How Patients Contact Healthcare Providers Via E-Mail, Social Media

Interesting research from Johns Hopkins on patient contact with physicians via e-mail and Facebook. “For the study, the researchers used an online survey delivered to a random sample of 2,252 CVS retail pharmacy customers between May and June 2013. Patients were asked about their interest in using these online communication tools – as well as their physician’s website – to fill their prescriptions, track their health progress and access their own health information. Researchers found that 37 percent of patients had used personal email to contact their doctors or hospital within the past six months and 18 percent reported using Facebook for the same purpose. The findings related to Facebook are particularly interesting, Lee and her co-authors note, because ‘most institutions actively discourage social media contact with individual patients.’”

Major Internet Providers Accused of Slowing Traffic

Major Internet providers are being accused of slowing traffic speeds. “Major internet providers, including AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon, are slowing data from popular websites to thousands of US businesses and residential customers in dozens of cities across the country, according to a study released on Monday. The study, conducted by internet activists BattlefortheNet, looked at the results from 300,000 internet users and found significant degradations on the networks of the five largest internet service providers (ISPs), representing 75% of all wireline households across the US.”

Facebook AI is Learning To Recognize You In Pictures – Even If It Can’t See Your Face

Well that’s not creepy at all: Facebook can recognize you in photographs even if it can’t see your face. “An experimental algorithm out of Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab can recognise people in photographs even when it can’t see their faces. Instead it looks for other unique characteristics like your hairdo, clothing, body shape and pose. Modern face-recognition algorithms are so good they’ve already found their way into social networks, shops and even churches. Yann LeCun, head of artificial intelligence at Facebook, wanted to see they could be adapted to recognise people in situations where someone’s face isn’t clear, something humans can already do quite well.” Or in my case, it’ll recognize me by the brand of paper bag I put over my head.

Google Trains Neural Networks to Make Psychedelic Art

Google is training its neural networks to augment images, and in the process is making downright trippy art. “What Google is doing here is essentially reversing image recognition, and telling its computers to use the images they already know to augment new images. As Singularity Hub (via Engadget) explains: ‘Where the software was allowed to “free associate” and then forced into feedback loops to reinforce these associations — it found images and patterns (often mash-ups of things it had already seen) where none existed previously.’” One of the images below.

NYT: Can Wikipedia Survive?

From The New York Times: Can Wikipedia Survive? “These are existential challenges, but they can still be addressed. There is no other significant alternative to Wikipedia, and good will toward the project — a remarkable feat of altruism — could hardly be higher. If the foundation needed more donations, it could surely raise them. The real challenges for Wikipedia are to resolve the governance disputes — the tensions among foundation employees, longtime editors trying to protect their prerogatives, and new volunteers trying to break in — and to design a mobile-oriented editing environment. One board member, María Sefidari, warned that ‘some communities have become so change-resistant and innovation-averse’ that they risk staying ‘stuck in 2006 while the rest of the Internet is thinking about 2020 and the next three billion users.’”

Bing Predicted NBA Champions Back in April

Bing predicted the outcome of the NBA finals. Back in April. “Bing had the Warriors down to beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games, but the Cavaliers earned their shot at the Championship by dismissing the Hawks in four. The Warriors’ side of the bracket proved to be slightly easier to predict, with Bing only failing to foresee the Houston Rockets’ hard-fought victory over the LA Clippers.” Bing is getting a little scary.

New Tool Can Calculate Drought in Much Smaller Areas

Researchers at Vanderbilt have developed an area-specific drought measurement tool. “[Leslie] Duncan says it uses the same calculation as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Palmer Index, but differs by featuring an interface allowing users to input precipitation, temperature and soil data for a specific area, like an individual city or county.”

Researchers at the University of Toronto Want to Fashion Up Your Instagram

Researchers at the University of Toronto want to use Instagram to help you dress more fashionably. “The researchers mined data from chictopia.com, a social website where users share photos of their outfits. Using the site’s 144,169 posts, the team was able to amass highly detailed statistics for each user, their photo and the fashion it features, along with the comments and response it received from the rest of the Chictopia community. This Fashion144k Dataset, as it’s called, revealed certain correlations and patterns between aspects of a post and the interest it generated, which information the smart folks in Toronto then crunched and coded into their intricate (and seriously brilliant) fashionability-predicting algorithm.” There is no hope for me, but I sure hope Skellie knows about this..