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Comment Re:Another new headphone connector! (Score 1) 139

Trust Apple not to implement that. Of course it requires an audio amplifier, probably a chip so small it's difficult to see. There's also some extra logic around the USB chip, because that's a relatively high-current low-impedance task. But Apple has already driven its users to a different solution, and has no reason to admit that analog headphones are just fine, and that it can support them.

Comment ORLY? (Score 1) 84

Both FTC and FCC (and EPA and many others) are getting their budgets slashed.

ORLY? Maybe the others. But the FTC? They hardly have any budget to slash.

I'd like to see where you're getting the idea that the FTC's budget is getting the axe.

For starters, it's an ideal tool to spank the media conglomerates which own and control the news outlets that have roasted him. Much of the anti-consumer pathologies the ISPs engage in appear to be directed to giving the content part of the containing conglomerate's operation a competitive advantage.

Antitrust actions to prevent (i.e. AT&T / Time Warner merger blocking, which Trump already favors) or break up existing content transport / content provision tie-ins would let him drive a big screw into the mainstream media under the guise of (actual!) consumer protection activity. B-)

Note that he's appointed Maureen Ohlhausen to head the FTC, and she'd already written a paper on how the FTC and antitrust, not the FCC and net neutrality, is the proper remedy for any consumer-impacting misbehavior of the ISP oligopoly.

(As have I, though we seem to have a difference of opinion on how many competitors are needed before competition is an effective remedy and how well competition doing at the moment.)

Comment Time to restart using antisera. (Score 2) 75

Before antibiotics one could get an antiserum against each of many nasty infections. The rise of antibiotics displaced these drugs - even for some things (such as some forms of meningitis) where an antiserum against the particular organism, did a better job.

This actually made some sense. Antibiotics were broader spectrum, so (even after drug resistant bugs became common) you were likely to find one that worked in time to save the patient. Antisera, on the other hand, were very bug-specific.

If multiple drug resistance makes antibiotics nearly useless, perhaps it's time to revive antiserum use.

We now have the technology to rapidly identify the target organism(s) in a disease process, so we can rapidly select the correct magic bullets. And we also have the technology to make specific antisera by the bucketful.

And without the side-effects of making it by exposing an animal (like a "serum horse") to a pathogen and then (once it's developed an immunity) extracting the (horse-type) antibodies to this - and to everything else its immune system doesn't like - to make the drug. Instead we can make human monoclonal antibodies to just one target.

We can also engineer an immunization by chopping out the DNA for some conserved region snippet of some pathogen's accessible surface markers, splicing it with neighboring coding that will make the immune system take note and building it into an otherwise (and still) harmless bug - either to make an active ingredient for an immunization cocktail or a variola/polio style live-virus challenge. The bug has a very hard time evolving resistance because a conserved region of some component of its molecular machinery is usually conserved because has to be the way it is for it to work.

This is already being done to some extent. Seems to me it's time to stop crying about the end of antibiotics and focus on this set of approaches - which should be very lasting.

Comment But iodine is restricted due to the drug war. (Score 1) 75

It is common knowledge that [iodine] was used widely in hospitals for decades, and supposedly(?) resistance is not built up to it.

But iodine, and most iodine-containing medical preparations, are heavily restricted, due to the drug war.

Seems they're used in one step of turning pseudephedrine into meth. So, though they're not actually BANNED, the drug warriors put so much red tape on them that most chain-store drug stores just dropped them as unprofitable.

(I found this out when the fallout from Fukishima was approaching the US west coast, and I tried to find some iodine supplements for my family to dose up on, to reduce the risk from radioiodine, before it got here. Surprise! None to be had.)

If anybody knows of a chain store in California or Nevada where I can buy potassium iodide supplements or tincture of iodine, over the counter, please let me know.

Comment Wrong agency! FTC, not FCC (Score 4, Insightful) 84

The FCC is not the right agency to review mergers for anticompetitive issues. FCC is about tech, not competition.

The relevant agency is the F *T* C (Federal Trade Commission).

Now maybe they need some legislation to give them a budget bump and/or a juristictional tweak/clarification if they're to (once again) take on the telecom giants over antitrust issues. But if so it's high time that was done.

Comment Re:Rockets are too expensive (Score 5, Interesting) 333

And a space elevator, of course, would only cost about a Trillion, and there's this little problem of it hitting something (we'd have to make Earth Orbit absolutely pristine and keep it that way) and there's a problem with the kinetic energy if it falls down. Sort of like having many atom bombs go off.

Maybe someday. But right now making rockets as cheap as they can be is a better idea. It's only $200K to fuel up a Falcon 9. We don't get the whole thing back in working order yet, but that would be a lot easier than making a space elevator.

Comment No Dragon 2 Soft Landing Yet (Score 5, Informative) 333

Dragon 2 isn't built yet. The escape test was a boilerplate capsule more like a Dragon 1 than 2. Dragon 2 has not demonstrated a soft landing, because it's not built yet. That was the Falcon 9 first stage.

Also, you can't get Dragon 2 down to the Moon and back up on it's own. Not enough delta-V. You would need to have Dragon ride on top of something that can hold enough fuel. Like a larger version of the Apollo Service Module.

The Command/Service module was originally intended to land on the moon and return without the LEM, before NASA bought the LEM concept, and was overpowered for the mission it got. Dragon is larger and heavier, but a lunar landing one would probably look a lot like an Apollo Command and Service module, and legs.

And yeah, Orion: I'm Not on Board. Big expensive obsolete rocket with no mission that makes sense.

But good luck getting Elon Musk to focus on the practical and eminently desirable target of the Moon. He isn't interested. It's only Mars for Elon.

I try not to watch all of the Mars Colonial Transport speculation. Falcon 9 and Dragon are great, and they're here, and we could do so much with them.

Comment Re:Heat (Score 1) 202

I would be more interested in this if it worked the other way, warming my house.

There are lots of designs for doing that. Look at any renewable energy bulletin board (such as fieldlines.com).

Common thread is:
  - Black (or otherwise visible light absorbing) target.
  - In an insulated box.
  - With a glass window (that does NOT have an infrared reflective coating)
  - And some way of transferring the heat from the black target to the house air.

Glass is opaque to infrared and passes visible light. Sunlight goes through, is absorbed by the black material, and heats it (to the tune of about a kilowatt per square meter at noon). The material re-radiates, but it is far too cool to re-radiate in the visible spectrum. So it re-radiates in the infrared, which doesn't escape through the glass and is thus re-absorbed.

It's called "The Greenhouse Effect". B-)

In one of my favorite designs the black target is a series of tubes consisting of used aluminum drink cans with the tops and bottoms removed, painted black. They're very good at absorbing light, because it takes multiple bounces down the valley between the tubes, giving the paint many chances to absorb it. A 4" computer fan pumps air through the box to extract the heat.

But there are LOTS of other designs. Including houses with large south or south-east facing windows and overhanging roofs that shade them in the summer but not in the winter (to rough-tune the absorption). The floor, walls, furniture, etc. serve as the visible light absorber.

My ranch house works like that - a little too well. In the afternoon it will git to 90+ degrees when it's single-digit temperatures outside.

Comment Re:Too good to be true. (Score 1) 202

It's a neat idea, but what happens in the winter?

Put a cover over it.

Glass is good. It is pretty much opaque to far infrared. Instead of seeing the cosmic background temperature of a few degrees kelvin, it will see the temperature of the glass - which is about the same as its own temperature. So the radiative heat flow will be just about zero.

But ANYTHING opaque to infrared will do the same.

Another approach: Instead of coating the house, coat a radiative cooler to make chill water, and pump that through a heat exchanger in your forced air heating/air conditioning system. Don't want cooling? Don't pump the water. (Adjust how much you pump it to regulate your temperature.)

That's not "no power", but pumping chill water is very little power, and you need to circulate the air anyhow. Most of the energy cost of air conditioning is refrigeration, and you still get that for free.

Comment RTFA. They DID try it on people. (Score 1) 165

RTFA. Then follow the link to the paper. They DID try it on humans. Worked reasonably well (though the sample was small so it was more "does this maybe work on people, too? Is it worth a big study to check?" rather than "do all the results reproduce in people just like mice or are they quantitatively different in THIS way?").

Interestingly, they used a proprietary commercial boxed Fasting Mimicing Diet - L-Nutra's ProLon (Developed by a team including a USC Davis professor specializing in gerontology and life-extension) - on the human experimental subjects.

Comment Re:Weak/nonexistent punishments for faulty notices (Score 1) 82

All patent applications are signed under penalty of perjury. However, the US Patent and Trademark office disbanded its enforcement department in 1974. So, you can perjure yourself on a patent application with impunity.

Unless it's testimony in a criminal case, or the perjury trap in front of a grand jury, or something they want to prosecute like lying on your tax form, the Federal government is in general lassiez faire about perjury, or even encouraging of it with their reluctance to prosecute, especially perjury committed by a so-called intellectual property holder.

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