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Comment Pre-PC/Mac era (Score 2) 72

Brand loyalty is a tricky one when all the companies that made computers when I was at school are gone. What I did learn from exposure to primitive 8 bit machines was variety and flexibility which took me into software development. Later when Macs and PCs hit schools, the level of interest kids had in programming or even understanding computers dropped so we ended up with a generation of kids who couldn't do much more than type up a letter in MS Word compared with my generation which were writing hand coded assembly and building robots. Thank goodness Linus came along with his kernel and we were able to have a real OS on cheap PC hardware and that has given me a solid career so if there's any brand loyalty it is to Linux. While I use a Mac today (best tool for the job when dealing with a mixed environment) I'm a Linux admin and programmer by profession. The fight by these companies to control the market is bad, we need a mixture and devices like the Raspberry Pi are what we should be using to get kids hooked. Typing up letters and doing spreadsheets is not computing but seems to be all the schools are prepared to teach.

Comment Re:Why range extenders matter (Score 1) 177

There are cars on the market with range extenders but they're typically short range EVs and then REX and I can see the need for those. Once you've got to 200+ miles (or even 300+ as the top Teslas can now do) you're into a car that can do everything most people will want and you can't cripple it just for the few that want to go further and don't want to stop for an hour after driving for three hours. There are people who routinely travel long distance and for now EVs aren't for them but it will be and there's no reason to add a REX to a Tesla because the charging network is coming and in a few years that REX will be dead weight. For now, you should indeed buy a short range EV with REX or just stick with petrol for a bit longer but battery price and capacity are changing so quickly now that buying into long range EV and including a REX makes no sense to me. The next generation of batteries and chargers will get the recharge times down to around 10 mins and you should really stop for 10 mins after driving a few hundred miles if only for your own health.

Comment Re:Slightly overhyped (Score 1) 177

The advantage only exists today. Personally, I have a short range EV that gets used for all our city driving and sometimes we go on longer runs when speed isn't important but I also have a petrol car for my regular long trips. If I didn't have to do those trips weekly, I would just hire a petrol car as needed. The added complexity of having a petrol engine undoes much of the simplicity of an EV which is why I didn't go for something like a Volt. A PHEV is a short term solution IMHO and in a few years they'll be obsolete, especially the ones that have very low range like the plugin Prius.

Comment Re:Slightly overhyped (Score 1) 177

"I wish Tesla had stuck with the original plan of including a small gas powered generator."

No, for a car that can do 200+ miles on a single charge why would you even want a generator in tow? Far better to provide the charging network which is what Tesla has done. Now, I have a short range EV which can do 100 miles on a good day and I've thought about the generator thing and there are even companies that do make small two cylinder generators which can put out around 30kW which is enough to move the car along. Other companies like BMW have put range extender motors in too but they're all dealing with cars that have about 1/3rd the range of a Tesla. Personally, once I've sat for three hours in a car, I want to stop and get out and take a break. During that time, my car could be charging and at the rates a Tesla can charge it will be ready for another 200 miles by the time I've had a burger and and bio break. 100 miles is fine for around town and you can hop along fast chargers but at higher speeds the range is realistically only 80 miles or less so drive an hour and charge for 20 mins makes long runs unattractive on a regular basis, but for a 200+ mile car, that's fine and the Model 3 will support the latest supercharger so a full charge should happen in 10 mins or less.

Gas range extenders are a short term solution at best and Tesla was right to skip right past them and go large on batteries. Other car companies have to take that route because they don't have access to batteries as cheaply or on such a large scale but even for them it will come but they're all about 5 years behind Tesla.

Comment Re:Gut flora and artificial sweeteners (Score 1) 5

This is probably the most recent, well-cited article on the topic. The authors looked at the effects of saccharin in mice, and were able to determine that there was a significant elevation in blood-glucose level for the mice that were fed saccharin instead of actual glucose over the course of nine weeks. This suggests a mechanism for previous findings that suggest artificial sweeteners cause insulin insensitivity, weight gain, type II diabetes, et cetera. The difference between the two diets went away when both groups were raised with antibiotics, strongly suggesting the underlying cause was gut microbiota. They also found evidence that the saccharin diet led to changes in gut microbiome composition:

In agreement with the experiments with antibiotics, next generation sequencing of the microbiome indicated that mice drinking saccharin had distinct compositions from controls. This distinct microbiome was characterized by enrichment of taxa belonging to the Bacteroides genus or the Clostridiales order, with under-representation of Lactobacilli and other members of the Clostridiales. Several of the bacterial taxa that changed following saccharin consumption were previously associated with type 2 diabetes in humans.

Keep in mind that everyone has different gut flora, so in general these impacts will vary from person to person, which is why the effect is inconsistent, as with obesity and type II diabetes in general. I can't say for certain that these results would directly transfer into humans, but since the bacteria are the same, it's unreasonable to assume they wouldn't. Less clear is whether this effect transfers to other sweeteners; the paper includes a table showing a number of studies pertaining to a diversity of chemicals, some of which found an effect, and some of which didn't.

Non-professionally, my advice would be to avoid artificial sweeteners, and ideally all liquid candy. Some people find that drinking normal, sugary soda produces a state of lethargy, and I'm pretty sure this is a result of the long-term exposure to sucralose. It's sort of a trap!

Comment Re:Which type of graft is best? (Score 1) 5

That's fairly straightforward; as this summary article explains, a synthetic allograph (or xenograph; the terms overlap) that maintains bone mineral density is ideal, as it means no harvesting from elsewhere on your body (eek), no risk of rejection, and good bone density. I'd say start a conversation with your dentist about hydrogel-hydroxyapatite composites and mention you're concerned about sustaining bone density long-term.

Comment Re:Relevant XKCD (Score 1) 102

The switch to all EVs in cities could happen much more quickly because they'll likely legislate ICEVs off city streets due to pollution. Short range city EVs are already cheap to buy and run. Personally I have a LEAF and I also have a Mini which I use for long trips but that will get replaced shortly with another EV that can handle the same sort of distance. Many families have two cars so switching the one used in cities for an EV could and should happen sooner rather than later. The total car population won't switch over to EV anything like as quickly but in the near term it is pollution concerns not to mention traffic volumes that will see the ICEV disappear for any large presence in cities pretty quickly.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 3^3 5

As requested by the world's greatest masked mystery person, Anonymous Coward, it may or may not be time for yet another biology help desk thread, after a surprisingly long hiatus of about four years. Feel free to contribute both questions and answers.

Comment Re: In Other News (Score 1) 478

It was a quaint archaism over a century ago. British English used it in the 18th century, and it arrived in India alongside the British. Many quirks of Indian English have similarly ancient roots, although some are innovations and most are the product of people learning the language (e.g. Hindi speakers conflate "softly" and "slowly" as Sanskrit had only one word for both.)

Comment And the amazing consequences... (Score 5, Funny) 606

Two words: Wikipedia vandalism.

According to Wikipedia, the Whopper is a bugger consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% medium-sized child with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cyanide, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun.

Comment Re: oh no (Score 5, Funny) 423

All. Almost all. Slashdot is the unpleasant-smelling uncle at the Thanksgiving dinner table who was laid off during the dot-com bubble, decided to retire early, and spends the rest of his days complaining about how new-fangled touch-screen smartphones don't support vi keybindings the way God and Ken Thompson intended, how systemd would never have happened under a Libertarian president, and that global warming is a feminist conspiracy.

The rest of us come here because it's mildly more entertaining than going to an actual zoo.

Comment Valuation == company assets - company debt (Score 1) 289

Tesla has very little debt so while it isn't as big as GM or Ford, they're both carrying massive debt. Simple as that. Oh, and Tesla is making cars that people want to buy. They're expensive now, but you get that back in the long run and you get a car that is much nicer to drive and live with than anything the other car manufacturers produce with a smelly old engine. More to the point, the car manufacturers don't actually have the ability to make EVs in any great numbers because they don't have the batteries. Tesla knows this and has invested in building the batteries to power their cars. That's how Tesla will be able to sell hundreds of thousands of Model 3s a year and GM can't even make more than a few thousand Bolts. They could sell a lot more Bolts than they will because without batteries they're going nowhere.

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