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Blockchain: the answer to life, the universe and everything?

The blockchain was developed as a means of creating digital property without the need for a central authority keeping track of who owns what. Photograph: Jacob Carter/Rex/Shutterstock Image: The blockchain was developed as a means of creating digital property without the need for a central authority keeping track of who owns what. Photograph: Jacob Carter/Rex/Shutterstock

theguardian.com - July 7th 2016 - Alex Hern

Have you heard the good news? The blockchain is here – and it’s going to save everything.

If you aren’t tied to the tech community, you might not have picked up on this salvation rhetoric.

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Beautiful New Images of Ebola Virus and Other Pathogens

When I told her that I wanted to major in microbiology, my best friend from childhood responded, “Are you sure you want to look in a microscope all day?”

But, as it turned out, a lot of microbiologists don’t use microscopes very often. I was one of them. The reason is because a substantial proportion of modern microbiology research uses the tools of molecular biology, for which microscopes are not needed.

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New United Nations study finds digital payments to Ebola response workers saved lives

 

E money Transaction

By using digital payments to pay Ebola response workers, Sierra Leone massively cut payment times, avoiding large-scale strikes and ensuring a stable workforce to defeat Ebola. Sierra Leone’s experience shows the critical importance of preparing early for digital payments before crises hit.

 

 

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China's Science Revolution

Prof Peng Bo

Image: Prof Peng Bo

bbc.co.uk - May 23rd 2016 - Rebecca Morelle

China is super-sizing science.

From building the biggest experiments the world has ever seen to rolling out the latest medical advances on a massive scale and pushing the boundaries of exploration from the deepest ocean to outer space - China’s scientific ambitions are immense.

Just a few decades ago the nation barely featured in the world science rankings. 

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How Half A Million U.S. Teens Are Texting Without A Data Plan

         

Nearly a third of American teens with iOS devices do not have a data plan, according to Juxta Labs. Photo credit: Pabak Sarkar (Creative Commons)

forbes.com - by Parmy Olson - June 10, 2015

“What most people don’t realize,” says Jared Allgood, the co-founder behind the hot new messaging app that’s spreading quickly across U.S. middle and high schools, “is that we have a developing nation within America. It’s the American teen.”

Allgood’s app, Jott, has been seeing the kind of hockey-stick growth that app developers dream of: a 10x increase in users between March and May 2015, and almost entirely across that elusive demographic of teens. Adding 10-20,000 users a day it’s up to 500,000 active users on iOS, and is coming to Android this fall, when Allgood expects a jump in users as the new school year gets underway.

What’s compelling about Jott is that its growth isn’t the result of a snazzy new feature that all the kids are raving about. It’s simply met an economic need.

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Zika Virus - Fight the Bite

collab.nlm.nih.gov - NLM - NIH - Presentations in Medicine for High School Students - April 2016 - Published May 9, 2016

Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner talks to students in a National Library of Medicine Distance Learning Program about the Zika virus and how information technology can be used in efforts to combat it.

Presentations in Medicine for High School Students

http://collab.nlm.nih.gov/webcastsandvideos/drew/presentationsinmedicine.html

Video Presentation - Zika Virus - Fight the Bite

http://collab.nlm.nih.gov/webcastsandvideos/drew/gavin%20macgregor-skinner%202016/gavin%20macgregor-skinner%202016.html

Video Presentation - YouTube - Zika Virus - Fight the Bite

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9quox7im_8&sns=em

Slideshow - Zika Virus - Fight the Bite (36 page .PDF file)

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Google Unveils Neural Network with “Superhuman” Ability to Determine the Location of Almost Any Image

           

Guessing the location of a randomly chosen Street View image is hard, even for well-traveled humans. But Google’s latest artificial-intelligence machine manages it with relative ease.

CLICK HERE - PlaNet - Photo Geolocation with Convolutional Neural Networks

CLICK HERE - GeoGuessr

technologyreview.com - by Emerging Technology from the arXiv - February 24, 2016

Here’s a tricky task. Pick a photograph from the Web at random. Now try to work out where it was taken using only the image itself. . . .

. . . Tobias Weyand, a computer vision specialist at Google, and a couple of pals . . . have trained a deep-learning machine to work out the location of almost any photo using only the pixels it contains.

Their new machine significantly outperforms humans and can even use a clever trick to determine the location of indoor images and pictures of specific things such as pets, food, and so on that have no location cues.

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China's Mobile Payment Revolution Is Going to Africa

          

BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

huffingtonpost.com - by Claire van den Heever - February 26, 2016

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- With the launch of Apple Pay in mainland China on Feb. 18, Apple has become the first foreign player to secure a place at the table for China's enormous mobile payment market. . . .

. . . Africa's largest lender by assets, Standard Bank, has opted for a more direct route: joining forces with WeChat to secure a piece of Africa's growing mobile payment market. The Standard Bank-backed WeChat Wallet was launched in November 2015 in the continent's most industrialized nation, South Africa, and gives users access to a variety of the Chinese version's most popular offerings, including peer-to-peer money transfers and in-app payments for taxis and other services.

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Building A More Resilient West Africa - How Open Innovation Can Help

         

Improving local health workers’ access to real-time health information will enable a faster and better response to global health threats. / Neil Brandvold, USAID

medium.com/usaid-2030 - by Ann Mei Chang - February 11, 2016

. . . The next generation of health information systems have to not only quickly and accurately deliver the necessary information to healthcare workers, but they need to be able to communicate with each other. The wide range of people involved in combating epidemics such as Ebola need to be able to efficiently and seamlessly share information to ensure coordinated responses and better resource distribution. . . .

. . . To get the conversation started, USAID put out a call for innovative concepts for improving interoperability within health information systems in the developing world. We gathered over 40 organizations for a three-day co-creation workshop in Washington, D.C. in November. Almost 100 experts — including donors, engineers, software developers and implementers in the field — arrived to co-design a solution. . . .

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Why Tech Is Accelerating

          

Graphic from Singularity is Near, demonstrating "Law of Accelerating Returns" in the field of computation

huffingtonpost.com - by Peter Diamandis - January 10, 2016

No doubt you've heard of Moore's Law.

What you might not realize is that Moore's Law only refers to the exponential price-performance improvements of integrated circuits (over the last 50 years).

Did you know that exponential growth has been going on for a much longer period? Or that such growth is occurring in other fields outside of computing, such as communication and genomics?

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