# "science" entries

## Four short links: 21 November 2014

1. Wearable Power Assist Device Goes on Sale in Japan (WSJ, Paywall) — The Muscle Suit, which weighs 5.5 kilograms (12 pounds), can be worn knapsack-style and uses a mouthpiece as its control. Unlike other similar suits that rely on motors, it uses specially designed rubber tubes and compressed air as the source of its power. The Muscle Suit can help users pick up everyday loads with about a third of the usual effort. […] will sell for about ¥600,000 ($5,190), and is also available for rent at about ¥30,000 to ¥50,000 per month. Prof. Kobayashi said he expected the venture would ship 5,000 of them in 2015. (via Robot Economics) 2. Debunking Handbook — techniques for helping people to change their beliefs (hint: showing them data rarely does it). (via Tom Stafford) 3. Building a Complete Tweet Index (Twitter) — engineering behind the massive searchable Tweet collection: indexes roughly half a trillion documents and serves queries with an average latency of under 100ms. 4. History of the Poop Emoji (Fast Company) — In Japanese, emoji are more like characters than random animated emoticons. Comment ## Four short links: 19 November 2014 ### Current Software Practices, Future Science Practices, Javascript Typechecking, and Microservices for Scala 1. Distributed Developer Stack Field Guide (O’Reilly) — making sense of what software development and deployment now looks like. (via O’Reilly Radar) 2. Data Capture for the Real World (Cameron Neylon) — there’s a huge opportunity for science IT: tracking data as scientists do their work, and then with massive audit trails and provenance info. Think Salesforce for experiments. 3. Flow — static type checking for Javascript, from Facebook. 4. ColossusI/O and Microservice library for Scala from Tumblr engineering. Comment ## Four short links: 10 November 2014 ### Metascience, Bio Fab, Real-time Emoji, and Phone Library 1. Metascience Could Rescue the Replication Crisis (Nature) — Metascience, the science of science, uses rigorous methods to examine how scientific practices influence the validity of scientific conclusions. (via Ed Yong) 2. OpenTrons (Kickstarter) — 3d-printer style frame for micropipetting, magnetic micro-bead washes, and photography. Open source and kickstarterated. (via Evil Mad Scientist) 3. Emoji Tracker — real-time emoji use across Twitter. (via Chris Aniszczyk) 4. libphonenumber — open source Google’s common Java, C++ and Javascript library for parsing, formatting, storing and validating international phone numbers. The Java version is optimized for running on smartphones, and is used by the Android framework since 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Comment ## Four short links: 29 October 2014 ### Tweet Parsing, Focus and Money, Challenging Open Data Beliefs, and Exploring ISP Data 1. TweetNLP — CMU open source natural language parsing tools for making sense of Tweets. 2. Interview with Google X Life Science’s Head (Medium) — I will have been here two years this March. In nineteen months we have been able to hire more than a hundred scientists to work on this. We’ve been able to build customized labs and get the equipment to make nanoparticles and decorate them and functionalize them. We’ve been able to strike up collaborations with MIT and Stanford and Duke. We’ve been able to initiate protocols and partnerships with companies like Novartis. We’ve been able to initiate trials like the baseline trial. This would be a good decade somewhere else. The power of focus and money. 3. Schooloscope Open Data Post-MortemThe case of Schooloscope and the wider question of public access to school data challenges the belief that sunlight is the best disinfectant, that government transparency would always lead to better government, better results. It challenges the sentiments that see data as value-neutral and its representation as devoid of politics. In fact, access to school data exposes a sharp contrast between the private interest of the family (best education for my child) and the public interest of the government (best education for all citizens). 4. M-Lab Observatory — explorable data on the data experience (RTT, upload speed, etc) across different ISPs in different geographies over time. Comment ## Four short links: 22 October 2014 ### Docker Patterns, Better Research, Streaming Framework, and Data Science Textbook 1. Eight Docker Development Patterns (Vidar Hokstad) — patterns for creating repeatable builds that result in as-static-as-possible server environments. 2. How to Make More Published Research True (PLOSmedicine) — overview of efforts, and research on those efforts, to raise the proportion of published research which is true. 3. Gearpump — Intel’s “actor-driven streaming framework”, initial benchmarks shows that we can process 2 million messages/second (100 bytes per message) with latency around 30ms on a cluster of 4 nodes. 4. Foundations of Data Science (PDF) — These notes are a first draft of a book being written by Hopcroft and Kannan [of Microsoft Research] and in many places are incomplete. However, the notes are in good enough shape to prepare lectures for a modern theoretical course in computer science. Comment ## Four short links: 17 October 2014 ### 2FA, Copy Image Text, Electric Garbage Trucks, and MSFT's Q 1. Time to Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Everything (Gizmodo) — instructions for enabling 2fa on Google, Facebook, and other common consumer Internet services. (via BoingBoing) 2. Project Napthaautomatically applies state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms on every image you see while browsing the web. The result is a seamless and intuitive experience, where you can highlight as well as copy and paste and even edit and translate the text formerly trapped within an image. Chrome extension. (via Anil Dash) 3. Garbage Trucks and FedEx Vans (IEEE) — Foo alum, Ian Wright, found traction for his electric car biz by selling powertrains for garbage trucks and Fedex vans. Trucks have 20-30y lifetime, but powertrains are replaced several times; the trucks for fleets are custom; and “The average garbage truck in the U.S. spends$55,000 a year on fuel, and up to $30,000 a year on maintenance, mostly brake replacements.” 4. Microsoft’s Quantum Mechanics (MIT TR) — the race for the “topological qubit”, involving newly-discovered fundamental particles and large technology companies racing to be the first to make something that works. Comment ## Four short links: 15 October 2014 ### Recognising Uncertainty, Responsive Screenshots, Rapid Prototyping, and SD Drones 1. Guidance Note on Uncertainty (PDF) –expert advice to IPCC scientists on identifying, quantifying, and communicating uncertainty. Everyone deals with uncertainty, but none are quite so ruthless in their pursuit of honesty about it as scientists. (via Peter Gluckman) 2. pageresResponsive website screenshots. (via infovore) 3. SparkFun Rapid Prototyping Lab — with links to some other expert advice on creative spaces. Some very obvious software parallels, too. E.g., this from Adam Savage’s advice: The right tool for the job – Despite his oft-cited declaration that ‘every tool is a hammer,’ Adam can usually be relied on to geek-out about purpose-built tools. If you’re having trouble learning a new skill, check that you’re using the right tools. The right tool is the one that does the hard work for you. There’s no point in dropping big bucks on tools you’re almost certainly not going to use, but don’t be afraid to buy the cheap version of the snap-setter, or leather punch, or tamper bit before trying to jerry-rig something that will end up making your life harder. 4. Dudes with Drones (The Atlantic) — ghastly title (“Bros with Bots”, “Bangers with Clangers”, and “Fratboys with Phat Toys” were presumably already taken), interesting article. San Diego is the Palo Alto of drones. Interesting to compare software startups with the hardware crews’ stance on the FAA. “We want them to regulate us,” Maloney says. “We want nothing more than a framework to allow us to continue to operate safely and legally.” Comment ## Four short links: 14 October 2014 ### Science Startups, UAV Platform, Distributed vs Scalable, and Multiplayer Spreadsheet 1. VCs Return to Backing Science Startups (NY Times) — industry and energy investment doubled this year, biotech up 26% in first half, but a lot of the investments are comically small and the risk remains acutely high. 2. dronecode — Linux Foundation common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The platform has been adopted by many of the organizations on the forefront of drone technology, including 3DRobotics, DroneDeploy, HobbyKing, Horizon Ag, PrecisionHawk, Agribotics, and Walkera, among other. 3. Distributed is Not Necessarily Moe Scalable (Murat Demiras) — well-reasoned and summed up in this tweet by @jamesiry: Some people when faced with a problem think, I know, I’ll use distributed computing. Now they have N^2 problems.. 4. ethersheet — open source collaborative/multiplayer spreadsheet. Comment ## Four short links: 9 September 2014 ### Go Text, Science Consensus, Broadcast Fallacy, and In-Browser Swift 1. bleveA modern text indexing library for go. 2. Scientific Consensus Has A Bad Reputation—And Doesn’t Deserve It (Ars Technica) — a lovely explanation of how informal consensus works in science. NB for anyone building social software which attempts to formalise and automate consensus. 3. TiVo Mega — 24TB of RAID storage, six tuners for capturing broadcasts. Which is rather like building the International Space Station and then hitching it to six horses for launch. Who at this point would make a$5k bet that everything you want to see on a TV will be broadcast by a cable company?
4. runswift — an in-browser client for compiling and running basic Swift functionality.