* Posts by Chemist

2627 posts • joined 24 Mar 2010

Boffins find evidence of strange uranium-producing bacteria lurking underground

Chemist
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Re: The usual baloney

"Have you actually read any of Prof Widom's sources?"

Oh yes and that made me even more dubious. The wretched story is so full of holes and bad science (if some of it can be called science).

As for Widom after reading some of his papers, some of his peer's comments and some from his students I couldn't comment. (for legal reasons)

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Re: Alchemy

"now, changing anything to approximately iron is probably easiest?"

But not too easy, eh ?

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Chemist
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Re: The usual baloney

"Friend said every new scientific idea is outlandish when first proposed."

You've still got to find a way to prioritize what you read and attend especially these days when any dingbat can 'publish' on the internet somewhere. Having been involved in peer review and also having friends who are currently reviewers I can say that we did/do our best to maintain standards in the chemistry, medicinal chemistry and biomedical journals we contributed to. Although by no means a perfect system it's much better than a free for all. One the other hand the e-pub in question cites highly dubious sources and is sponsored by its own author and as far as I can tell has never been published in a 'hard' journal. Nor is there any obvious evidence that any experimental work has been repeated.

New ideas that challenge the norm are hard to propagate which is why the standard of evidence needs to be so high. People are more likely to 'believe' high-quality, repeated and repeatable experiments even if they ( and any related hypothesis) challenge the status quo

(In particular one good piece of hard evidence beats any number of mere opinions)

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Chemist
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Re: " For example replacing a hydrogen with deuterium slow significantly (~~2 fold) at that point"

"I would expect a drug with certain parts of made specifically with Deuterium would also be pretty expensive."

No Deuterium is relatively cheap certainly as part of the overall cost of manufacturing drugs. 99.9% D2O is available from Sigma-Aldrich in 4L bottles for example. Cost ? ~~$1000/L in small amounts.

"a natural background level of it which will find it's way into the bulk raw materials chain for drugs." -very funny, you'll be mentioning the C13 & 14 next

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Re: The usual baloney

"And no, a paper on the Arxiv is not acceptable (because the Arxiv is non-peer-reviewed-self-published stuff)."

Worst than that publication requires a 'endorser' or some such which in this case was the lead author himself !

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Chemist
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Re: The usual baloney

"If you're interested in why "

I know why - that's the difference between us having studied hundred of xtal structures and modeled ligands binding into receptors.

"As to sucrose and saccharine, they don't come into this as they don't smell - they are sensed by the tongue, not by nasal receptors in the nose."

They are still sensed by receptors in both cases and my point still stands. Ligands can bind in multiple ways to receptors and still produce a response.

And by the way what is this 'quantum vibration' ? In the case of deuterium substitution I find no problem with it having a small but measurable effect.

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Chemist
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Re: The usual baloney

This paper is extra-ordinary and contains content that I cannot believe. Shellfish making enough Calcium to replace their shells etc. No, sorry if this were true this would have set the whole of Biology/Chemistry/Physics on it's head and it hasn't.

This makes cold fusion look quite reasonable !

( A lot of the 'evidence' comes from a guy called Corentin Louis Kervran who subsequently won an Ig Nobel prize for his 'work' )

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Chemist
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Re: " For example replacing a hydrogen with deuterium slow significantly (~~2 fold) at that point"

"Now that sounds like a neat diagnostic trick, provided you have a supply of Deuterium handy."

Indeed it is and has even been suggested for final drugs although I don't know of any that use it. Deuterium and indeed Tritium is widely used in pharma research. Deuterium oxide is widely used for NMR spectography as a solvent and admix to remove the signal from 'exchangeable' hydrogens

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Chemist
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Re: The usual baloney

"why cyanide smells the same as almonds"

You do know that crushing bitter almonds releases cyanide !

"Bitter almonds may yield from 4–9 mg of hydrogen cyanide per almond[36] and contain 42 times higher amounts of cyanide than the trace levels found in sweet almonds.[37] The origin of cyanide content in bitter almonds is via the enzymatic hydrolysis of amygdalin.[37]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almond

In fact the main odour from almonds is benzaldehyde which some people associate with cyanide. I can't smell hydrogen cyanide myself ( a issue for a chemist !) indeed a moderate percentage of people can't . But I can smell benzaldehyde !

I'm not sure why you think that molecules of different shapes can't elicite the same response - for example sucrose and saccharin or one of the peptide sweetners.

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Chemist
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Re: The usual baloney

"Jesus fucking Christ! Another downvote for referencing a reputable scientific publication. Where do you get your science from then? Christian Science Monitor or the Grauniad?"

I suspect the downvote might be because there's no suggestion in this paper that nuclear effects are possible. which is something that that was being suggested by the OP. So your ref. was to a non sequitur.

As a chemist I accept that all chemistry involves quantum effects and many enzymes probably utilize tunneling but I don't see chemical (& therefore) biological systems having nuclear effects although as I mentioned in another post isotopes of lighter elements can show chemical differences.

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Chemist
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Re: "Now if the bacteria absorbs U235 preferentially things could get interesting....."

"Physicists will tell you that there's no chemical difference between how different isotopes behave chemically"

Chemists would tell you a somewhat different story. To be fair it's only the lightest elements that show sig. differences. For example replacing a hydrogen with deuterium slow significantly (~~2 fold) the metabolism of drugs at that point

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Chemist
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Re: Explosives Residues

"What is even odder I think is that these bacteria have evolved specifically because of human activities, and done so within our lifetime"

Even if this were true, which is unlikely*, bacteria are very versatile. In ideal conditions they may replicate in ~~20mins. Any successful mutations will survive, originals being crowded out. Any unsuccessful mutations (probably the vast majority) will disappear. There may be many, many dead-ends in just a few years ( that we don't see) . It didn't take too long for bacteria growing in the warm, nutrient-rich cooling water from power station towers to develop considerable resistance to chlorine bleach.

* bacteria will metabolize all sorts. Even in humans p450 enzymes will readily metabolize materials they've never been exposed to before.

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LIGO physicists eyeball a new gravitational wave

Chemist
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Re: Two solar masses (in energy) escaped

"I really would love to hear an explanation from someone who really understands this stuff."

Can't claim to be any kind of expert but my understanding is that the energy is radiated away in increasing amounts as the masses approach - this fits with the waveform detected where the amplitude increases with time until the point of merger. Maybe it will need much improved sensitivity to explore the very interesting region of time during which the merger happens.

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Boffins play with the world's most powerful X‑ray gun to shoot molecules

Chemist
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Re: Astonishing.

"That said I'm not sure how common Iodine containing molecules are in biochemistry, although there's meant to be a lot of it in seaweed."

Not often found in drugs but 'heavy' atoms are often substituted into materials for x-ray crystallography to help in the process fr solving the structure. This is often Sulfur being replaced by Selenium in protein crystallography. As mentioned in the article damage by the x-ray beam to the crystals used is a major problem in obtaining high-quality structural info.

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Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land

Chemist
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Re: FreeBSD wireless device support

""linux still has no support for the wifi driver ""

The advice to buy a usb wifi stick is quite valid - a number of makes are sold cheaply for older Rasp. Pis and work well on all the Linux PCs I've tried them on. As they are only ~1cm long when plugged -in they scarcely increase the footprint of a laptop.

The one I've got on a Pi (running Motion ) is :

Bus 001 Device 009: ID 148f:5370 Ralink Technology, Corp. RT5370 Wireless Adapter called a WiPi from one of the on-line Pi retailers

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Chemist
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Re: Printing

"commodity inkjets and lasers are only supported, if at all, by generic drivers."

Not here, not for years and years. My Samsung laser even came with a linux driver disk. I also have a cheap, Epson all-in-one scanner/ink-jet - that also is no problem neither the scanner or the printer.**

As for installation and control even the Rasp.Pis on this network can automatically find and install the printers.

**(Using OpenSUSE and installing the printers (by GUI) as network printers - no problem)

BTW for PC loaded with a variety of Linux point your browser to :

https://nimbusoft.com/

(Never tried them yet so can't comment)

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Don't rely on fitness trackers to track number of calories burned

Chemist
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If you'd like a (rough) algorithmn ...

from one who's struggled with weight over many years but succeeded in the end.

If you weight ~85kg ( otherwise scale it)

1 mile walking is 100 Cal ( almost any speed of walking)

1 mile running is 130 Cal

100 metres ascent & descent is 100 Cal All figures approx. and sorry to mix units but they are easy to remember.

So doing the ~12 mile round trip from (say) Zermatt (1600m) to Gornergrat (3100m) would be approx. 1200 Cals for the distance +1500 Cals for the height = ~2700 Cals or ~~ 2/3rd of a marathon.

The figures are accurate enough to give you some idea of the amount of effort needed to burn off all those goodies.

Other exercise is available but I don't have such well-used values.

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Gravitational waves permanently change spacetime, say astroboffins

Chemist
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"the Australian Research Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery,"

That's a hell of a title for any institute !

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HPE Labs manufactures monster memory Machine system

Chemist
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Re: @AC...

"To be fair... I don't see a lot of use cases where this is really needed."

I do

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Chemist
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Re: Hmmm what should we call it?

"I know... why not call it a 'Mainframe' ?"

Multivac ?

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Ransomware scum have already unleashed kill-switch-free WannaCry‬pt‪ variant

Chemist
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Re: Experts all giving advice how how to stay secure

"A lot of people (including myself) use their laptops in various locations. I prefer the "only enable services and applications that you need" "

I prefer the both approach

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Chemist
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Re: Experts all giving advice how how to stay secure

"I need to review what services it has enabled to make it a bit more secure before I connect it to the Internet to download latest patches."

Are you suggesting that the "internet" can get to your laptop's open ports - have you no router/firewall etc ?

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WannaCrypt ransomware snatches NSA exploit, fscks over Telefónica, other orgs in Spain

Chemist
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Re: Do you think the military run fucking ghey Linux?

"Do you think the military run fucking ghey Linux? "

There are plenty of documented refs. to the fact that they do ! A (few) examples

http://linuxgizmos.com/u-s-military-uav-control-systems-switch-to-linux/

http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-air-forces-secure-linux-distribution/

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/linux-and-open-source/linux-grabs-its-single-biggest-win/

https://www.redhat.com/en/about/blog/red-Hats-decade-of-collaboration-with-government-and-the-open-source-community

BTW In the case of human viral protection one of the most important factors in resistance is biological diversity . Ditto with IT security

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UK hospital meltdown after ransomware worm uses NSA vuln to raid IT

Chemist
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" But it is an attack in the sense of a guy standing in a middle of street firing a machine gun randomly"

It seems more than just that - each bullet starts infecting as well . It seems to contain a worm using a SMB vuln.

(https://isc.sans.edu/)

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Chemist
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Re: Ransomware

"You don't lock them up and demand a ransom."

You might not now but in medieval times it was the best way of becoming rich

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Microsoft's Windows 10 ARM-twist comes closer with first demonstration

Chemist
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"Linux has been on ARM devices for a while"

More to the point Firefox, GIMP, Chromium and buckets of other stuff ( as you suggest entire Linux distros) have been native on ARM for quite a while.

I've been compiling a lot of my stuff from x86 to Arm for the last year ( and indeed now I'm now often writing/compiling programs on ARM and then moving those to x86.

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America's mystery X-37B space drone lands after two years in orbit

Chemist
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Re: it is unlikely that it carries any weapons... cough... cough...

"and I think the KE of 15kg at 18000m/s is about a thousandth of that."

Agreed [ 0.5*15*(18000^2) = 2.4e9 J]

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Fortran greybeards: Get your walking frames and shuffle over to NASA

Chemist
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Re: Accuracy and industry standards

"However, all of this only goes so far when you are dealing with intrinsically unstable problems. In particular, CFD is quite notorious for numerical instabilities and tendency to chaotic behaviour "

Well worth the interested reading about Edward Norton Lorenz's experiences with early computers and the 'butterfly effect' : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

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You only need 60 bytes to hose Linux's rpcbind

Chemist
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"f you really need to run rpcbind (which binds RPC calls to addresses), put it behind a firewall limiting Port 111 to the outside world."

Does no-one scan their external address for any (inadvertently) exposed ports ?

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Chemist
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"it appears to be mainly used with NFS servers."

It is, both my NFS servers have it open but they are internal.

( The only ports I have exposed externally (via port forwarding) are ssh on unusual port numbers, with unusual user names ( just the one limited user on each machine) and certificates)

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Microsoft sparks new war with Google with, er, $999+ lappies for kids

Chemist
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Re: Or just a bog standard Pi...

"It works so well that, more-often-than-not, I don't bother to power up my desktop machine."

For those who doubt this I've just run remotely a test spreadsheet I use (via X) on a Pi3 in my garage. via a weakish wifi signal. The recalculation of 400000 sines took 6 seconds. Now on this i7 laptop it takes ~1 sec but it shows that running some software even on a Pi remotely can be quite usable.

Using it with a direct ethernet connection with the laptop powering the pi is much better of course esp. for interactive use with graphics as might be expected

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Red alert! Intel patches remote execution hole that's been hidden in chips since 2010

Chemist
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Re: PANIC!!!!!!!!!! :-)

"which exists only for Windows, apparently "

Not sure about that - see the How-To

https://linux.die.net/man/7/amt-howto which in any case provides more info. about AMT

See also https://linux.die.net/man/1/amtterm (amtterm provides access to the serial-over-lan port of Intel AMT managed machines.)

https://linux.die.net/man/1/amttool (amttool is a perl script which speaks SOAP to Intel AMT managed machines. It can query informations about the machine in question and also send some commands for basic remote control. )

Although my i7 laptop reports using lspci :

00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1 (rev 04) it doesn't seem to be exposed on a port, possibly I need to plug an ethernet cable in. There are definitely kernel modules running that are related (mei_me & mei) and an entry in /sys/bus/mei and /dev/mei

(Prominent usage of the Intel ME Interface is to communicate with Intel(R) Active Management Technology (Intel AMT) implemented in firmware running on the ...)

https://www.kernel.org/doc/Documentation/misc-devices/mei/mei.txt.

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Chemist
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SANS

Have a entry for this with some tests

https://isc.sans.edu/

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Boffins gently wake the Large Hadron Collider from annual hibernation

Chemist
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Re: Excellent

"Another step on the way to smashing a hole in reality."

Plenty of those already, don't need megawatts just a few politicians (sigh)

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Linux Mint-using terror nerd awaits sentence for training Islamic State

Chemist
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"Finally, recognition that terrorists wear suits."

No - he just wears a tie ! (Hopefully a very long and wide tie )

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Give 'bots a chance: Driverless cars to be trialled between London and Oxford

Chemist
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Re: There's a great deal

"Fast breeder reactors that use uranium are, by all intents and purposes, renewable"

But I don't suppose any were generating electricity on the day in question

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Chemist
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Re: There's a great deal

"UK powered by renewables alone for 24hrs"

Can you give a ref. to this ?? I know we managed without coal for 24hrs. but we do have plenty of natural gas stations - it also depends on whether you call nuclear 'renewable'.

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Microsoft promises twice-yearly Windows 10, O365 updates – with just 18 months' support

Chemist
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Re: Anybody else?

"It's just impossible to support all of Linux in a way that doesn't require the end user to be prepared to do a lot of command line administration."

Sorry, but that's not not my experience. I install OpenSUSE every year or two as a new release come out, administer it with the GUI tools and it just works. I also have a lot of Raspberry Pis networked together - now they are a more work due to the lighter weight desktops and the more experimental uses I put them to but still most admin. is done with the GUI tools.

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Chemist
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Re: Dear gods...

"But Linux falls apart the moment you need to support anything ever-so-slightly non-standard."

Basically that is nonsense. I've used it since ~ the beginning and it as only got better. I used it professionally from ~2000 until I retired for all manner of scientific computing running software at ~100% cpu for days at a time, and the graphics workstation I was using was still usable and responsive. It never crashed Some software did ( it was often edgy stuff) but the core system never did. We tried porting some of our in-house software to W2000 which was the company system at the time and it fell over all the time. I've not used Windows since ~2008 and I certainly don't miss it. I also never have experienced problems with LibreOffice - I get lots of Word/Excel/LO files from other scientists and don't seem to have any problems. All my other interests - video editing, RAW photo development, electronics are covered by adequate to wonderful programs. Others maybe will have a problem with one or more areas, but IMO Linux is the OS of choice for "anything ever-so-slightly non-standard" esp. with the vast range of compilers, libraries etc.

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Chemist
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Re: Twice yearly roll out of incompatabilities

"How about change details of the SMB protocol and thus mounting of SMB shares no longer works."

Well it might give you problems IF you use SMB but it won't actually break Linux

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Chemist
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Re: Twice yearly roll out of incompatabilities

"start to roll out code that breaks other systems; be they those who are still running old versions of Microsoft Windows (ie not 10) or those who run non Microsoft operating systems or applications. Eg Linux "

Eh ? (Please explain how they're going to break Linux)

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

Chemist
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"It would save 50k/year * 650mps - £3,250,000 - ie: bugger all."

Well it would actually save £32 million but I take your point

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Far out: Dark matter bridges millions of light-years long spotted between galaxies

Chemist
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Re: Neurons, to me

"Don't say that out loud around the mice! If they know you have the answer they may stop the program."

The mice knew the answer - they didn't know the question !

(Thanks Douglas)

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Chemist
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Re: The assumption that it's matter

"Since matter is associated with gravity,"

BTW although this is often stated, in the Einstein field equations it's actually mass & energy that 'bends' spacetime AFAIK

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

Chemist
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Re: Personal opinion

"If you patent something, i think they should give you a period of time to implement it into your own working products. If you just patent something without the intent to use the design yourself,"

In most sensible countries you can't patent an idea, you have to reduce it to a real example. With a new drug for example you need to describe how to synthesise it, describe some factual data such as melting point, NMR spectrum, mass spec. etc. Describe its use, advantage, biological data and alternative routes to synthesise it AND give sufficient examples of the synthesis of similar molecules along with the data above to show that the area has been evaluated. (My largest patent topped-out at ~100 examples which was a year's work and took weeks just to write)

On the other hand it was easy to spot patents (usually American I'm afraid) where almost all examples had been 'synthesised' on paper and had very broad classification for biological activity e.g. +, ++, +++, inactive. Patent offices vary widely in how much detail they require and how often they challenge the claims & detail in the application

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Back to the future: Honda's new electric car can go an incredible 80 miles!

Chemist
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Re: Hydrogen fuel cells

"The energy required to make it, i.e. separate it from the oxygen in water, is the energy that's stored in it as a fuel to be recombined with oxygen so this aspect doesn't really matter."

If only this were so. There are inefficiencies in the process - esp. electrolysis where ( from memory only ~~50%-70%) of the input energy produces hydrogen. When combined with the need to compress or liquify the gas it looks pretty dire. As someone mentioned above making hydrogen from natural gas is the usual route but necessarily produces carbon dioxide from a finite resource

People have mentioned "better catalysts" for the electrolysis process but catalysts only change the kinetics of a reaction NOT the thermodynamics.

Now I'm fairly sure the long-term future of transport is going to have to include electricity either directly or as a source of energy for synthesis of a fuel but the thermodynamic requirements will always need to be met.

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Chemist
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Re: Hydrogen fuel cells

"The only thing stopping it is finding a super efficient novel method for separating those lovely H atoms from the O in water. "

Thermodynamics !. No matter how efficient (and it isn't at the moment) there is a fixed energy required to do it of ~280kJ/mol. There is also an energy cost in either compressing it or liquifying it.

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How hard will it be to measure Planet Nine?

Chemist
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Re: " it would mass about ten times more than Earth"

"Weigh is way better, but not whey. Too cheesy."

Weigh is certainly a verb but definitely NOT the correct word to use in this context. Mass is the correct noun and so the construct should be .... .it would have a mass about ten times more than Earth

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How Ford has slammed the door on Silicon Valley's autonomous vehicles drive

Chemist
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Re: ... start your vehicle and warm it up from inside the house on a cold day...

"@Mage, your own link (correctly) says CO2 is not toxic."

You might like to read the rest of the paragraph !

"Concentrations of 7% to 10% (70,000 to 100,000 ppm) may cause suffocation, even in the presence of sufficient oxygen, manifesting as dizziness, headache, visual and hearing dysfunction, and unconsciousness within a few minutes to an hour.[98] The physiological effects of acute carbon dioxide exposure are grouped together under the term hypercapnia, a subset of asphyxiation."

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