By creating a new and innovative way to look at massive amounts of patient data, one man hopes he can change the way public health crises are managed.
By creating new and innovative visual displays out of oceans of data, Christopher Murray hopes his tool can change this situation for the better. Called GBD Compare, users can rapidly determine which diseases are most harmful to children in Africa, or view how the developing and developed worlds compare in terms of heart disease, all with a few clicks of a computer mouse. The data viz tool processes data is implemented using D3.js and uses data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report, which compiles statistics, charts and graphs on causes of death and disease. “The thing that’s really neat about the visualisations is they allow people to see the problem in context – in the context of all the other problems, how it’s changing over time, how it compares to other countries,” says Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation (IMHE), based in Seattle. GBD is an important project and the new visualization tools are effective and easy to use. Click on the image or title to learn more.
Start with a NAND gate and end up with a computer playing tetris - thats the aim of the elements of computing systems - to bridge the understanding gap between the enabling elemental hardware and software systems and hwo they are designed, constructed and inter-operate to create a functioning computer. Awesome course and book - possibly the perfect present for someone wanting to understand some of the magic of computing.
When the iPhone was new, Steve Jobs showed one to Alan Kay and asked him if it was “good enough to criticize.” Kay, a computing pioneer, had been a hero to Apple’s founder: in 1972, when much of the world was still using magnetic tape, he had proposed to his colleagues at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center a small, portable, and, above all, personal computer called the Dynabook...
I was thirteen years old when I first read Alan Kay's dynabook paper. It had been published 11 years earlier and it described computers unlike any I had yet to see. The paper is probably one of the more inspiring computer research concept papers I have read over the years and its certainly one i have gone back and re-read .when looking for inspiration. Paul Ford has an interesting contrast in the visions of computing as described by Alan Kay and the Dynabook and facebooks's more recent vision with Facebook Home. While a little contrived in placed the article is an interesting comparison and one which helps inform discussions around human computer interaction design on todays devices. Worth a read.
Researchers in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering have developed a new noninvasive system that allows people to control a flying robot using only their mind.
The study goes far beyond fun and games (though how much fun could you have with this? :-) ) and has the long term potential to help people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.The study was published today in IOP Publishing's Journal of Neural Engineering. A University of Minnesota video of the robot in action can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpHy-fUyXYk. Click on the link or the image to learn more.
Illustration: Alexey Malina Right now, as you read these words, your life is in danger. Somewhere within the vast self-contained micro-universe known a
Interesting article on how to consider cancer as a by product of cellular activity. Echoes - Danny HIllis's contention that rather thank think of Cancer as a single disease - its better to think of it as a process prodution error that occurs as part of cellular biology.
New imaging technology has revealed how the molecular machines that remodel genetic material inside cells 'grab onto' DNA like a rock climber looking for a handhold.
The experiments, reported in this week's Science, use laser light to generate very bright patches close to single cells. When coupled with fluorescent tags this 'spotlight' makes it possible to image the inner workings of cells fast enough to see how the molecular machines inside change size, shape, and composition in the presence of DNA.
The Oxford team built their own light microscopy technology for the study, which is a collaboration between the research groups of Mark Leake in Oxford University's Department of Physics and David Sherratt in Oxford University's Department of Biochemistry.
The molecular machines in question are called Structural Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) complexes: they remodel the genetic material inside every living cell and work along similar principles to a large family of molecules that act as very small motors performing functions as diverse as trafficking vital material inside cells to allowing muscles to contract.
The researchers studied a particular SMC, MukBEF (which is made from several different protein molecules), inside the bacterium E.coli. David Sheratt and his team found a way to fuse 'fluorescent proteins' directly to the DNA coding for MukBEF, effectively creating a single dye tag for each component of these machines.
Up until now conventional techniques of biological physics or biochemistry have not been sufficiently fast or precise to monitor such tiny machines inside living cells at the level of single molecules.
'Each machine functions in much the same way as rock-climber clinging to a cliff face,' says Mark Leake of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, 'it has one end anchored to a portion of cellular DNA while the other end opens and closes randomly by using chemical energy stored in a ubiquitous bio-molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or 'ATP': the universal molecular fuel for all living cells.
'This opening and closing action of the machine is essentially a process of mechanical 'grabbing', in which it attempts to seize more free DNA, like the rock-climber searching for a new handhold.'
It is hoped that pioneering biophysics experiments such as this will give fresh insights into the complex processes which are vital to life, and pave the way for a whole new approach to biomedical research at the very tiny length scale for understanding the causes of many diseases in humans, and how to devise new strategies to combat them.
its turtles all the way down... as we obtain more and more data and insight into cellular molecular mechanisms their organisation, interactions, spatial and temporal dynamics become increasingly mechanistic with multiscale emergent propertiesarising from local interactions. This pioneering biophysics approach will likely generate a lot more insights into molecular mechanisms as it gets increasingly adopted for other experiments.
WiSee is a novel interaction interface that leverages ongoing wireless transmissions in the environment (e.g., WiFi) to enable whole-home sensing and recognition of human gestures. Since wireless signals do not require line-of-sight and can traverse through walls, WiSee can enable whole-home gesture recognition using few wireless sources (e.g., a Wi-Fi router and a few mobile devices in the living room).
WiSee has been developed by researchers at University of Washington and promises to bring a sense of awareness using wifi to buildings and environments. Very interesting indeed. Click on logo or title to learn more.
When Felix Fischer of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) set out to develop nanostructures made of graphene using a new, controlled approach to chemical reactions, the first result was a surprise:...
Stunning imagery of , single-bond-resolved individual molecules, right before and immediately after a complex organic reaction . simply stunning.
Last month's cancellation of the largest ongoing HIV vaccine trial stopped yet another promising candidate. The growing pool of clinical failures shows that a new approach is needed. This past week, academia offered up two new angles of attack.
FierceVaccines is a great source of info on new research. The summary of work published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology from The Scripps Research focus on an area of the HIV virus where mutation is limited is worth reading and shows new approaches towards researching vaccines for HIV.
Life would be much easier if a great product was the only requirement for a great business. Of course, talk to any vineyard owner or long-time New York Times shareholder and they can attest that th...
Excellent article by Ben Sesser on the economics and positioning of SaaS based applications. If you are involved in software application development - and need to understand the inter-relationships between customer churn, service pricing, cost of customer acquisition and lifetime value - this is a great illustrated article. Worth reading.
Introduction At Revision 2013 we (Brain Control) released our newest production Turtles all the way down, which won the 64k-intro competition. A 64k-intro is an audio-visual presentation calculated...
I have a very deep appreciation for the art and technical artistry of the guys who have been and are involved in the demo scene. The Brain Control team are without doubt one of my favourite groups - both because of the skill in what they produce and because of the sophistication of the tools they build to create their demos. Their Turtles All The Way Down demo zooms from the sub atomic to the macroscopic universe like a digital Eames's Powers of Ten film revisted and augmented. Click on the image to watch the demo, read about the process and find links to their Enigma Studio authoring toolset. Serious art and serious fun. Go discover.
UCLA researchers now have the first evidence that bacteria ingested in food can affect brain function in humans. In an early proof-of-concept study of healthy women, they found that women who regularly consumed beneficial bacteria known as probiotics through yogurt showed altered brain function, both while in a resting state and in response to an emotion-recognition task.
Gut instinct and trust your gut are expressions we use often - researchers at UCLA have now shown there is more to it that simply vernacular expression. Understanding the role of bacteria and human health ecology is becoming far more important to human health than our initial approach of bombing them with anti-biotics first suggested. The new study from UCLA has implications for use of anti-biotics with neonatal care, diet and development and potentially areas such as depression. Much more research following these initial findings will be needed but we are only just starting to discover just how complex we actually are.
Evolution of Mammalian Diving Capacity Traced by Myoglobin Net Surface Charge
A new study published in Science shows marine mammals evolutionary adaptations to store oxygen for deep dives. Extended breath-hold endurance enabled marine mammals to expand their range and ecological niche. However to achieve this their bodies have had to evolve mechanisms to store elevated body oxygen and use it hyper efficiently.The new study highlights the molecular and biochemical adaptations to marine mammal muscle myoglobin to enable extended dive capacity. Worth reading
A doctor and medial photographer have collaborated on a book that showcases striking images of diseases up close.
BBC article on Dr Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue and Norman Baker's book Hidden Beauty - Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science. The stunning beauty of the human body - even with disease and medical problems- is portrayed from an artistic sense accompanied by explanations of the images shown and how visualisation is also used in modern medical science.. Short video with Dr Lacobusio-Donahue certainly made me curious about the book - one for the reading list.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — An international team of scientists has developed crop models to better forecast food production to feed a growing population – projected to reach 9 billion by mid-century – in the face of climate change.
A recurrent and central theme for us at Complex Insight is how important simulations are to tackling major real world challenges. In a paper appearing in Nature Climate Change, Bruno Basso, Michigan State University ecosystem scientist and other members of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project unveiled an all-encompassing modeling system that integrates multiple crop simulations with improved climate change models.The new simulation model better predicts global wheat yields while reducing political and socio-economic influences that can skew data and planning efforts..In engineering simulation there has long been a trend to model based design - hopefully other areas of public policy can leverage work such as this to follow in a similar direction.
An unprecedented trillion-particle simulation, which utilized more than 120,000 processors and generated approximately 350 terabytes of data, pushed the performace capability of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center’s (NERSC’s) Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer to its limits.
To understand the scale of this simulation the team simulated more than two trillion particles for nearly 23,000 time steps with VPIC, a large-scale plasma physics application. The simulation used approximately 80 percent of Hopper’s computing resources, 90 percent of the available memory on each node, and 50 percent of the Lustre scratch file system. In total, 10 separate trillion-particle datasets, each ranging between 30 to 42 terabytes in size, were written as HDF5 files on the scratch file system at a sustained rate of approximately 27 gigabytes per second. This type of simulation will become increasingly necessary for many of the large scale science challenges underway in many areas of physics, geophysics and lifesciences. Click on the image or title to learn more.
Swarm Behavior - A single ant or bee isn't smart, but their colonies are. The study of swarm intelligence is providing insights that can help humans manage complex systems, from truck routing to military robots.
"Big data" is the jargon du jour, the tech world's one-size-fits-all (so long as it's triple XL) answer to solving the world's most intractable problems. The term is commonly used to describe the art and science of analyzing massive amounts of information to detect patterns, glean insights, and predict answers to complex questions. It might sound a bit dull, but from stopping terrorists to ending poverty to saving the planet, there's no problem too big for the evangelists of big data.
"The benefits to society will be myriad, as big data becomes part of the solution to pressing global problems like addressing climate change, eradicating disease, and fostering good governance and economic development," crow Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier in modestly titled Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think.
So long as there are enough numbers to crunch -- whether it's data from your iPhone, grocery store purchases, online dating profile, or, say, the anonymized health records of an entire country -- the insights that can be gleaned from our computing ability to decode this raw data are innumerable.
Even Barack Obama's administration has jumped with both feet on the bandwagon, releasing on May 9 a "groundbreaking" trove of "previously inaccessible or unmanageable data" to entrepreneurs, researchers, and the public.
"One of the things we're doing to fuel more private-sector innovation and discovery is to make vast amounts of America's data open and easy to access for the first time in history. And talented entrepreneurs are doing some pretty amazing things with it," said President Obama.
But is big data really all it's cracked up to be? Can we trust that so many ones and zeros will illuminate the hidden world of human behavior? Foreign Policy invited Kate Crawford of the MIT Center for Civic Media to go behind the numbers:
Ready or not, enterprise IT is entering an insight-driven age of computing where big data analytics rules, says IBM.
Like many industry players, IBM see a confluence of four factors -- social, mobile, analytics and cloud driving changes in computing and the need for machine learning being central to analytics. Information Week has an overview of IBM's strategy.