Happy Pi Day!
10 stunning images show the beauty hidden in pi, The Washington Post, March 14, 2015
“So what is the point of all this? Mostly, the works are meant to be beautiful and fun to look at. But beyond that, [Martin Krzywinski, a scientist who specializes in bioinformatics, or using computer science and statistics to understand biological data] says the art is meant to awaken emotions about math (hopefully emotions other than dislike and confusion) and start conversations about numbers and randomness.. . . ‘Pi Day is a great time to take a moment and recognize the extent to which, as a language to describe reality, math has allowed us to write the details of the workings of our universe.’”
Via @WashingtonPost @TheSwitch @AnaSwanson
Note: Be sure to do something awesome at 9:26:53 (3/14/15 at 9:26:53 that is). At that moment, the date and time combined will contain the first 9 digits of Pi (3.141592653)- your mind show be blown right about then. [revision: 10 digits – or 9 digits after the decimal place, whichever way you think about it]
Don’t You Worry Biotech Folks – You Have Job Security
Implantable medical devices hacking: Who does the autopsy?, Slate, March 13, 2015
“Rapid advances in medicine are increasingly enabling the integration of information technology with biology. Each year, 300,000 Americans receive wireless implantable medical devices (IMDs), including cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, cochlear implants, insulin pumps, neuro-stimulators, and various drug delivery systems. Man and machine are becoming one as tiny computers are increasingly being integrated with our own human physiology.. . . Many of the underlying communications technologies utilized by IMDs are notoriously insecure.. . . For the first time in the history of humanity, the human body has become subject to cyber attacks.. . . As modern medicine evolves and the proliferation of IMDs increases, the question must be asked: When the body shows up at the morgue, who will be capable of performing the autopsy?. . . Few if any police officers, prosecutors, or coroners have studied biomedical engineering.”
Via @Slate @FutureTense @FutureCrimes
Note: Education in multiple disciplines is becoming more necessary everyday (or so I like to tell myself, in an attempt to make my B.S. useful). All you folks who studied biomedical engineering and instead decide you wanted to study law (I for real know that at least one of you exists. Well, biochemistry is pretty close anyway), this theoretical new job sounds right up your alley.
The Electric Mood-Control Acid Test, MIT Technology Review March 12, 2015
“Thync says its device is an improvement over a similar-sounding technology called transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. In 2000, Walter Paulus, a German researcher (and the one with the Frankenstein joke), published a paper showing that applying weak electrical currents to certain parts of a person’s head could have an effect on the brain that changed the signals it sent to muscles. In the last few years interest in the technology has exploded, with researchers suggesting that tDCS can improve higher-order brain functions such as memory and learning.. . . [one of the author’s coworkers said] ‘This must be like one-15th of what people feel in opium dens. I feel super-mellow.’. . . Joan Camprodon-Gimenez, director of the Laboratory for Neuropsychiatry and Neuromodulation at Massachusetts General Hospital, [said more research needs to be done first, but] . . .’one of the benefits of this device is that it’s very, very safe. . . The worst-case scenario is it does nothing.’”
Via @TechReview @KevinBullis @Thync
Note: Just don’t try this at home. This tech has spawned a huge do-it-yourself movement (as mentioned in the article), which is super unsafe. And as the article also mentions, the tech isn’t guaranteed to work, so it’s a gamble not worth taking. But once the device comes out, have at it, and definitely let me know what you think!!
Reasons That Our Modern World Is Trippy
Here’s What Shopping With Apple Watch Will Look Like, Forbes, March 13, 2015
“Are you comfortable paying for your weekly grocery shop with a mere wave of the wrist? You’ll be able to in a few short weeks when the Apple AAPL -0.72% Watch makes its much-hyped debut.”
Via @Forbes @Clare_OC
Note: That’s all @Clare_OC needed to say. And then I read the next sentence: “If you move your Apple Watch-wearing hand anywhere near a store’s payment terminal.” Way less cool. I was imagining walking into Safeway and never having to stand in line. Now I’m back to being only semi-sold, and waiting for Apple to make the watch even remotely affordable.
This church has a drone, Fusion, March 12, 2015
“Just outside of Atlanta, in the city of East Point, Georgia, there’s a church that wants its high praise to be high-tech.. . . The church has 2,000 IRL worshippers plus another 1,000 via the church’s live stream; services are filmed by multiple cameras, one of which is sometimes flying around the building attached to a drone.. . . The church’s tech-savvy approach has helped it draw in congregants. ‘The thing that got my attention was the use of tech,’ said Vanessa Boyd who has been a member since December 2008. ‘They use cutting edge technology. Although it’s small, nothing looks homemade. Everything looks fresh.’”
Via @TheRealFuture @ThisIsFusion
Note: Well, that’s one reason to pick a church. They’re supposed to be a source of community… right…?
And, My Specialty: Trackers.
Fitbit Surge review: a fitness tracking watch that’s not quite super, The Guardian, March 13, 2015
Not only does the Fitbit Surge lack any in-depth sleep tracking (it simply shows “time asleep, restless and awake”), it lacks “useful analysis of the data it tracks”, failing to “provide analysis of exercise and how it affects sleep patterns, tips on how to train better or much beyond simply charting the data.” The Guardian claims the Fitbit Surge “is a solid everyday fitness tracker,” but [because the] “heart rate tracking when running isn’t consistent, and it’s not waterproof”, [it] “gets out of its depth when moving on to active sports.”
“Pros: solid battery life, constant heart rate monitoring, altimeter, accurate step tracking, easy to read screen
Cons: occasional syncing issues, poor data analysis, erratic heart rate during run, chunky, poor sleep tracking”
Via @GuardianTech @SamuelGibbs
Note: I could write an entire blog piece on fitness trackers (and I promise I eventually will)- I essentially have a PhD in them at this point. I can recommend one based on your priorities – consider me your personal tracker-shopper. My current personal favorite (which I do not own, because it didn’t come out until I had already maxed out the reasonable number of trackers one can purchase) is the Swarovski Shine – specifically, the Vio Pendant Set is stunning, and one always needs the bracelet for sleeping, so the Slake bracelet in black is a lovely addition to anyone’s wardrobe 😉