Archive for the 'tech' Category

In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society | WIRED

March 14, 2018

In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society The extreme evolution of the #FICO score

Why American medicine still runs on fax machines

March 14, 2018

Why American medicine still runs on fax machines Great article explains how the inability to kill the “cockroach of American medicine” illustrates the incentives or anti-incentives toward data sharing & interoperability HT @DShaywitz

“Competitive pressure between the companies that sell electronic record makers themselves only made things worse. The electronic record makers don’t have much incentive to connect well with other records, when they’d rather just convert that hospital on a different electronic platform into one of their own customers.

“When you want competing entities to share information, you have to realize that they’re sharing things that could help their competitors” “If [electronic record vendors] expended all that time and effort to make it so anyone could plug into any other system, it’s reducing the advantage of staying on your particular network,” Mostashari says.

This is especially true for larger electronic medical record companies, which want to sell the advantages of joining a record that is used in lots of doctor offices. “You want to make it easier for people to say, ‘Hey, if you’re on [our electronic record], look how awesome it is! You can talk to any user, anywhere in the country,” he argues.

In short, economics gave hospitals plenty of reasons not to connect their records with other hospitals — to stick with a clunky
technology, like fax, that makes it hard to transmit information. And the government didn’t give any incentives to connect — it stopped at digitizing medicine, falling short of the interoperability that patients actually want.

What Is Up With Those Pentagon UFO Videos? | WIRED

March 3, 2018

Thought experiments | The Economist

February 24, 2018

Thought experiments Amazing progress in Brain-computer interfaces (#BCIs): paralyzed patients manipulating silverware. Communicating w/ “locked-in” individuals. Will this scale?

Brain-computer interfaces sound like the stuff of science fiction. Andrew Palmer sorts the reality
from the hype

IN THE gleaming facilities of the Wyss Centre for Bio and
Neuroengineering in Geneva, a lab technician takes a well plate out of an incubator. Each well contains a tiny piece of brain tissue derived from human stem cells and sitting on top of an array of electrodes. …
To see these signals emanating from disembodied tissue is weird. The firing of a neuron is the basic building block of intelligence. ..

This symphony of signals is bewilderingly complex. There are as many as 85bn neurons in an adult human brain, and a typical neuron has 10,000 connections to other such cells. The job of mapping these connections is still in its early stages. But as the brain gives up its secrets, remarkable possibilities have opened up: of decoding neural activity and using that code to control external devices.


The iPhone, the Pixel, and the tragic anxiety of having to choose

February 24, 2018

The iPhone, the Pixel, & the tragic anxiety of having to choose, by
@vladSavov Mostly agreed with the comparison (better iOS interface v fantastic $GOOG camera) but feel gmail is definitely better on Android. My solution: carry both!

“Android’s way of consolidating notifications from the same person or app is vastly superior to iOS’s massive bubble for every single message, Twitter like, or email. When I wake in the morning with the Pixel, I get a complete account of what I’ve missed just from my lock screen: a dozen unread emails, three Telegram chats,

When I want to actively use my phone, though, my hand tends to sneak toward the iPhone. Twitter, Slack, Telegram, and Speedtest each have meaningfully superior apps for iOS than Android….BBC iPlayer Radio consistently streams live content 30 seconds earlier on iOS, and Gmail for iOS fetches emails faster than Gmail on Android. And it looks better, dammit!”

George Church: Cryptocurrency Will Boost Genome Sequencing | Front Line Genomics

February 24, 2018

Cryptocurrency Will Boost Genome Sequencing @NebulaGenomics, a new startup that uses #blockchain to give people control of their own data

“A genomics startup co-founded by genetics pioneer George Church said yesterday that it seeks to lead the genomic data market by utilizing blockchain, the technology that underlies transactions of
cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
In other words, Nebula Genomics will give you cryptocurrency in exchange for your genetic data.
The company will do so by significantly reducing the costs of personal genome sequencing, give you insights about it, secure it using blockchain, and allow you to do whatever you want with the data.” “}}

China’s Selfie Obsession

February 12, 2018

“People would suspiciously ask what kind of camera it was before walking away with expressions ranging from offense to pity. “I can’t allow you to take a picture of me with that camera—it’ll be too ugly,” a woman from Chongqing told me. I assured her that I was not a wang hong and would not be posting it, and we reached a compromise: she would take a selfie of us on her Meitu phone, edit her face, and then send the photo to me.”

The Dark Bounty of Texas Oil

January 27, 2018

The Dark Bounty of Texas Oil The development of #fracking & horizontal drilling by Mitchell et al. is perhaps not appreciated as a major tech success of late 20th century (up there w/ the web & iPod!) but it did radically change the #energy economy

“In 1954, Mitchell obtained a contract to supply ten per cent of Chicago’s natural-gas needs. However, the producing wells operated by his company, Mitchell Energy & Development, were declining. He needed to discover new sources of petroleum, or else.

A safer and more precise method, developed in the seventies, was to use jets of fluid, under intense pressure, to create micro-cracks in the strata, typically in limestone or sandstone. Expensive gels or foams were generally used to thicken the fluid, and biocide was added to kill the bacteria that can clog the cracks. A granular substance called “proppant,” made of sand or ceramics, was pumped into the cracks, keeping pathways open so that the hydrocarbons could make it to the surface. The process, which came to be known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, jostled loose the captured oil or gas molecules, but the technology had a fatal flaw: it was too costly to turn a profit in shale.

In 1981, Mitchell drilled his first fracked well in the Barnett shale, the C. W. Slay No. 1. It lost money, as did many wells that followed it.

To cut costs, one of Mitchell’s engineers, Nick Steinsberger, began tinkering with the fracking-fluid formula. He reduced the quantity of gels and chemicals, making the liquid more watery, and added a cheap lubricant, polyacrylamide…

Mitchell combined his new fracking formula with horizontal-drilling techniques that had been developed offshore; once you bored deep enough to reach a deposit, you could direct the bit into the oil- or gas-bearing seam, a far more efficient means of recovery. In 1998, one of Mitchell’s wells in the Barnett, S. H. Griffin No. 4, made a profit. The shale revolution was under way. Soon the same fracking techniques that Mitchell had pioneered in gas were applied to oil.”

The world economy
was in danger of being held captive to oil states that were often intensely anti-American. Then, around the time that Barack Obama became President, U.S. production shot back up, approaching its all-time peak. On Fowler’s graph, it looked like a flagpole. “In the span of five years, we go from 5.5 million barrels a day to 9.5 million, almost doubling the U.S. output,”…The difference, Fowler said, was advanced fracking techniques and horizontal drilling. …
The town used to be called Clark, but a decade ago its mayor made a deal with a satellite network to provide ten years of free basic service to the two hundred residents, in return for renaming the town after the company. Satellite dishes still sit atop many houses there, and even though the agreement has expired the town’s name remains: dish.


Google Sells A.I. for Building A.I. (Novices Welcome) – The New York Times

January 27, 2018

$GOOG Sells AI for Building #AI QT: “Humans must label the data before the system can
learn…once images…labeled…[it] operates w/o human
involvement…It can build a model from scratch.” How can one preview this? Will it be integrated into gphotos?

Initially, Google will open this service only to a small group of businesses.

But sometimes, there is no substitute for good old human labor. With Google’s new service, humans must label the data before the system can learn from it. …

Google says that once images are labeled, its new service operates without human involvement….Given more time, it
can build a model from scratch, specifically for the problem at hand.

If you are a zoologist who wants an algorithm that identifies jaguars and giraffes, said Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist inside the Google cloud group, all you have to do is supply the right images. “You upload jaguars and giraffes,” she said. “And you are done.”

Jim Simons, the Numbers King

January 27, 2018

Jim Simons, the Numbers King Highlights the new @FlatironInst & one of its new hires, Nick Carriero, who co-wrote the original Yale pseudogene pipeline, PseudoPipe ( HT @Anne_Churchland

“Our discussion turned to the Flatiron Institute. Renaissance’s computer infrastructure, he said, had been a central part of its success. At universities, Simons said, coding tends to be an erratic process. He said of the graduate students and postdocs who handled such work, “Some of them are pretty good code writers, and some of them are not so good. But then they leave, and there’s no one to maintain that code.” For the institute, he has hired two esteemed coders from academia: Carriero, who had led my tour, had been recruited from Yale, where he had developed the university’s high-performance computing capabilities for the life sciences; Ian Fisk had worked at cern, the particle-physics laboratory outside Geneva. Simons offered them greater authority and high salaries. “They’re the best of the breed,” he said. Carriero and Fisk sometimes consult with their counterparts at Renaissance about technical matters.