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Comment Re:Two different things (Score 1) 70

Last year Zhang gave a talk where I work. Aside from (to me at least) coming off as very arrogant, he clearly made a huge point to NOT mention Doudna's work at any point during his talk.

It's been mentioned indirectly above, and I'm sure it took some trial and error before it worked, but I can't possibly see how tweaking a nearly identical system in prokaryotes to work in eurkaryotes isn't obvious to one "skilled in the art". I also find asking for "fast track" approval of the patent to be pretty sleazy since MIT/Broad almost certainly knew of the Berkeley patent filing. Of course, you also have to wonder why the first filing wasn't fast tracked.

Submission + - Verizon might buy Charter, which just bought Time Warner Cable (

jriding writes: if Verizon decided to go through with it, and Charter agreed, it would create a telecom behemoth with a wide reach in both wired and wireless communications: Verizon is the largest wireless provider in the US. And with its acquisition of Time Warner Cable complete, Charter is now the second-largest provider of cable, behind Comcast.

Submission + - Possibly fatal blow against a patent trolls. (

whoever57 writes: Patent trolls rely on the fact that they have no assets and, if they lose a case, they can fold the company that owned the patent and sued, thus avoiding paying any the defendant's legal bills. However, in a recent case, the judge has told the winning defendant that it can claim its legal bills from the law firm. The decision is based on the plaintiff's law firm using a contract under which it would take a portion of any judgment, making it more than just counsel, but instead a partner with the plaintiff. This will likely result in law firms wanting to be paid up front, instead of offering a contingency-based fee.

Submission + - Heat-activated penile implant might restore sexual function

randomErr writes: Brian Leis, from Southern Illinois University, hoping that a heat-activated memory metal called Nitinol (NiTi) will create a better implant for men with erectile dysfunction. Nitinol is a nickel-titanium alloy which remains flaccid at body temperature but can "remember" an expanded shape and return to that shape when heated. The heat source will be a remote-control device that can be waved over the penis, using induction to heat the NiTi a few degrees above body temperature and ratcheting open the alloy prosthesis to expand the penis in length and girth. "We're hoping that, with a better device, a better patient experience, and a simpler surgery, more urologists would perform this operation, and more patients would want to try the device," Le sa

Submission + - The 67 dumbest moments in tech 2016 ( 2

harrymcc writes: Over at Fast Company, we rounded up the year's dumbest, silliest, and/or most embarrassing moments--covering ground from the year's big news (Trump's tweets, Yahoo's leaks) to the mememorably strange (Facebook accidentally telling users they were dead) to odd little items you might have missed when they happened (in September, a tech writer confidently declared that the Samsuing Galaxy Note 7 was definitely not going to be banned from air travel).

Submission + - SPAM: Prosecutorial Misconduct is Now a Felony in California 1

schwit1 writes: Along with signing a major asset forfeiture reform bill last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law making it a felony for prosecutors to intentionally withhold evidence.

Under the new law, prosecutors who alter or intentionally withhold evidence from defense counsels can face up to three years in prison. Previously, prosecutorial misconduct in California was only a misdemeanor. Courts were statutorily required to report misconduct to the state bar association, but advocates of the bill say the laws were rarely enforced.

"When a prosecutor intentionally withholds exculpatory evidence, an unknowing and innocent defendant can be convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for a long time," California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a group of criminal defense lawyers that supported the bill, told The Los Angeles Times. "These bad-acting prosecutors rarely, if ever, face any actually consequences for their actions."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Verizon trying to abandon copper (

Caviller writes: A internal letter from Verizon released by the CWA union shows that Verizon does not want to maintain their copper infrastructure. The union says that Verizon is telling techs to replace the users phone with their VoiceLInk service if the problem appears to be in their cable plant. Verizon says that their number one concern is to get their customer's service working again but the memo says otherwise. Is Verizon abandoning copper to push more people to the more profitable wireless service?

Submission + - Google Fiber reportedly told to cut half its staff to offset subscriber shortfal (

walterbyrd writes: Alphabet CEO Larry Page is not happy with the speed of Google Fiber's rollout and last month told the unit's chief Craig Barratt to halve the unit's headcount to 500 and cut costs, sources told The Information.
Yet for all the costs sunk into Google Fiber, the service only had around 200,000 subscribers by the end of 2014, according to The Information, a figure that is well short of the five million hoped for within five years.

Submission + - American Bar Association votes to DRM the law, put it behind a EULA (

schwit1 writes: Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "I just got back from the big debate on is free law like free beer that has been brewing for months at the American Bar Association over the question of who gets to read public safety codes and on what terms."

In my remarks I made the point that this resolution was perhaps well-intentioned, but bought into a really dangerous idea that somehow DRM-based access to the law from an exclusive private provider is "good enough." I was actually joined by the standards establishment in arguing strenuously that "read only access" simply doesn't exist and DRM is futile. A law is either public or it isn't. (And if a law isn't public, it isn't a law!)

Comment Re:Rhetorical... (Score 1) 247

For the highest bidder they will hold the games anywhere. The Olympics are just a scam for the uber rich to make money off of unpaid athletes hoping for stardom.

I partially agree, the Olympics overall have become incredibly commercial and care more about profit than anything else. But I disagree on two points. First, for some sports (swimming, diving, track and field/athletics to name a few), the Olympics are really their "spotlight" event and are important to the athletes - sure there are worlds every year but it's the only time they really get good media coverage. Second, the Olympics haven't "belonged" solely to unpaid athletes in a long time now. I can't remember exactly when the IOC first started allowing it except it was sometime after 1984, but most if not all sports allow professionals to compete in the Olympics. Some of whom are making 10s of millions each year.

Comment Re:Just two words (Score 1) 190

This is a relatively huge deposit, agreed. We do waste a whole lot of helium. In fact, it may be that most of what's wasted is actually from natural gas fields not capturing the helium "byproduct".

I think you grossly understate that chilling it out of the air would be "signficantly" more expensive than recovering from ground reserves, it's far more expensive than that. A small helium recovery system for NMR/MRI instruments costs on the order of $200k installed, ignoring ongoing maintenance. We looked into one a few years back as helium prices rose - I manage 3 NMR instruments and we use ~60L/week of liquid helium keeping the cold - and the payback period for a recovery system at then current prices was on the order of 15 years again ignoring maintenance. That may be more like 12 years now. And that's for separating and reliquefying helium that's a very significant portion of the captured gas, not something that a small fraction of 1%. Economics get better as you use and recover more. I will say though that the newest large magnets come with built in reliquefaction systems - they still take several to many thousands of liters of liquid helium to cool and energize, but only require a small periodic topping up.

Pricing can be a bit tricky, but we pay ~$12/liter for liquid helium which is on the lower end of retail. One liter of liquid becomes something like 720 liters as a gas, so your per cubic meter price a couple of posts down is a bit low, it should be $15-20. A full party balloon has a negligible amount, though, if you figure 1/2 liter/balloon my one liter of liquid would fill almost 1500 of them, or about $0.01 each. I've filled a couple of dozen from one of our gas cylinders and the amount used didn't even register on the regulator.

Comment Re:Just amazing (Score 1) 198

My work password rules are set/enforced by hospital IT (I don't work in the hospital, but we unfortunately share IT). The rules are basically 10 characters minimum with 2 upper, 2 lower, 1 or 2 numbers, 1 non-alpha, no embedded dictionary words, some minimum level of difference compared to your last 10 passwords, and changed every 6 months. This is why you see things written down on sticky notes.

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