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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 81

In my experience, google should have just suggested they'd go with a competitor.

Google: "How much for us to run fiber on your network nationwide?"
Google: "Hmm... hey, do you know what centurylink's phone number is?"
Google: "I've heard good things about verizon's network..."

I know they are willing to take a big reduction in their outrageous profits just to maintain their near monopoly status, and google wouldn't be dealing with that, but still I'm always amazed at how quickly they fold on the phone. Still shitty service, but at least it feels like I'm getting a good deal.

Comment Re:vanity project (Score 1) 161

people with economic interests will say "we can always bring them back" just the same as they say "we can use technology to cool the climate" now.

From where I'm sitting, I hear them saying "NO. NO. NOOOO. CLIMATE CHANGE NOT HAPPENING. NO! AND GAS PRICES AND JOBS! TAXES TAXES TAXES! EVIL!" and voters saying "Hmm... that sounds more reasonable than the scientists." Geoengineering and de-extinction are unnecessary arguments given that people already are being convinced by simple denials and short-sighted economic scare arguments.

So I think you have it backwards. We need both technologies as backups because the dumb masses are too stupid to make the right choice. And for the record, I held that opinion long before the most recent presidential election.

Comment Re:Why not go the whole nine yards? (Score 1) 161

George Church has a tendency to make slightly wild claims that sound reasonable in an effort to get media attention. He's likely saying "It'll be half elephant though" so he doesn't get written off as completely nuts. Prior to this, he held a secret science conference basically to say "We're going to be making whole genomes from scratch."

Seems like the Elon Musk approach: he dangles something in front of the media that is both incredible sounding yet realistic at the same time. And he's done a lot of impressive stuff sure. And there's good reason to get people excited about science for a minute rather than just focusing on the daily political fight. But it's furstrating too, sometimes I wish they'd shut up and just do it.

Comment Re:Seriously (Score 1) 102

Like anyone who lets themselves be influenced by commercials or product placement is a complete idiot?

Shit affects you whether you realize it or not because all people, "idiots" or not, are irrational. You see a friend post "TRUMP IS ENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND KILLING KIDS!" and you think "That's stupid," but you subconciously have a slightly more paranoid opinion of Trump.

And obviously the reverse is true. At least I hope. Otherwise, my father and mother in law went from sane Navy veterans to voting for a draft dodging idiot with questionable ties to Russia due to brain damage. See there! I'm falling victim to it too! And it'll take a few dozen posts on facebook a day telling me I'm an idiot before I'll accept that maybe I am an idiot...

Comment Re:Is there a product these patents protect? (Score 3, Informative) 69

There are about a dozen companies using licenses from one or the other to develop products. Including Editas which was oddly founded by Doudna of UC Berkley AND Zhang of the Broad institute

Not sure there's any CRISPR products for sale yet because research doesn't move as fast as the legal system does, but it's definitely not patent trolling. Almost every molecular biology lab is starting to use crispr in some capacity, So there should be applications coming out eventually.

There are supposedly some edited dogs in china I guess?

Submission + - Genome editing patent challenge decided in Broad Institute's favor (

interkin3tic writes: CRISPR/Cas9 are tools that can efficiently edit DNA. Jennifer Doudna at the University of California submitted a patent for editing bacterial DNA. Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute at Harvard filed for a patent later on using the technology in animals and filed for expidited review. The USPTO ruled today that the Broad Institute's patent was valid.

CRISPR-Cas9 is widely expected to earn a nobel prize as well as billions of dollars in biotech revenue.

Submission + - Ethicists debating CRISPR stop short of supporting human enhancement (

Baron_Yam writes: From the Washington Post:

For some ethicists, that represents a slippery slope. At the conclusion of a gene-editing summit in Washington at the National Academy of Sciences in December 2015, scientists said that although some basic research could proceed, it would be irresponsible to use genetically modified germline cells for the purpose of establishing a pregnancy.

But the new report takes a slightly more permissive, forward-thinking position, saying that, if and when such interventions are proved safe — which could be in the near future — and if numerous criteria are met to ensure that such gene editing is regulated and limited, it could potentially be used to treat rare, serious diseases.

“We say proceed with all due caution, but we don’t prohibit germline, after considerable discussion and debate,” said Richard Hynes, an MIT biologist and one of the leaders of the new study. “We’re talking only about fixing diseases.”

Comment Push notifications? (Score 2) 23

Great. Last I checked though, there were still no notifications on either. So if you wanted to have them alert you of an appointment or some other event, you had to ask them if it was time yet, they couldn't just talk at you. That seems like a bigger feature. I want a speaker that will tell my inconsiderate co-workers that someone else has signed up for some equipment they might be using in, say, ten minutes. If they can't check the calendar, they're not going to ask alexa if someone else is signed up. But a "Ding: get off the fucking machine within 5 minutes" might work.

Comment Re:Without even reading the $500 billion plan... (Score 1) 400

Science doesn't work as an all or nothing process. Someone comes up with a vision that's big picture without focusing on the details, gradually other people make it more and more fleshed out, and most of the time it goes nowhere, occasionally it turns into something useful.

When pennicillin was first discovered, no one knew how it was going to scale up from clearing out really really small circles in a dish to enough to cure a person. It took 14 years to get to treating people, and that rapid time scale was, IIRC, only because we had world wars to fight and needed it like now.

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 249

But... "those commie bastards: DID try to infiltrate every level of the government. Just as we were trying to do to them. They successfully stole enough secrets about the manhattan project to get the bomb themselves far faster than we did. This lead of course to a potentiall civilization-ending situation that hasn't been completely resolved.

Of course the paranoia got absurd. Worrying about commies infiltrating (gasp) HOLLYWOOD to BRAINWASH OUR CHILDREN INTO BECOMING COMMIES THROUGH MOVIES was idiotic on the level of worrying the gays were trying to turn all our children gay. And yes, there's no evidence russian hackers influenced the election to an appreciable degree. I think that's wildly optimistic: America wasn't tricked by evil russian hackers, we really are just so stupid that we left the electoral college system in place and millions of voters really were that stupid that they thought HRC was the corrupt one.

Still, it's an even dumber false dichotomy to conclude "We're safe from the russians forever." The russian connections are damaging the integrity of the presidency and faith in democracy. The russian hacker conspiracy theories are a lot more fucking realistic than the conspiracy theories about Obama being a kenyan muslim. The obama conspriacy theories generated anger that helped lead to a raft of congressmen who were put there just to shit all over anything Obama or liberal related. The same thing can happen to the liberal majority of the country.

In a few years if liberals elect a wildly unqualified and eratic president, say Kanye West, and actually DO declare a real war on coal, religion, and guns, and conservatives protest this is unfair, and liberal congresmen sneer back "Why don't you hve your russian hacker friends do something about it," those of us on the left might take some joy out of seeing the situation reversed, but it's still going to be damaging.

So yes, this shit does matter even if you think you were right before.

Comment Re:BullshiT! (Score 2) 382

Well it's cause of Obama's evil market regulations and war on fossil fuels. Now that Trump is in office, he'll correct that by putting tons of regulations on electric. Don't worry, he'll balance it out by removing two regulations from the fossil fuel industry for every one he puts on clean energy.

Sarcasm aside, I'm starting to be glad that Peter Thiel is close to Trump. Theil is friends with Musk, who of course is leading on electric cars. Seems unlikely that Trump will kill electric cars with that influence. Crony capitalism is better than the worst case scenario I suppose. Which is the redneck coalition simply destroying everything mainstream America has an interest in out of pure spite.

Comment Re:Sounds like everyone won though (Score 1) 95

I'm not familiar with google's approach. Were they actually going to develop a product here to sell or were they simply building the tech they'd patent and license to developers? Because the second sounds like what they were doing with android, and if that IS the plan, then they likely have the tech and IP. Mission accomplished at the cost they intended (potentially)?

If they were intending to keep these guys around then yeah, oops, but that seems like something they'd be able to see coming if they're as smart as google seems to be.

Comment Sounds like everyone won though (Score 4, Insightful) 95

So the engineers met the goals that earned the money. Google presumably didn't randomly set milestones, so the things they wanted they got. Headline makes it sound like there was an "oops," but I'm not seeing evidence of it.

Also, with the amount of money being thrown around at anything involving startup+AI+"silicon valley," I'm surprised anyone still works at google. If Google hadn't paid them an absurd amount of the even more absurd money they have on hand, would they have ever gotten anyone competent to work on it?

Comment Re:moving all the time is dumb (Score 1) 489

That's only true of small towns that aren't near a decent sized urban center. Which probably doesn't describe a very significant part of the country. 80% of the population lives in "urban" areas. Evidently that doesn't distinguish between big cities, suburbs which are on paper their own townships, and small isolated towns. So I don't know how much of the population lives in real small towns like you describe.

But I suspect that most people are able to change jobs without having to move, might be an increased commute, but not driving 3 hours through corn fields to get a new job.

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