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Comment Neglect is more likely (Score 5, Interesting) 102

There has been a number of ammunition depot explosions over the last 15 years in across Eastern Europe. 2 in Serbia, 6 in Bulgaria since 2000, Gerdec in Albania, Cobasna in Moldova, Ukraine itself in 2015. Cold War explosives are becoming unstable and they tend to explode on their own, especially when there is insufficient money to maintain proper storage.

Comment Re:Euro 6 (Score 5, Insightful) 154

Technically yes. In practice no. Passenger cars with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems can apply for low temperature operation exemptions. Basically, the system losses efficiency at low temperatures, so the automakers are allowed to turn it off as not to waste the SCR fluid. Some of these exemptions are ridiculous, one Mercedes (if I remember correctly) vehicle is exempt from turning the SCR on at ambient temperatures below 15 C.

Most of the diesel passenger vehicles are exempt below 5 C, so especially in the winter there is almost no NOx emissions control on any of these vehicles. If you are a heavy duty vehicle, there is no exemption. You have to put an electric heater on your exhaust system to keep it at operating temperature. Also, as there are very few labs that can accommodate large truck testing the testing, the certification test for heavy duty trucks is on the road with a portable emissions measurement system.

The whole issue is that a bug truck hauling 70-80,000 pounds doesn't care if it needs a 100 pound heater or a 200 pound urea tank to bring emissions down. Space and weight are not an issue. Much more difficult to do on a 3,000 pound passenger car.

Comment Re:Common issue (Score 1) 31

It's more complicated than that. Patent was for a process, not any individual components. The component produced in the US (the enzyme) is not patent protected, it's a commonly used commodity. So the issue was, since the process is dependent on the commodity (it will not work without it), is this a substantive component of the device? Promega argued that any of the components is substantive, since it its absence invalidates the process. Courts view was that, since this component was a commodity that is not unique to this process, it is not a substantive component. The DVD analogy works pretty well, this particular enzyme is used for a bunch of things and it's not the "secret sauce" of this process.

Comment Common issue (Score 1) 31

This is a fairly common issue in biotech. US patent office tends to grant patents far too easily in biotech, resulting in a situation where a product is patent-protected in the US, but not abroad. The decision is absolutely right, Life Technologies licensed the product for the US market, but not the rest of the world, as there was no need for that. The patented parts of the product were not produced in the US, so there was no US-based transaction of the protected property. The analogous situation would be that Sony was suing a distributor for distributing a movie whose copyright is still in place in the US, but has expired abroad on the basis that the DVD's that the movie is distributed on were produced in the US.

Comment Is it though? (Score 1) 67

Presumably PBS paid money for the rights to air the show, including streaming it online for a limited time. That revenue has to be offset against the reduced online sales revenues. With this methodology almost anything will reduce online sales revenue. Caveat: methodology assumed from the Torrentfreak summary not from the TFA which is paywalled.

Comment Lazy journalism (Score 5, Interesting) 157

The article is a bit misleading, Russia office is not the only one being closed. Google is closing offices in Norway, Sweden, Finland and several US locations as well, probably cost cutting measures. Lazy journalism, Russia just passed a new law, ergo this must be the reason for the Google closing the office, since another big company shuttering facilities and laying people off certainly doesn't draw the site traffic these days. Funny that the connection with cracking down on internet freedom did not extend to Nordic countries and the US, because what other reason could Google have.

Comment Re:why is it always comets and asteroids? (Score 2) 46

This! If you look at the science on this, pretty much any combination of basic ingredients (carbon monoxide/dioxide, methane, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, ammonia, etc.) and energy will produce the basic building blocks of life (amino acids or small peptides and nucleic acids). Energy can be anything, electrical discharge (the original Urey-Miller experiments), UV light (which also destroys some of the products, but forms them faster than they are destroyed), microwaves, ionizing radiation, etc. So as the parent said, people tend to pick the energy source that's in their area of expertise and for which they can get funding.

Comment Fear mongering (Score 1) 493

This is a sensible public health policy and a perfectly appropriate response to recent outbreaks, for example of measles in Calgary. But let's not let that get in the way of invoking poorly contrived analogies and imply that the government will harvest unvaccinated people for their superpowers. I wonder what Michele Bachmann's superpower is?

Comment It's all about incentives (Score 3, Interesting) 197

What is not discussed is that in science as in life it's all about incentives. All you have to is look at who is paying for these studies, directly (through research grants) or indirectly (speaking or consulting fees), and things will become much clearer. The biomedical and life sciences are most vulnerable to corruption because the incentives are very high, successful drug/treatments are worth a lot of money. Even unsuccessful ones, given the proper appearance of effectiveness are worth money.

Other sciences are less susceptible because there is no incentive to hype the results, not because those scientists are more ethical. There is two solutions for the problem. One is to remove incentives, which would mean overhauling the whole system of scientific funding. The other is to mandate raw data sharing. This would make it easier for people to reanalyze the data without actually redoing the experimental parts.

A good example of this is Reinhart-Rogoff controversy in economics, where they claimed one thing in their widely publicized 2010 paper (high debt levels impede growth), but their statistical analysis was shown to be riddled with errors, skewing the data to the desired conclusion. This was discovered the when they shared their raw data with a University of Massachusetts grad student. While data sharing would not eliminate these issues it would make is harder to perform "statistical" analysis that introduces biases.

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