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Comment "an unmanned exploration mission by 2018" (Score 3, Insightful) 134

"an unmanned exploration mission by 2018"

It's too bad no one thought of that 40 years ago. We could have had an unmanned exploration mission on Mars back in 1976 or so.

Oh. Wait. Viking landed on Mars in 1976, didn't it.

40 F'ing years ago. Are we maybe kind of done with the exploratory crap, and ready to send people yet?

Let's see... we went from the first autogyro to landing on the moon in 40 years. Now it looks like we've moved from an unmanned landing on Mars ... to Yet Another Unmanned Landing On Mars(tm) over the last 40 years.

Good job, dudes.

Comment Re:They don't answer the only question we care abo (Score 4, Informative) 177

When a cell divides, the methyl groups are only on the original strand; the new complimentary strand doesn't have any. The methylation signal has to be actively transcribed from one strand to another; an enzyme runs up the DNA feeling for methylated cytosine residues. When it finds some, it starts methylating any cytosine residues that might be nearby on the opposite strand, to make sure the troublesome regions all stay commented out. That's why it's heritable.

The methylation inactivation is heritable. The issue, in this case, was erroneous activation or switching of cells to modify protein production.

I suspect that the mechanism involved (they don't say) in the repair of the genes which end up going back to normal is related to the production of O6-methyl-transferase via the MGMT complex sites on the long arm of c21 -- the same thing that results in chemo-resistance to cancers, such as pancreatic cancer or glioblastoma, when combined with the appropriate mutation of the p53 gene on c17.

I think as long as it doesn't involve a long term mutation of a cancer related gene, such that it effect the germ cells, it's not a problem. Since you tend to come pre-packed with all the germ cells you are ever going to have in your lifetime, then the issue will be smoking by pregnant women, and all other damage that results in disease will only be self-inflicted diseases, rather than heritable.

Which still means they've failed to answer the question of whether or not it's heritable, because they've failed to discuss whether or not it impacts germ cells (arguably unlikely, but it'd be nice to have an answer, particularly when making decisions on how and when to regulate smoking, or minimally, smoking in public).

Comment Re:They don't answer the only question we care abo (Score 2) 177

"pollute the human genome" Nice one, Hitler!

We already prohibit general use of a number of medical interventions based on transplanting porcine cells into humans.

For example, it's possible to exploit the immune privilege of the brain in order to transplant fetal pig brain cells into humans to treat conditions such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and islet cells into the pancreas of people with Type I diabetes.

The big risk is Porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV -- yes, it's actually called that), being transmitted, and becoming part of the human genome. Thus, people who have received these xenografts are prohibited from sexual reproduction post-graft (although it's possible to save germ cells prior, to permit in vitro fertilization techniques).

See also:

Porcine xenografts in Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease patients: preliminary results.

So yes, numb-nuts: "pollute the human genome".

It's not Hitlerian, or in any way related to eugenics to prevent introduction of DNA errors or endogenous viruses into the general genome in a heritable way.

Comment They don't answer the only question we care about. (Score 4, Insightful) 177

They don't answer the only question we care about.


If it doesn't damage your kids genes ...and by extension, pollute the human genome ...then I don't care if you are dumb enough to damage your own health.

Unless you are a close relative, or smoke around me, it's no skin off my nose, if you want to commit suicide by cigarette or a Kevorkian death machine.

Comment Re:What's our take away on this supposed to be? (Score 2) 86

It's not that they suck at their jobs. Due to "fairness, transparency and accountability" requirements any testing methodology they come up with has to be fully documented and given to the manufacturers ahead of time. Manufacturers being the scum-sucking bastards that they are will, of course, run all these tests in their own labs ahead of time and tweak the crap out of things so they come out on top.

Sorry, but the tests are supposed to be "representative of normal usage".

Even if they document the tests, if they can be gamed in a test representative of "normal usage", then the same gaming will kick in on actual "normal usage", and so the test will not have been gamed.

You can have them be shitty at designing tests, or you can have them being shitty at determining what constitutes "normal usage", but it's not possible to game something that doesn't have a variance between expected use and actual use.

The manufacturers are exploiting a variance that should not be there in a correctly designed testing scenario, because the variance would not be there in actual usage.

Comment What's our take away on this supposed to be? (Score 3, Informative) 86

What's our take away on this supposed to be?

(A) These evil scoundrels are cheating on the government tests

(B) The people who are designing the government tests epically suck at their jobs, should be fired, and have competent people hired in their places

I'm going to have to vote "B" here, folks.

Comment Re:Perhaps they could consider them for humans nex (Score 1) 68


My argument boils down to "legislating morality (rather than ethics) is about as useful as trying to legislate Pi to be 3 to make the math easier".

If you could make a law against murder that actually *precluded* murder, you might have something. The best you can do otherwise is make it so that people fear the punishment for violating the law (as opposed to fearing the actual law -- which they don't).

You are merely disincentivizing the behaviour, not eliminating it. The point being is that it'a impossible to effectively hold someone else to your own moral standards.

You're free to call this either "moral relativism" or you could be more honest, and admit that you can't control someone else's thoughts.

Comment Re:Perhaps they could consider them for humans nex (Score 1) 68

Uhm.. Law is a codification of common morals. Why do you think murder is illegal but self defense an exception?
Legislation of morality have worked extremely well. It's the laws that doesn't have to do with morality that doesn't work.

I hadn't realized the teen pregnancy problem had been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Thank you for enlightening me on the effectiveness of those laws; I was under the mistaken impression that underage sex acts still occurred!

Comment Re:Outrageous! (Score 1) 167

It's almost like you didn't read anything but the headline and then proceeded to post without thinking...

It's almost like you didn't read anything but my post and then proceeded to post without thinking...

I read the article. You apparently, have not.

It's almost like you think that the UI, including the one that would be brought up by a mechanical "Home" button to enter a passcode, doesn't require capacitive coupling to enter the passcode...

So you wear the capacitive gloves, you "press" the virtual button (which can't read a fingerprint through the glove anyway), and, just as if you were using an iPhone with a mechanical button with gloves on, you use your capacitive gloves to input the passcode.

They are bitching about having to have something *before* pressing the capacitive button, which they have to have anyway *after* pressing the mechanical button, just so they have something to bitch about the switch from a mechanical to a capacitive button.


To be *crystal clear*, the only ones impacted are going to be Siri-only users who run around with their iPhones always unlocked.

This may somewhat impact blind users of iPhones, who might be in that small group, but it's no worse than the pre-Siri (or early Siri) days, where there really wasn't any accessibility for the things at all, or where you could use Siri, but then Siri would futz up on you, more often than not.

I suppose that we could also be concerned about people with artificial limbs, who, if they have not been retrofit with **technology I invented while at Google, and then gave away, rather than patenting**, can't capacitively couple at all, and so are utterly incapable of using touch-screen devices.

But then, this is a general problem of touch screen devices being disability unfriendly.

And I suppose we should also include people who are unable to utilize multitouch for gestures -- like those who have artificial limbs, but can't make more than 1-finger gestures, even if their artificial limbs *have* been retrofit to support capacitive coupling.


I suppose which of the above applies depends on what you are actually whining about.

Comment While the individual words are are better... (Score 1) 46

While the individual words are are better... the sentence pacing is not.

This is similar to the "singing computer" pronunciation, many years ago, in which the ACM distributed CD's with the tracks on it.

You don't get the stilted words, but unless it's intentionally paced (for example, a real human would have put a pause before "directed"), it's still going to be recognizably artificial -- but worse than that: difficult for a human expecting the pacing to understand.

Given that age related hearing loss tends to cut out vowels and not consonants, this is unlikely to be a useful implementation for care giving of older people, for example, unless there are also visible facial cues associated with it, if the pacing can not be made distinct.

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