In the summer of 2015, Alexandra Franco got a letter in the mail from a company she had never heard of called AcurianHealth. The letter, addressed to Franco personally, invited her to participate in a study of people with psoriasis, a condition that causes dry, itchy patches on the skin.
Tagged With big data
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We rarely stop to think of just how many people the world's airlines transport on any given day, never mind form a mental picture of that activity. Now there's a nifty animated visualisation of how all those different airports around the globe are connected -- a total of 3200 airports and 60,000 routes in all.
An Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) investigation just revealed an awfully Orwellian fact: the FBI is working with government researchers to develop advanced tattoo recognition technology. This would allow law enforcement to sort and identify people based on their tattoos to determine "affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology".
Wikipedia is a voluntary organisation dedicated to the noble goal of decentralised knowledge creation. But as the community has evolved over time, it has wandered further and further from its early egalitarian ideals, according to a new paper published in the journal Future Internet. In fact, such systems usually end up looking a lot like 20th century bureaucracies.
Police departments, like everyone else, would like to be more effective while spending less. Given the tremendous attention to big data in recent years, and the value it has provided in fields ranging from astronomy to medicine, it should be no surprise that police departments are using data analysis to inform deployment of scarce resources. Enter the era of what is called "predictive policing."
What if you knew exactly what to say over email to get someone to like you? When to insert a smiley face, when to get to the point, when to flirt? A service called Crystal offers a cheat sheet for email finesse.
The image you're looking at is a glimpse into our future. Welcome to July 2099, according to 21 different climate models. CO2 concentrations have topped 900 parts per million, comprising nearly one per cent of our atmosphere. (In early 2015, we hit 400).
Rather than relying on carpet-bombing approaches like chemotherapy and radiation treatments, cutting-edge cancer cures are looking more towards a surgical strike, tailored to shutting down the mutations that are driving growth. And the secret weapon in that fight might just be a well-known Jeopardy contestant.
It's hard to figure out who the villain is in Alex Garland's sexy robot thriller Ex Machina. That's what makes the film so, well, thrilling. But as a new featurette called from the studio called "God Complex" makes painfully clear, the real villain is the one you can't see, the one that's ever-present, always watching and terribly Orwellian. It's data.
There's probably something you do right now you wouldn't really want everyone to know about. Maybe you're letting a Fitbit gather dust while you eat Doritos and watch The Good Wife (understandable). Maybe you're in the habit of driving around at 3am when you can't sleep. Whatever you do, if you're doing it while using "internet of things" devices, those private vices may not be so private.
My grandmother recently had a pacemaker implanted. Major surgery and its aftermath are frightening at any age, but for a 93-year-old and her family it is a particularly scary tightrope to walk. Had her recovery been filmed for a montage in a family drama, there would have been reassuring doctors and smiling nurses with encouraging words as the liveliness returned to her eyes and activity to her arms and legs -- but this wasn't a movie. This was the information age. As we gathered around her hospital bed in the days after the procedure, I could tell that my grandmother was worried, and I was worried too.