Saturday, November 29, 2014

On a Wing but Not a Prayer :)

The Dutch have a pragmatic and innovative approach to life, something readily seen in the TU Delft Ambulance drone, a quick way to deliver cardiac resuscitation within timeframes nearly impossible to achieve using the traditional means of getting hardware to site whether it be by car, ambulance or helicopter. Pretty awesome application of tech without question.

Now all that's needed is to link it to an HC system able to take this data in real time and send it to appropriate parties as needs warrant, something a near impossibility given just how inept the US HC system truly is.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

On the Notion of Rainbows

BRT has talked often about how language defines our notion of reality based on how said language is constructed, whether it be pictographic like Chinese and Japanese or modular like English or Russian. To that end, a good friend of mine posted an awesome link showing how English differs from Chinese when it comes to color, a most important aspect of describing reality without question.

Here's a fascinating visualization (seen above) created by Muyueh Lee that shows the differences between how the English language and Chinese language each describe colors. On the left, you can see the number of English names for color hues (there's a lot!) and on the right, the number of Chinese names (there's a little!).

Shown below is a dataset depicting specific breakdowns of color descriptions.

This is English

This is Chinese

Interesting, eh?

To see how this works in interactive 3D, Muyueh Lee's amazing site is the place to go as the interrelational aspects of just how deep this finding goes is truly astounding.

To yours truly, the notion that language describes our take on reality rings true as shown by Lee's incredibly creative and innovative research.

PS. Thanks Mark for turning me onto this. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reflection 2 Step

It's amazing how seemingly transparent glass acts like a mirror when the angle, background and lighting is just right as seen here in a shot taken during my time in Chicago, an awesome place to drink beer, talk with people and walk the streets in relaxed fashion. Enjoy.

In Other Words

Who knows, speaking in tongues may have inspired "Spoken Singing", 
a musical technique pioneered by Arnold Schoenberg and significant others back in the 1910s. 
"One never knows, do one?" - Fat Waller :)

Chicago 2014

Had to put this pix up. Carl Sandburg was right, Chicago is the city with Big Shoulders. :)

Black Friday - Any questions?

Black Friday, you know, the annual mad homage to greed and commerce that always falls on Friday after Thanksgiving that gets merchants out of the red, has lost it's meaning, 

Happy T. Day from BRT. :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Infrastructure or the lack of same

Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structure needed for the operation of a society or enterprise ,[1] or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function.[2] It can be generally defined as the set of interconnected structural elements that provide a framework supporting an entire structure of development. It is an important term for judging a country or region's development.

In other words, the mechanisms needed for a society to function, something that's falling apart in America as seen by an excellent piece in 60 Minutes and detailed analysis on the same topic presented by Infrastructure Report Card, an entity created by the ASCE, American Society of Civil Engineers.

Falling apart: America's neglected infrastructure

Ray LaHood: Our infrastructure is on life support right now. That's what we're on.

Few people are more aware of the situation than Ray LaHood, who was secretary of transportation during the first Obama administration, and before that a seven-term Republican congressman from Illinois. He is currently co-chairman of Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials that is urgently pushing for more spending on infrastructure.

Steve Kroft: According to the government, there are 70,000 bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient.

Ray LaHood: Yep.

Steve Kroft: What does that mean?

Ray LaHood: It means that there are bridges that need to be really either replaced or repaired in a very dramatic way.

Steve Kroft: They're dangerous?

Ray LaHood: I don't want to say they're unsafe. But they're dangerous. I would agree with that.

and...The Report Card

Any questions?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The problem with blobs

Blobfish live deep in the ocean, where pressures are exceedingly high. In fact, the blobfish's gelatinous appearance is actually a brilliant adaptation — its gooey, pudding-like flesh allows it to stay buoyant at depths where gaseous bladders can't function.

When looking at this little guy, I thought about another kind of blob, the digital kind, aka Binary Large Object, a close source bag of code that cannot be easily accessed as the contents of same remain unstructured and unknown, something exceedingly difficult to retrieve unless the creators of such code uses specific drivers to access said content to service their clients in meaningful fashion. AI is also used for blob drill downs as well, particularly in all things related to trolling the net for tidbits of interesting data. :)

The reason why this topic is being addressed is that unstructured data causes enormous financial and operational problems in healthcare as HC is largely controlled by closed, proprietary systems using blobs as a primary mechanism to service some of the largest medical facilities in the world, something to consider when asking for your medical records, that you already paid for, when you REALLY need them, particularly in an emergency situation, where real time access to these files means life or death, something that kills approximately 250,000 of us (Journal of Patient Safety) due, in large part, to the existence of BLOBs that, in effect, prevents our ability to get our patient records, free of charge, in real time, using any hardware equipped with web browser software and connectivity to the net.

The new study reveals that each year preventable adverse events (PAEs) lead to the death of 210,000-400,000 patients who seek care at a hospital. Those figures would make medical errors the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.

End of rant but couldn't resist showing how much the "distinguished" Mr. W. C. Fields resembles the denizen of the deep as seen by W. C. using guile and deceit to win, in illicit fashion, while playing the wonderful game known as poker. :)

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Arms Race

Since the beginning of time, Nature's version of the neverending arm race has been employed by an astonishingly wide variety of organisms in order to continue their existence on planet earth. Prominent in this unceasing quest for dominance in all things related to sex, food and habitat, is the dung beetle, an industrious insect whose species include males equipped with bodacious armaments, similar, in indirect fashion, to what the military has in the good old USA. :)

Much as in geopolitics, animal arms races rack up staggering costs. For example, these beetles’ horns can make up 30 percent of a male’s total weight, and because nutrients are redirected to horn growth, males often have stunted eye and reproductive-organ growth. Soon horns become so pricey only a select few can afford them, and once this happens, the sole option left for the rest of the males is to cheat. And so nearly every heavily armed species has small males who break the rules.

Not all O. nigriventris males have horns. Those that don’t grow past a certain size — because they were born smaller or were malnourished — never hit the genetic trigger that leads to horn growth, forcing them to circumvent the whole system of duels in order to breed. Instead of dueling (and losing), small O. nigriventris males dig their own tunnels, bypassing the guarding males in order to mate with the female, and slip back out again undetected. They waste no resources on weapon development at all, leaving them nimbler and even more virile — instead of growing horns, they grow big testes that produce extra sperm. They may not mate with as many females as the larger males of their species, but they make the most of every opportunity.

Over time, this end run around the logic of the arms race can completely upend it, pushing the armed animals out of the gene pool. Overburdened and outmatched, animals with weapons eventually die off. Biologists were baffled when they first encountered this trend — it seemed to fly in the face of sexual-selection theory, which is the notion that the best-armed males will be the most genetically prolific. But much as duels necessarily create arms races, arms races necessarily create cheaters — and cheaters can win, bringing an end to the race.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

What part of No don't you understand?

BRT has talked ad nauseum about climate change and the catastrophic impact said change will have upon the world even though a sizable minority of humanity continue to deny the fact global warming is real in spite of overwhelming evidence that has proven this finding to be true. Seems the UN agrees with BRT without question as their latest report no longer uses diplomatic phrases to elegantly describe what is happening to our planet as it slowly begins to cook thanks to fossil fuel production that never seems to ebb no matter the cost to civilization.

If governments are to meet their own stated goal of limiting the warming of the planet to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above the preindustrial level, they must restrict emissions from additional fossil-fuel burning to about 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, the panel said. At current growth rates, that budget is likely to be exhausted in something like 30 years, possibly less.

Yet energy companies have booked coal and petroleum reserves equal to several times that amount, and they are spending some $600 billion a year to find more. Utilities and oil companies continue to build coal-fired power plants and refineries, and governments are spending another $600 billion or so directly subsidizing the consumption of fossil fuels.

In the United States, federal investments in energy research have never come close to those in areas that are high priorities. Military research is greater than that in all these areas combined.Panel’s Latest Warming Warning Misses Global Slumber Party on Energy ResearchNOV. 2, 2014

By contrast, the report found, less than $400 billion a year is being spent around the world to reduce emissions or otherwise cope with climate change. That is a small fraction of the revenue spent on fossil fuels — it is less, for example, than the revenue of a single American oil company, ExxonMobil.

Interstellar anyone?

Click here to get the 5th Synthesis Report on Climate Change 2014.
Needless to say, it will not warm the cockles of one's heart.

Addendum. Dot Earth, the NY Times Environmental OP Ed Blog, has a nice piece on the lack of commitment the world has on Energy Research. It too will not warm the cockles of one's heart either.