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Comment 3 billion cash = ~ 1.5 new drugs (Score 1) 161

The average cost to develop a new drug, advance it through all clinical trials and bring it to market in the US, Europe and Japan is currently about 2 billion USD. 3 billion of donated funds are *nowhere* near the investment needed to make a sizable impression on the pharma landscape.

Comment Only in the US.... (Score 4, Interesting) 189

would you even consider to throw these into normal trash. Here in Germany, that would get you fined - (almost) empty laser printer cartridges are nearly on the same level of nastiness as old engine oil.

On the other hand, if you do not find a commercial recycling program you like (every toner manufacturer and seller on the German market has to take back its empty cartridges at zero cost, and of course we also have companies which specialize in refills and pay a few dimes for used cartridges), every communal recycling center accepts toner cartridges free of charge. And in case they'd manage to make some bucks of them, it goes into the city budget. No need for charity shopping.

Comment Just a braindead concept, nothing more (Score 1) 171

First, so far this is just an idea. Zero development of the detection chemistry has been performed. But hey, at least they have already decided on their indicator color scheme!

Second, the concept requires that the antibodies, coloring agents and supporting chemicals come into direct bodily contact with (mucous) skin. That is very different from normal medicinal tests where you scrape off or otherwise obtain test material and then add additional chemicals far away from your body in a test tube. The FDA will look very, very closely at this and require lots of tests before it would grant approval. Lots of enormously expensive tests, far beyond what a novelty condom could ever earn.

So in summary - a creative but stupid idea.

Comment Slashdot reports on an obscure mice experiment... (Score 1) 109

while there is right now a really promising result from Biogen, in clinical trials on humans:

THAT is news. Not some un-vetted academic work, interesting as it might be, which will need at least 10 more years of experimentation before human trials, if this approach does not die before (at least 98% probability, but of course I wish the researchers luck).

I think Slashdot needs more expertise in selecting science stories.

Comment Most posts here are completely besides the point (Score 1) 132

Yes, it is mildly interesting. But professionals do not even agree whether it is a significant new tech at all. And if is is, it is most certainly not for production of compounds in measurable quantity (e.g. more than a few mg at most). The only agreement is that the researcher is known for good marketing and a big ego.

Here are links to interesting discussions by people who actually know what they are posting about:

Comment Reality is the absolute opposite (Score 1) 303

In US jury trials, there are almost never any jurors really knowledgeable about the topic of the trial, if the topic is of any complexity. These candidate experts are reliably weeded by by peremptory challenges during the jury selection by the side with the weaker arguments.

This is a perennial problem with US patent trials with regular international repercussions: Every other civilized nation lets expert judges decide these trials, the US uses farmer jurors from certain Eastern Texas districts who are quick to slap foreign, un-American companies with ridiculous judgements.

Comment and once more the US system is incompatible... (Score 1) 250

with what the rest of the world uses, because they insist on custom non-metric sizes. Just like paper. There are many more Euro pallets in use than US-sized ones.

Though in this case, the US size may actually win in the long term, because standard containers are designed to accomodate US pallets optimally. The Euro variant does not fit as well. There is a slightly wider Euro container variant designed to play nicely with Euro pallets, but with ever increasing ocean-crossing container shipping, these are on the way out.

One problem of the smallest variant of the US pallet (35 × 45.5 inch Milspec, 40 × 48 standard type) is that is does not fit trough standard European doors (which are 850 mm - Euro pallets are 800 mm, US mil pallets are 889 mm on the smallest side, standard type even larger).

Comment Experimental evidence says that is unlikely (Score 1) 120

There are now over half a dozen carbon-containing meteorites where a (small) excess of L-amino acids was found, and none where the opposite enantiomer was found to be in excess. Since these meteorites where never in contact with the earth's biosphere (the samples were of course not scraped from the surface), the chance of an evolution of isolated systems into a random chiral direction is already pretty slim.

Comment What a terrible article.... (Score 4, Insightful) 143

The weight of lithium is pretty irrelevant. There are no currently existing battery technologies where Li is more than 10% of the total weight of the battery, and standard battery types are significantly below that. If the active ion weight were the prime factor, there would be more interest in beryllium batteries (just 30% more weight vs. twice the charge per ion).

Comment Hardly viable... (Score 4, Insightful) 151

Most of the commercial launches want equatorial orbits, and for that you want to launch as near to the equator as possible. As far as polar orbits for research satellites are concerned there is already the Kiruna site, which is fully equipped and at a better location for monitoring polar orbits. Polar orbits for secret missions? Countries involved in this will want to launch from their own turf. And space tourism? Does not exist yet.

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