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Comment MIT did this with video in 2002 (Score 1) 161

I am pretty sure it was posted on Slashdot (can't find it), but the Boston Globe reported in 2002 that scientists at MIT could convincingly alter video to make it appear that someone said something they didn't, with only 2 minutes of footage:

(Link to article on Boston Globe is dead.) They couldn't alter the audio convincingly, or at least didn't try. However, I also recall seeing on Slashdot (10+ years ago; also can't find it) that someone (Bell? MIT?) could take about 2,000 recorded words from an individual and create convincing audio of words and sentences not previously recorded.

Post-truth politics won't matter when someone releases convincingly altered video and audio of a public figure doing something that they never did.

Comment Re:Read The Fine Paper (Score 1) 258

Thanks. The authors state that their calculations estimate the number of galaxies in the universe to be 10x greater than estimated via observational data. I assume Gizmodo, the submitter, and the Slashdot editor all did not even read the abstract.

Any idea why the discrepancy? (How do you get from 10 to 20 other than fat finger? Am I missing something in the paper?)

Comment Re:Why don't Canadians get any of this cool stuff? (Score 1) 54

Yes, there are private clinics in Canada, but it might be dependent upon the province. Typically it is something the wealthier people use, as they might also have private insurance to defray costs (and can by definition afford to pay more for treatment). So if you can afford it, and don't want to wait, you go to a private clinic or doctor. Otherwise you try to find the one with the shortest wait time.

Comment Re:They don't answer the only question we care abo (Score 1) 177

Your response doesn't exactly address the concern: are these changes heritable?

There is evidence to suggest that they are transmitted to offspring, maternally and possibly paternally:
"These data suggest that prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke is associated with reproducible epigenetic changes that persist well into childhood."
"Here we assessed whether these infant [DNA methylation (DNAm)] patterns are detectable in early childhood, whether they are specific to smoking, and whether childhood DNAm can classify prenatal smoke exposure status. ... Striking concordance was found between the pattern of prenatal smoking associated DNAm among preschool aged children... These DNAm changes appear to be tobacco-specific."

Pay-walled review of the literature from Feb 2016:
"Paternal smoking and germ cell death: a mechanistic link to the effects of cigarette smoke on spermatogenesis and possible long-term sequelae in offspring"

It's not clear at this time whether they are transmitted to the third generation.

Comment Re:Just an onion on my belt! (Score 1) 327

You raise an interesting point. Most drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions have a narrow therapeutic window: if the dose is too low the treatment is not effective; if the dose is too high then adverse events result. That's why many psychiatric drugs come in a variety of doses and physicians titrate the dose for new patients. On the other hand, most drugs to treat other medical conditions have a wider therapeutic window: it's OK if the dose isn't perfectly accurate.

Interestingly, it appears that epinephrine for the treatment of anaphylaxis has a narrow therapeutic window, and too little, too much, or injecting improperly can result in death:

As it relates to your question ("can a suicidal person administer the proper dose?"), can a person dying of anaphylaxis measure an accurate dose and properly inject?

Comment Of course! (Score 5, Interesting) 70

Why would we pass up a chance to learn? Scientists from all branches of science learn by tinkering, and this would be another form, even if we only did it to validate our understanding (once sufficiently advanced) of how DNA sequences yield a very specific body pattern and size and set of behaviors.

Besides, most people forget that the environment the dinosaurs lived in was very different from ours, both in temperature/climate and air composition, making it a much more difficult problem than "can we clone them?". For example, prehistoric insects were very large, larger than what the current oxygen levels in our atmosphere could support since they don't have lungs and breathe basically via diffusion. So, for specific values of "prehistoric" the difficulties involve artificial environments.

Comment Re:No problem here (Score 1) 94

Mod parent up.

Came here to say exactly this. We cannot afford to blindly accept EULAs anymore. Not that anyone wants to read 32 pages of legalese for every 1,000-lines of code app that comes along, but we now have to continuously monitor EULAs and TOSs for any deviation. And if we don't like them, and don't want to accept, are we honestly going to find alternatives with user-friendly licenses?

It's like switching banks or cable companies, but worse. It can be such a pain in the ass to switch, but how are you going to convince your friends to all switch with you? At least with banks you can give someone a check or wire money without them being a member of the same bank.

Submission + - Clinton emails show relationship between State Dept and Clinton Foundation

drunken_boxer777 writes: CNN has a piece on newly released emails obtained via a FOIA request by Judicial Watch. These emails purport to show how cozy the State Department and the Clinton Foundation became during her tenure:

"No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress," he said in a press release. "They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law." Clinton's campaign said the emails didn't relate to her work at the State Department.

Definitely falls into the "Stuff that Matters" category, as the US Presidential race clearly interests a majority of Slashdot readers.

Submission + - "Genetic instruction manual" may unlock human limb regeneration (

Big Hairy Ian writes: Humans can regrow hair, nails, skin and some tissue after its cut or damaged, but we can only look on in envy as the humble axolotl fully regenerates its arms, legs, tail and even sections of its spinal cord. Scientists at MDI Biological Laboratory are studying the genetics of axolotls and other animals in order to learn more about the possibility of giving humans similar limb regeneration capabilities.

Comment Re:If a cigarette doesn't "smoke", is it harmful? (Score 1) 312

Don't know that you'll even return to read my response, but perhaps...

I agree that things shouldn't be banned for no good reason. A lot of airports have designated smoking rooms, which should be great for smokers. I've been to a bar that had a courtyard that was fully enclosed and sealed off so that smokers could enjoy it. Besides the front, it was the only place with windows, so certainly tempting for non-smokers to congregate there as well. Should you have a designated, ventilated, smoking room inside? Should you have a comfortable area outside (that is far enough from the building and 4 season)? I agree with you that it is silly that you have to hang out in a parking lot.

I don't think such measures should be used to persuade smokers to quit; it's an individual's choice. Some will argue that it increases healthcare costs for everyone, but so do many other vices. Where do you draw the line?

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