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Kiwi Genetically Closer to Extinct Elephant Birds Than to the Emu

MaizeMan Neither New Zealand Inhabitants nor Fruit (46 comments)

And here I was looking forward to an argument about how large birds and delicious fuzzy brown fruit are NOT in fact closely related.

about 2 months ago

Why Are Japanese Men Refusing To Leave Their Rooms?

MaizeMan Interesting. (770 comments)

Fascinating analogy to research I was not previously familiar with. Would read comments by this AC in the future.

1 year,23 days

NSF Audit Finds Numerous Cases of Alleged Plagiarism

MaizeMan Re:Plagiarism or boilerplate? (44 comments)

I wonder if they're comparing these grants to other grants by the same researcher in different years? If you're studying gene X which is known to function in biochemical process Y there are probably a limited number of good ways to word your explanation of that fact in the introduction to grant application after grant application.

about a year ago

Complex Systems Theorists Predict We're About One Year From Global Food Riots

MaizeMan Finding Slack in the System (926 comments)

Great to hear from someone so close to actual food production.

When it comes to rice is there really enough slack in the system to make a dent in the missing corn? My understanding is the amount of rice traded internationally is actually quite small (most is eaten in the same country it's grown in). I'm sure you/your tenants will get a great price for this year's crop, but realistically it seems the only place we'll be able to find slack in the US food system would be relaxing the ethanol mandate for one growing season (seems unlikely especially in an election year) or significantly reducing meat production. It's sounding like the second may already be happening, with many ranchers and feedlots thinning out their herds drastically this fall because the math shows they won't be able to afford to feed all their livestock at the prices corn is headed towards this winter.

In countries without a lot of meat consumption it's not clear what people will be able to do besides spend a lot more of their budgets on food or start missing a lot of meals.

about 2 years ago

Complex Systems Theorists Predict We're About One Year From Global Food Riots

MaizeMan EU Not Net Exporter (926 comments)

I have to disagree with your characterization of the EU as a food exporter. In fact the EU is a major net food importer. Grain and soybeans to feed lifestock from Brazil and Argentina, fruit and vegetables from Africa. To the point where they're actually contributing to the problems with food insecurity in some parts of the world by exporting their opposition to various modern ag technologies to countries that depend on EU to buy their crops. Also, the US doesn't withhold exports to keep food prices high. We do other things that mean the price of US grown food is higher than it would be otherwise (like subsidizing ethanol and paying farmers not to farm certain acres through the CRP program.) but there aren't any barriers other than the higher prices preventing that food from being exported from the country. The ultimate effect is the same though, so I suppose it's one of one, half a dozen of another.

about 2 years ago

The Tricky Science of Olympic Gender Testing

MaizeMan Incorrect (559 comments)

Actually XY individuals who develop into females as a result of a broken copy of a gene which encodes a testosterone receptor protein are overrepresented among the top female athletes of the world. A mixture of the developmental effects of zero testosterone signal during development (regular XX women have less than men but a lot more than zero) and the effect of the non-sex determining genes unique to the Y chromosome.

about 2 years ago

Google Wants You to Use Your Real Name on YouTube

MaizeMan Because you need your real name for some things (602 comments)

The difference is you can choose to not mention your username in, say, a job application, and there is no way to link your real name to your activity online (assuming you haven't done anything stupid that links the two). You are also under no obligation to provide your username on your drivers license, legal documents, or when checking into a hotel. Setting up a new username and account with no connection to your previous online presence is also much more simple and effective than trying to set up a new and unlinked real-world identity.

about 2 years ago

Making Saltwater Drinkable With Graphene

MaizeMan Re:Why stop at salt? (303 comments)

On my first read of your upstream comment I thought you were arguing conventional submicron filtering would do a BETTER job of filtering than the graphene pores being discussed in TFA, though on a second read through I realize that wasn't your point. Since I now understand you are making an argument for redundancy in case of failure of the first system, I can understand and agree with where you are coming from.

about 2 years ago

Making Saltwater Drinkable With Graphene

MaizeMan Re:Why stop at salt? (303 comments)

With pores barely wide enough to allow water molecules through, we're already talking about submicron level filtration.

about 2 years ago

Are Porn and Video Games Ruining a Generation?

MaizeMan Second this point! (1034 comments)

If this were a significant issue, we'd be seeing dramatic changes in the dating scene. Reports from colleges with male female ratios as skewed as little as 55/45 (in either direction) suggest that even reasonably small changes tend to have drastic social consequences. Yet it doesn't seem like anything like that is being observed in the adult world (for lack of a better term).

more than 2 years ago

China May Restrict Genetically Engineered Rice

MaizeMan You're why people don't believe statistics (183 comments)

Ninety percent huh? Ever heard of Pioneer Hi-bred? Syngenta? BASF? Monsanto's market share if the american seed corn market fluctuates between 30-40%. And yes, their lawyers are trigger happy. But that's no excuse for getting your facts wrong.

more than 2 years ago

Chinese Lab Speeds Through Genome Processing With GPUs

MaizeMan Part of the problem is Low Standards (408 comments)

Although at least in my field the problem is that no one ever thought to set lower limits on the quality of what you can call a genome. So now we get "genomes" made up of 100,000 contigs (many only a couple of hundred base pairs long) and even counting all of those, the total sequence might account for only 70% of the total size of the genome. But it's still a "genome" paper, which is still an instant ticket to Nature Genetics (or Nature Biotechnology if the assembly is REALLY bad).

BGI is certainly one of the biggest offenders (Cucumber and Pigeonpea are both examples of the sort of terrible genomes-in-name-only BGI puts out) but I think the real problem is that Illumina sequence data is so cheap people keep trying to use it to sequence genomes, thinking if they throw enough raw data and enough mate-pair libraries at the problem it'll eventually make up for the fact that Illumina reads are so short. Illumina data is great for a lot of things. Calling SNPs, measuring gene expression, studying methylation patterns.

But, at least for any genome significant transposon content, it simply does not work.

more than 2 years ago

Scientists Discover Mechanism That Gives Shape to Life

MaizeMan Plants Have Shapes (And Are Alive) Too! (138 comments)

Obligatory post by a plant biologist who is sick of the animal folks overgeneralizing their findings in press releases.

more than 2 years ago

OccupySF IT Admins Using Pedal Power For Protest

MaizeMan Not the same problems, different ones (202 comments)

It seems to me neither taking money way from rich people nor people not paying their student loans were responsible for creating "this situation" (I'm assuming you mean the ongoing bad economy). So while I agree the protests are unfocused and/or advocating extreme positions, at least their positions are extreme in the OPPOSITE direction from what got us into this mess.

more than 2 years ago

Estimating Age With Kinect's 3D Camera To Filter Content

MaizeMan Completely Off Topic But (102 comments)

Your sig line is awesome!
(Fellow biologist)

more than 2 years ago

Does Famous Exoplanet 'Fomalhaut b' Really Exist?

MaizeMan Bigger star = faster orbit (40 comments)

To maintain a stable orbit at the same distance from a more massive object would mean moving faster, not slower, right?

more than 2 years ago

Your State University Doesn't Want You

MaizeMan Most places don't have a sales tax for food (551 comments)

Thirty-three states exclude food from sales tax, and only nine tax it at the same rate as things people don't need to survive.

Now if you live in one of those eight states, like Oklahoma or Mississippi, I agree you've got a legitimate grievance with the way your state is being run.

more than 2 years ago

Your State University Doesn't Want You

MaizeMan You're not comparing the same kind of percentages (551 comments)

You give the initial percentage of the school's total operating budget supported by the state. Now I don't know what percentage of the budget originally came from student tuition, but let's say it was also 20%. If state support drops 7% to 13%, then to make up the same amount of funding from tuition (bringing tuition to 27% of the total budget) would require raising tuition 35%. And this doesn't take into account regular inflation, which would have driven a 30+% increase in tuition over 10 years even without having to make up for declining state support. Even so, that doesn't explain the total increase in tuition you describe, but it does explain why the increase was going to be a whole heck of a lot more than 7% regardless.

more than 2 years ago

Alloy Could Produce Hydrogen Fuel Using Sunlight

MaizeMan Which is more likely? (360 comments)

People deciding to be calm and logical and sacrificing for the good of humanity as a whole? (The opposite of the ignorance and greed and fear we see all around us.) Or some guy in a lab coat eventually inventing a quick technical fix?

Personally I think cold fusion (or a similarly improbable technological breakthrough like the sunlight->metal->hydrogen described in this article based solely on computer simulation) is by far the more likely of the two possibilities, so I find joy in reading stories like this one, and continue to hope that someday, one of them will come to fruition.

more than 2 years ago

Activists Destroy Scientific GMO Experiment

MaizeMan Re:Sounds like (1229 comments)

The much talked about Terminator Technology was developed by a company called Delta & Pine that went broke and were bought out years ago. Who knows what they were planning to do with it. But the fact remains that neither that technique, nor any comparable technology has been commercialized but people lie and claim the corn planted across the country is sterile to scare people.

Can we at least agree that lying is bad?

more than 3 years ago



Developer creates DIY 8-bit CPU

MaizeMan MaizeMan writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MaizeMan (1076255) writes "Not for the easily distracted. A Belmot software developer's hand built CPU was featured in wired recently. Starting with a $50 wire wrap board Chamberlin built his CPU with 1253 pieces of wire, each wire wrapped by hand at both ends. Salvaging parts from 70's and 80's era computers, the final result is an 8-bit processor with keyboard input, a USB connection and VGA graphical output. More details on the developer's blog"
Link to Original Source


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