Nullius in verba: A crash course in understanding numbers | The Economist
A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics. By Daniel Levitin. Dutton; 292 pages; $28. Viking; £14.99.
The Heroism of Incremental Care, by @Atul_Gawande
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/23/the-heroism-of-incremental-care Positively compares GPs-v-surgeons to bridge inspectors v rescuers
“For a long time, this would have seemed as foolish as giving your money to a palmist. What will happen to a bridge—or to your body—fifty years from now? We had no more than a vague idea. But the
investigation of the 1967 Silver Bridge collapse marked an advance in our ability to shift from reacting to bridge catastrophes to anticipating and averting them.
Around the same time, something similar was happening in medicine. Scientists were discovering the long-term health significance of high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions. We’d begun collecting the data, developing the computational capacity to decode the patterns, and discovering the treatments that could change them. Seemingly random events were becoming open to prediction and alteration. Our frame of medical consideration could widen to encompass our entire life spans.
Our ability to use information to understand and reshape the future is accelerating in multiple ways. We have at least four kinds of information that matter to your health and well-being over time: information about the state of your internal systems (from your imaging and lab-test results, your genome sequencing); the state of your living conditions (your housing, community, economic, and environmental circumstances); the state of the care you receive (what your practitioners have done and how well they did it, what
medications and other treatments they have provided); and the state of your behaviors (your patterns of sleep, exercise, stress, eating, sexual activity, adherence to treatments). The potential of this information is so enormous it is almost scary.
Instead of once-a-year checkups, in which people are like bridges undergoing annual inspection, we will increasingly be able to use smartphones and wearables to continuously monitor our heart rhythm, breathing, sleep, and activity, registering signs of illness as well as the effectiveness and the side effects of treatments. Engineers have proposed bathtub scanners that could track your internal organs for minute changes over time. We can decode our entire genome for less than the cost of an iPad and, increasingly, tune our care to the exact makeup we were born with.
Our health-care system is not designed for this future—or, indeed, for this present. We built it at a time when such capabilities were virtually nonexistent. When illness was experienced as a random catastrophe, and medical discoveries focussed on rescue, insurance for unanticipated, episodic needs was what we needed. Hospitals and heroic interventions got the large investments; incrementalists were scanted. After all, in the nineteen-fifties and sixties, they had little to offer that made a major difference in people’s lives. But the more capacity we develop to monitor the body and the brain for signs of future breakdown and to correct course along the way—to deliver “precision medicine,” as the lingo goes—the greater the difference health care can make in people’s lives, as well as in reducing future costs.”
#Software or softwear?
https://www.1843magazine.com/style/software-or-softwear Appears fashions change faster for computers than clothes. Cf
For years now I’ve written about fancy-schmancy clothes, shoes and bags. I’ve visited factories and ateliers across Europe to observe artisans make Hermès bags, Kiton suits, Berluti jeans, Tod’s loafers, Mulberry luggage, Private White VC jackets, John Lobb Oxfords, Brunello Cucinelli sweaters – and much more besides. I love watching skilled craftsmen going about their business, then trying to explain the process in print without resorting to hype.
But buying the stuff? Despite my privileged access and my love of beautiful things, whenever push comes to shoving my hand into my pocket and slapping down the moolah, I tend to cringe: £600 ($750) for a pair of shoes? A £900 coat? A £3,000 watch? Uh-uh.
I tell myself that my hesitation is based on prudence. I’ve got kids to feed, after all, and the closest I’ve come to planning for the future is booking a hotel in Paris. Yet when it comes to another retail category that dominates this golden age of consumer capitalism – personal technology – it’s another story.
Ever since my childish paws first caressed the orange plastic contours of my beloved Texas Instruments Speak & Spell, I’ve been a sucker for a screen, a shutter-click or a bleep. From my first computer (an Amstrad CPC464), first camera (a Pentax me Super) and first mobile phone (a Sony Ericsson whose model number eludes me – maybe it fried the relevant synapse), I can chart each period in my life according to the hardware I was using. And I’ve never felt anything but virtuous about forking out when the cash was, briefly, in hand. Why? Because personal tech is the toolbox of 21st-century life. It empowers. It frees. It improves.
But last month I had an epiphany. It happened as I sat in the Genius Bar of an Apple store feeling stupid, paying £300 to repair the suddenly blank screen of a laptop purchased not much more than a year earlier. The cheery Genius at hand had told me that in my position, he’d probably just buy a new computer: “but that’s just me”, he said, “I always want the latest model.”
Briefly, that technophile, Pavlovian response kicked in: woof! Lead me to the newest, most expensive version! But it was swiftly replaced by a howl of inner fury.
More and more, I observe technology companies adopting the marketing strategies of luxury-goods firms. Sure, their narrative focuses not on heritage or trends, but on incremental upgrades in processing speeds, peripheral capabilities and software compatibility. Yet many companies talk just as enthusiastically about design as functionality, and propose that owning their products is a declaration of personal identity. Each new launch inevitably presents whatever product is being pitched as the ne plus ultra of its type – a big fat lie that becomes ever more glaring as the cycle of enforced obsolescence spins faster and faster.
I’ve spent the last week or so sifting through my personal archive of the obsolete: à la recherche du tech perdu. From tangles of cable and brick-like batteries I’ve excavated minidisc players (Sanyo!), BlackBerrys, Nokias, ThinkPads, iMacs, a Google Glass, Coolpix and more. None, of course, is fit for purpose now, unless you’re going to a “Back to the Future” party.”
A #circadian gene-expr atlas in mammals by @jbhclock lab
http://www.PNAS.org/content/111/45/16219.abstract 43% of genes have a daily rhythm in at least 1 tissue [1/2]
.@jbhclock Fewest circadian genes in brain; most in liver. Perhaps this more reflects daily feeding cycle than true light-dark cycle? [2/2]
A circadian gene expression atlas in mammals: Implications for biology and medicine
Nicholas F. Lahensa,1,
Heather I. Ballancea,
Michael E. Hughesb,2, and
John B. Hogenescha,2
* Interestingly brain regions have the fewest circ genes(only ~3%), liver has most
* Diseases assoc with circadian genes correlate with NIH funding
* Genes can have up to a 6-hour phase diff. Between diff. organs (eg Vegfa betw. Heart & fat)
* 56 of the top 100 drugs incl. Top 7, targeted the product of a circadian gene. Related to the half-life of drugs.
* Could the liver genes be more reflective of feeding rhythm rather than true circadian clock.