Bio · Sculpt/Install · Vital-Edible-Health

Don’t Forget the Brain Is as Complex as All the World’s Digital Data

Twenty years ago, sequencing the human genome was one of the most ambitious science projects ever attempted. Today, compared to the collection of genomes of the microorganisms living in our bodies, the ocean, the soil and elsewhere, each human genome, which easily fits on a DVD, is comparatively simple. Its 3 billion DNA base pairs and about 20,000 genes seem paltry next to the roughly 100 billion bases and millions of genes that make up the microbes found in the human body.

And a host of other variables accompanies that microbial DNA, including the age and health status of the microbial host, when and where the sample was collected, and how it was collected and processed. Take the mouth, populated by hundreds of species of microbes, with as many as tens of thousands of organisms living on each tooth. Beyond the challenges of analyzing all of these, scientists need to figure out how to reliably and reproducibly characterize the environment where they collect the data.

“There are the clinical measurements that periodontists use to describe the gum pocket, chemical measurements, the composition of fluid in the pocket, immunological measures,” said David Relman, a physician and microbiologist at Stanford University who studies the human microbiome. “It gets complex really fast.”

Excerpt from an article by Emily Singer at Quanta. Continue THERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Science · Theory

When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning A teacher’s quest to discourage his students from mindlessly reciting information.

Some things are worth memorizing–addresses, PINs, your parents’ birthdays. The sine of π/2 is not among them. It’s a fact that matters only insofar as it connects to other ideas. To learn it in isolation is like learning the sentence “Hamlet kills Claudius” without the faintest idea of who either gentleman is–or, for what matter, of what “kill” means. Memorization is a frontage road: It runs parallel to the best parts of learning, never intersecting. It’s a detour around all the action, a way of knowing without learning, of answering without understanding.

Memorization has enjoyed a surge of defenders recently. They argue that memorization exercises the brain and even fuels deep insights. They say our haste to purge old-school skills-driven teaching from our schools has stranded a generation of students upriver without a paddle. They recommend new apps aiming to make drills fun instead of tedious. Most of all, they complain that rote learning has become taboo, rather than accepted as a healthy part of a balanced scholastic diet.

Excerpt from an article written by BEN ORLIN at The Atlantic. Continue THERE

Design · Digital Media · Games/Play · Human-ities · Technology

The 21st Century Will Be Defined By Games, a Manifesto.

Previous centuries have been defined by novels and cinema. In a bold manifesto we’re proud to debut here on Kotaku, game designer Eric Zimmerman states that this century will be defined by games.ore

Below is Zimmerman’s manifesto, which will also appear in the upcoming book The Gameful World from MIT press. We invite you to read it, to think about it and even to annotate it. Zimmerman’s manifesto is followed by an exploration of the ideas behind it, in an essay by author and professor Heather Chaplin. In the days to come, we’ll be expanding the discussion even further with perspectives from other gamers and game-thinkers. But let’s start with the big ideas. Let’s start with a manifesto by gamers, about games, for the world we live in…

Games are ancient.

Digital technology has given games a new relevance.

The 20th Century was the century of information.

In our Ludic Century, information has been put at play.

In the 20th Century, the moving image was the dominant cultural form.

The Ludic Century is an era of games.

We live in a world of systems.

There is a need to be playful.

We should think like designers.

Games are a literacy.

Gaming literacy can address our problems.

In the Ludic Century, everyone will be a game designer.

Games are beautiful. They do not need to be justified.

Expand on each of these claims HERE

Bio · Digital Media · Science · Technology

Medical Stereograms (Crossview)

Images based on CT and MRI data, to be viewed in crossview technique. See entire gallery HERE

Digital Media · Motion Graphics · Technology · Videos

Female Orgasm in Brodmann Brain Regions

The human brain can be separated into regions based on structure and function – vision, audition, body sensation, etc, known as Brodmann’s area map.

This animation shows the functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, brain data of a participant experiencing an orgasm and the corresponding relationships seen within these different regions based on utilization of oxygen levels in the blood. 20 snapshots in time of the fMRI data are taken from a 7 minute sequence. Over the course of the 7 minutes the participant approaches orgasm, reaches orgasm and then enters a quiet period.

Oxygen utilization levels are displayed on a spectrum from dark red (lowest activity) to yellow/white (highest). As can be observed, an orgasm leads to almost the entire brain illuminating yellow, indicating that most brain systems become active at orgasm.

Text and Image by The Visual MD

Via The Guardian

Human-ities

Informed consent: A broken contract

Late in May, the direct-to-consumer gene-testing company 23andMe proudly announced the impending award of its first patent. The firm’s research on Parkinson’s disease, which used data from several thousand customers, had led to a patent on gene sequences that contribute to risk for the disease and might be used to predict its course. Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of the company, which is based in Mountain View, California, wrote in a blog post that the patent would help to move the work “from the realm of academic publishing to the world of impacting lives by preventing, treating or curing disease”.

Some customers were less than enthusiastic. Holly Dunsworth, for example, posted a comment two days later, asking: “When we agreed to the terms of service and then when some of us consented to participate in research, were we consenting to that research being used to patent genes? What’s the language that covers that use of our data? I can’t find it.”

The language is there, in both places. To be fair, the terms of service is a bear of a document — the kind one might quickly click past while installing software. But the consent form is compact and carefully worded, and approved by an independent review board to lay out clearly the risks and benefits of participating in research. “If 23andMe develops intellectual property and/or commercializes products or services, directly or indirectly, based on the results of this study, you will not receive any compensation,” the document reads.

Excerpt from an article written by Erika Check Hayden, at Nature. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Science · Theory

Turning Scientific Perplexity into Ordinary Statistical Uncertainty



To show how statistical models are built, the authors of Principles of Applied Statistics use a study on the relation between diabetes control and efforts to explain the disease to patients. The relevant variables (a) are baseline variables such as education, gender and duration of disease; attribution (how individuals conceive their responsibility in managing and treating the disease); knowledge about the disease; and the outcome, a measure of how successfully individuals control glucose levels. Defining the relation between each pair of variables creates a regression chain, a sequence in which the variables in a given box depend on all those in the preceding boxes. After analyzing the data, a simpler version (b) can be proposed: Control of glucose levels depends on knowledge about the disease, which depends on baseline variables; baseline variables also affect glucose control directly. Probability, the authors write, “is used to represent, possibly in highly idealized form, a phenomenon in the real world. As such it is not essentially different from concepts like mass, force and energy.”

D. R. Cox published his first major book, Planning of Experiments, in 1958; he has been making major contributions to the theory and practice of statistics for as long as most current statisticians have been alive. He is now in a reflective phase of his career, and this book, coauthored with the distinguished biostatistician Christl A. Donnelly, is a valuable distillation of his experience of applied work. It stands as a summary of an entire tradition of using statistics to address scientific problems.

Excerpt from an text by Cosma Shalizi, at American Scientist. Continue HERE

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Eco/Adaptable · Human-ities · Science · Theory

The Century of intervention: On the Asilomar International Conference on Climate Modification

Climate science has a long view. The measuring of rainfall, temperature and pressure with instruments made from glass, mercury and copper wire. Scientists have been collecting data for centuries, first in hand-written notebooks, later in vast computer databases. Edmund Halley mapped the trade winds in 1686 and Benjamin Franklin traced the Gulf Stream in the eighteenth century, the first hints of truly global systems. Helmut Landsberg added statistical analysis in the twentieth century, which revealed fluctuation in what until then had felt eternally recurring to the individual. Eventually, models of Earthʼs climate emerged from the data, an attempt to grasp the forces that drive the reality of our immediate environment, our world.

But science itself is careful. Its method progresses cautiously through hypotheses and experiments, always inviting their falsification. Yet, there are moments when it gets propelled to the forefront of human affairs, such as it happened to theoretical physics when it enabled the construction of nuclear devices. Over the last fifty years, climate science has been making visible that human activity has had a significant and increasing influence on the Earthʼs atmosphere. Now it has been given the place in the spotlight, and it feels quite uncomfortable there.

Excerpt of a text written by Sascha Pohflepp. Read it HERE

Blog-Sites · Digital Media · Social/Politics

Occupy Directory: All the Data is Free and Public




The Occupation Directory is a public listing of all known Occupation sites built by and for the #Occupy movement. The directory aims to be a service layer upon which anyone can build other apps. All our data is FREE and PUBLIC in a variety of formats.

The directory data was instantiated from a manual merge of the data from a number of public sources from our partners and collaborators at occupytogether, wealloccupy, The Guardian, and many others.

Surveying the landscape, we saw there were many overlapping, spreadsheet-based, directory projects. We identified a need to standardize the data collected, liberate it from Google, and assist data submission and editing with form validation, editorial workflows, and community participation.

Text via http://directory.occupy.net/

Design · Digital Media · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Technology

Designing the Interplanetary Web



Reliable Internet access on the Moon, near Mars or for astronauts on a space station? How about controlling a planetary rover from a spacecraft in deep space? These are just some of the pioneering technologies that ESA is working on for future exploration missions.

What do observation or navigation satellites orbiting Earth have in common with astronauts sending images in real time from the International Space Station? They all need to send data back home. And the complexity of sharing information across space is set to grow.

In the future, rovers on Mars or inhabited bases on the Moon will be supported by orbiting satellite fleets providing data relay and navigation services. Astronauts will fly to asteroids, hundreds of millions of kilometres from Earth, and they’ll need to link up with other astronauts, control centres and sophisticated systems on their vessels.

All of these activities will need to be interconnected, networked and managed.

Continue at Science Daily

Digital Media · Performativity · Technology

Connected cAR: Becoming the Cyborg Chauffeur

The car is apparently one of the next battlefields for ownership of our personal data and privacy. It is an intimate environment and there will soon be enough sensors to document every human habit and behavior within it. While cars will become the panoptic reporter to our every move, people will also be burdened with an overwhelming amount of data ostensibly aimed at “aiding” them in the driving task. There will be touch activated windshields, Augmented Reality (AR) navigation lines projected onto the windshield that guide drivers on a track of navigation, and the blending of both scenarios with the addition of ads showing up on screen. Audio feedback based on sensor activity is currently available as a service in certain commercial vehicles. Installed sensors monitor driver behavior and provide immediate audio feedback if a driver changes lanes suddenly, is speeding or engages in other unsafe behaviors.

Remember the VIRTUAL CABLE?

Excerpt from an article written by Sally Applin, on The Society Pages. Read it HERE

Bio · Design · Digital Media · Performativity · Technology

How your body can transmit data

Swedish communications giant Ericsson has developed a device which transmits data via the human body.

Click’s editor Richard Taylor demonstrates how capacitive coupling works and what it could be useful for.

See video via BBC News

Digital Media · Public Space · Social/Politics · Technology

Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an article regarding encryption, use of clouds, backups and other advice:

Our lives are on our laptops – family photos, medical documents, banking information, details about what websites we visit, and so much more. Thanks to protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the government generally can’t snoop through your laptop for no reason. But those privacy protections don’t safeguard travelers at the U.S. border, where the U.S. government can take an electronic device, search through all the files, and keep it for a while for further scrutiny – without any suspicion of wrongdoing whatsoever.

For doctors, lawyers, and many business professionals, these border searches can compromise the privacy of sensitive professional information, including trade secrets, attorney-client and doctor-patient communications, research and business strategies, some of which a traveler has legal and contractual obligations to protect. For the rest of us, searches that can reach our personal correspondence, health information, and financial records are reasonably viewed as an affront to privacy and dignity and inconsistent with the values of a free society.

Despite the lack of legal protections against the search itself, however, those concerned about the security and privacy of the information on their devices at the border can use technological measures in an effort to protect their data. They can also choose not to take private data across the border with them at all, and then use technical measures to retrieve it from abroad. As the explanations below demonstrate, some of these technical measures are simple to implement, while others are complex and require significant technical skill.

Why Can My Devices Be Searched at the Border?

Continue article HERE

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WikiLeaks publishes Stratfor emails linked to Anonymous attack

WikiLeaks has begun releasing a cache of what it says are 5.5m emails obtained from the servers of Stratfor, a US-based intelligence gathering firm with about 300,000 subscribers.

The whistleblowing site has published 167 emails in its initial release. WikiLeaks says it has partnered with 25 media organizations around the world, including Rolling Stone, McClatchey, the Hindu and Russia Reporter.

Unlike previous WikiLeaks releases, this latest email cache was apparently obtained through a hacking attack on Stratfor by Anonymous in December 2011 rather than through a whistleblower.

Anonymous published contact and credit card details from Stratfor and said at the time it had also obtained a large volume of emails for which it would arrange publication.

Written by James Ball, The Guardian. Continue HERE

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Social/Politics · Technology

Citizen science goes “Extreme”. Researchers push for wider use of community-generated data in science and policy-making.

In the Congo Basin, Bayaka pygmies patrol their forests with handheld tracking devices. Using the devices to record instances of poaching, industrial roads and illegal logging, they map their landscape, documenting the course of deforestation and harmful development.

The project is part of an emerging field that its champions describe as the ‘new wave’ of citizen science. With endeavours ranging from air-pollution assessments in Europe to chimpanzee counting in Tanzania, the next generation of citizen science attempts to make communities active stakeholders in research that affects them, and use their work to push forward policy changes. This is one of the main points of focus of the London Citizen Cyberscience Summit being held this week at the Royal Geographical Society and University College London.

Although researchers have been calling on amateurs and enthusiasts for decades to aid in collecting and processing large volumes of data, the latest approaches aim to enlist the public in helping to shape research questions, says Francois Grey, a physicist at Tsinghua University in Beijing and coordinator of the Citizen Cyberscience Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. Grey, an organizer of the summit, maintains that communities can play a valuable part in setting the agenda for scientific investigations.

Written by Katherine Rowland, Nature. Continue HERE