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PeterMcKellar's Avatar Joined almost 6 years ago
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Go to: The DNA Transistor

PeterMcKellar's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by PeterMcKellar

Its strange that the HGP always seems to get the credit - I guess it's probably because they got the catchy name.

Maybe if Venter had named his endevour "I beat Collins, proved him wrong and decoded the Human Genome FIRST, Nyah, Nyah, Nyah Project" he would have been credited?

I wonder how Stas Polonsky, Gustavo Stolvitzky and IBM would feel if this work was attributed to Steve Jobs at Apple? Nothing they said actually credited HGP ("total cost in billions" is accurate), but the text did. Maybe this was just a slip in IBM's marketing dept?

Fri, 30 Oct 2009 07:23:00 UTC | #409921

Go to: The DNA Transistor

PeterMcKellar's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by PeterMcKellar

This is excellent progress. The idealised video shows a single pore and a single chromosome being read - in practice I would expect the chip to be riddled with holes and performing the read massively parallel(ly) - with tons of redundancy, error elimination, software filtering and the likes.

The only problem I have with this story is the way it perpetuates that meme that the Human Genome Project were the first to sequence the human genome.


In comparison, the first sequencing ever done by the Human Genome Project (HGP) cost $3 billion.


The human genome was first sequenced by J. Craig Venter and his (small) team. It was done for $100m from an overall budget of $300m.

The HGP by comparison (under the direction of Francis Collins) replicated and verified Venter's work (and provided minor corrections as is common in all scientific research and the peer review process). The HGP was able to do the same for 10 times the cost ($1B:$3B). Venter's shotgun sequencing technique was rejected by the HGP and they would probably still be battling away at the project if the stellar success of Venter's technique hadn't brought the whole thing to an embarrassing "elephant in the room" situation. Collins was able to save face and switch to shotgun sequencing and bring the project back on track - even claiming early completion - but in second place.

For those interested, I believe Collin's favoured technique was based on a phase change in water. I could be wrong.....

Francis Collins has now been given a budget of $30B to head up the NIH. By analogy expect $1B worth of output to be produced by independent groups and The NIH to claim credit.

Fri, 30 Oct 2009 06:42:00 UTC | #409915

Go to: Scientists Grow Doll Out of Living Cells, Complex Organisms Next

PeterMcKellar's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by PeterMcKellar

This is very cool.

Until now it was only possible to grow flat cultures of cells (like skin).

A few years ago an artificial lung 'cube' was grown in 3D and kept alive for a few weeks. I think this one was assembled cell by cell. Using a mould is far faster.

The idea (as I see it) is to get to the stage where we can print whole organs out in 3D. Stem cells in one "ink" cartridge and matrix in another.

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 05:58:00 UTC | #312470

Go to: New Bus Campaign

PeterMcKellar's Avatar Jump to comment 1607 by PeterMcKellar

I think it makes good sense to tie the atheist red "A" symbol to any and all advertising. Its like cross-linking with websites.

Anyone ever on broadcast that could try "product placement" when on air?

Celebs can sway opinion just by being seen associated with forward thinking and progressive ideas. Maybe we need an international ambassador for Atheism and humanist goals like the UN appoints or the churches annoint. We could change them every year or two, maybe have one per continent/country. Like a model being the "face" of a product.

Someone mentioned we should collectively buy an advertising agency. Great idea. Failing that, I suspect we have the skills on board to create our own. All our advertising seems to be dependent on the whim of a single (typically theist) agency owner.

Sun, 18 Jan 2009 09:37:00 UTC | #308072

Go to: New Bus Campaign

PeterMcKellar's Avatar Jump to comment 1604 by PeterMcKellar

OT - Personal request to Richard Dawkins.

Could you please autograph a copy of the God Delusion and send it with a friendly note to PM Kevin Rudd, Australia's papist prime minister? Getting him to read it however is the biggest problem :( National Leaders need a little more effort than we plebs but they can make major changes possible.

I will gladly cover costs and drop something into the RDFRS (I'll be doing the latter anyway when I next get paid). I would do this myself, but I think I've been put in his email killfile and doubt he would ever get the book if I sent it physically.

Then there's the next problem of getting him to understand it......

Sun, 18 Jan 2009 09:08:00 UTC | #308060

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