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New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

rjmnz Re:"new" research (185 comments)

There is increasing evidence, particularly involving neuroectodermal cell lines that somatic cell genetic variation is usual. This involves genes moving around within the genome. Normal brain development depends on it. It may well represent an essential component of neuroectodermal tissue and organ development.
The only cell lines where the germline must be protected at all costs are the germ cells themselves.
It makes sense that the origins of our vertebrate adaptive immune system comes from something more general purpose and the evidence for this is emerging.

about 3 months ago

New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

rjmnz Re:"new" research (185 comments)

Efficient cooperation is very very hard.
Economists say it is impossible. Multicellular life requires it and took 3 billion years to find the trick.
The genes that are identified as cancer causing (P53, rb, P16, etc) have vital roles to play in ensuring cellular cooperation.
It is reasonable to view cancer cells as cells that are losing the skills of cooperation.
Given that our DNA is not closely guarded in our somatic cells (we wouldn't have an immune system if it was) then there will be variation occurring as we grow and as our cells turn over. With selection pressure at the cellular level (abundance of nutrients, oxygen poor intra-cellular environment etc) then this variation makes cancer very likely.

My personal view as a Pathologist.

about 3 months ago

South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

rjmnz Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (665 comments)

The thing about Science is that it is not that much about finding the truth, it is about building models to do things (like predicting that harmful organisms will become immune to antibiotics because of natural selection) to help mankind. A big part of Science is to challenge the old models to see if they still hold up in new scenarios.

Newton model of physics breaks down at the subatomic level, so it is essentially not "truth". But the model is still used for a myriad of applications and taught in all high schools, because it is useful to mankind.

Ahh a realist, "use whatever theory best suits the circumstance, the truth doesn't matter"
An absolutist is always concerned with the truth irrespective of all the associated problems.

An absolutist will always prefer a theory that is perceived to be closer to the "truth", whatever that is. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if we have succeeded in our efforts (confirmation problem), only that our best theories have either not been dis-proven (possibly true) or are known to be incomplete but lacking a better candidate (gravity).
Newtonian mechanics and gravitation is taught at school because it is understandable and a mathematically sound approximation of Einsteinian mechanics and relativity. If learning Newtonian mechanics made comprehension of Einsteinian mechanics more difficult it would have gone the way of epicycles (also a good way of calculating orbits).
I work in health care. I am a lonely absolutist in an industry largely composed of realists.

about 9 months ago

New Zealand Turning Hobbits Into Actual Cash

rjmnz Re:Future historians will be confused (89 comments)

Actually grandparent is right. Our public debt is our government or sovereign debt. This is the debt that the government and all of us collectively are responsible for. This is low.
Our private debt is high. This is the debt you and I chose to take on (credit cards, car finance mortgage etc) and are individually responsible for.
Fortunately for us this debt does not have as much impact on national credit ratings and perceptions of financial stability.

more than 2 years ago

Swiss Railway: Apple's Using Its Clock Design Without Permission

rjmnz Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (274 comments)

The design is also trademarked. That's a different kettle of fish. How old is the trademarked shape of the Coke bottle?

Mod parent up.
Trademarks and trade dress expire only when you fail to defend them. The term is trademark dilution.

Put a beverage in a waisted bottle and watch CocaCola successfully sue your ass, just like they have done before. It doesn't have to be identical.
These things however require active defence. The Swiss Railway must defend their mark. If they allow this then the mark is diluted and they lose ownership.
This is not new. Just because "trade dress" is a new concept here (partly due to the inappropriate (in my view) use of the term "patent", does not make it new.

The same rules required Apple to sue to protect their design.
I wonder if Samsung actually understand the concept of "trade dress" and it's long (European) well defined legal status (in case law as opposed to statute).
I would bet that the CocaCola execs were completely happy with the Samsung Vs Apple verdict.

more than 2 years ago

Apple Announces Most Profitable Quarter in History

rjmnz Re:It isn't Wednesday yet... (761 comments)

... It's still Tuesday....

Um, my computer is happily displaying Wed Jan 25 1:52pm (synced to a timeserver).

I just happen to be on the other side of the dateline (NZ)

more than 2 years ago

Samsung Ordered To Hand Over Unreleased Designs To Apple

rjmnz Mod parent up, this is about design, not tech (260 comments)

If you make soda that tastes like Coca-Cola, you don't have any issues. There are many generics today. If you make your cans and bottles look like Coca-Cola or Pepsi ones with similar color, logos, fonts, etc; you are going to get your ass sued. That's the distinction Apple is making and why they didn't sue LG or Motorola or Nokia or RIM for copying design.

In particular the shape of the Coke Bottle is zealously defended. It is instantly recognizable anywhere in the world, with or without label. Any copycat designs are relentlessly pursued worldwide.
The only asset CocaCola has is their "Trade Dress". This is what protects their brand identity.

more than 3 years ago

Famous British Autism Study an 'Elaborate Fraud'

rjmnz Re:My kids are not vaccinated. (813 comments)

Urine has saved lives.
Initially penicillin was so hard to produce doctors resorted to recovering it from the urine of patients and reusing it.
Thousands of heart attacks have been prevented by IV administration of purified nun's urine (Urokinase)

Molecules are molecules, the source of many in everyday use would shock you.

more than 3 years ago

iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

rjmnz Re:They dont want a computer (1634 comments)

They want a secretary.

New brand name! MiniSec (TM)
Hmm maybe Arthur C Clarke beat me to that one.

Seriously, we are just getting to where the stateless personal organizer that everyone carried as described by Arthur C Clarke is just becoming possible. The minisec was an appliance that just did stuff. It was a closed device and locked tightly down as it carried all your personal data.

more than 4 years ago

First Acoustic Black Hole Created

rjmnz Re:Sort of Hawking Radiation (165 comments)

By the way, there's a similar, cheaper experiment you can do: pop a hole in a pressurized container. The gas cannot escape it (at the outlet) faster than the local speed of sound, which is obtained whenever the ratio of pressure inside to pressure outside exceeds a critical value. One gas dynamics professor said I can think of it like this: "even though a higher pressure ratio creates a greater pressure potential difference, the gas inside the tank cannot 'learn' of the greater difference because that would require information to go *into* the tank, *against* the gas that is escaping at the speed of sound"

Kind of like in the setup described in the article...

This is because at the fundamental level, sound is propagated by particle collisions. The speed of sound (in a gas) is determined by particle velocity which is linked to temperature and particle mass. Sound cannot move faster than the fastest particle (in a gas). Pressure is irrelevant.
Sound in liquids and solids is another matter entirely.

more than 5 years ago

Scientists Find Solar System Like Ours

rjmnz Re:Umm, misleading? (173 comments)

Of course it is "like ours".
Astronomers are struggling with models of solar system formation which could explain the formation of our solar system. AFIK all extrasolar systems to date are so extreme that the models don't even start to work. This is the first system where the planetary distribution is comparable to ours. Remember the rocky dwarfs in our solar system represent an infinitesimal component of the mass. Don't attach too much significance to the rocks just because we happen to live on one.
The science is understanding the formation of planetary systems in which this one is very much like ours.
The science (fantasy/fiction) is discovering earth like planets themselves. I would also bet that when we get to finding earth like planets the gas giant distribution should be sol like.

more than 6 years ago


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