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Comments

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Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

jbeaupre Re:They want it but don't understand it. (262 comments)

Careful with that word "we." I'm an engineer, but put a huge emphasis on industrial design. The form of my designs are integral to the function. They don't just hold the electro-mechanicals I'm designing (which is my specialty), they are the interface with my users.

So I fuss for days sometimes to get the right distances and sizes to fit 95% asian woman and 95% western men. Tweaking the curvature transition of complex surfaces to feel natural, give tactile feedback, and be able to be injection molded from a single pull mold (yeah, I do preliminary mold design too). While still containing and constraining internal mechanisms (which I also design). Choosing textures and colors that build on that base. And so on. Often I have people with industrial design or fine arts degrees consulting on the designs.

It's not rocket science, but you are right: it shouldn't just be slapped together at the last minute.

Bevels and rounded corners? Easy stuff. There's an optimum, but not a huge sensitivity. Where Apple and others excel is under the skin, as well as fit and finish.

3 hours ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

Bingo. You seem to have done a better job of choosing key words for searches than I did. I'm also in Asia at the moment, which sends the search engines off on odd tangents.

It was pretty incremental improvement. Just a pair of ostomies. Stick a hose in each end and flush with dialysate. It doesn't sound like much, but solved a couple problems. We also had a pretty refined formulate (I can't recall details). But it was simpler to make than baking a cake. Mostly manitol and some salts to control ion flow. I think we even used tap water just to prove it worked. Trying to turn it into protected IP would have been like trying to protect S'mores.

We dialysied several pigs that has simulated renal failure. It just worked. The only problem we ever had was early on when we didn't realize how powerful it could be and pulled too much fluid out of a pig over the course of a couple hours. She died of dehydration. I guess that could be construed as a potential fatal flaw.

If you are truly interested in picking up the research, I can put you in touch with the clinician. I believe he was interested in the procedure, but he and the hospital had to make a call on what research they would pursue. He's done amazing work in other areas and just might not have been able to juggle two lines of research. I don't fault them. Just disappointed.

5 days ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

Oh, I'd be happy to point you in the right direction if I could. But this was 13 years ago. All I read were excerpts and summaries from dozens of old medical journals in half a dozen countries. I was the engineer, not the guy searching old archives, so didn't pay any attention to where the stuff was published. Heck, I've searched for information since, and can barely find anything useful. The only thing I found even related was through a link in Wikipedia: http://www.medscape.com/medlin...

Scattered in the old literature were about 100 reports of different forms of lavaging bowel to affect blood chemistry. Sometimes it was serious research on one or two patients. Sometimes it was accidental. In one case, a guy drank 4 gallons of colon cleanser each day and managed to stay alive. Most patients were extremely sick and didn't do well, but improved vs no treatment. We used some surgery to greatly improve outcome and potential quality of life. A breakthrough we couldn't make a dime from.

And unfortunately, the non-profit research hospital we donated it to did not publish the research (they were a consultant to the company for the work, so could have easily published). It was animal research, but still relevant.

about a week ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

Active work was done the 1920's to 1930's. Accidental discoveries were made even decades later. There are over 100 different citations in as many publications. I wouldn't even be able to recall one of them. And you'd be hard pressed to access the publications.

If you want to claim that development was done by a non-capitalist system (which is a weird statement for other reasons), then you'd find they eff'ed it up big-time. They figured out bits and pieces but neglected to optimize, make it patient friendly (I swear one dude probably lived on a toilet), or roll it out for general use.

We made one critical breakthrough. But it was the procedure. Patenting it would mean suing thousands of individual customers for a thousand dollars. That's would have been stupid on so many levels, we didn't bother.

about a week ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

The reason we couldn't make money is that it is published and is in the public domain.

The non-profit is a pediatric research hospital. Traditional dialysis doesn't work well on small children, so they were interested.

about a week ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

Sorry to rain on that thought, but it was a capitalist company that spent $250k doing research that from day 1 they weren't sure would make money. Then when they decided it wasn't a good fit, donated the research and some money to a non-profit institution. Trying to snatch victory form the jaws of defeat.

As far as I can tell, the government supported non-profit took the money and never did anything at all. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of government funded organizations.

about a week ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

Sorry, there are no links. Take a look at the response to another guy for a description.

As for why we couldn't make money, the work was based on research 70 years old. Patents would have been nearly impossible. And the supplies were commodity already. As in Home Depot and supermarket commodity. And about as hard to make as baking a cake (probably easier).

The final straw was that it was in a market that was too different. It would have been like Apple deciding to sell oatmeal.

about a week ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

Sorry, but we never published. The original work was 70 years old, so a bit hard to find online. But I can describe it.

We called it intestinal dialysis. In the early 20th century, there was research on 3 kinds of dialysis: hemo, peritoneal, and intestinal. Hemo made the first breakthrough. The others were forgotten until peritoneal was reexamined in the 80's.

If you google intestinal dialysis, you'll find something distantly related to the old research and what we worked with. But very different. We found in animal studies that you could isolate a section of small intestine to turn it into an "artificial kidney". Intestine has good blood flow and a huge surface area designed for gently moving fluids and compounds into the blood stream. We use an osmotic gradient to reverse how the intestine works.

In other words, we created precise diarrhea.

The only supplies required were tap water, a bucket, baby laxative, and a hose. Adding salts made it more precise. A touch of sugar is important (to feed the intestine). Our test system was computerized, but was essentially still just a bucket up on a shelf and a hose for siphoning.

The procedure was a bit like hemodialysis, but done non-sterile. The big difference is not removing blood from a patient. The dialysis unit is the patient's own section of intestine. Robust, self repairing, able to repel bacteria, etc.

But it was too different from our main business. It would be like Apple deciding to sell breakfast cereal. So we gave it away.

about a week ago
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Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

jbeaupre Re:Replacement Organs (75 comments)

It will be a lot more expensive than that. Harvesting from a donor means using a "free" kidney. Free in that no one had to be paid to make it. Here are some prices of dissimilar items:

I work with several biomedical companies. A simple metal part can cost $10k. And that's not gouging. Getting that metal part to clinical trials took millions of dollars and 15 years. The amount of testing and paperwork are outrageous. But easier to make than a kidney.

An artificial leg for above the knee amputation can cost $50k and up. Those guys are gouging. But easier to make than a kidney.

I would expect a lab grown kidney to go for $50k-$100k, not including implantation costs. And that's IF they figure out a cheap way to make them.

And ironically, your wife would probably be denied insurance coverage for it. Because she already has a kidney.

(On a related side note, I worked on a non-sterile dialysis system that was so cheap, we couldn't figure out how to make money from it. A few hundred bucks a year, could be done at home, 0% risk of infection. We donated the research and $100k to a research hospital.)

about a week ago
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German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

jbeaupre If you're not paying for it (290 comments)

I like the quote: "If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer. Your the product."

about a week ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

jbeaupre Trick photography (730 comments)

I'm not sure I agree with the explanation in the article, but it does look like Apple tried to make the phones look artificially thinner

http://qz.com/262355/apple-use...

about two weeks ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

jbeaupre Re:WiFi Calling? (730 comments)

Yes. My flip phone did this 5 years ago.

The real problem was when visiting somewhere that had the necessary network port blocked.

about two weeks ago
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40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

jbeaupre Re:The one question on my mind (256 comments)

You don't have to affiliate with a terrorist group to be a terrorist. i.e. Unibomber.

But your question is still reasonable: why are they on the list? It must be some other undisclosed reason(s). Some might be valid, some might not.

about a month and a half ago
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"Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

jbeaupre Re:FDA? (390 comments)

The FDA also has oversight of exported drugs and devices. They don't have to be approved for sale in the US in order to be exported, but do have to meet some requirements.

On the other end, most countries require an export certificate from the country of origin.

http://www.fda.gov/Internation...

about a month and a half ago
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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

jbeaupre Re:Time to start building more nuke plants as long (288 comments)

Funny fact: 3 Mile failed because of a safety procedure. When a gage went bad, it was red tagged. Good idea ... unless it hangs over the gage that would have warned the operators the reactor was going wonky. So, as you say, they interpreted the conditions on the gages they could see, not the critical one the couldn't, and made the wrong call.

about 2 months ago
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On 4th of July:

jbeaupre Re:Summertime fireworks (340 comments)

That Guy Fawkes dude was pretty clever to plan things that way. Some of his other planning didn't go as smoothly, but he got the right date for future fireworks.

about 2 months ago
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Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

jbeaupre Incorrect headline (468 comments)

Airbus didn't patent jack squat. They file a patent application. If the patent is granted, then you can say they patented something. The difference is pretty enormous. It's like saying you are married to someone when all you did was ask them to marry you (and haven't even gotten a response). There are a few more steps involved.

Do any of the Slashdot editors know the first thing about patents? Seriously. Any?

about 2 months ago
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Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

jbeaupre Re:Hmm (299 comments)

It was handled remotely. Operators used manipulators to handle the material behind glass shielding. Worked fine until some nitric acid exploded. He was blasted with shattered glass and americium.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Clever desalinization

jbeaupre jbeaupre writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jbeaupre (752124) writes "The Economist reports on progress by a company called Saltworks on using saline gradients to do the heavy lifting of desalinization. In essence, Saltworks uses solar energy or waste heat to concentrate sea water. They then use the ionic gradient between the concentrated brine and 2 sea water streams to pull ions from from a 3rd sea water stream. It appears to work with entropy by trading the reduced entropy of the desalinated water against the increased entropy of "mixing" the brine and the other sea water streams. The article only discusses Na and Cl, but even just removing these ions is a step in the right direction.

Note to editor: I've linked to the Economist for 3 reasons: it has a better description of the process, a better diagram of the process, and is less likely to suffer from slashdotting."

Link to Original Source
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jbeaupre jbeaupre writes  |  more than 8 years ago

jbeaupre writes "A corollary to "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" is that sometimes users have to resort to what I call "computer voodoo." You don't know why it works, you barely care how it works, but you find yourself doing the strangest things because it just seems to work. Like smacking a PC every 5 seconds for an hour to keep it from stalling on a hard drive reformat (with nary a problem after the reformat). Or figuring out the only way to get a PC partially fried by lightning to recognize an ethernet card after booting into windows is to start the computer by yanking the card out and shoving it back in, thereby starting the boot processes (power button, we don't need no stinkin' power button).

The question is: what wacky stuff have you done that makes no obvious sense, but just works?"

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