory computer-science courses were still in Pascal, but pretty much every course that needed to do real work used anything but Pascal...lots of C, with a systems-programming course splitting time between 8086 assembly and VAX assembly and a database course that introduced us to SQL (of course).

The computational linear algebra course mentioned above was a math course specifically for computer-science majors; other engineering students took a different linear-algebra course.

Comment Re:Reminds me of the Pico Brewer (Score 2) 358

I kind of liked home brewing. But home bottle sterilizing was a fucking bore.

That's why I started kegging after a couple or three years. Sanitizing the bottles wasn't too bad (a trip through the dishwasher would suffice, either with heated drying or (if available) the sanitizing option enabled), but it's much easier and faster to fill one keg than 50+ bottles. You can also dry-hop in a keg.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 4, Informative) 358

why would someone buy a $400 machine that requires you to buy prepackaged produce to be squeezed out of it...?

Consider this quote from TFA: "Tech blogs have dubbed it a 'Keurig for juice.'" Then consider how Keurig machines and the coffee pods they use have sold over the past few years. Nobody ever went broke overestimating people's laziness.

Comment Re: Texas Instruments.. (Score 1) 857

the only way to choose in assembly was to use PEEK, POKE, and CALL from within TI BASIC

Did TI BASIC even have PEEK and POKE? Maybe it did and I just never knew what to do with them due to a lack of available documentation, but as I recall, those commands weren't in the console. They might've been in Extended BASIC, but I didn't have that cartridge back in the day. I have one now, as well as a bunch of other things (such as a PEB) that I didn't have back then, but a lack of space has kept it packed away the past few years.

Comment Re:TI-99/4A (Score 1) 857

Started with one that my parents had picked up cheapish ($150?) as the prices were starting to come down. Peripherals were still expensive as hell, though, and the console by itself didn't support much real work without them. Combine that with TI exiting the computer business a few months later and you can probably see where this is going: two years later, we ended up getting an Apple IIe (this time, with a couple of floppy drives, a monochrome monitor, and a printer), which got me through high school and a fair bit of college.

Comment Re:VoIP with WiFi (Score 1) 99

So they're not enabling cellular service, but you can usually pay their extortion price for WiFi and then make all the VoIP calls you want.

Not if they block VoIP, which they usually do. They also usually block video streaming and other high-bandwidth services. You might sneak through with some obscure service nobody's heard of, but forget about using anything remotely popular like Google Voice or Skype.

Comment Re:Read my post again (Score 1) 311

This is the kind of circular argument that's impossible to refute. "Show me the numbers!" "Here are the numbers!" "No, those don't support my predetermined conclusion, so they must be fake." It's exactly like the Trump administration's attitude towards climate science, to pick one recent example. But whatever, the same strategy worked out so well for the fossil fuel interests that I guess I shouldn't be surprised that other ideologues have latched onto it.

Comment Re:No it won't (Score 1) 311

This is common knowledge to anyone who has worked in the field - it's like asking for a citation for the claim that eating too much junk food leads to obesity. But here are two data points:

So that's less than 20% of approved drugs that are discovered in academia to begin with. Academic labs aren't large-scale operations - a single-investigator R01 grant from the NIH might be $5 million over 5 years, and most investigators won't have more than a handful of these. For the really big superstar labs, let's assume a very generous upper bounds of $10 million per year (not all of which is necessarily from the government). If it's a big multi-investigator project, maybe double that. Except for a handful of big centers (like the NIH itself, or genome sequencing centers), academia just doesn't operate at a large scale - a typical university research department is just an aggregation of many smaller units that are largely autonomous. The hidden advantage to these organizational limitations is that failed projects usually fail before anyone spends too much money on them. So let's hypothesize at the extreme, academics spent no more than $50 million per drug candidate. Compare to the numbers in the Wikipedia article.

Now, you could of course argue that because drug development is informed by the public-domain knowledge generated by taxpayer-funded researchers, drug companies are leaching off the public in that way too. I guess that's technically true (albeit difficult-to-impossible to quantify), but you might as well argue that because the government invented digital computers, companies like IBM and Intel should have been nationalized. (Note that the difference in salary between academia and big pharma is relatively large - to shift more drug development to academia, you'll need to raise salaries, or find a lot of scientists willing to work for academic salary while doing grunt work on massive projects that will mostly likely fail.)

To pick a more specific example, the NIH spends approximately $1.2 billion per year on aging-related research (including but not limited to Alzheimer's):

Most of that will be single-investigator grants, and as anyone who has worked in basic research can tell you, the majority of the grants that are funded won't lead to any immediate treatments, although they may provide useful information in the long term. In contrast, here is an estimate of the total cost per Alzheimer's drug being $5.7 billion (including failures, and keep in mind the overwhelming bulk of that is spent by drug companies):


This isn't to argue that taxpayer funding of basic research isn't valuable - it's absolutely essential IMHO. But most of what it produces isn't going to lead directly to new drugs or treatments.

Obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for a drug company, but I did receive funding from them as a government scientist, and receive a small bonus from IP licensing fees every year. Frankly it was far more trouble than it was worth; drug companies are kind of a pain in the ass to deal with, even if you only talk to the scientists.

Comment Re:Ironically, the article linked is behind an adw (Score 2) 50

The article linked by this story blocks its contents unless you turn off ad-blockers or agree to pay a fee. gets past many adwalls, including whatever Wired is using. GGBlocker automatically redirects Wired links (among others) to for me whenever they pop can view the archived article here ad-free, whether you have an ad blocker active or not.

Comment Re:No it won't (Score 1) 311

They do a few clinical trials after the government has done the really expensive stuff (what's called "Basic Research", IIRC).

This is simply wrong. The development process (which includes a lot more than just clinical trials) is far more expensive than the basic research component - and that's without even counting how many projects simply fail without anything to show for it.

Comment Currently on top of the pile (Score 1) 259

I add more books before I finish the ones already in the hopper. Right now, though, I'm reading Into the Cannibal's Pot, a rather harrowing look at post-apartheid South Africa and how it's on track to become the next Zimbabwe.

After an incident at work with some of our switches where we "fixed" a problem by swapping capacitors between boards rather than just swap in a working switch and configure it, I figured maybe a CCNA might be useful, so I've also been going through the study guide for the first of two exams for the routing & switching CCNA.

Submission + - domain seized ( 1

JackieBrown writes: Going to the kodi site, there is now a warning that the domain has been seized by ICE.

The wiki can still be accessed but the forums are all down,

Any suggestions besides superrepo on where to get legit addons (I'm trying to set mine up right now.)

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