Sprague Word

The future and more from Richard Sprague

Archive for December, 2007

“Darcy Burner Fails to Find Lead in Toys”

Posted by sprague on December 13, 2007

Darcy Burner, Democratic candidate for congress in my district is running an event this weekend near my school to check for lead paint in toys.  I think it’s a brilliant idea, because there’s only upside for her:  by publicizing the event in advance, she builds out her message of how much she cares about kids — and how the curent administration is not doing its job protecting us from dangerous chemicals, so she has to help out.

But I wonder: of the hundreds or thousands of toys people bring in, will she find any that test positive for lead?  My guess is no, but that’s not the point. The media won’t bother to report a negative result, so the title of this post (which I deliberately write in double-quotes) will never make it to the news headlines.  On the other hand, a single positive result will.

She has nothing to lose and everything to gain.  It’s a classic case of Black Swan theory applied to a real-life situation.

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Knome whole-genome sequencing

Posted by sprague on December 5, 2007

Forget SNP-based sequencing, for $350,000 you can get the whole enchilada.  From a startup called Knome (pronounced “nome”)  backed by a Harvard med school expert:



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