- Examining His Own Body (Science Now) — Stanford prof. has sequenced his DNA and is now getting massively Quantified Self on his metabolism, infections, etc. This caught my eye: George Church, who has pioneered DNA sequencing technology and runs the Personal Genome Project* at Harvard Medical School in Boston that enrolls people willing to share genomic and medical information similar to what’s presented in the Cell report, says some might critique Snyder’s self-exam as merely anecdotal. “But one response is that it is the perfect counterpoint to correlative studies which lump together thousands of cases versus controls with relatively much less attention to individual idiosyncrasies,” Church says. “I think that N=1 causal analyses will be increasingly important.”
- Bus Arrival Monitor (John Graham-Cumming) — hacked a toy doubledecker bus with LED display feeding bus arrival info from the Transport for London API via a modded Linksys WRT router.
- Arduino Tool That Connects Each Board to Its Own Source (Ideo) — If you create something with Arduino and put it out into the world, there is no well-established link to the source. If you personally made the device, the source can get lost over time. If you didn’t create it, you could have a tough time tracking the source down. You have the physical device, why can’t it tell you where it’s code lives? I made a tool for Arduino called “Upload-And-Retrieve-Source” that for the most part solves this problem. (via Chris Spurgeon)
- Mike Daisey is a Liar and So Am I — I linked to the original This American Life story, so now I’m linking to the best commentary on their retraction of the story. This is an excellent piece on the ubiquity and ethics of Daiseyesque means-justifies-the-end for-a-good-cause deceit.
The Quantified Professor, Bus Monitor, Arduino Confessor, and Ethics of Deceit
Big data introduces unique healthcare challenges and opportunities.
The proliferation of digital health information, including both clinical and claims information, is creating large datasets and significant opportunity.
Analytics in Excel, HTTP Debugger, Analytics for Personalized Healthcare, and EFF To The Rescue
- Excel Cloud Data Analytics (Microsoft Research) — clever–a cloud analytics backend with Excel as the frontend. Almost every business and finance person I’ve known has been way more comfortable with Excel than any other tool. (via Dr Data)
- HTTP Client — Mac OS X app for inspecting and automating a lot of HTTP. cf the lovely Charles proxy for debugging. (via Nelson Minar)
- The Creative Destruction of Medicine — using big data, gadgets, and sweet tech in general to personalize and improve healthcare. (via New York Times)
- EFF Wins Protection of Time Zone Database (EFF) — I posted about the silliness before (maintainers of the only comprehensive database of time zones was being threatened by astrologers). The EFF stepped in, beat back the buffoons, and now we’re back to being responsible when we screw up timezones for phone calls.
The Direct Project is poised to become the first health Internet platform.
Given the way that healthcare is financed in the U.S., it's reasonable to expect that many doctors will have a Direct email address to communicate with other doctors and their patients in a few years.
From healthcare to finance to emergency response, data holds immense potential to help citizens and government.
The explosion of big data, open data and social data offers new opportunities to address humanity's biggest challenges. The open question is no longer if data can be used for the public good, but how.
Explaining cutting edge social media to the last industry to computerize.
As patients and practitioners gather on Twitter, the service has evolved into a peer-to-peer healthcare marketplace. That's why Twitter co-founder Biz Stone's keynote at HIMSS is so fitting.
A merging of artificial intelligence and healthcare is tougher than many realize.
People will eventually get better care from artificial intelligence, but for now, we should keep the algorithms focused on the data that we know is good and keep the doctors focused on the patients.
Disease-B-Gone, Quake Game, Text Adventures, and Unicoddling
- Rinderpest Eradicated — only the second disease that mankind has managed to eradicate. This one was a measles-like virus that killed cattle and caused famines. A reminder of how astonishingly difficult it is to eradicate disease, but what a massive victory it is when it happens. (via Courtney Johnston)
- Magnetic South — the 6.3 earthquake that trashed Christchurch, New Zealand, has presented the city with a tabula rasa (or, rather, tabula rubble) for the rebuild: what should they build, how, and where? The good citizens are working on this question in many ways, one of which is this online game based on Institute for the Future’s Foresight Engine.
- TOPS-20 in a Box — write FORTRAN code on an emulated PHP-10 running TOPS-20 and, most delightfully, play the original Adventure as written by Crowther and finished by Woods. It’s like emulating the Big Bang for text adventures. When you’re done, admire the scholarship in this analysis of the original to see how much Woods added. (Text adventures are the game version of command-line interfaces, and we still have much to learn from them)
- Why Does Modern Perl Avoid UTF-8 By Default? (StackOverflow) — check out the very long and detailed answer by my coauthor, Tom Christiansen, on exactly how many thorns and traps lie in wait for the unwary “it should just WORK”er. Skip down to the “Assume Brokenness” section for the full horror. Tom’s been working with linguists and revising the Unicode chapters of the Camel, so asking “why can’t it just work” is like asking a war veteran “why don’t you just shoot all the bad guys?”.
Tables to Charts, Crowdsourcing Incentives, Domain Boondoggles, and Conquering Complexity
- Chartify — jQuery plugin to create Google charts from HTML tables. (via Rasmus Sellberg)
- Designing Incentives for Crowdsourcing Workers (Crowdflower) — In a tough turn for the sociologists and psychologists, none of the purely social/psychological treatments had any significant effects at all.
- The gTLD Boondoggle — ICANN promised back in 1998 that they would bring the world lots of new domains. So far they haven’t, the world has not come to an end, and the Internet has not collapsed. The absence of demand for new TLDs from actual users (as opposed to domain promoters and the occasional astroturf) is deafening. What we do see is a lot of concern that there will be more mistakes like .XXX, and pressure from governments both via the GAC and directly to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It’s a bugger when you go hunting for a new product’s domain name and realize “all the good ones are taken”, but that’s an argument against domain squatters/speculators not an argument for opening up new top-level-domain vistas.
- Atul Gawande’s Medical School Commencement Address (New Yorker) — every lesson in here about healthcare is just as applicable to software development. Read it. (via Courtney Johnston)