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Google+ Runs Out of Disk Space, Swamps Users With Notifications

Biotech9 Re:Google+ (321 comments)

Sweden has no oil, but is as rich as Norway.

Saudi Arabia has lots of oil, has nothing like the economy or standard of living of Norway.

more than 3 years ago
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Why People Who Make Things Should Learn Chinese

Biotech9 Re:Complete nonsense (588 comments)

Is it worth it to save on that?

I find, as you do, that generally the cost of things made in EU/US are double that of things made in Asia, but I still try and buy Western. It's not a matter of nationalism, or perceived quality, but a conscious decision to ensure things I own are made by people that have the assured quality of life that I would like for myself.

Yes the cost is double, but then I just buy less. And despite the occasional article (like this one) haranguing the options for buying Western, I have yet to be anything but spoiled for choice when trying to avoid exploitative manufacturing practises. Saving money without considering the moral issue is lazy.

(Although I would add that I personally find the rise of China to be a wonderful event, dragging millions of people out of poverty, I don't consider my avoidance of their goods to be something that will impede that rise).

more than 3 years ago
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Terry Pratchett Considers Assisted Suicide

Biotech9 Re:Well shit (838 comments)

Aluminium toxicity has been possible the most disproven causative theory in the history of science. A thousand studies, not a single piece of evidence.

Please stop spreading this snopes level bullshit.

more than 3 years ago
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Fukushima Radioactive Fallout Nears Chernobyl Levels

Biotech9 Re:Sensational! (537 comments)

due caution requires assuming that the same effects that occur at the larger scale (DNA damage by ionizing radiation leading to cancer, for example) are problematic at the smaller scale as well.

That research is well and truly done, You can read about it if you search for the term 'Heat shock". The premise is you can shock a cell with a slight heat increase, and then hit it again with a heat increase that would kill the cell had it not been prepared by the initial benign heat shock. This effect also transfers across different types of shock, so you can hit the cell with a small heat shock and it will subsequently survive what would have been a lethal UV exposure, or mechanical stress and so on. This is due to the upregulation of shock proteins, called Heat shock proteins due to their method of discovery but they are obviously more general than that.

more than 3 years ago
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Nokia and Microsoft Make Smartphone Alliance

Biotech9 It had to happen, and probably won't help. (479 comments)

Nokia has seen Apple and Google jump in on the high-end, taking almost all of the high-profit margin of the market. On the low-end they're going to be increasingly attacked by Chinese firms pumping out phones that are good enough to use, and cheaper than Nokia can make them. They can only try and regain some market share from Google/Apple and there is no way Symbian was ever going to do that. It's a dead OS in terms of mindshare. I think the hardware looks great (The new E9 is stunning) but they need to change OS.

Maemo has been fun but never got any focus from Nokia, and it looks like Meego is being aborted. It was either teaming up with MS or turning to Android.

This fucking sucks though, I have been waiting for a decent maemo phone for ages, ignoring the N900 because of the USB port issues. The hand-me-down E51 I am using is starting to show its age though, so I guess it's a second hand N900 for me now. I can't see this ending well for Nokia. Did they learn nothing from the MS behaviour during the "plays for sure" debacle?

more than 3 years ago
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Android Passes Symbian As Most-Shipped Mobile Platform

Biotech9 Re:Hmm... (256 comments)

Especially when the N900 is made in Finland and the iphone is made by a vendor in China.

more than 3 years ago
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Scientists Work To Grow Meat In a Lab

Biotech9 A ridiculous pipe-dream, imho. (376 comments)

***Dr. Mironov has taken myoblasts -- embryonic cells that develop into muscle tissue -- from turkey and bathed them in a nutrient bath of bovine serum***

There are several problems here. I don't grow meat in the lab, but I have grown many types of cells, human heart, FSC, CHO and currently mouse keratinocytes, fibroblasts and skin stem cells. Forget about them long enough and you get your first little layer of meat on the bottom of the tissue flask. (As an aside, growing human heart cells is amazing, you can add adrenaline and they start to beat in sync).

The reason this will not currently work is the cost, it is in the media, which for eukaryotes requires FCS (usually) to grow. FCS is calf serum, you can read how it's made on wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_bovine_serum). FCS costs money, comes from animals and can be a disease vector.

The answer in every article I've ever read from people growing meat is that serum free media will be designed so that eukaryotic cells will be able to live and grow without animal products. This is rubbish, if it was so easy to make a perfect 'defined' media (as a media without FCS is called), that works well with eukaryotic cells, all of us working with animal cell culturing would use it. It would be a far bigger breakthrough for the biotech and pharma industries than it would be for the meat makers. It would make the inventor rich and give them a Nobel.

Secondly you have running costs, people see the idea of growing meat in a vat as like growing beer in a vat. This is bullshit, beer is made from tough, resilient yeast. And beer manages to have QC problems.

Meat is made from eukaryotic cells, which are a lot more complex and a lot more sensitive than yeast. If you want to know what growing meat in a vat would be like, look at pharma, recombinant protein products. Stuff like Factor VIII. It's worth more than it's weight in gold. Contamination is a much bigger problem, media costs are higher and all hardware costs a ton.

Economies of scale would bring down prices, but not that much, it all just COSTS a lot. And the FCS problem will never be economy-of-scaled away. It's the elephant in the room that nobody in these stupid interviews ever mentions.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Changes Stance On Water Damage Policy

Biotech9 Depends (155 comments)

I've had less pleasant interactions. My first mac had some serious hardware issues that took some legal threats to get fixed despite it being only a month old.

A few years ago I convinced my SO to buy a macbook, she had to return it to Apple 14 times (!). Everything failed on it, screen, harddrive, DVD drive, graphics card, the case (splintering white plastic on the edges.

This continued until it went out of warranty, then they told her she was out of luck. Ultimately the third party shop she had bought through gave her a new macbook despite Apple refusing to consider the constant repairs as grounds for some kind of warranty extension.

She got Applecare on that and it seems to make some small difference in how they treat you when the increasingly shoddy hardware starts to break.

more than 3 years ago
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Self-Control In Kids Predicts Future Success

Biotech9 Re:As someone who's studied and taugh (245 comments)

try a better martial art? I studied Muay Thai for around three years and found it rewarding and fun, but ultimately body-size is such a huge factor that the skills you learn don't compensate so much. Also injuries were common and painful. Now I study BJJ and find that even with my scant 2 years of experience I can literally play with people double my weight. No amount of strength can compensate for not knowing what to do in a new realm, the realm of grappling. I've had cause to use BJJ in one fight and handily controlled a guy who was throwing punches as fast as he could. As far as combat skills: I worked with "jocks" who came off the street with no previous martial arts experience and beat black-belts. Could I hazard a guess that this is TKD or Karate?

more than 3 years ago
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68% of US Broadband Connections Aren't Broadband

Biotech9 Re:Does it address what ports are open? (611 comments)

So I guess all the cities with large buildings or subway routes with total perfect coverage are just magical?

more than 3 years ago
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68% of US Broadband Connections Aren't Broadband

Biotech9 Re:Does it address what ports are open? (611 comments)

I went on a hike to Trolltunga in Spring and had better phone coverage over the whole trip than I did in NYC. It does seem weird to me that I can sit on a mountaintop in the middle of a huge national park and get great 3G coverage, but in America's most populous city I can't have a five minute phone conversation without getting the call dropped. The usual retort is that Norway has tons of oil and so can afford great infrastructure, but Sweden and Finland manage pretty well on relatively meagre GDPs.

The one constant guarantee when it comes to stories on slashdot about American broadband coverage (or lack thereof) is that someone will point out how vast the US is compared to Japan and that is why the coverage is so shit. Except in the US the coverage also sucks for wireless broadband in the major cities, and the coverage in Scandinavia is world-leading despite having a population densities well below of that in the US. (Norway and Finland have almost half the population densities). The obvious reason why the infrastructure sucks is that it's not getting invested in.

more than 3 years ago
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Oxford Scientists Say Dogs Are Smarter Than Cats

Biotech9 I'd say rats are smarter than cats. (716 comments)

I worked with rats for a while in my research, and I thought it was very striking how smart a relaxed rat is. What's immediately apparent is how varied their personalities are, and how aware they are of their environment. They take an intense interest in the people around them, and unlike cats aren't easily distracted from they are engaged in. Cats seem to have their bodies hard-wired into the part of their optic system that deals with motion. No matter what a cat is doing all you have to do is make a sudden darting motion to override everything and have them staring, hypnotised, at the moving object. Rats react more like dogs, where they seem to ponder the event rather than react immediately to it.

Another cool thing is how rats behave in research. Decades ago, research in rats involved having a big writhing mass of savagely wild animals in a cage, which were picked out with long tongs to be manhandled around for tests. This was the same with dogs and apes, one researcher told me that they used to have an ape research centre in Sweden where it took a half dozen lab techs to hold down a screaming chimp to get weighted every few days (with obviously shitty results). They eventually realised how awful and unnecessary this was and instead trained the chimps to go stand on a scale in return for a banana (research on primates is now illegal in Sweden). It worked equally well with dogs, who were given treats after blood samples were taken, so they eventually would run to their cage doors and offer a paw out in order to give a blood sample in exchange for a treat.

When we took blood samples from the rats, they would lay quietly in our arms and stretch out their back legs, which we would shave and then prick with a needle. The lab techs had been training them for weeks to do this, by stretching out their legs, pinching them slightly and then giving them strawberry jam or chocolate spread as a reward. (Even that reward aspect was interesting, the rats had their own unique preferences between strawberry and chocolate).

about 4 years ago
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World's Northernmost Town Gets Nightlights

Biotech9 Re:This is an advertisement! (144 comments)

I live in Sweden and can say that the Philips wake up alarm clock thing works. When it gets dark here in Winter you generally have a few hours of pitch black in the morning to get to work in, and by the time you're home in the evening it's totally dark again. Where my gf comes from there are periods of total darkness for weeks.

Philips advertise that the light boosts various hormonal levels due to the light hitting your sleeping eyelids. I have no idea about that but it does work as an effective way to gently wake me and my partner. Light ramps up 30 minutes before your alarm goes off, and then the alarm ramps up in volume over a few seconds. Usually we're both awake before the noise starts (we set the light intensity to it's eye searing max, it's possible to set it lower and avoid being woken by just the light).

It works to wake us up, and although it may be placebo, we wake up without that horrible feeling that waking up in the middle of a Scandinavian Winter usual gives. Which is the feeling that even though it's 7am your body thinks someone just woke you up at 2am by accident and that you actually got very little sleep. With the light clock it's a more normal waking feeling.

It's one of those things that you don't know are so useful until you get one, like a fridge. Probably not so useful to people living further south though.

about 4 years ago
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When the Senate Tried To Ban Dial Telephones

Biotech9 Re:Forward thinkers (506 comments)

Here in Sweden the savings I guess are passed on, because people that self scan get a load of 'deals' on various items.

First off the system is totally different than what people describe here, there is no weighting. You pick up a hand-held scanner (shaped a bit like the ray guns from the first star trek TV show), and then you go through the shop scanning what you pick up and put in your bag (which is great, I usually just stick it all in whatever bag or coat pockets I have available and rarely buy plastic bags now). The scanner shows you the items and prices on a display. You hand in the scanner and pay as you leave. In the beginning they randomly checked (I think maybe one in 10 times), which was fairly painless. In total I was checked three times by my local Ica store. I haven't been checked in well over a year now.

As I said there are also deals just for self scanners, and usually they are not bullshit deals on slow-moving items, but pretty decent savings on products that everyone uses. It saves a ton of time and the store has a policy of having no queues for the self scanning line, so they always prioritise serving those people first. It's a great win-win situation.

more than 4 years ago
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Scientists Demonstrate Mammalian Tissue Regeneration

Biotech9 What's the downside? (260 comments)

A lot of people are asking why evolution has taken away our regenerative capacities, and are guessing what the downside of this regeneration is.

P21 is involved with anti-cancer. It arrests the cell cycle when DNA damage occurs, allowing the damage to be repaired (so mistakes are not carried forward into new generations). Or if the damage is too severe, the cell is made senescent (they lose the ability to reproduce and instead lead out a gentle retirement, performing their normal job until they just die of old age)

P21 knockout mice show a lot of carcinomas and P21 is also up-regulated by and works to remedy excessive oxidative stress. It's very unlikely this research is going to lead to a pill that knocks out P21 and lets us grow limbs back. It will only lead to a greater understanding of how our pathways work.

more than 4 years ago
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Scientists Learn To Fabricate DNA Evidence

Biotech9 Re:This is not a real problem (256 comments)

Not necessarily, at the moment there is a database with the results of the STRs for the 13 (well known) loci that are tested. So if you have access to the database you can make a match for a specific person and fake evidence against them.

But, if you have a second group of 13 loci that are kept secret, and the records for these STRs are NEVER recorded, then anytime evidence needs to be checked, the results from both groups of STRs can be checked. That information would not be kept, so it would be impossible to fake it from a database. Why even limit it to 13 loci? Why not have a list of hundreds of STRs that can be checked to corroborate evidence?

more than 5 years ago
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Scientists Learn To Fabricate DNA Evidence

Biotech9 This is not a real problem (256 comments)

At the moment most (if not all) DNA profiling is done by examining STRs. STRs are specific spots in your DNA where a certain pattern of DNA is repeated a number of times. And the number of times it's repeated might be different for you from the STR at that spot from someone else.

So if you check many of these spots, you can make it extremely unlikely that someone else has all of these spots with the same number of repeats as you do. In the US they check 13 loci. And this fake DNA (the stuff they advertise as being possible to make just by looking in the database, with no original genetic material) is just a load of these loci, with the correct number of repeats in there.

The reason it isn't much of a problem is that the technological bottlenecks that made the human genome project such a money pit are close to gone now. Taking a genetic sample and fully sequencing it shouldn't be that much of a problem in the next few years (I mean you can already do it for the price of a coat. To proof against fake evidence, many other SNPs or STRs can be checked instead, as a confirmation. Keeping a list of another 13 STRs to be used as confirmation would be a good start, having the loci known but not recording the results in databases to prevent this kind of counterfeiting.

more than 5 years ago
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Norwegian Lawyers Must Stop Chasing File Sharers

Biotech9 offtopic (186 comments)

I've been living in Sweden for 5 years (originally Irish) and am starting to plan a move to Berlin. Any tips on how to handle a move to Germany, or things to be prepared for?

(I've heard the job situation is not great, but I work in science and find it's generally unaffected as of yet by the economic situation).

more than 5 years ago
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Swedish Court Says IP Numbers Privacy Protected

Biotech9 Privacy in Sweden (108 comments)

Sweden has some strange privacy norms. Asking what someone votes for politically is close to a serious faux pa. In fact some people I know have absolutely no idea how their parents or even partners vote. That is a very private thing. But you can look up car owners on a free and public website by registration number, you can go and check tax returns for anyone in Sweden, and see what they earn. On the other hand, religion is another area that you very much leave alone and don't ask about.

Hopefully the IP information will be considered something a little more private, and after the Pirate party did so well in the European elections maybe there is a chance that common sense will prevail and rules like IPRED will be struck down anyway.

more than 5 years ago
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Music Streaming to Overtake Downloads

Biotech9 I think both methods are viable together. (254 comments)

I use itunes all the time, and rip my own CDs (and download the albums I own on vinyl), in total I think my library is around 140 gigs. Streaming as an alternative would suck because I would NEVER be able to remember all those albums and artists! I love to browse through the music that has taken years to accumulate and spot something I haven't heard in ages and play it.

If someone deleted my iTunes library I would never be able to get it all again precisely because I would never be able to recall everything in there.

Having said that, streaming services like Spotify are fantastic for their own niche. A lot of people I know that are maybe not as into music as some, use spotify as their sole music source and find that satisfactory. Then you have the great ability to just type in some artist or famous song that you wouldn't like enough to buy or even download, but want to check out.

and there are the communal aspects of it, like making a playlist for a party that anyone who is invited to can add songs to. This is a very useful service I've used a few times to great effect.

more than 5 years ago

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