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Airbus Attacked By French Lawmaker For Talking To SpaceX

Guppy Re:who cares? (168 comments)

an idiotic remark that is inconsequential to anything.

Is it? I'm really surprised that Airbus had the chutzpah (or political naivete).

You see, Airbus gets quite a bit of help from the governments of Europe -- subsidies, contracts; I wouldn't be surprised if they had a major hand in the mergers that formed the company in the first place. Most likely, the lawmaker is thinking of Airbus as being little different from some wayward administrative division in his own bureaucracy, now in need of a rebuke for not supporting the government's agenda.

about a week ago
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Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

Guppy Re:Diversity is good, especially in SciFi (368 comments)

Hey, you know what else won't be the same? Language!

The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi would be a good example of a story that pushes that boundary (within the constraints of being able to still communicate with the reader). Not just choosing to invent silly terms for familiar things, but creating a culture-shock effect, where new slang is invented to reflect a new culture.

about two weeks ago
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First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released

Guppy Re:Summary of Trailer (390 comments)

This seems like canon, I thought all the stormtroopers were clones of Jango Fett

Presumably at some point the clone tanks get blown up, or maybe conscripts ended up being cheaper than clones.

Although it would be more interesting if some random strain of the common flu ended up adapting itself perfectly to that nice monoculture of Fetts, and killed them all off (except for Boba, who got a flu shot).

about three weeks ago
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The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Guppy Re:Google also has a plan (334 comments)

Practically, the EU branch of their offices needs to be little more than a cubicle with a lawyer and desk.

But oddly enough, on paper it seems a huge portion of Google "exists" in the EU, legally speaking. As far as revenues and expenses go, a huge portion of Google's revenues and expenses are "generated" there, (specifically, Ireland), thanks to an international tax dodge.

about a month ago
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fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain

Guppy Re:If you're a man... (91 comments)

... the answer is one.

No, no. Definitely capable of at least two threads, since when I get a boner my brain still manages to spare processing power to continue breathing. Although if I were to try chewing gum at the same time, there could be trouble.

about a month and a half ago
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Getting 'Showdown' To 90 FPS In UE4 On Oculus Rift

Guppy Variable frame rate technology (30 comments)

Any chance we'll be seeing variable frame rate technologies like G-sync / Freesync on the Occulus? There have been some rumors, but I don't think there's been any definitive official announcement yet.

about 2 months ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Guppy Re:Not a surprise, but is it just one ingredient? (422 comments)

Sodium benzoate

My money is on the sugar/syrup itself, acting through the insulin-like growth factor system. There is substantial evidence that decreased IGF activity lengthens lifespan and reduces cancer risk, while increased activity drives increased cell-division activity and apoptosis.

about 2 months ago
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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

Guppy Research Paper Link (422 comments)

1) What is the name of the paper?

Found it: http://ajph.aphapublications.o...
"Soda and Cell Aging: Associations Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Healthy Adults From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys"

Objectives. We tested whether leukocyte telomere length maintenance, which underlies healthy cellular aging, provides a link between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disease.

Methods. We examined cross-sectional associations between the consumption of SSBs, diet soda, and fruit juice and telomere length in a nationally representative sample of healthy adults. The study population included 5309 US adults, aged 20 to 65 years, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, from the 1999 to 2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Leukocyte telomere length was assayed from DNA specimens. Diet was assessed using 24-hour dietary recalls. Associations were examined using multivariate linear regression for the outcome of log-transformed telomere length.

Results. After adjustment for sociodemographic and health-related characteristics, sugar-sweetened soda consumption was associated with shorter telomeres (b=–0.010; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.020, 0.001; P=.04). Consumption of 100% fruit juice was marginally associated with longer telomeres (b=0.016; 95% CI=0.000, 0.033; P=.05). No significant associations were observed between consumption of diet sodas or noncarbonated SSBs and telomere length.

Conclusions. Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 16, 2014: e1–e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302151)

about 2 months ago
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Experts Decry Randomized Ebola Treatment Trials As Unethical, Impractical

Guppy Good reasons not to rush to unguided usage (193 comments)

It also means that for those that are infected, there's so little chance of survival with "traditional" treatments that they have very little to lose by trying something experimental. Even if a treatment gives them cancer, or HIV, or leaves them with something like chronic fatigue syndrome, they're still going to enjoy quality of life better than they would if they're dead.

I would posit that the problem is not that the currently infected individual faces any fate worse than death.

The problem is that lack of high-quality data may forestall the development of more effective therapies, which means you are condemning people infected in the future to death. This latter group seems abstract and hazy, compared to the concrete suffering we can see before us, but eventually the future becomes the now, and we'll have to deal with it.

Researchers may well end up heading down blind alleys, trying to optimize ineffective strategies that end up sucking up resources (money, scientists, labs, mindshare). The history of medicine is full of useless or even harmful therapies that were developed without the benefit of rigorous clinical trials -- difficult to treat conditions like cancer were especially prone to this phenomenon (for instance, the radical mastectomy procedure for breast cancer -- painful, disfiguring and debilitating, developed during an age of heroic surgery... a "gold standard" treatment yet much much later proven to offer no survival benefit in the majority of situations).

about 2 months ago
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Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

Guppy Re:A Priority (55 comments)

It has been done during the 1995 Kikwit Ebola outbreak in Zaire. They tried it on eight patients and only one died. I have found no indication that any health care workers were infected.

Just in case anyone is curious, here is the actual paper: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/...

Between 6 and 22 June 1995, 8 patients in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo, who met the case definition used in Kikwit for Ebola (EBO) hemorrhagic fever, were transfused with blood donated by 5 convalescent patients. The donated blood contained IgG EBO antibodies but no EBO antigen. EBO antigens were detected in all the transfusion recipients just before transfusion. The 8 transfused patients had clinical symptoms similar to those of other EBO patients seen during the epidemic. All were seriously ill with severe asthenia, 4 presented with hemorrhagic manifestations, and 2 became comatose as their disease progressed. Only 1 transfused patient (12.5%) died; this number is significantly lower than the overall case fatality rate (80%) for the EBO epidemic in Kikwit and than the rates for other EBO epidemics.

about 3 months ago
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Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

Guppy Re:Doesn't make sense to me (55 comments)

Neither the summary or the linked article use the term, but what they're using is known as "convalescent serum". As the parent poster stated above, it's been in use for over a century now, but has only fallen out of fashion in modern times -- mainly because it has been superseded by vaccines and anti-infectives that are cheaper, more reliable, more convenient, and easier to mass-produce.

Trivia note: While Type-O may be the universal blood donor, the ideal serum donor is Type AB.

about 3 months ago
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Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

Guppy Humoral vs. Cell-mediated Immune responses (55 comments)

Couldn't this approach be used for any infectious disease for which there's no effective cure but there are some survivors? Are there just no Western diseases that fit the profile? I suppose you need both a person sick with a deadly infection and a recent survivor of a same infection (with the same blood type). So it may just be the case that we simply don't experience that scenario enough to develop this solution. But I'm curious if this approach has been used outside of Ebola in Africa.

It's not used much today, because we've largely conquered the disease agents that such an approach works against. Typically, it works well against infectious agents which are highly vulnerable to a Humoral (antibody-mediated) immune response. Co-incidentally, this also means most vaccines work extremely well against those same disease agents. Unfortunately, Ebola doesn't yet have a commercially available vaccine, but I would expect such a vaccine to work well.

There are only a few examples in the West where we still use this approach -- one that I can think of, is the use of anti-HepB sera in infants born to infected mothers, and for emergency prophylaxis of needlestick injuries involving Hepatitis B exposure. For the bulk of the population, Hepatitis B vaccination works well enough (and is far cheaper).

What it doesn't work well against, are infectious agents that don't respond well to natural antibody defenses. For instance, most anti-HIV antibodies do not defend well against HIV, anti-HepC antibodies do not protect against Hepatitis C, nor do anti-TB antibodies protect against Tuberculosis. For those agents, an effective response depends on cell-mediated immunity.

about 3 months ago
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Obama Administration Seeks $58M To Put (Partly) Toward Fighting Ebola

Guppy Re:They didn't build that (105 comments)

ZMapp is produced by a private firm

If you follow the money, it'll lead back to a grant funded by the Federal government (in this case, both the U.S. and Canadian governments).

Ebola therapeutics were (and probably still are) anticipated to be a profit-less product segment, as far as the civilian commercial market is concerned. The affected population can't afford any resulting product, plus previous outbreaks were sporadic with small numbers of fatalities. The only potential "customers" -- at the time research was initiated over a decade ago -- were governments who might be interested in stockpiling treatments for future bio-defense use.

Now, a few of the large pharmaceutical companies still maintain and fund tropical-diseases divisions, despite the lack of profitability (for instance, Glaxo's division is largely a legacy of British Colonial days, which they've carried ever since). But I highly doubt a small biotech like Mapp Biopharm would ever do so without being paid most of the cost up-front.

about 3 months ago
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Interview: Ask Christopher "moot" Poole About 4chan and Social Media

Guppy "Black Hole" of the Internet? (220 comments)

Even though 4Chan can rightly be considered the black hole of the internet

That's actually pretty generous. Usually I hear 4chan referred to in the context of it being another kind of "hole" of the internet.

about 4 months ago
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New Nigerian ID Card Includes Prepay MasterCard Wallet

Guppy Re:Are Mastercard paying for the privilege? (62 comments)

Are Mastercard paying for the privilege?

I wouldn't be surprised if they are. Of course, they are likely also anticipating that long-term, the flow of cash will turn the other way around.

about 4 months ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

Guppy Ever-increasing proportion of female physicians (329 comments)

According to this data chart [kff.org], about 30% of physicians are female.

As time go on, this will even out. While the ranks of older physicians are male-dominated, females make up just slightly under half the medical school class in the US. In parts of Europe, they already make up the majority:

women make up 54 percent of physicians below the age of 35 in Britain, 58 percent in France and almost 64 percent in Spain, according to the latest figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03...

about 4 months ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

Guppy Re:What about nursing?? (329 comments)

Because women who want go into medicine end up nurses instead of doctors. This is the result of stereotypes, peer pressure and a largely male establishment.

In 2011-2012, women represented 47.0% of entering students entering medical school, and it's been hovering at just below half (around 47-49%) for the past decade. This value has also been approximately proportional to the gender mix of applicants, which was 47.3% female in 2011-2012.

Source: https://www.aamc.org/download/...

about 4 months ago
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Study: Seals Infected Early Americans With Tuberculosis

Guppy Tag #WhereIsTheFuckingPaper (74 comments)

Oh, here it is: Pre-Columbian mycobacterial genomes reveal seals as a source of New World human tuberculosis (Paywall -- free Nature summary article here).

Modern strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the Americas are closely related to those from Europe, supporting the assumption that human tuberculosis was introduced post-contact. This notion, however, is incompatible with archaeological evidence of pre-contact tuberculosis in the New World. Comparative genomics of modern isolates suggests that M. tuberculosis attained its worldwide distribution following human dispersals out of Africa during the Pleistocene epoch, although this has yet to be confirmed with ancient calibration points. Here we present three 1,000-year-old mycobacterial genomes from Peruvian human skeletons, revealing that a member of the M. tuberculosis complex caused human disease before contact. The ancient strains are distinct from known human-adapted forms and are most closely related to those adapted to seals and sea lions. Two independent dating approaches suggest a most recent common ancestor for the M. tuberculosis complex less than 6,000 years ago, which supports a Holocene dispersal of the disease. Our results implicate sea mammals as having played a role in transmitting the disease to humans across the ocean.

about 4 months ago
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How To Read a Microbiome Study Like a Scientist

Guppy Re:Home fecal transplant went wrong (53 comments)

While the clinical picture and timing suggests the possibility, it's far from certain that this was a primary infection stemming from his home fecal transplant. I would have liked to see an analysis of anti-CMV IgM titers, although in this case it's also possible that his case was recognized too long afterwards to determine whether or not it was an actual primary infection.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Smaller Testicles correlated with Better Parenting Behavior

Guppy Guppy writes  |  about a year ago

Guppy (12314) writes "A recent paper appearing in PNAS (Paywalled) measured Testicular volume and Testosterone levels in fathers of children aged 1-2 years. This information was compared against parenting surveys reported by the children's mothers, as well as MRI imaging of brain activity in the men's Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA), taken while the men were viewing photographs of their children.

The results appeared consistent with past studies hinting of correlation — both Smaller Testicles and lower testosterone levels were found to correlated with both greater reported Nuturing-type behavior, as well as greater stimulated VTA activity. The authors commented that further research was required, given the limited scope of past investigations into the subject, saying "Testicular imaging is sort of a unique niche right now."

Free Summary appearing in Nature here."

Link to Original Source
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Slashdot Poll Submission: "R"

Guppy Guppy writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Guppy (12314) writes " R:
  • Type
  • Project for Statistical Computing
  • Daneel Olivaw
  • Dorothy Wayneright
  • Kelly
  • "...Shiver me timbers, matey!"
"
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Tylenol may ease pain of existential distress, social rejection

Guppy Guppy writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Guppy (12314) writes "Does Tylenol reduce existential distress? Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) has been used to relieve mild-to-moderate physical pain for over a century, yet its actual mechanism of action continues to be debated; modern research has demonstrated an intriguing connection with the body's endocannabinoid system, raising the question of whether it may also have subtle psychological effects as well. A recent paper claims Acetaminophen can alter our response to existential challenge; previous findings have suggested that it may blunt the pain of social rejection as well."
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Training an Immune System to kill Cancer: A Universal Strategy

Guppy Guppy writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Guppy writes "A previous story reported widely in the media, and appearing both on Slashdot and XKCD described a novel cancer treatment, in which a patient's own T-cells were modified using an HIV-derived vector to recognize and kill leukemia cells. In a follow-up publication, a further development is described which allows for a nearly unlimited choice of target antigens, broadening the types of malignancies potentially treatable with the technique."
Link to Original Source

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