Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

Ambassador Kosh Re:Does it matter? (151 comments)

In my case though these calculations will save millions of lives and improve the qualify of life for many millions more. Even the most powerful super computers in the world would take years to solve many of these problems and we keep finding more to solve. We approximate solutions because that is still better than we had before and it is the best we can do for now.

With more computing power we can save more lives.

about two weeks ago
top

Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

Ambassador Kosh Re:Does it matter? (151 comments)

If I had a computer that was a million times faster than my current computer I could still use something even faster. Even at a billion times faster I could still use more power. We are at the stage where we can use computer simulations to help bring drugs to market. The computational power needed is HUGE but it is also helping bring drugs (including CURES) to market that would have never been possible otherwise. There are even potential cancer cures that will NOT make it to market ANY other way.

The average person may not need more computing power but as a species we desperately need insanely more computing power than we have now.

about three weeks ago
top

Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Ambassador Kosh Re:Wonder how Elon Musk (262 comments)

Very powerful computers though are useful. Right now it takes nearly 10 years and a billion dollars to bring a new drug to market. A lot of work is just figuring out how the heck to make a drug at an industrial level since you can't just scale up lab techniques. With large computer systems we are just now learning how to figure out these settings without doing experiments. This kind of computing power is being used to save thousands of lives every year and our technology is growing very rapidly but it is very processing intensive.

I know it does not make the news and you don't see much in the way of articles about it. Figuring out how to make a cancer drug just does not have the same kind of buzz as cat videos. However, don't forget that we are doing useful stuff also and even though it takes a while to see the results you will see them.

about three weeks ago
top

Researchers Find "Achilles Heel" of Drug Resistant Bacteria

Ambassador Kosh Re:Easier (106 comments)

It is complex but antibacterial soaps do make the problem worse.

The first line of defense your body has against foreign bacteria is not your immune system it is your own bacteria. When you wipe out them you create vulnerabilities in the system. Most antibiotic strains of bacteria don't survive very well compared to the non-antibiotic strains if no antibiotics are present. The same is true for many other resistance.

What this means is don't take things to an extreme. After you go to the bathroom you should wash your hands and if you get a cut you should clean it and seal it. However the constant usage of stuff like purell and putting it all over you in a bad idea. It also means that you should not take antibiotics unless you actually need them since they do wipe out a lot of your necessary bacteria also and can upset the balance of bacterial species within you. Basically we keep all those bacteria in check by making sure they are all in controlled numbers and use the balance between each of them to keep them in check. Your body is actually pretty darn good at this and even if you upset the system it will still usually repair it just fine.

In the end the message is don't take this stuff to extremes.

about 2 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

You should look at something called iGEM. Genetic engineering is really not that hard to do. I have done it in a competition and my team did very well. Teams have been genetically engineering all kinds of useful things to make the world a better place. Everything from sensor systems that require no power and glow if they detect dangerous substances in the water to bacteria that can biodegrade plastics. A German team even genetically engineered some plants to clean up pharmaceuticals in the water supply.

What it comes down to is that all genes are basically compatible across species (more or less). We can take color proteins from sea creatures and put them in flowers or bacteria or mammals and they work fine. We can take human protein coding sequences and place them in other things to grow those proteins for us. It is pretty impressive. Genetic engineering is pretty much like legos. It is really not that hard to do.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:Deceptive advertising (272 comments)

Just labeling something as GMO or not doesn't tell you anything. If the labels where actually useful and applied to all foods I could support them. However the labeling laws that keep being proposed for GMO don't do any of that. How do you know if the GMO plant you are eating is genetically engineering with something you don't want vs things like adding higher omega-3 or a more complete protein mixture? It is a useless label.

What we need is a national database of ALL food that has the full specs on every food item. Organic, GMO etc should all have their full DNA sequence, proteins etc on file. I oppose just labeling GMO with a GMO label because it is just a method to spread fear. Some of the pro labeling activists I have talked to even admitted that. They did not want organic foods subjected to the same level of scrutiny. They wanted a GMO label to kill GMO foods because they thought they where bad for the planet. They had NO scientific evidence to back any of those claims up, they just "knew" it.

I am tired of this fake science stuff I am seeing on this planet. It is holding back the species and it is very dangerous.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:I actually read the article... (272 comments)

What you are allergic to is a specific protein sequence. That sequence can arrise form cross breeding, mutations or GMO. What we actually need to do is have a full assay of the product including the DNA sequences of all the items involved. We know what sequence(s) give rise to peanut allergies. What you would do is check off in some cell phone app that you are allergic to peanuts. When you go to the store you would just scan any item and it would say if it is safe or not regardless of what it looks like.

We already have foods that have peanuts in them that are not obvious and if you don't pay attention to the allergy information you may not notice it. A bigger problem is we only call out warnings for a few allergens in food even though we know of hundreds. A unified system would make this easier for everyone. It also means if we identify new food allergens we can update ALL existing foods with that information.

You would be safer than you are now, more informed than you are now and could make better decisions.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:I actually read the article... (272 comments)

Even with organic farming the VAST majority of seeds are bought. A company creates the new organic strain using cross breading, radiation and/or chemical mutation and then sends those seeds out. They end up in the wild exactly as quickly as the GMO versions do since they use the EXACT SAME PROCESS.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

Right now the safest approach is no more traditional cross breeding, radiation mutation or chemical mutation and all 3 of those have organic versions that are allowed and used. The safest way we know of to change something in a plant is via genetic engineering. If you want a tomato that is more cold resistant it is better to find a protein that has cold resistance that we already eat and splice just that gene in. The other approaches introduce thousands of other genes and sometimes the result are toxic. However since they are considered traditional methods that is almost never tested and we only find out after people have reacted.

If you really want to be safe you should be doing a protein assay to find out what proteins are in the cells before along with the DNA sequence. Then you require that only targeted insertions are allowed by law. You perform the insertion and then do another assay to verify that all other proteins are there and that the only new one is the one you added. You also verify with DNA sequencing that what you inserted went exactly where you said it would.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

It is pretty depressing to see so many people that claim to be pro science but really just seem to be pushing their own personal agenda and trying to use a scientific type process to cover for it.

For some reason right now many consider organic to be some kind of health shield that nothing can penetrate and anything with that label is always good for you. It is not based on anything rational and should definitely be studied carefully also. One of the problems we keep having with organic is the use of natural fertilizers that end up causing ecoli contamination. It is something that should not be happening since we know how to prevent it and even though we have had many people die from it there seems to be no effort to actually clean it up.

When looking at the health of a food we need to consider the long term health impacts to those that eat it, those that grow it, and the ecosystem that surrounds it.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:I actually read the article... (272 comments)

If you think that GMOs should be studied in this way then ALL other foods that are modified in ANY way should be studied EXACTLY the same way. It doesn't matter if it was done with traditional cross breeding, gene insertion, mutation via radiation or mutation via chemical mutagen. However whenever I hear people saying we need to study this stuff they ONLY refer to the second one. The other 3 can all be done "organically" are far more dangerous, have had known problems, are far more likely to have side effects and are NOT the ones people are saying we need to study more carefully.

I do think food should be studied more carefully but if you single out only one type of food and give the other types a free pass that is not actually doing any real science. That is trying to sound scientific to back up your own biases.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

Do you know what in ireland they actually developed a potato that was genetically engineered from a wild variant that was resistant to blight? However ANTI GMO groups effectively got that forbidden for usage. Instead we use the normal "organic" approach of controlling the blights. We spray heavy metals on the potatoes. We know 100% those are bad for you and we know that they end up concentrating in the potatoes. Now I doubt anyone could ever eat enough potatoes for that to be a problem but we developed a better potato that required none of that stuff. We would have also not had humans exposed to the heavy metals either.

If you want to scrutinize GMO you should be for scrutinizing all food. I don't care if you use genetic engineering, traditional cross breading, organic radiation mutation or organic chemical mutation they should ALL be checked. However saying that only the genetic engineering approach should face higher scrutiny is idiotic.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

I support labeling ALL food for EVERYTHING in it. The cost to do a very DNA, protein and chemical assay for a food product is pretty cheap to do now and could easily be made available online for all foods. Organic foods, especially ones that have been radiation mutated, have more potential to be dangerous than GMO foods. We have people that are against BT toxin genetically engineered into things like corn but have no idea that BT is a certified organic insecticide and it is sprayed on organic crops is LARGE amounts. It then washes into water ways and it is not good for the aquatic life. In the BT GMO foods the BT is in the plant itself and concentrates in leaves and stems and we eat neither of those for corn. We have also tested BT extensively and it has ZERO risk to humans.

The only way you can harm yourself with BT is turning it into a powder and inhaling it. However if you turn anything into a powder and inhale it then you are screwed up exactly the same way because our lungs don't handle particulates very well.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

We don't do genetic engineering the way you seem to think we do. When it comes right down to it the engineers and scientists involved are essentially very lazy and that is a GREAT thing. We don't engineer new proteins. We find a protein that does what we want and that people already eat and put that gene in. For instance in some parts of the USA it is hard to grow tomatoes (which are very good for you) because of frost problems. A variety of tomato has been made that splices in a gene from an arctic fish to prevent freezing. We have eaten fish with that gene since before we even had language. We know that protein is safe universally.

Don't you think it is good that more people would have access to fresh vegetables in a completely safe way? Many people today would not even survive without GMO. Effectively ALL INSULIN used is GMO. ALL modern biotech drugs (protein, monoclonal antibodies etc) are GMO. We have proteins your body already makes but certain sicknesses cause it to stop making them and then your immune system, red blood cell production etc start shutting down. We can now fix that. Do you think we should stop doing that also?

Genetic engineering sounds dangerous only because you don't know how it works and what is involved. It is safe and actually pretty simple. When it comes right down to it editing DNA is not very hard to do.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (272 comments)

You do realize that lots of Americans would die also right? Nukes on that scale have large consequences. We also have the problem that Germany makes nearly all biotech equipment world wide. I am sure all those American's in need of daily insulin shots would like to keep getting it and it would take us a while to gear up to make that equipment ourselves. There is engineering training you can't even get in the USA. For what I need to learn for more advanced biotech work it looks like I am heading to Germany for a masters and phd because the education is simply not available here in the USA.

about 3 months ago
top

EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

Ambassador Kosh Re:I actually read the article... (272 comments)

Actually from a genetic perspective splice is VASTLY more dangerous and unpredictable. It doesn't matter what we have done it for a long time. Most of the genetic engineering we do is inserting only a couple genes into a genome of about 32,000 genes for corn. Genetic engineering is far less likely to have problematic outcomes. The problem is that most people have NO idea how genetic engineering is done and they just think scary scientists but they have NO knowledge at all to make a rational decision on.

We lose more people ever year from contaminated organic crops that we have lost from all GMOs ever (which is basically zero for the GMOs)

We have been studying health impacts of GMOs for over 20 years now and so far we can find absolutely none. If you can find some actual real evidence that can be verified then there are many that would love to actually see it.

Meanwhile radiation and chemical mutagens still qualify as organic and that is about the most dangerous method I can think of.

about 3 months ago
top

Japanese Stem Cell Debacle Could Bring Down Entire Center

Ambassador Kosh Re:Why do scientists falsify? Or how can they? (52 comments)

I don't have any reference for the pipet issue because it was covered in my class on tissue engineering. It is something the professor in my class had ran into when trying to replicate an experiment that someone else had done. They used different sized pipet tips and that changes the shear forces on the cells.

It sounds really screwed up to me but possible. The problem is that nobody thinks to put that kind of stuff down in a notebook.

about 3 months ago
top

Japanese Stem Cell Debacle Could Bring Down Entire Center

Ambassador Kosh Re:Why do scientists falsify? Or how can they? (52 comments)

Biology is insanely complex. So complex that even a .1% impurity of a drug with a dimer form can leave you with a permanent autoimmune disease or outright kill you. There have been experiments before that nobody else could replicate and it turned out to be a batch of pipet tips being used.

It is not good that they publish without being able to replicate but the incentive system does not encourage that. Nature doesn't publish articles that replicate results or show a negative result on something. How you do as a scientists in today's climate is based on getting in high impact journals. This means as soon as someone gets a working result they immediately try to public it in a major journal to avoid being scooped. They later find out they can't replicate the experiment which means something random made it work that they don't understand and probably did not write down.

You get what you incentivize regardless of the field. This is true in politics, education etc and it is why we have so many unintended consequences. We have poor incentive systems and refuse to change them.

about 3 months ago
top

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Ambassador Kosh Re:You can come back with half the pay and no bene (325 comments)

I don't see how you can be a chemical engineering without differential equations and that is after calculus 3. You can forget how to solve them because the computer can do that part but you HAVE to know how to set them up to be solved. I have worked with some models for reducing experiment time to bring new drugs to market and so far those have been nasty coupled differential equations with nice highly non-linear coupled equations.

Granted if you want to not do any of that stuff you can get an easier engineering job but you won't be paid as well or treated as well and one day you will probably be replaced by a computer the same way many other jobs are going.

about 3 months ago
top

Fixing the Humanities Ph.D.

Ambassador Kosh Re:Good scholarship - tenure (325 comments)

In my engineering classes we actually gave some professors VERY bad reviews that had very easy classes. We just did not learn enough from the class and in the end lives depend on our understand of this material. I know my friends in humanities classes loved easy classes and I think the honor society requirements for most humanities degrees was a 3.95 or higher. For my degree it was 3.0 and above to qualify for the honor society and not many made it.

At least the engineering program I was in did not seem to suffer from any grade inflation. I am already working on stuff where if I screw up it could lead to serious harm in the future.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

Ambassador Kosh hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

Ambassador Kosh has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>