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1178 Glorious Leader

About Arete

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    Biology Expert

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    Ecological speciation, functional genomics, phylogenetics, population genetics and evolution.
  • College Major/Degree
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Evolutionary Biology
  • Occupation
    Assistant Professor

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  1. Lennox's use of Penrose's math is fundamentally flawed, and displays a lack of basic biological knowledge. DNA encodes amino acids in triplicates of base pairs called codons. There are 64 possible codons, encoding 20 amino acids, and stop. The translation of codons into amino acids is highly redundant, with numerous codons denoting each amino acid. 61 encode amino acids, and three encode stop. There are no untranslatable codons. This has a number of implications: 1) All possible DNA sequences can be translated into proteins. There is no such thing as a "gibberish" DNA code. 2) Because of the redundancy, multiple changes can occur without affecting the translation of the sequence. 3) Therefore comparisons of gibberish and junkyards to DNA code are not apt. unlike written language and scrapheaps, there is no such thing as an untranslatable gene. 4) Arguments from low probability are not apt. Given all possible arrangements of nucleotides can encode proteins, there are no null sequences. Consider it more like a dice throw. Rolling one hundred sixes in a row has a probability of (1/6)100 or 1.5 x 10-78. Except ALL combinations of 100 throws have this probability and if you perform the experiment, an outcome is inevitable. Claiming that the low probability makes the outcome impossible ex post facto is not sensible.
  2. Arming Teachers

    I doubt anyone will miss the fact that your position is that "every gun is an assault weapon capable of killing an entire classroom of children". If you can't recognize the difference between a field shotgun and a bump stock equipped AR15, there's no sensible discussion to be had. Just to confirm - your position is that the only effective form of gun control is a 100% ban on all firearms? You do know that the only country in the world with zero private gun ownership is North Korea, right? Everywhere else effective gun control includes civilians owning guns for recreational activities.
  3. Arming Teachers

    A) I SAW 30+ birds. I did not shoot 30+ birds. Fire one shot at a group of turkeys, you kill one, maybe two birds and the rest scatter. Then you have to pack up and walk after them to take a second shot. B) No, it's extremely unlikely anyone would die, or even have serious injuries - that's not how light birdshot works. I would be like peppering the classroom in hundreds of bb gun pellets .
  4. Arming Teachers

    Ok. so could you clarify what you did mean? because in the quoted post, at least to me, you appear to be insinuating that. If I'm incorrect I apologise, but I'm not really seeing any other possible implied meaning. You appear to be extremely poorly versed in firearms, which may be leading to many of your poorly formed assumptions. Light birdshot is designed to take birds on the wing, not large mammals. Unless fired at extreme close range, it is unlikely to result in serious injury to a person. A sword is vastly more effective at killing people. Not every gun is an AR15.
  5. Arming Teachers

    Actually, no. When I replied to you back on page #3, I first outlined the multiple gun control measures I voluntarily undertake to mitigate the risks associated with owning firearms. These closely resemble Australian regulations regarding firearm ownership. You know, that place where effective gun control measures resulted in no mass shootings since they were implemented in 1996? The point of other examples is that we mitigate risks in our daily lives all the time. Unsubstantiated claims about children learning to open multiple safes, defeat safety devices and any possible security mechanism leads us down a rabbit hole of absurdity to the eventual point of view which you've expressed in other threads - that the only form of acceptable gun control is a complete ban on private firearm ownership. What an asinine comment. Nowhere did I ever state I shot dozens of birds with a single magazine from a pump action shotgun. This clearly illustrates the extremity of your point of view - not every firearm can be used to commit the kind of mass shootings we see in the US. In countries with restrictive firearm legislation, like the UK and Australia, people are still able to own firearms. Even with existence of firearms, mass shootings in these places are rare or non-existent. Is the risk zero? of course not. No one is saying this. The risks CAN be mitigated to acceptable levels through effective gun control measures, and are in places that aren't the US. We aren't going to agree on this.
  6. Arming Teachers

    This is exactly the type of tiresome strawman that made me weary to enter the debate. Of course I don't consider them equal risks, or each of my hot water taps would be locked, with a seperate lock on the mains which you'd have to go outside to unlock every time you wanted a shower. The point was, is and remains that risks in a home, and in life, are manifold. Risk management is part of parenting and general existence as a human being. When someone manages to conduct a mass shooting with four rounds of #7 birdshot, you'll have one too. I don't know how you imagine or assume guns are used when they are used for culling invasive species or hunting. I can't help but imagine you think we pull out the rifles and ride them around the living room like hobby horses on a nightly basis. I've never opened a safe, or handled a gun with my son, or any other child present. I've also never welded with a child present, never operated a chainsaw with a child present, or let my three year old drive me to work. As previous threads have shown, you have an extreme viewpoint here and we're not going to agree.
  7. Arming Teachers

    I am certainly not denying that the safest option is to not own guns, just as the safest option with regards to ladder accidents would be to not own a ladder. But a ladder is useful, and if used responsibly and carefully, a ladder is relatively safe. Same for most guns. Safe storage is a big deal, however. Less than half of the gun owners in the us store their firearms locked away in any fashion, let alone locked separately to ammunition. About a fifth of gun owners store a gun both unlocked and loaded in the house. This is a problem, for sure. To set the scene, we live on 12 acres in the Sierra foothills. Our property is rocky, mixed oak/pine woodland and changes in elevation by 400 feet from the lowest to the highest point. Frequent visitors to our land include mountain lions, brown bears, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, golden eagles, pacific rattlesnakes, etc. We own a 12ga shotgun. Turkeys are an invasive species here and I have more than once come home to 30+ turkeys destroying the vegetable garden, so we use the shotgun to cull. I also hunt quail on our land when in season, because, well, they're tasty. We also own a rifle chambered in .22LR - ground squirrels are highly prolific here, tend to favor areas around our buildings and dig under the slabs, and are also a known reservoir of Yersinia pestis. We tried trapping to keep their numbers down but also killed a lot of non target species, so now cull with a small caliber rifle. We also own a rifle chambered in .308. I mostly use this as for couple of wilderness deer hunts in the fall. I just recently used it to cull a problem raccoon that had learned to wait until our chickens came close to the edge of the pen, then pull their heads through the wire and bite them off. Guns are a tool here. Just like chainsaws, brushcutters, etc. They can be dangerous, sure. But not every gun owner is living in a city apartment with a loaded 9mm pistol/AR15 next to their bed. You can own a gun for good reason and be responsible about it.
  8. Arming Teachers

    I chose not to continue the discussion, as it was going astray from the topic of the thread and becoming obtuse, but OK. 1) When a child can open the kitchen drawers and cupboards, do you throw out the household bleach and kitchen knives? Do you shut off the hot water when they can turn the bath taps? Demolish upstairs when they can climb over the baby gate? Or do you teach them that numerous household items are dangerous and not appropriate to play with? 2) I disagree that we should expect children to inevitably crack safes. The whole point of a decent quality safe is that an adult can't access it without explicit instructions on how to open it.
  9. Arming Teachers

    In order for this to happen - the 4 year old needs to find the keys to my shop, unlock the door and let themselves in. They need to know the 6 digit safe combination, open the safe and take out the 12ga pump with a 28 inch barrel (either of the rifles would be more difficult as I store them with their bolts out). They now need to carry the 1.2m long gun back down to the house and get to the top shelf of the master bedroom closet. They need to know the 4 digit combination to that safe too. They need to take out a box of shells and successfully load one or more shells past the loading flap into the magazine, remove the safety, rack the shotgun...and now tragedy is imminent... Personally I'm more concerned about the hot water taps, getting the keys to a car and getting it out of park, forks in electrical outlets, boiling water on the stove, the head height bench corners, riding bikes down the stairs, rattlesnakes, etc etc etc.
  10. Arming Teachers

    Since moving to the US in 2012, I have been physically on campus during two active assailant lock down events. One resolved peacefully, one resulted in four people being stabbed non-fatally by an assailant who was ultimately shot and killed by campus police. The assailant in this instance had a written manifesto in which he planned to steal a gun from a campus police officer in order to kill more people. I'm also a gun owner. I live on a 12 acre, woodland property in the Sierras, and own 3 long guns. I store these unloaded in a locked safe, bolted to the floor. Ammunition is stored in another building, also in a locked safe. This is what safe gun ownership looks like to me, because a) The guns we own are far more likely to hurt us in an accident than be used in self defense, b) are attractants to thieves, and have the potential to be stolen, sold illegally and used in a crime, and I wish to prevent that, and c) so they cannot be used against us in the extremely unlikely event we disturb a burglar or someone invades our home. I would beg any policy maker to not force me to carry a gun in my classroom. Already cited statistics in this thread empirically demonstrate that my chances of stopping a shooter are minimal. I'm not a trained counter-terrorist operative and never will be. Studies also show that any such gun is orders of magnitude more likely to be involved in an accident or suicide than self defense. I don't want that burden placed on me or my campus.
  11. How does lab permission generally work?

    While I am certainly not trying to disparage you or question your scientific knowledge, someone unaware that IRB approval is required for human subject research is not qualified to run a clinical trial. FWIW, if you've never been involved in a clinical trial before as a researcher, you're unlikely to be qualified to run one yourself. Therefore, you'd need someone else to operate as the Principle Investigator both formally and practically - which means you will need convince an established scientist to invest time and energy (and money) into your idea. If you're fronting the cash, it will be easier to convince someone, but ultimately, the reality is that ideas are often the easiest part of the job. My lab does work on alternative antibiotic therapies, and me and my lab can up with 20 odd proposals in 30 minutes, but the reality is that we only have the capacity to actually pursue 2-3 at any given time - we have more ideas than we will ever be able to actually investigate Having actually worked on a project arranged like this before, I personally would only consider it if: a) It fit well with my current research interests b) Came with enough $$$ to cover a postdoc and data collection c) Had the freedom to design, conduct and publish research without interference. Given your brief description in this thread unusual level of concern over IP, I already know I personally would not take this on, but best of luck with your project.
  12. How does lab permission generally work?

    To legally do an animal experiment, you'll still need an IACUC approval from an institution with an animal ethics board, which would also require an institutional affiliation. In reality, if you don't have any scientific training to perform the work yourself, you wouldn't have the knowledge to oversee the project either. Also, clinical trials cost a lot of money - hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. If you honestly have that kind of money to spend on testing a scientific hypothesis but no expertise in the field you want to investigate, you'd be best off pursuing it as a philanthropist. I worked as a postdoc on a project funded by a philanthropist in that kind of fashion. If you're putting up the cash, you can specify conditions of your funding (i.e. specify the hypothesis you want to investigate) and solicit applications from interested labs - or simply approach a scientist you would like to give the money to. Similar to how agencies like the Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ford Foundation etc operate.
  13. How does lab permission generally work?

    Hi, So I run a lab and have been involved in a phase I clinical trial. 1) Lab access. My lab is in a university and I have had visiting scholars work in there before. They generally have their own funding and I have been fully briefed on the work they are doing. I've signed NDA on patent sensitive work before. There's no way I would let someone in the lab without evidence of proper training, liability coverage and a good idea of exactly what they are doing in there. If all you wanted to do was fractionate blood, all you really need is a centrifuge and fractionation tubes. 2) Human subject experiments would need coverage by an institutional review board (IRB) to be permitted in any lab in any university. Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations dictates that any human subject research in the US must legally be overseen by an IRB. IOW - to legally do any research on humans in the US you need IRB approval. To get an IRB approval, you need to be an affiliate of an institution with an IRB. Deliberate infection of human subjects with live Streptococcus would be a non starter. You would need to conduct an animal trial to prove efficacy before anyone would let you near human subjects. Animal trials in the US would similarly need Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval.
  14. This is a shameless copypasta largely, but I think conveys the ambiguity of sex and gender in a scientific, evidence based but accessible manner quite well. In a sexual species, you can have females be XX and males be X (insects), you can have females be ZW and males be ZZ (birds), you can have females be females because they developed in a warm environment and males be males because they developed in a cool environment (reptiles), you can have females be females because they lost a penis sword fighting contest (some flatworms), you can have males be males because they were born female, but changed sexes because the only male in their group died (parrotfish and clownfish), you can have males look and act like females because they are trying to get close enough to actual females to mate with them (cuttlefish, bluegills, others), or you can be one of thousands of sexes (slime mold, some mushrooms.) In humans. You can be male because you were born female, but you have 5-alphareductase deficiency and so you grew a penis at age 12. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but you are insensitive to androgens, and so you have a female body. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but your Y is missing the SRY gene, and so you have a female body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but one of your X's HAS an SRY gene, and so you have a male body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes- but also a Y. You can be female because you have only one X chromosome at all. And you can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but your heart and brain are male. So yes, gender fluidity does exist and can have many physiological as well as psychological mechanisms.
  15. 1) An eradicated disease is no longer circulating in the population. It can still be present in lab stocks. An extinct disease can no longer be present circulating in the population OR in lab stocks. 2) See bold underlined text. A sterilizing vaccine prevents an infection from ever occurring. When it works, it provides complete protection to an individual. It doesn't work in every case. I openly acknowledged that. I'm not sure why you're not understanding this.