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Comment No way in Hell! (Score 1) 43

There's no way in Hell that any telecommunications company does anything to bring simplicity to the customer. Confusion and obfuscation are the hallmarks of the telecommunications industry. The lingua franca, if you will. They don't know how to do it any other way. This is just a way to screw up guys who got Uverse to get away from the hell of Time-Warner Cable. Don't believe it for a second.

Comment Good chemists needed (Score 4, Informative) 180

Over the last 15 years, good chemists all over the world have been losing their jobs. Wages have been stagnant for 20 years. Those MBA types keep thinking any jackass can be hired to do the job. Well, this is what happens when you hire a jackass to do chemistry. You get green pools to put out for the whole freaking world to see. And you end up looking cheap and stupid. Well, us chemists are laughing our asses off while we stand in the unemployment line.

Comment Missing something. (Score 0) 224

Many of you are missing a very simple fact. Making something repairable also makes it more complex, more expensive and probably less reliable. There is a lot to be said for the heat transfer and protective properties of encasing something in glue. I know a lot of you geeks would love to have everything put together with little screws so that you can bring out your cool little screw driver set and go to work. Have you priced a nice Swiss watch lately? And all it does is tell time.

This stuff is way too complex to make it so every jerk with a tool box and a soldering iron can fix it when it breaks. That ship done sailed. Get over it. Go into woodworking if you have to work with your hands.

Did you ever see some of those prehistoric insects encased in amber? Ever wonder why they're still around a million years later?

Comment Electrolysis? (Score 3, Interesting) 187

Where did they get a name like "Electrolysis"? As a chemist, I tend to think of electrolysis meaning something a lot different that the FF folks do. And as a layman I tend to think of electrolysis as a technique for removing unwanted hair. So they name some code after a hair removal technique. I guess the long list of "names for things" is finally getting exhausted.

Comment Columbia University football coach (Score 2) 18

I could be wrong but I believe that Bill Campbell was called "Coach" because he used to be the coach of the football team at Columbia University. I don't think they won many games under Bill.

I met Bill Campbell when I visited Apple around 1990 as a member of the Apple Pharmaceutical Advisory Council. He showed us all the cool stuff that Claris was up to and gave me a copy of Claris CAD. It was a neat visit for a bunch of chemistry nerds from out east.

Comment Re:It's wrong because... (Score 1) 294

Hey surfdaddy, Don't beat your generation and yourself up. Science reporting in the popular press has been weak for as long as I've been a scientist (40 years?) and I suspect that it's been weak for a lot longer than that. Science is hard. Writing about science is hard. The few people that might be good at it are probably smart enough to be doing something else. Like investment banking.

Comment scientist vs engineers? (Score 1) 73

I think the real problem with the whole premise of this post is that it groups scientists and engineers into the same group. I've been a scientist for many years and have known quite a few engineers. They are actually quite different breeds. Engineering is about applying known stuff to new problems. Science is about discovering new known stuff. The Nobel prize is really a proxy for scientists and says not much about great engineers.

Comment Pharmaceutical industry (Score 2) 179

Lay-offs are now the norm for what was once a "job for life" career path, a PhD doing medicinal chemistry. I left big pharma for biotech 25 years ago and twice we were eventually bought by big pharma. Once we lasted 11 years after the acquisition. The next time the whole company was dissolved immediately. Everyone lost their job. The stock payouts and severance never covered the time off between jobs. I know a few people who have been pfired by Prizer more than once as Pfizer acquired companies. Even the big pharma where I started got bought by Pfizer and all were Pfired. It's gotten ugly. The chemistry part of STEM is hurting more for jobs than it is for people. I suspect that's true for most STEM areas and that the STEM shortage is more about cheap labor and non-investment in employees.

Comment Re:this is not mass spectrometry (Score 3, Informative) 82

Come on AC, be nice. You can't use near-IR to identify unknowns when you have a nearly infinite number of possibilities. There are devices for monitoring reactions using Near IR, but their use requires intimate knowledge of the contributing components and calibration of each one. If some new unknown shows up you don't get enough information from their near IR absorbance to assign identity. I 've been doing this stuff for 40 years so I don't need to read the wiki article and become an instant expert like you. However, I will read the wiki article and see if I can understand why you've been mislead.

I just looked at the article. You owe me an apology.

Comment Re:this is not mass spectrometry (Score 2) 82

You're right, this article is garbage. This may or may not be a neat device and may or may not be capable of doing cool things but you need to go somewhere else to find out. Mass spect would be cool but without some kind of separation up front for all the components, it would just give noise. I don't think they've figured out how to get mass spect this small. Near-IR also sounds suspicious. As an organic/analytical chemist all my life, we've used spectroscopy from radio waves (NMR) to x-rays (crystallography) and everything in between. There's very little structural information to be gleaned in the near-IR region. A lot human tissue is actually clear to near-IR and we're using special dyes that show up in the near-IR to image tumors. So maybe if someone puts those special dyes in your cheese, you could tell with this device. No, this article is garbage.

Comment Re:Foldit (Score 2) 93

Man! I want some of what you're smoking.

Foldit is a series of programs that work with human intervention and lots of distributed computing to try to help solve the problem of protein folding. That's going from a primary sequence (which you can get from the human genome project) to a tertiary structure, ie how it folds. If you figure out how to do that with great confidence, then you have a protein target to use to design drugs. But there are already tons of x-ray structures of proteins that are real available today to anyone who can hit this link ( And they're more useful than a calculated structure and there are a lot of druggable targets in there to work on.

So, Citizen Scientists, quit waiting around for Foldit and get to work.

Comment Re:Good questions (Score 1) 204

As someone who works in an area where everybody is working on a "cure just around the corner", I am totally bewildered by the comments. Talk about missing the point. The article is about the wildly overoptimistic reporting of a lot of crappy research and the under reporting of the slow steady progress that is being made. However, the moronic readership of this site immediately goes into some kind of conspiracy frenzy about hiding cures. Look, you bunch of morons, when a cure shows up, ain't nobody gonna hide it so they can keep treating you with expensive crappy stuff that you take forever. Take Solvaldi for example. People used to take a lot of nasty stuff (ribavarin, interferon etc) to poorly treat hepatitis C. Solvaldi essentially cures hepatitis C in about 97% of the cases. Only problem is they want about $84,000 for a course of treatment. There a plenty of things to complain about related about health care and its costs but the amount of ignorance displayed on this site related to this post is disturbing.

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