20 April 2020

Covid-19 Testing ~ Diagnostic Tech Strategies...

The Center of Complex Interventions (CCI) offers COVID-19 RNA Testing Technology Assessment...
"This living document aims to survey the technical aspects of these diagnostic tests, outline the features and current limitations of their underlying technologies, formulate a modular framework for the assessment of the existing (and upcoming) tests workflows, and help depict a clearer and more comprehensive picture of this rapidly evolving space."
Here's the current testing landscape mapping cost vs speed...

18 April 2020

Heroines ~ Artist Manara's Homage to Frontliners

Italian graphic novel artist/illustrator Milo Manara pays homage to the current pandemic's heroic women drawing rather differently than usual...
"Posting his work, he talks about his appreciation of doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers, cleaners, shop assistants, police, delivery workers and more. In terms of content matter, it is still recognisably his work, but it has a different focus."

25 March 2020

Calling Bullshit ~ Factcheck Covid-19 Misinfo

WIRED's Tom Simonite writes about The Professors Who Call ‘Bullshit’ on Covid-19 Misinformation...
"Jevin West told fellow University of Washington professor Carl Bergstrom that he was starting a new course on big data. The pair worked together to develop a course, Calling Bullshit, broadening the scope to offer tips on how to detect and disarm spurious appeals to data and science in anything from TED talks to medical papers. The syllabus went viral [Now] the pandemic has added Miracle-Gro to what Bergstrom and West’s course calls the “natural ecology of bullshit.” Despite the bullshit bonanza, West says he has been pleased to see medical experts fighting incorrect information on social networks and tech companies such as Facebook and Google adding banners and filters to fight or block coronavirus misinformation."
As an example...
"University of Washington professor Kate Starbird used a database of tweets about Covid-19 to create this chart showing how retweets (blue circles), quotes (orange diamonds), or retweets of quotes (green circles), boosted a tweet sharing inaccurate scientific claims about the novel coronavirus."

13 March 2020

Covid-19 Trendscape ~ Comparative Exponentials

Andreas Burkert has been updating Covid-19 exponential trendscape plots.  This one's most recent as of Friday 13th posting, but see his FB page for the latest...

10 March 2020

Flattening the Curve ~ Mitigating Covid-19....

David Reiley writes...
"Here's something we all need to know. In China, when the spread of the virus is slow, we see a 1% death rate among those infected. When the spread of the virus is fast, hospitals get overloaded, ventilators become too scarce, and the death rate goes up to around 5%. (Italy, probably about a week or two ahead of the US in infections, is currently rationing medical equipment among the dying.) Note that the curve changes shape as people take more preventive measures, but the area under the curve remains more or less constant. About the same total number of people will be contracting the virus, but when that happens over a longer period of time you’re vastly more likely to get medical care if your situation becomes critical. Even with a slow growth rate, we're likely to lose 30 million people worldwide over the next two years. With a fast growth rate, that number could be 150 million."

11 February 2020

Humanity’s Sweet Spot ~ Sustainable + Social

MIT colleague Anna Waldman-Brown spotlit this provocative infographic in one of her "Academic frustrations of the day", a plot of...
"...the extent to which a country is meeting its people’s essential needs while at the same time ensuring that its use of Earth’s resources remains within its share of the planet’s biophysical boundaries."
This is on Kate Raworth's page and is named (terribly) "doughnut economics". But I like the graphic... The quadrants represent alternative thematas to "developed" vs "developing" and stand for:
A. Countries that are barely crossing any planetary boundaries, but are falling very far short on meeting people’s needs
B. Many middle-income, ‘emerging’ economies are both falling short on social needs while already crossing biophysical boundaries.
C. Today’s high-income countries cannot be called developed, given that their resource consumption is greatly overshooting Earth’s boundaries and, in the process, undermining prospects for all other countries.
D. No country is yet in sweet-spot cluster D (for Doughnut!) – so how many years until some are there, and which will make it there first?

American Evolution ~ Rails, Roads & US Cities!

The FT shares this compelling piece Mapping how railroads built America mashing up the evolution of US railroads over time with the growth in physical expansion and population of American cities...
"A new look at antique US railroad maps reveals how cities grew over the past 200 years. The FT's Alan Smith and Steven Bernard trace how cities, people and the economy spread from coast to coast"

01 February 2020

Inclusive Economies ~ Spring 2020 @ MIT D-Lab

Together with colleagues Kate Mytty and Libby McDonald, I'm co-teaching the Inclusive Economies seminar at MIT this Spring 2020 every Wed morning starting Feb 5th from 9:30-11:30a in N51-310, the D-Lab classroom area!
We explore how innovations and market mechanisms can benefit humanity by rallying impact investments, engaging participants cooperatively, boosting equity and resilience, and broadening prosperity. We look at market mechanisms for maximizing participation, choice, and growth; impact investing approaches which are socially responsible and include metrics that matter; cooperative and mutual ownership structures for shared gains; equitable citizen participation in basic and natural resource wealth; and the role of new technologies and methods towards boosting affordability, accessibility, and overall inclusive prosperity.

30 January 2020

AI for Impact ~ Spring 2020 @ MIT Media Lab

Together with colleagues Professors Alex "Sandy" Pentland and Ramesh Raskar, I'm co-teaching the AI for Impact seminar this Spring 2020 every Monday afternoon starting Feb 3rd from 2:30-4:30a in E14-633, the penthouse classroom on top of the MIT Media Lab! Our class goal is to bring computational, analytics, and AI techniques to bear on solving problems in the high impact realms of health & wellness, cities & sustainability, education & content, finance & commerce, and civics & governance across scales of action from each of us as individuals to embracing all of humanity, in both developed and emerging markets alike. We want to help students identify top AI opportunities for impact and help make progress towards building prototypes, planning action ventures, and/or better understanding the emerging technology and impact trendscape.
Also known as "Media Ventures" and formerly also known as "Imaging Ventures", “AI Ventures”, and "Digital Anthropology", this “AI for Impact” class seeks answers to the question: If you could make almost anything, what's actually most worth making, i.e. what problems are most worth picking? We believe starting with the right problem is 90% of what makes for great projects and ultimately epic, worthy solutions.

29 January 2020

Surreal Value ~ Apple's Exponential Exhuberance

The FT reports on the Apple Effect...
"When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, it was valued at $3bn, less than one-tenth of Siemens, Europe’s largest industrial group then and now. Today, Apple is worth more than Germany’s 30 leading companies."

27 January 2020

Suspended Animation ~ Cool Emergency Surgery

The Guardian's Science Editor Ian Sample wrote in Nov 2019 about Humans put into suspended animation for first time...
"The process involves rapidly cooling the brain to less than 10C by replacing the patient’s blood with ice-cold saline solution. Typically the solution is pumped directly into the aorta, the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Known formally as emergency preservation and resuscitation, or EPR, the procedure is being trialled on people who sustain such catastrophic injuries that they are in danger of bleeding to death and who suffer a heart attack shortly before they can be treated."
This seems to me to be proto-cryonics as well as learning lessons from the many accidental hypothermia cases.

23 January 2020

Democracy 2019 ~ Economist Index of World Pox

The Economist says...
"Democracy is in retreat, according to the latest edition of the Democracy Index from our sister company, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This annual survey, which rates the state of democracy across 167 countries based on five measures -- electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties -- finds that democracy has been eroded around the world in the past year. The global score of 5.44 out of ten is the lowest recorded since the index began in 2006. Just 22 countries, home to 430m people, were deemed “full democracies” by the EIU. More than a third of the world’s population, meanwhile, still live under authoritarian rule."

15 January 2020

MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures ~ IAP Jan 2020

On Tuesday night, 21 January 2020, Joe Hadzima and I kick off the latest incarnation -- the 31st year (!!) -- of our MIT Nuts & Bolts of New Ventures course over the MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP 2020). Joe starts with the essence of business planning as a process of iterative imagination and special guest speaker Bob Jones shares how to present venture essentials. My primary topic is Team & Organizational issues, our special guest speakers (mostly MIT alums, all entrepreneurs) cover the essentials everyone ought to know about new venturing, including how to identify customers, pitch a concept, raise money, model financials, deal with legalities, negotiate with people, and holistically integrate this all together.

Sessions are evenings over the next two weeks Tue, Wed, and Thurs nights 1/21-1/30 from 6-9p in 10-250 -- i.e. in our prime MIT lecture hall under the iconic Great Dome. Folks can choose whether to attend all sessions, plus doing the (useful) written homework assignment, and registering For Credit (3 Units, Pass/Fail for 15.393 online via Websis) or to come for any (or all) nights and simply participate as a Listener. All MIT affiliates and colleagues -- including students, faculty, staff, post-docs, alums, spouses, relatives, and friends -- are welcome on a space-available basis with priority for registered full-time undergrad and grad students. We also continue to welcome students from our sister schools in Boston-metro (e.g. Wellesley, Harvard, BU, Tufts, etc) as well as Members of the MIT Enterprise Forum network. Those interested, please simply join us at 6pm in our MIT 10-250 classroom.

05 January 2020

Losing Faith ~ Shifts in Religous Zeal Appeal

The Economist spotlights Arab Barometer religious trendscape...
"NO TO RELIGION or sect,” cry the protesters in Iraq. “No to Islam, no to Christianity, revolt for the nation,” echo those in Lebanon. Across the Arab world people are turning against religious political parties and the clerics who helped bring them to power. Many appear to be giving up on Islam, too. These trends are reflected in new data from Arab Barometer, a pollster that surveys Arab countries. Across the region the share of people expressing much trust in political parties, most of which have a religious tint, has fallen by well over a third since 2011, to 15%. (The share of Iraqis who say they do not trust parties at all rose from 51% to 78%.) The decline in trust for Islamist parties is similarly dramatic, falling from 35% in 2013, when the question was first widely asked, to 20% in 2018."