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Comment Re:Just hold on a minute there, cowboy. (Score 1) 126

Well, no offense but clearly you're not in charge of treating patients either. There are a number of misstatements in your post.

Actually there are 3500 genes that are directly linked to recessive disease and no, not even close to all of those have an existing test. There are also an additional 3500 or so diseases that are suspected to be genetic illnesses but for which the exact gene is not yet know.. Further, the problem with most existing tests is that they are single gene, and each single gene test costs usually at least $1000 - $3000 to administer. The way it mostly works now is that you have a physician or medical geneticist looking at the patient and guessing which single gene test(s) to order. If it comes back negative, the physician makes another try using another gene test. This in turn leads to what is commonly called the 'diagnostic odyssey' where a patient can go years without a diagnosis and can easily go through 20-30k of test.

Contrast that with whole genome testing where for a relatively low cost you can look at all the genes in the genome. This has huge benefits, not the least of which is that genes which wouldn't have normally come to mind for a physician (in the case of very rare diseases for instance) will be interrogated and a mutation can show up.

Disclaimer: I'm in the field working on whole genome sequencing and reduced gene panel sequencing as a diagnostic tool.

Comment Re:Naming, sure. Whitespace? No. (Score 1) 430

Disagree, at least for whitespace with operators. Compare:



variable = value + other * another

To me, the second is worlds more readable and worth enforcing in a coding standard. From there, I'd probably agree with you that anyone who pays too much attention is wasting their time on trivial stuff, but this one's worth it. I remember clearly having my first code review years ago and got dinged for the above - I was mad then, but not much later realized the reviewer was right.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 255

Well it wouldn't make much sense to discuss the intricacies of patent law with a judge who specializes in family law, would it?

That suspicion of the experts is the same kind of crap that anti-vaccine folks throw out so that they can ignore the people most qualified to comment on the issue (i.e. 'well he's an MD so of course he's biased'). I'm just picking on the anti-vaccine folks here, but really the same pattern happens everywhere.

Not that I agree w/the gene patent (actually my day job is in the field but that's another story) but claiming that patent judges shouldn't decide the issue is silly.

Comment Re:Just tell me, how do I know which one to trust? (Score 2, Informative) 1747

At the risk of engaging in a flame war (when I really should be working)...

As far as climate change goes, I think I would go with the consensus of the scientists.

Key bits:

The finding that the climate has warmed in recent decades and that this warming is likely attributable to human influence has been endorsed by every national science academy that has issued a statement on climate change, including the science academies of all of the major industrialized countries. At present, no scientific body of national or international standing has issued a dissenting statement. A small minority of professional associations have issued noncommittal statements.

But no doubt this post will follow with reams of people telling us why these opinions are suspect.

An interesting thing that has been happening with the vaccine debate is that the very people who are most expert on the field are prevented from weighing in on the issue, as in "well, we can't believe Dr. X, he published a Nature paper on immunology so clearly he is biased and can't be trusted".

Comment Re:Funding (Score 5, Insightful) 1747

Government has been funding science for much much longer than a couple of decades.

Just out of curiosity, if pure science is not funded by government, how should it be paid for? By private industry? Do you somehow think that we can place greater trust results of science paid for by corporations?

Comment Didn't start it, just makes it worse (Score 5, Insightful) 1747

The lay public has been mistrusting science for quite a while now. Witness the disbelief in findings regarding the lack of connection between autism and vaccines, brain cancer and cellphones and climate change.

We're already well into the era when people doubt the motives and findings of scientists. You can see it here on /. all the time - cue all the rants about how nobody gets funding unless they parrot the party line about global warming and how doctors who support vaccinations are just puppets of Big Pharma.

Problem is, people really believe that they can become experts on extremely complicated topics and weigh the evidence for themselves. I'm not saying we need to have blind trust in authority, but sometimes you've got to recognize that someone who studied climatology for X years might actually know a thing or two that you can't pick up from reading a blog.

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The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.