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Comments

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Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered

reverseengineer Re:size? (94 comments)

The 22 and 40 look like lower and upper bounds. In section 6.1 of the paper, it says, "we infer the lowest current mass of the system to be 22±5 [solar masses]" . They mention this value comes from a calculation based on Kepler's 3rd law. So it looks like the lower bound comes from orbital mechanics based on the orbit of the companion star and the upper bound of 40 comes from their interferometry observations and modeling of that data, but they consider it more likely that the true value is closer to the higher value.

about a month ago
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The Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry

reverseengineer Re:LHC Purpose (138 comments)

Since 1974: charm, bottom and top quarks, gluons, tau lepton, tau neutrino, W and Z bosons, Higgs boson. We talk about the Standard Model as if it's been around forever, and bemoan the lack of "new physics," but half of the model was discovered in the last 40 years.

about a month and a half ago
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Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

reverseengineer Re:Whine (412 comments)

I get the sense that the Daily Doubles have historically been located in the high dollar values of a category because it has been more traditional behavior for contestants to start at the top of the board and work their way down. That way, the Daily Doubles tend to get exposed later in the round, when contestants generally have more money to wager and the game situation is more likely to be swung by a big win or loss. As I understand it, the DD wager may still be made for up to the highest dollar amount on the board for the round even if the player's current score is less than that amount, but it still is undesirable from an audience point of view for the only DD of the first round to be "wasted" on the first question.

Of course, from what you might call a "power player" perspective, the Daily Double spaces are very valuable, both in terms of the potential money you can earn and in terms of denying your opponents that potential. It's smart to try and find them as soon as possible. Making the DD spaces truly random on the board may limit the use of the "harder levels first" strategy, but there's still value in building an early lead (this is assuming that as a "power player," the hard questions on Jeopardy aren't going to be substantially harder for you than the easy ones) and maintaining control of the board, so I don't think it would totally go away.

about 2 months ago
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Metal-Free 'Rhubarb' Battery Could Store Renewable Grid Energy

reverseengineer Re:"A molecule nearly identical" (131 comments)

I don't know why the focus is on rhubarb specifically. Anthraquinones are found all throughout nature, usually as some sort of red or yellow pigment (like the pigment carmine, for instance, made from cochineal insects). Rhubarb contains some compounds call anthraquinone glycosides, but I wouldn't characterize them as being "nearly identical" to anthraquinone disulfonic acid on account of sugar molecules not being very similar to sulfonic acid groups.

about 3 months ago
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Interview: Alan Adler Answers Your Questions About Coffee and Throwing Objects

reverseengineer Re:Cafestol and Kahweol (49 comments)

It's something that's been known for awhile- there are papers on it going back to the early 1980s, though I'd imagine it may not have been heavily publicized at first due to the American preference at the time for paper-filtered drip coffee. Methods that retain more of the oils or the grounds themselves in the finished coffee, like boiled coffee or French press tend to have much higher concentrations.

This paper and this paper have some more information.

about 3 months ago
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Researchers Crack Major HIV Mystery

reverseengineer Re:Both Science and Nature? (84 comments)

Induces cellular level suicide, if you will... It could also be a Caspase 1 inhibitor.

That's just what it is: VX-765 is belnacasan, a caspase 1 inhibitor (a drug target for epilepsy for its role in releasing inflammatory cytokines).

about 4 months ago
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Fukushima Actually "Much Worse" Than So Far Disclosed, Say Experts

reverseengineer Re:No water processing plant (274 comments)

Apples to apples? Hanford Site cleans 1.4 billion gallons of groundwater a year, which is about 14.5 million liters a day. I'm sure you'll object that the levels of contamination are lower (though there's a lot of nasty stuff there), and yes, it's quite possible that nothing exists exactly like what is needed at Fukushima, in large part because the other massive radioactive material cleanups were different sorts of situations. However, the quote was , "You can't filter that much. Nobody can." A statement of possibility, not of existence. Do you really believe this to be physically impossible, rather than merely unfeasible, or just very expensive?

about 8 months ago
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Fukushima Actually "Much Worse" Than So Far Disclosed, Say Experts

reverseengineer Re:No water processing plant (274 comments)

400 tonnes of water is 400000 liters. From the link in the GP, the two treatment plants (at a Superfund site that used to process thorium into lantern mantles) process 60.5 million liters of water a year, for an average of 165000 liters a day. Building treatment plants with 400000 liter/day capacity doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.

about 8 months ago
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New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

reverseengineer Re:This can't end well (492 comments)

I did mention the "for research purposes" part, but yes, I should have emphasized that means analytical chemistry methods and in vitro testing, not running your own clinical trial. Honestly, I didn't mean for the sales quote to be taken seriously- the poster I replied to speculated on the properties of this mysterious compound, and I just thought it was funny that with a little Googling, I found it not only identified, but available for sale. I can't imagine anyone actually ordered some based on my post, but yeah, this stuff is not in any way meant for human use. Up to 4% impurities, and it's likely that those impurities, like SR9009 itself, can cross the blood-brain barrier. And many carbamates are cholinesterase inhibitors, which is to say, nerve agents.

about 8 months ago
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New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

reverseengineer Re:Might not work for healthy people (492 comments)

The same group did a study last year that used unmodified mice (well, largely unmodified- they had been put on a diet that promoted obesity, but they were not transgenic).

Based on the alterations in energy metabolism and gene expression we observed in normal C57BL6 and Balb/c mice, we sought to examine whether a REV-ERB alpha/beta agonist would be efficacious in a rodent model of obesity. We initiated the study with 20-week old C57BL6 mice (average weight = 41g) that had been maintained on a high fat diet for 14 weeks (20% carbohydrate 60% fat). The mice continued on the HF diet and we initiated twice per day dosing (i.p.) of SR9009. While the stress of handling and twice-daily injections caused weight loss in vehicle-treated controls, weight loss of SR9009-treated animals was 60% greater (Fig. 5a). During the treatment period, there was no significant difference in the food intake of SR9009 and vehicle treated animals, although handling itself reduced food intake explaining the weight loss observed in the controls. SR9009 treated mice exhibited a more severe reduction in adiposity (Fig. 5b). In addition to the decrease in fat mass we also observed a 12% decrease in plasma triglycerides (TGs) and a 47% decrease in plasma total cholesterol (Chol) (Fig. 5c). Plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were also reduced (23%) along with plasma glucose (19%) in the SR9009 treated animals (Fig. 5c). There was also a trend toward a decrease in plasma insulin levels (35%).

about 8 months ago
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New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise

reverseengineer Re:This can't end well (492 comments)

SR9009 is available for research purposes, $150 for 25 mg. From the structure, I would say it's likely to be only slightly soluble in water; also, the only solubility data given is in DMSO. It requires storage by refrigeration or freezing, and comes packaged under inert gas, so I would say its environmental persistence would be rather low. I don't know if a molecule like this would be stable enough for oral administration, actually. In their mouse study, injections were made.

about 8 months ago
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Carbyne: a Form of Carbon Even Stronger Than Graphene

reverseengineer Re:Carbyne != Carbine (82 comments)

From the non-chemistry side of the etymology, it is apparently not known with certainty why a short rifle is called a carbine in the first place:

short rifle, 1580s, from French carabine (Middle French carabin), used of light horsemen and also of the weapon they carried, of uncertain origin, perhaps from Medieval Latin Calabrinus "Calabrian" (i.e., "rifle made in Calabria"). A less-likely theory (Gamillscheg, etc.) connects it to Old French escarrabin "corpse-bearer during the plague," literally (probably) "carrion beetle," said to have been an epithet for archers from Flanders.

about 8 months ago
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Carbyne: a Form of Carbon Even Stronger Than Graphene

reverseengineer Re:Carbyne != Carbine (82 comments)

The -yne ending is already in common use for carbon compounds with a triple bond. For example, ethyne (the IUPAC systematic name for acetylene). It's not a very good name in this case though- "carbyne" already refers to a type of reactive species of carbon with three unpaired electrons, in analogy to the more common "carbene" which has two unpaired electrons. Wikipedia suggests a better name for the carbon chain to be "linear acetylenic carbon," though I'll admit it doesn't roll off the tongue. Shorter versions of this molecular chain, which terminate with a hydrogen on each end are generally called polyacetylenes or polyynes.

about 8 months ago
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New Treatment From Australia For All Cancers

reverseengineer Re:Yay! (217 comments)

There is reason to think that a drug like this would be broadly effective against different kinds of cancer. TR100 disrupts the actin cytoskeleton vital to all cells, and specifically disrupts its formation by targeting an isoform of the protein tropomyosin. Isoforms are different structures for the the same protein- every cell needs tropomyosin to regulate their actin filaments, but cancer cells preferentially use a certain structure of tropomyosin. Compounds with anti-actin activity have been looked at for a long time as anticancer compounds, but the known ones have been nonspecific. TR100 also has the advantage of being a relatively simple small molecule instead of a complicated biomolecule, which could make its development as a commercial drug much easier.

It is however, still (potentially) just a new chemotherapy agent, one of many out there. From what has been observed from other chemo agents, just because a compound targets a basic cellular function doesn't mean a cancer can't develop resistance. The taxanes and the Vinca alkaloids arrest mitosis (by targeting microtubules), and are excellent, widely used drugs, but are not the The Cure for Cancer. I'd imagine this compound to be along those lines- another weapon in the oncology arsenal, but not a magic bullet.

about 8 months ago
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4-Billion-Year-Old Fossil Protein Resurrected

reverseengineer Re:Does anyone, and i mean ANYONE, question the ag (84 comments)

Right, but the object of the paper is to then advance what is known in that very area, in which I think it is highly successful. Varieties of thioredoxins are present in every free-living organism on earth. One of their many functions is to donate electrons to an enzyme called ribonucleotide reductase which converts ribonucleotides into deoxyribonucleotides, so in a roundabout way, working thioredoxin proteins are necessary to make DNA. Between its ubiquity and general structural similarities in modern organisms, there is reason to think that the general structure of thioredoxins was settled long ago in the history of life, before archaea and eukaryotes split off from bacteria. As other posters have noted, the timeframe of this event is generally held to have been ~3.5-3.8 billion years ago.

about 8 months ago
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Researchers Discover Another Layer To the Cornea

reverseengineer Re:Any doctors in the house? (74 comments)

From the experiments that were done to find this new layer, it seems that it is very difficult to separate from the adjoining layer (Descemet's membrane). Getting Dua's layer to separate from Descemet's membrane was a serendipitous result of simulating eye surgery (a lamellar keratoplasty, which is a partial corneal graft) involving the "big bubble technique," which uses an injection of air to separate Descemet's membrane from the corneal stroma. It turned out that it was sometimes possible to create this air bubble in specimens where Descemet's membrane had been removed, meaning there had to be another layer for air to get into. Otherwise, it wouldn't be easily detected as a separate layer.

Here's what the "big bubble technique" looks like. It's pictures of eye surgery, so don't say you weren't properly warned.

about 10 months ago
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Chemists Build App That Could Identify Cheap Replacements For Luxury Wines

reverseengineer Here's what I'm hoping for... (206 comments)

Welcome to Wine Cue!

INPUT: Chateau Petrus, 1998 vintage, Pomerol primarily of Merlot grapes, estimated retail 3500USD

RECOMMENDATION: Charles Shaw, 2010 vintage, Merlot, estimated retail 2USD

about 10 months ago
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Astronomers Probe Mysterious Gas In Titan's Atmosphere

reverseengineer Re:fluorescent organic molecules? (104 comments)

That seems likely- data from other instruments on Cassini has suggested that aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene and anthracene form high in Titan's atmosphere. The altitude (~1000km) is consistent with the location of the glow, and the emission line fits- a mix of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons has long been thought to be the source of a 3.3 micron emission line seen in interstellar dust.

about a year ago
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Salt Linked To Autoimmune Diseases

reverseengineer Re:Bollocks (308 comments)

OK, I did the research, by which I mean I used Google to find out what research had already been done. Honestly, these guys just about took care of it back in 2006. The answer appears to be a qualified "yes," in that many of the basic features of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis translate to MS, but MS is known to have more involvement from some pathways and less from others. In particular, the method of inducing EAE infection in mice led to a focus on the role of CD4+ cells (which include the TH17 cells) for years, until it was discovered that CD8+ cells also play a major role in MS. It turns out that treatments developed using EAE have had mixed results in treating human MS. For instance, there was a lot of hope in the late 1990s for a tumor necrosis factor blocker called lenercept, which was effective against EAE, but actually made MS worse. On the other hand, secukinumab, an antibody against interleukin-17 itself, has shown positive results against MS in a early proof-of-concept trial.

As the Gold, et al. paper concludes, "Autoimmune encephalomyelitis is, thus, an excellent tool for studying basic mechanisms of brain inflammation and immune-mediated CNS tissue injury, and for obtaining proof of principle, whether a certain therapeutic strategy has the potential to block these pathways. Whether they are relevant for multiple sclerosis patients in general and, if yes, for what subpopulation of patients has to be determined in respective clinical studies."

about a year ago

Submissions

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F.D.A. Approves Vaccine for Prostate Cancer

reverseengineer reverseengineer writes  |  more than 3 years ago

reverseengineer (580922) writes "The US Food and Drug Administration has given its first approval for a therapeutic cancer vaccine. In a clinical trial 'involving 512 men, those who got Provenge (sipuleucel-T) had a median survival of 25.8 months after treatment while those who got a placebo lived a median of 21.7 months. After three years, 32 percent of those who got Provenge were alive, compared with 23 percent of those who got the placebo.'

“The big story here is that this is the first proof of principle and proof that immunotherapy works in general in cancer, which I think is a huge observation,” said Dr. Philip Kantoff, chief of solid tumor oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the lead investigator in Dendreon’s largest clinical trial for the drug. “I think this is a very big thing and will lead to a lot more enthusiasm for the approach.”"

Link to Original Source
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Using Ionic Liquids to Enable Cellulosic Biofuel

reverseengineer reverseengineer writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reverseengineer (580922) writes "Chemists from the University of Wisconsin report a process for hydrolyzing cellulose into sugars that can be fermented to produce ethanol. In a recently published paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ronald Raines and Joseph Binder report that the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([EMIM]Cl) can dissolve cellulose, and that by carefully controlling the water present in an acid hydrolysis reaction conducted in [EMIM]Cl, they achieved a "90% yield of glucose from cellulose and 70–80% yield of sugars from untreated corn stover. " The authors go on to note, "This simple chemical process, which requires neither an edible plant nor a cellulase, could enable crude biomass to be the sole source of carbon for a scalable biorefinery. ""
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AMD to Split into Two Companies

reverseengineer reverseengineer writes  |  more than 5 years ago

reverseengineer (580922) writes "According to a Reuters story, AMD has announced it will spin off its manufacturing facilities into a separate firm with the temporary name of the Foundry Company. Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), a state-owned venture capital company, will hold half the board seats and own 55 percent of the new company, with AMD holding the balance. AMD will continue to use the new company's fabs- as a customer. As the story notes, 'AMD has always struggled against its bigger competitor and in the last few years was forced to weigh the price of its pride in owning the fabricating plants, or 'fabs,' which most other chip makers gave up long ago.'"
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Physicist John A. Wheeler is Dead at 96

reverseengineer reverseengineer writes  |  about 6 years ago

reverseengineer (580922) writes "Eminent physicist John Archibald Wheeler has died from pneumonia at the age of 96. The coiner of the terms "black hole" and "wormhole," Wheeler popularized the study of general relativity, and advised a distinguished list of graduate students including Kip Thorne and Richard Feynman. Other work included a collaboration with Niels Bohr to develop the "liquid drop" model of nuclear fission. Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said of Dr. Wheeler, "For me, he was the last Titan, the only physics superhero still standing.""
Link to Original Source
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reverseengineer reverseengineer writes  |  more than 7 years ago

reverseengineer (580922) writes "Roger D. Kornberg of Stanford University was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his characterization of the proteins associated with transcription (writing the information of DNA to RNA) in eukaryotes. Roger Kornberg is the son of 1959 Medicine Nobel winner Arthur Kornberg. This makes two prizes this year given for research associated with RNA."

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