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New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

Alopex Re:"new" research (185 comments)

I agree that the title is misleading. The reason that this paper is in one of the highest-impact scientific journals is not because it suddenly dawned on scientists that cancer is pervasive and just a fact of how cells work, but because they found tumors in early (in evolutionary terms) species that had never been discovered before.

Scientists have known since the dawn of knowing what cancer was that this was an intrinsic property of life. When the error-checking machinery is error-prone, things can get out of control.

about a month ago

ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source

Alopex Re:Where's BroTech? (158 comments)

To maintain consistency, BroTech was rebranded as D**kTech

about 2 months ago

Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing

Alopex As a grad student, it is utterly depressing (123 comments)

Knowing that you could be putting in 70-80 hours a week, and potentially stumble across some major discovery (imagine: cure a kind of cancer discovery). That discovery would be published by your boss, who, adding to his life's work, would cumulatively take most of the public credit for the work. Meanwhile, it doesn't matter if you had some amazing insight or designed the actual experiment to solve the problem.

Look at Nobel laureates and their age and their contributions. How many nameless people enabled them to win that award?

All you can hope for is that you publish a couple papers in top journals that will enable to you to get a solid job in industry, or jump onto the tenure track treadmill, so that one day you can be in a position of exploiting others' work and creativity, potentially in a field completely unrelated to your PhD.

The young have no power to change, and the old have no reason to give up their advantageous position.

about 2 months ago

O3b Launches Four More Satellites To Bring Internet To 'Other 3 Billion'

Alopex Let's see what happens (80 comments)

Maybe the other 3 billion will use a near limitless supply of knowledge for something other than watching cat videos.

about 2 months ago

Fixing Faulty Genes On the Cheap

Alopex Re:Disagree with first sentiment (105 comments)

This is patently false. There is a whole swath of biological research under the banner of "basic science" which, while it may purport to address a far-off disease application (for the sake of grant $$$), is only aimed at understanding how life functions at the most fundamental levels. Thousands upon thousands of researchers in this country are funded by the NSF and NIH (among others) precisely to figure out things we know that we don't understand.

For an anecdote, I did this kind of research for a few years. My lab was trying to understand what the function of a motor protein was because we could see it, we could see processes it was involved in, but had no idea how or why it was behaving the way it did. There was no disease focus. Part of research is cataloging the natural world so that, maybe, we will one day use that knowledge for our benefit (not necessarily for disease).

Disease is one of many applications of basic research. The amount that goes into producing chemicals through engineering bacteria and producing food through engineering plants is staggering. These applications are currently enabled by CRISPRs. I'll be interested to see how eugenics develops in the next few decades.

about 3 months ago

Saurabh Narain and His Homemade Lego-Based Rubik's Cube Solver (Video)

Alopex "He's not alone" (43 comments)

Judging by how awful the job prospects are in STEM relative to the amount of effort being put in, I'm going to hate the world in 10-20 years if the job market becomes even more flooded. Also, I find it incredibly hard to believe that a kid is a competitive engineer at that age, at least based on individual merit. I've seen a lot of smart kids, and then I've seen smart kids who are pushed/enabled by ambitious parents to take more credit than they're due. If I took a shot every time some fifteen year old "scientist" made a significant discovery, I wouldn't be writing frustrated posts on /.

about 3 months ago

How Silicon Valley CEOs Conspired To Suppress Engineers' Wages

Alopex Re:Steven Jobs (462 comments)

Ah, so this is why they call it the brown-eye/stink-eye. Visionary a$$hole indeed!

about 8 months ago

Using Nanotechnology To Build Thinner, Stronger Condoms

Alopex Wrong order of magnitude (253 comments)

Shouldn't it be microtechnology for the micromen? Or is this some kind of confidence booster?

about 8 months ago

How Machine Learning Can Transform Online Dating

Alopex Re:Dating Algorithm Corollary (183 comments)

I think there is some truth to this. I seldom see drop-dead gorgeous female engineers or scientists. On the other hand, female cheerleaders make me cringe and despair. You don't think there is a strong correlation between attractiveness and personal qualities/careers/etc.?

about 9 months ago

How Machine Learning Can Transform Online Dating

Alopex Re:Not the algorithm we need (183 comments)

Some people would rather be single than date someone who is considered an even match, which is a perfectly fair decision. Also, consider hypergamy (, which is already quite common.

about 9 months ago

New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

Alopex Re:The conclusion may be wrong. (1010 comments)

Another way to put this, and an observation I constantly make as a biologist, is that there are many people who claim to "believe in" or "follow" evolution, but if pressed to define what it is, are completely off the mark. Evolution, like so many things, has gained a following (or not) largely due to inertia and cultural fads, not because the scientific principles behind it have impressed everyone.

about 9 months ago

Florida Teen Expelled and Arrested For Science Experiment

Alopex Re:Florida (1078 comments)

It's not really possible to live an entire (average, full-length) life without discrimination, but it is sometimes possible to overcome discrimination.

about a year ago

North Korean Missile Raised To Firing Position, Says US Official

Alopex Raised Upright (636 comments)

If it remains upright for more than 4 hours, we'd better call Kim Jong Un's doctor. Hopefully he didn't disconnect -all- of the phone lines to the U.S./allies.

about a year and a half ago

Engineers Build "Self-Healing" Chips Capable of Repairing Themselves

Alopex "A Team" (68 comments)

"If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team."

about a year and a half ago

Software Lets Scientists Assemble DNA

Alopex Re:So -- the terrorists win in the end (149 comments)

Except that in the case of the atomic bomb, the materials for the bomb itself are scarce and require refinement. The materials for a weaponized virus or pathogen are ubiquitous, require no sophisticated means of delivery, and will evade all types of detection currently used to screen against threats.

about a year and a half ago

Software Lets Scientists Assemble DNA

Alopex Re:So -- the terrorists win in the end (149 comments)

You have to remember that -all- of cell biology and biochemistry is rapidly advancing, not just synthetic biology. Even though we are rapidly approaching the point at which anyone can develop a flu-like weapon with relatively basic tools, we are also rapidly developing the knowledge base and tools that will enable us to neutralize threats at will.

about a year and a half ago

Reasons You're Not Getting Interviews; Plus Some Crazy Real Resume Mistakes

Alopex Reasons boil down to (246 comments)

HR drones not having the slightest clue

about a year and a half ago


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