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Posts from the ‘Science & Technology’ Category


Review: The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy

The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It probably takes a special sort of person to dive into an entire book about one statistical theory, but for those so-motivated, this one pays off.

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The Shelf Life of a Scientist

How quickly after a scientist stops publishing does he or she fade to obscurity?   Well, that’s a broader question than I plan to answer here.   But I can do a little lifelogging data analysis to figure out if my expiration date has yet passed. Read more »


The Declining High Tech Balance of Trade

As the global economy evolves, the U.S. continues to become a net importer, rather than exporter, of advanced technologies.  Which sectors are “winners”, and which are lagging?  And is there coherence between our performance in international trade, and our national R&D investments? Read more »


iPhone Color-Blindness Correction, Redux

A followup to my idea on native correction using iPhones from 2009 … it seems someone has developed an app to begin to do this.

The correction isn’t realtime using the viewfinder … commenters have noted that that would likely overtax even the iPhone 4’s processing capability.   As an academic point I’m curious to hear from color blind folk if the correction approach actually works.

Actually, it seems that a plethora of apps have emerged to fill this niche, although many seem to fall into the “touch a color see its name” variety…


A Common Crowdsourcing Platform?

Here’s the executive summary:   A common smartphone app interface and underlying open API could unlock crowdsourced data collection across a number of different fields.  The trick … how to get critical mass. Read more »


Semantic Searching Meets Dataporn

Following up on my earlier discussion of semantic searching and scholarly research, I’ve done a little more digging on recent work done in this area, emphasizing the visualization problem, which should really be added as another “major advance” needed to operationalize semantic searching. Read more »


From Plankton to Hailstones

Another drive-by brainoid: while learning about the Processing visualization language, I stumbled across this beautiful visualization of a system dynamics model of marine ecosystems, which captures the evolution of three discrete categories: nutrients, phytoplankton, zooplankton (the latter two across a range of size bins): Read more »


Mobile Weather Spotting (Avian Redux)

Harkening back to my March post on iPhone-enabled severe weather spotting/reporting, here’s a similar concept applied to birding.

Courtesy (and no, I’m not a birder – but the site ended up as a nominee for the Peoples’ Choice Webby Awards and looked intriguing).


Social Networking, Semantic Searching and Science

Executive summary: The tools and tricks of scientific collaboration are still pretty old school.  With the ivory tower not being a major profit center, how can innovations in the private sector (which far outstrip academia’s capabilities) be brought over to accelerate scientific research and discovery?  (Caveat: I have no answers, just a problem statement!) Read more »


Virtually Mirroring The Physical World

A recent conversation about upgrading some of our NASA public exhibits to “self-narrated tour” capabilities has sent me down a speculative rabbit trail of thinking more broadly about virtual interactivity with physical world objects.   Museums have, in some ways, paved the way here: from self-guided Walkman tours to self-guided iPod Shuffle tours to museum cell phone tours, allowing portable end-user interactivity, but I think this interactivity is typically decoupled (absent user intervention) from real world objects.   I think (and I suspect many others have thought) that it’s not too far downstream that we’ll have sufficient standards, automation and capabilities in place to allow key (if not many) real world objects to accessible, virtual-world analogues (yep – full circle to the Coffee Pot Webcam). Read more »