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Massive genetic study shows how humans are evolving nature.com
142 points by gwern  4 hours ago   62 comments top 13
ronnier 4 hours ago 3 replies      
* Analysis of 215,000 people's DNA suggests variants that shorten life are being selected against.

* tested more than 8 million common mutations, and found two that seemed to become less prevalent with age. A variant of the APOE gene, which is strongly linked to Alzheimers disease, was rarely found in women over 70. And a mutation in the CHRNA3 gene associated with heavy smoking in men petered out in the population starting in middle age. People without these mutations have a survival edge and are more likely to live longer, the researchers suggest.

* certain groups of genetic mutations, which individually would not have a measurable effect but together accounted for health threats, appeared less often in people who were expected to have long lifespans than in those who weren't. These included predispositions to asthma, high body mass index and high cholesterol.

* Most surprising, however, was the finding that sets of mutations that delay puberty and childbearing are more prevalent in long-lived people.

riazrizvi 3 hours ago 2 replies      
I found the article confusing, I don't understand the link between the paper and evolution:1. APOE-Alzheimer-propensity gene is a new gene, emerging in the younger population. (Clearly, prevalence of this gene reduces a person's life-expectancy but not until they are done giving birth). 2. Same with CHRNA3-heavy-smoking-propensity gene. 3. These genes are not evolutionary drivers since they don't effect E[number of offspring] or E[survival rate until given birth to final offspring]. 4. From an evolutionary perspective, prevalence of these genes should be found in equal proportion across all ages of the population. 5. Then why are these genes emerging? Isn't it far more likely that there is some new factor in our lifestyle/diet/habitat etc that is causing the gene to appear in the population? Which has nothing to do with evolution. Where in the paper do they talk about evolution?
Will_Parker 3 hours ago 4 replies      
Now that we have access to the entire genome directly, instead of relying on twin and adoption studies, we are going to get many more of these insights. And it's not all going to be comfortable. There will be cries of biological essentialism, while the blank slate idea is no longer one that can be held by an educated rational person.

On more controversial lines, see this http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/09/06/184853.1 study (N=280,000) that correlates specific genes with IQ.

NyxWulf 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I agree with the premise, these reports seem to focus on the act of passing your genetic material to a child as the final act. Anyone who has had kids knows that passing on your genes is the easy part, raising them to be productive members of society who will in turn procreate takes a long time and you continue to influence and guide them. So something that shortens your lifespan would reduce the survival edge of the remaining offspring compared to a group with that guiding influence.

This is a pretty clear social structure in humans. I understand not all or even most animals have that same social structure. Can someone explain to me why they would assume remaining alive after you dump off your genetic material would be neutral? (from an evolutionary perspective)

c3534l 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm confused about how the inferences are being made. If genes are found in older people, okay, so what? That doesn't mean anything. But then the article says:

> But if that were the case, there would be plenty of such mutations still kicking around in the genome.

So does that mean the gene is less common in children than parents? If so, what does it matter that older people don't have the gene? Why does age factor into this at all?

hellofunk 2 hours ago 3 replies      
> one of the first attempts to probe directly how humans are evolving over one or two generations.

Considering the extraordinary amount of time it takes for evolution to do anything at all, that they can quantify it in what is relatively zero time in the span of life on Earth, seems to remarkable to be true.

cowpig 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> But if that were the case, there would be plenty of such mutations still kicking around in the genome, the authors argue. That such a large study found only two strongly suggests that evolution is weeding them out, says Mostafavi, and that others have probably already been purged from the population by natural selection.

This seems like a lot of speculative leaps to me.

1. assuming that they should necessarily find many of these correlations, absent evolutionary elimination (maybe the effects of individual groups of genes just aren't that strong?)

2. assuming that the lack of them indicates that they existed before and were eliminated (maybe they never existed at all?)

3. more generally, assuming that evolutionary selection is a determining factor in the data they're studying at all (I don't often see noticeable changes in a few generation in highly-contrived genetic algorithms I play with, let alone real-world data which has way, way more noise)

meri_dian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This study absolutely does not show that humans are evolving
joak 2 hours ago 0 replies      
An explanation not explored in the paper: the social pressure to have children later in life favors people living older.
Udik 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Can someone explain this to me?The article says: "People who carry a harmful genetic variant die at a higher rate, so the variant becomes rarer in the older portion of the population." However, this is the opposite of how I understand evolution: "harmful" variants (from the evolutionary point of view) should become rarer in the younger portion of the population- whatever happens to their original carriers is irrelevant.

Also "researchers scoured large US and UK genetic databases"- well, I wouldn't be too sure that the biggest part of evolution happening in the human species can be seen inside the UK and US genetic databases.

randyrand 1 hour ago 0 replies      
we're evolving mostly through sexual selection now as opposed to natural selection but still some of that too
LinuxFreedom 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
You do not even need a scientist to see that there is a massive degeneration and retardation going on in the US gene pool currently. Influx of foreign genes was the solution, but now dumbness itself will trigger its own growth even stronger. If you want a better gene pool for your descendants it is time to leave US now. Good Luck!
Unearthed near Hadrians Wall: lost secrets of first Roman soldiers theguardian.com
26 points by Shivetya  2 hours ago   3 comments top 2
hanoz 20 minutes ago 1 reply      
I came across a couple of features (https://houseprices.io/lab/lidar/map?ref=NY7569166021) about 1km west of Vindolanda (https://houseprices.io/lab/lidar/map?ref=NY7705466352) on a Lidar Map I made.

I assume they're not unknown to science as they're pretty prominent, but then again they're not marked on the Ordnance Survey map as such things tend to be, like the Roman Camps just to their north west for example (http://streetmap.co.uk/grid/375689_566022_120).

Any archaeologists in the house?

brownbat 15 minutes ago 0 replies      
Some historians think for a few hundred years Hadrian's Wall was a megastructure where the locals had no solid understanding of who built it, how they managed it, or why.


It's admittedly debated, but even if just plausible, still fascinating to contemplate.

If not for the wall, there were probably periods in the local history around the pyramids that would qualify. Julius Caesar is closer to our time than he was to the time when they were built. There's a lot of time for people to forget other civilizations in there.

Lotfi Zadeh has died berkeley.edu
139 points by zeratul  8 hours ago   12 comments top 3
ceyhunkazel 3 hours ago 1 reply      
RIP Lotfi Aliasker Zadeh.Form an interview "Obstinacy and tenacity. Not being afraid to get embroiled in controversy. That's very much a Turkish tradition. That's part of my character, too. I can be very stubborn. That's probably been beneficial for the development of Fuzzy Logic."
protomyth 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Darnit. Fuzzy sets and logic just made sense to me in so many ways and I found his writings quite interesting. RIP.
abecode 2 hours ago 0 replies      
RIP. Set theory has always been an interesting topic but Prof. Zadeh stirred up the pot by proposing and strongly advocating fuzzy sets, which have opened up both new theoretical and practical paths for others to explore.
Equifax Lobbied to Kill Rule Protecting Victims of Data Breaches ibtimes.com
529 points by Dowwie  6 hours ago   107 comments top 8
Top19 6 hours ago 5 replies      
Wow if anything this is quite worse than the articlesays.

You can read Equifax's original letter in all of its Orwellian double-speak: https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=CFPB-...

It's absolutely shocking to me how many times they use the words "serve the public interest".

The sell-out that wrote that letter btw is this guy: https://www.cov.com/en/professionals/s/david-stein

late2part 5 hours ago 6 replies      
Perhaps the world would be a better place if Equifax went out of business. The other two members of the oligarchy could easily shoulder the load.
pmiller2 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, I think if you compromise the identities and credit files of 150m+ Americans, "full disgorgement of revenue" is a fair punishment.
KGIII 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this act can be used in court to demonstrate intent to remain negligent? The idea being that they lobbied for this because they had decided to not invest in better security.
kartan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I will like to know what's the ethical standards of the people that are trying to push for this legislations. Do they realize that they can be victims themselves of this kind of abuse? I guess that it's the tragedy of the commons. They can suffer the consequences, but they are ripping all the benefits.

When I say the Ferengi* in Star Trek, I found it hilariously unrealistic. Nowadays the possibility of corporations with rights but without responsibility is a scary possible future. Reality can surpass fiction.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferengi

ransom1538 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Question. Can't we just let this company die? Do we really need a new law created by congress (EG HIPAA 2.0). Wont this just destroy the ability to create startups quickly? I understand it will help lawyers get fat and happy, but enforcing 'privacy' laws would be a trolling circus.
jimjimjim 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
that place is evil.

Mister Burns style evil.

evil should be punished not rewarded.

(i am already familiar with the phrases: all corporations are like that. everyone is doing it.)

glasz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
so i have been sort of monitoring this equifax thing. yesterday or the day before i was thinking "let's see what the aftermath brings to light"...

let's reflect for a moment: biggest leak of personal data of us citizens - right after the opm debacle. the same company funds strategies detriment to its customers.

i bet everybody feels like it can't get any worse.

i'm not very old, limited experience but i will predict, brace yourselves, this will go on and on. _nothing_ will change because people don't fucking care and the minority who does care does not have the electorial power it needs to change this system.

i'm waiting for the same thing to happen in germany. it's even worse here because virtually only one company has the monopoly over private credit ratings. everybody is annoyed and _nobody_ cares. we have major elections this month and all those sheep will vote safe.

this is going to be fun. good luck over there, friends.

A/NES is a NES/Famicom 8-bit emulator for Classic Amigas goondocks.se
43 points by doener  4 hours ago   5 comments top 3
t0mek 48 minutes ago 1 reply      
Aminet (an online software repository for AmigaOS) has a whole section called misc/emu [1] - a lot of interesting emulators can be found there.

Probably the most famous and useful is the Shapeshifter [2], which emulates MacOS on Amiga. It was incredible popular in the 90's, as it allowed to run software otherwise unavailable on AmigaOS (eg. MS Office, Photoshop or games like Warcraft II or Settlers II). What's interesting, Shapeshifter performance was comparable to the real Macintosh running on the same 680x0 as the host Amiga.

PC emulator was called PC-Task [3] and it wasn't that fast, but I think Windows 3.11 was quite on a 68060-based system.

There's also C64 emulator Frodo [4] (written by the same developer as Shapeshifter), open source apps ported to Amiga (eg. a800 [5]) and many others - including all the popular 16-bit console emulators.

Most of these emulators were written in the 90's, so I wouldn't treat them just as a curiosity (as freeflight comment suggest) - they were used and popular amongst Amiga owners, looking for ways to get access to the mainstream software 20 years ago. Usually they required accelerators, as Amiga 1200 with its 68020EC (no FPU) and 2MB RAM was too slow (and forget about A500 or A600).

[1] http://aminet.net/misc/emu[2] http://shapeshifter.cebix.net/[3] http://aminet.net/package/misc/emu/PC-Task44[4] https://frodo.cebix.net/[5] http://aminet.net/package/misc/emu/A800

freeflight 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I heard you like retro video gaming, so I put a retro video game system in your retro computer system so you can retro game while you retro compute.

Sorry about that, I just couldn't resist ;)

ZenoArrow 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Is this a new project? I vaguely recall seeing A/NES a while back, but maybe I'm thinking of a different emulator.

EDIT: Cached version for those that can't open the live link:


The quest to make a crystal harder than diamonds bbc.com
32 points by elijahparker  3 hours ago   3 comments top 2
tempestn 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
A bunch of interesting facts in here. Obvious in retrospect, but I had never considered the fact that in order to measure the hardness of a material, you need something harder with which to indent it. And when you do have a harder material, you unlock new possibilities, like this:

> Already Dubrovinskaia and her colleagues have applied this to study osmium, a metal that is among the most resistant to being compressed in the world. They found it could resist compression pressures of over 750 GPa. At this point, the inner electrons, which are normally tightly bound to the nucleus of the metal atom and are highly stable, began to interact with each other. The researchers believe this strange behaviour could lead the metal to change from being a solid into a previously unknown state of matter. They hope to investigate what properties this gives osmium in the future.

quizme2000 1 hour ago 1 reply      
"... with a device that can fit in her hand" and no photo of the device. Yet, another example of bad/poor effort science reporting. The structure of this article looked like an 17 year old copied and pasted some shit from google and performed some really bad unit conversions. His/her editor should be ashamed of such a POS article.

Device in question: https://idw-online.de/de/newsimage?id=42938&size=screen

DuckDuckHack is now in Maintenance Mode duckduckhack.com
167 points by frabcus  10 hours ago   43 comments top 9
Nib 6 hours ago 2 replies      
As someone who has actively participated in DDH for a while now, here are my views:

- A non-trivial part of the current contributions included "cheat sheets" which IMO, really required a lot of effort to ensure correctness/usability but don't really provide much improvement to search results(I don't think I myself used the feature in the past 1.5 years more than 3-4 times), so, this should really free up time for DDG staff to focus on the more important instant answers and features.

- The community has been, for a while now, getting smaller and less contributing in the recent past. Backed by data from official repos(the number of commits over time, that is)[1]. After all, there are only a finite number of instant answers before they just become redundant.

- The current model for the triggers(when an instant answer gets displayed) is quite restrictive. It's just regex-based. IMO, a lot more growth can be achieved using ML models for triggering, A/B testing etc.

I'm still kind of disappointed with this. Perhaps unrelated, but does anyone have any suggestions for people willing to work on similar open source projects.

[1]: https://github.com/duckduckgo/zeroclickinfo-spice/graphs/con... , https://github.com/duckduckgo/zeroclickinfo-goodies/graphs/c...

l0b0 5 hours ago 5 replies      
Only vaguely related: Is there any fully FOSS general purpose web search engine which gets close to DDG? It seems by now it should be possible to run a community supported completely transparent search engine with relatively limited means ($X00k/year).
rubenbe 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The subtitle is "Past, Present, and Future", but I'm really missing what the future will hold. All they mention is that "Were not sure what the next community initiative will look like"
natch 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I understanding correctly that the instant answers (actual content) is not on GitHub, and is only available on a web page semi-locked down from scraping attempts by JavaScript paging?

If this is not correct, anyone have a link to the exact repo I should be looking at? The link in TFA only goes to the main account page, not any specific repo, and the repo names are not clear enough to tell if they have what I'm looking for.

stephengillie 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this mean the end for Instant Answers? I hope not - it's one of the information sources my bot uses to research the world.

It's amazing to see so much human effort went into this project and the full 1200-word list. I thought I had read somewhere that this was automation backed by Wikipedia, but apparently it was entirely manual?

avg_dev 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
What was DuckDuckHack?
denisehilton 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How can one join the Duckduckhack community. And what's the selection criteria?
rnhmjoj 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It seems that discarding your community once you have made enough money is trending.
rootlocus 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> That's over 5,000 pull requests, 250,000 lines of code and hundreds of squashed bugs!

I was expecting "hundreds of new bugs".

Breaking the x86 Instruction Set: how to find undocumented x86 instructions youtube.com
23 points by old-gregg  4 hours ago   1 comment top
dcomp 0 minutes ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see what 2017's f00f bug equivalent is after its released. Maybe I should just run his tunneling programs and not wait for the disclosure.
Show HN: Hurricane Tweets hurricanetweets.com
30 points by tectonic  4 hours ago   15 comments top 4
todd_sherman 2 hours ago 3 replies      
Full disclosure: I'm a PM at Snap, Inc.

Best coverage is on Snap Map. Zoom to the Keys and the west coast of Florida and check out the first hand accounts.

cdubzzz 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Neat! But this is near impossible to read. Perhaps add new tweets to the bottom and have a toggle to "scroll with tweets" or something?
leeoniya 3 hours ago 0 replies      
or a live windmap, if you prefer: https://www.windy.com/?26.407,-82.222,7

also submitted it a bit ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15213499

Swizec 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I almost went to this hackathon! Even bought a ticket and all, then decided I need rest more than a hackathon.

This is a great idea. Love it!

One suggestion Id have is to make photos more prominent. Events like this are mist interesting in the image and short video format.

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