Goldman Sachs asks: 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model?'

Guillotine sales soar.

"The potential to deliver 'one shot cures' is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies," analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the note to clients Tuesday. "While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow." [...]

"GILD is a case in point, where the success of its hepatitis C franchise has gradually exhausted the available pool of treatable patients," the analyst wrote. "In the case of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, curing existing patients also decreases the number of carriers able to transmit the virus to new patients, thus the incident pool also declines ... Where an incident pool remains stable (eg, in cancer) the potential for a cure poses less risk to the sustainability of a franchise."

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Securing the nation's electrical infrastructure

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Threatscape 3.1 was the best release of Buttinator Buttzilla


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XScreenSaver 5.39

XScreenSaver 5.39 is out now, including iOS and Android.

Four new hacks this time! Three by me.

For RazzleDazzle, I spent a lot of time looking at historical dazzle paint-jobs to try and get a sense of whether there was some basic algorithm under the technique, and came to the conclusion of, "no". Most of it seems to be, "you know it when you see it", but I didn't discern any simple universal rules about the underlying mesh. But, taking a grid and doing a random-walk on each node in it, with some constraints that they try to avoid passing each other, seemed to get the basic sense of it. Even though the pattern is fundamentally rectangular, after a few iterations a lot of sharp triangles show up anyway.

The infinite scroll effect is achieved by running the grid on a torus that is twice the size of the screen, so by the time you see that piece a second time, those points have moved. For the ship stencils, I just traced some old photos by hand.

Fun fact about Peepers: eyeballs are a really funny shape! The iris is kind of a smooshed torus, and is concave-ish compared to the sphere, while the lens is highly convex. But, from many angles the iris actually looks convex because of the diffraction of the lens. So it's hard to get this right in OpenGL, which doesn't do ray tracing. I think a little transparency kind-of got the job done, though. Inspired by PaintYourDragon's Adafruit Snake Eyes Raspberry Pi Bonnet, obviously. And as seen in Cyclopian glory in DNA Pizza.

On X11, try it as "peepers -mode xeyes -count 2" or "-mode beholder"

Crumbler is ok, but I had hoped for more complex shapes. Possibly those would emerge at higher resolutions and number of subdivisions, but the convex hull library that I grabbed is not ideal; it does a O(n^2) malloc at startup, and is kind of slow on top of that. Oh well. If you know of a small, fast quickhull in C, lemme know. I didn't feel like writing my own.

I'm told that the maze thing will be nostalgic for certain people who led childhoods of tragic deprivation, desktop-wise. My thoughts and prayers are with you.


Things work a lot better on Mac Retina displays (since I have one now). Turns out a lot of the older screen savers made crazy assumptions like "a single pixel is a thing that you can actually see".

Loading images from RSS feeds works more better, and Android is able to load images from your photo roll.

And on X11, fonts will hopefully look OK on your shitty-assed Linux distro that doesn't ship exotic, avant garde fonts like Helvetica by default, which is apparently a lot of them. Basically as soon as it fails to load a font, it goes scorched-earth and tries like a thousand different things until something works. Fuck it.

Also, internally I converted all of the image assets from XPM to PNG, because what year is it? This means several things have better color and better alpha, but mostly it's just less weird and bloated. But it probably makes some things display incorrectly on 8-bit pseudocolor displays, about which I have decided to just not care.

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Monster of the Week finally got around to recapping that episode.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we crave validation.

The SF Weekly Best of SF poll is up again, so vote for us, won't you?

Relevant categories include: Best Dance Party, Best Dance Club, Best Live Theatre (Hubba Hubba Revue or Mortified), Best Live Music Venue, Best Late Nite Bite and Best Pizza.

Some upcoming events of note: we just added a last-minute Peelander-Z show, which you really should not miss. Also we're doing another Star Wars party!

Hubba Hubba: Cartoon Funhouse
Fri, Apr 13th
Fri, Apr 20th
Turbo Drive: Das Mörtal
Wed Apr 25th
May The Fourth Be With You
Fri (wait for it) May 4th
Some recent photo galleries:

Turbo Drive: Sung + Lucy in Disguise
Pow x7 Bonus Round


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Exciting keyboard news

The Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge keyboard is pretty great.

I wasn't happy with the Kinesis Freestyle2 because though I liked its layout, its key switches were just intolerably mushy. Just a dreadful level of mushiness. So I kept trying to befriend the Matias Ergo Pro. It has a reasonable layout, and great switches. But, having now gone through four separate Matias keyboards (including trying various permutations of the left and right halves from different instances) I can conclusively say that it's just junk. JUNK I TELL YOU. I don't know if it's a hardware problem or a firmware problem, but I do know that if you want a keyboard that will reliably send the keys that you type, and only those, the Matias isn't it. Easy time I would buy a new one, it would work fine for a month, and then go to crazy-town where I would have to unplug it from USB a couple times a day to get it out of perma-caps-lock mode, or to get it to stop pretending the "E" key was held down by ghosts, or some other koo-koo-ness.

But, great news! Kinesis has released a variant of the Freestyle2 that you can get with good switches! It's the Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge and I'm really happy with it. I got it with Cherry MX Brown switches.

The layout is roughly the same as the Freestyle2:

Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge: New hotness.

Kinesis Freestyle2: Old and busted.

Matias Ergo Pro: Old and busted.

The good:

  • Great switches!

  • The connecting cable is permanently attached, but is nice and long. At first I thought it was annoyingly short, but it turns out that more of it was coiled up inside the keyboard. It's a nice system.

  • The top "Delete Forward" key is no longer wide, which is fine (and you get PrtSc and ScrLk, which I'm sure someone might someday press on purpose).

The bad:

  • The 6 is on the left only. There should be one on each side.

  • In an affront to all that is holy, the bottom left row reads "Ctrl Windows Alt" instead of "Ctrl Opt Cmd".

    Unlike the Freestyle2, they do not sell a Mac-keycap variant of the Gaming Freestyle Edge. However, it's really easy to re-map keys using the keyboard's firmware itself, without external software. This means it will stay mapped even when you're logged in as a different user or not running in a GUI environment or whatnot. But, one oddity with a Mac is that the keyboard itself takes a little while to load its keymap after a USB bus reset... so if you are trying to option-boot a Mac, it's too early for your option key to be where you thought it was, and you have to use the other one, which is confusing.

  • No USB ports! Nowhere to plug in your mouse! Come on.

    This is especially weird because, for some incomprehensible reason, you can also mount the keyboard as a 4MB drive. Why would I ever want this? I don't know. It looks like the keymap files are stored there, so maybe you can edit them by hand that way? But the presence of the drive implies the presence of an internal USB hub as well. And they couldn't un-bury one port?

  • They sell the clip-on tenting legs separately. They are overpriced flimsy junk -- and even though this keyboard is the same shape as every previous Kinesis two-piece keyboard, the Gaming Freestyle Edge is gratuitously incompatible with the tenting legs from the Freestyle2, which was gratuitously incompatible with the tenting legs from the Freestyle. How nice. You can kinda make it work with some zip-ties, but they poke out. Jerks.

  • I do prefer the double-height ESC and bottom-row of the Matias, but I can live with it.

  • It has a bunch of crazy-assed features I'll never activate except accidentally, like the ability to throb the backlight or quickly switch to EBCDIC or Esperanto or some shit.

So can anyone tell me where to buy replacement keycaps for this that say "Opt" and "⌘" to replace the Win/Alt keys? It's the principle of the thing. The caps appear to be standard sizes, but they have cut-outs for the backlight. I wrote Kinesis asking but they didn't write back.

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Looks like today's the day that CentOS users lose their god damned minds

The worst possible thing happened to them today: They had to CLICK OK on a dialog box after they rebooted!!

Oh death, where is thy sting.

Dear CentOS: Since you refuse to roll out a new version more frequently than every two years, please stop shipping XScreenSaver.

I thank you, and your users thank you.

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