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Comment Re: Do the hustle (Score 1) 93

Just because you don't know how it happened doesn't mean it was a secret conspiracy.
The TPP began life as a deal between Singapore and New Zealand, quickly joined by Malaysia, Brunei and Chile. Next to join the negotiations were Mexico and Canada. Australia and the USA were last to join ( not sure of sequence). We are now more than 10yrs into the process which was set up under confidentiality rules to protect negotiating positions but which allowed conspiracy theories to flourish, especially as negotiations dragged on. The full text is on line so no secrets. If anyone wants to make claims about what it does or doesn't do they should read it or any of the published analyses of the text.

Comment Re:Why bother with installed capacity? (Score 2) 259

I noticed you left out two other base load options.
Geothermal at >95% utilisation (usually 100%)
Hydro at 30 - 40% utilisation.

Here in NZ wind is nearer 40%
All of these numbers are well known and factored in when the economics of power generation are considered.

In practice Hydro and wind often go well together as a working pair.
Our neighbours over the ditch (Australia) have just had their government cut funding for renewables because windfarms are ugly and noisy (in favour of coal).

Comment Re:"new" research (Score 1) 185

There is increasing evidence, particularly involving neuroectodermal cell lines that somatic cell genetic variation is usual. This involves genes moving around within the genome. Normal brain development depends on it. It may well represent an essential component of neuroectodermal tissue and organ development.
The only cell lines where the germline must be protected at all costs are the germ cells themselves.
It makes sense that the origins of our vertebrate adaptive immune system comes from something more general purpose and the evidence for this is emerging.

Comment Re:"new" research (Score 1) 185

Efficient cooperation is very very hard.
Economists say it is impossible. Multicellular life requires it and took 3 billion years to find the trick.
The genes that are identified as cancer causing (P53, rb, P16, etc) have vital roles to play in ensuring cellular cooperation.
It is reasonable to view cancer cells as cells that are losing the skills of cooperation.
Given that our DNA is not closely guarded in our somatic cells (we wouldn't have an immune system if it was) then there will be variation occurring as we grow and as our cells turn over. With selection pressure at the cellular level (abundance of nutrients, oxygen poor intra-cellular environment etc) then this variation makes cancer very likely.

My personal view as a Pathologist.

Comment Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (Score 1) 665

The thing about Science is that it is not that much about finding the truth, it is about building models to do things (like predicting that harmful organisms will become immune to antibiotics because of natural selection) to help mankind. A big part of Science is to challenge the old models to see if they still hold up in new scenarios.

Newton model of physics breaks down at the subatomic level, so it is essentially not "truth". But the model is still used for a myriad of applications and taught in all high schools, because it is useful to mankind.

Ahh a realist, "use whatever theory best suits the circumstance, the truth doesn't matter"
An absolutist is always concerned with the truth irrespective of all the associated problems.

An absolutist will always prefer a theory that is perceived to be closer to the "truth", whatever that is. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if we have succeeded in our efforts (confirmation problem), only that our best theories have either not been dis-proven (possibly true) or are known to be incomplete but lacking a better candidate (gravity).
Newtonian mechanics and gravitation is taught at school because it is understandable and a mathematically sound approximation of Einsteinian mechanics and relativity. If learning Newtonian mechanics made comprehension of Einsteinian mechanics more difficult it would have gone the way of epicycles (also a good way of calculating orbits).
I work in health care. I am a lonely absolutist in an industry largely composed of realists.

Comment Re:Future historians will be confused (Score 1) 89

Actually grandparent is right. Our public debt is our government or sovereign debt. This is the debt that the government and all of us collectively are responsible for. This is low.
Our private debt is high. This is the debt you and I chose to take on (credit cards, car finance mortgage etc) and are individually responsible for.
Fortunately for us this debt does not have as much impact on national credit ratings and perceptions of financial stability.

Comment Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (Score 5, Informative) 274

The design is also trademarked. That's a different kettle of fish. How old is the trademarked shape of the Coke bottle?

Mod parent up.
Trademarks and trade dress expire only when you fail to defend them. The term is trademark dilution.

Put a beverage in a waisted bottle and watch CocaCola successfully sue your ass, just like they have done before. It doesn't have to be identical.
These things however require active defence. The Swiss Railway must defend their mark. If they allow this then the mark is diluted and they lose ownership.
This is not new. Just because "trade dress" is a new concept here (partly due to the inappropriate (in my view) use of the term "patent", does not make it new.

The same rules required Apple to sue to protect their design.
I wonder if Samsung actually understand the concept of "trade dress" and it's long (European) well defined legal status (in case law as opposed to statute).
I would bet that the CocaCola execs were completely happy with the Samsung Vs Apple verdict.

Comment Mod parent up, this is about design, not tech (Score 1) 260

If you make soda that tastes like Coca-Cola, you don't have any issues. There are many generics today. If you make your cans and bottles look like Coca-Cola or Pepsi ones with similar color, logos, fonts, etc; you are going to get your ass sued. That's the distinction Apple is making and why they didn't sue LG or Motorola or Nokia or RIM for copying design.

In particular the shape of the Coke Bottle is zealously defended. It is instantly recognizable anywhere in the world, with or without label. Any copycat designs are relentlessly pursued worldwide.
The only asset CocaCola has is their "Trade Dress". This is what protects their brand identity.

Comment Re:My kids are not vaccinated. (Score 1) 813

Urine has saved lives.
Initially penicillin was so hard to produce doctors resorted to recovering it from the urine of patients and reusing it.
Thousands of heart attacks have been prevented by IV administration of purified nun's urine (Urokinase)

Molecules are molecules, the source of many in everyday use would shock you.

The Almighty Buck

Boy Finds £2.5M Gold Locket With Metal Detector 169

Instead of bottle caps and ridicule from his peers, 3-year-old James Hyatt found a locket worth millions with his metal detector. James and his dad found the gold locket last May in Essex. Since then the 500-year-old treasure has been appraised at around £2.5million. From the article: "James’s father Jason, 34, said: ‘My son is one of the luckiest people ever. If we go to the doctors he’ll put his hand down the side of the sofa and pull out a tenner.’"

3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away 470

Nzimmer911 writes "Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers according to a 20 years study following 1,824 people. From the article: 'But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.'"

New Wii Menu Update Targets Homebrew Again 258

Nintendo has tried to block homebrew during firmware updates in the past, often unsuccessfully. Now, as it rolls out version 4.3 of the Wii System Menu, stopping homebrew modifications once again seems to be its primary goal. From Nintendo's support site: "Because unauthorized channels or firmware may impair game play or the Wii console, updating to Wii Menu version 4.3 will check for and automatically remove such unauthorized files." Since it's hard to bill that as an upgrade, they vaguely add, "In addition, there are some behind the scenes enhancements that do not affect any prominently-used features or menus but will improve system performance."

Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform? 531

andylim writes " is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."

Comment Re:They dont want a computer (Score 1) 1634

They want a secretary.

New brand name! MiniSec (TM)
Hmm maybe Arthur C Clarke beat me to that one.

Seriously, we are just getting to where the stateless personal organizer that everyone carried as described by Arthur C Clarke is just becoming possible. The minisec was an appliance that just did stuff. It was a closed device and locked tightly down as it carried all your personal data.

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