Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, December 15, 2017

Four Things

1. Here's some good news in the fight against hemophilia:

The therapy is a genetically engineered virus.

It contains the instructions for factor VIII that Jake was born without.

The virus is used like a postman to deliver the genetic instructions to the liver, which then starts producing factor VIII.

In the first trials, low doses of gene therapy had no effect.

Of the 13 patients given higher doses, all are off their haemophilia medication a year on and 11 are producing near-normal levels of factor VIII.

Prof John Pasi, who led the trials at Barts and Queen Mary University of London, said: "This is huge."
The news story also links to a peer-reviewed study on the impressive results.

2. The following comes from a story about the tentative beginnings and eventual wild success of the ready-made sandwich:
A delicious muffuletta. Image cropped from collage in Wikipedia article about the best kind of sandwich known to man.
Every supermarket jumped on the trend. Up and down the country, chefs and bakers and assorted wheeler-dealers stopped whatever they were doing and started making sandwiches on industrial estates. The sandwich stopped being an afterthought, or a snack bought out of despair, and became the fuel of a dynamic, go-getting existence. "At Amstrad the staff start early and finish late. Nobody takes lunches -- they may get a sandwich slung on their desk," Alan Sugar told an audience at City University in 1987. "There's no small-talk. It's all action." By 1990, the British sandwich industry was worth £1bn.
Now they're so ubiquitous that it's hard to imagine not being able to find one.

3. The following is one of a series of answers to a query about amusing software bugs:
[A]n image thumbnailer on a website for a very popular all-girl band ... was "smart" and cropped images to the right aspect ratio based on entropy in the image. In practice, this manifested itself as a foot fetish -- if a photo included feet, it would centre the thumbnail on the feet almost every time. The gallery index pages looked quite odd.
I didn't read much of the rest of the thread, but in case it isn't there, I'll nominate one I stumbled across while trying to solve a software problem: "Dwarf Fortress Starting During apt-get upgrade." (Spoiler/Linux pro tip: Make sure you don't stomp on the name of a major system utility when you install software.)

4. Sitting at my desk and finishing up a report for a client one afternoon, I heard a noise and experienced an odd sensation of movement or vibration. I didn't know what it was, but it got me to look around the house and outside for an explanation. Finding nothing, I concluded that there must have been an explosion somewhere in the vicinity.

A few days later, I learned that, thanks to the most intense earthquake in Delaware's history, I now know what a distant earthquake feels like.

-- CAV

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