Tag Archives: Data

Culture’s Big Impact on Health

ABSTRACT

Culture is integrated into all aspects of a person’s life. It can determine the type of food they eat, the level of hygiene and even social interactions. These factors determine the level of well-being of an individual and overall health of a society. Healthcare can be drastically different depending on factors such as religion, economics and education. The implications of such diversity could mean that while one person is being healed from a disease in one country, across a border there may be another who is dying from the same disease but with no means of help. Ultimately, our own interpretation of health is defined by our individual culture.

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Self-Driving Cars Could Save the World

Self-driven cars may bring about a transport revolution. They work off of sophisticated sensors and algorithms that allow self-driven cars to operate extremely efficiently, and safely, while also reducing congestion. However the costs and legal issues could potentially prohibit the proliferation of this technology

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Your Brain on Data


After Georgia Tech, I plan on attending medical school to become a doctor, preferably a neurosurgeon. I truly enjoy the brain and its features. It always astounds me to see how interconnected the vast regions of the cerebrum can be. This structure is the creation of something absolutely awe-striking and is a testament to our never-ending search for a higher power. It is not a question of who came first, the human or the brain, because humanity is in tandem with the brain. Without our neurological capabilities, civilization itself could have never occurred, and the modernism we live in today would literally never have been considered.
My presentation in class felt rushed in that I had too much to say for specific slides. I rehearsed several times, but the words did not flow as well during the actual presentation. For the recorded version, I tried to eliminate this issue by shaving a sentence or two off of problem slides.
Due to the immensity of this subject, narrowing down my topic was rather difficult, and I still chose a rather broad subject that contributed to the lengthiness of my slide information; however, engaging images that correlated directly to my argument were rather scarce and required some tinkering in order to construe the correct message.
Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 7.13.06 PM
This image portrayed the separation of left and right hemispheres. I had to monochrome the Spock section of the image because it was originally colorful which clouded the point of true separation of function. Visualizing the split between hemispheres can be redundant, so I incorporated two pictures that require the audience to think and thereby truly grasp the concept.
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The memory card here is almost satirical because during this slide I mention how the brain has infinite long-term storage. It pokes fun at technology by implying that the brain can already do what an SD card can. Technology definitely has its advantages like following directions perfectly every time and predetermined functions that take milliseconds to complete, but the brain still wins out for me due to its origin, organic components, and ability to “produce” consciousness.

There’s More than Meets the Eye

Big Data Inforgraphic

This is a link to the Infographic

        This infographic shows a number of statistics related to the collection and transfer of data on the internet, giving the audience an idea of how massive “The World of Data” really is. This information is presented in such a way that the audience believes the information, instead of questioning the sources of the data. The viewers, including myself, get attached to the point that this infographic is trying to make by honing in on specific facts such as: Google collects 24 Petabytes of data per day, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, and 2.9 million emails are sent every second, which causes us to trust the information in this random image. However, how can we trust the sources of this information and where do they come from? To find out, we will take a look at the specific piece of data: “Google collects 24 petabytes of data per day.” By analyzing the source of information in this image, we can determine the reliability and value of the infographic itself.

Big Data Infographic

 

The claim that “Google processes 24 petabytes of data per day” must have come from some research or information that Google presented themselves. To find this research, I began by searching the web for “Google’s Data Consumption” (I actually used Bing as a search engine, just in case Google was not willing to freely release this information to the public). I got redirected a couple of times to new websites, but it didn’t take long before I found an article about MapReduce, which is the software Google uses to sort and process their large quantities of data. In this article, a photo was shown comparing the amount of data Google has processed from August 2004 to September 2007. If you look at the numbers for 2007, and add up the amount of input data with the amount of machines used, it does indeed come out to over 20 petabytes.

Google MapReduce Satistics

 

Here’s the link to the magazine

        This article was published in 2008, in the “Communications of the ACM” magazine. “ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, and they deliver resources that advance computing as a science and a profession.” The fact that this source was researched by a reliable Association, reviewed by a publishing company, and published, I believe it establishes itself as highly credible. The original infographic also mentioned MapReduce as one of its sources, therefore I think this Infographic uses reliable information and can be trusted.

ACM’s website is here

Big Data Infographic 2

        This infographic uses the reliable information that “Google collects 24 petabytes of data per day,” and puts it in context to make a strong claim about “How Big the World of Data” really is. This is how most infographics are, therefore the source of information is usually irrelevant, because the strong claims and visual evidence allows the audience to believe and consider the claim being made. However, the sources of information really matter, especially when being made in other contexts, such as a lawsuit against Google, or a scientific study about how information is collected online. Therefore, it’s important to understand the reliability and value of a piece of information by knowing the source. There’s a reason you cite all of your sources in a research paper, or any other academic paper for that matter. It’s not just so you can sound smarter, it proves that your work is credible and your facts come from actual data and is not made up. This infographic may have turned out to be reliable, however not all infographics are. Depending on the context the information is being used in, most infographics should not be trusted without a little bit of background research.

Does Design Really Matter?

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Because most of the text is too small to read, here is a link to the infographic online.

This specific infographic jumped out at me as I was scrolling through Google because of its visual appeal. After visiting the website that posted it, I discovered that it was merely used as an example of how an infographic can present survey data. The infographic says at the top that a company called 99designs had conducted the study and created this graphic. In search of further information, I googled “99designs does design matter study” and then found the original source of data.

The link that I initially came across presented the infographic as just an example of a certain type of infographic. Therefore, the actual data was used in a more shallow manner, just to show that it can make survey data easy to interpret. To provide insight on how insignificant the actual data was, only a portion of the actual infographic was posted on the website. On the original source of data, however, the substance of the data is much more significant. I did some research by visiting the 99designs company website and learned that they specialize in providing graphic designs to small businesses. This infographic was perhaps published to make their product seem more important and essential to other small businesses. It also shows that small businesses are willing to spend more money on this, perhaps to show that “other people are doing it”. Each of the two uses of this infographic serve their purposes, and the infographic is reliable. The survey information displayed comes directly from the 99designs study and is posted on the official 99designs blog. This company is also well-established globally and provides all contact information. In general, one should attempt to trace an infographic back to its original source because context can change meaning. One should also research the affiliated company or organization to see if it is credible. After doing so, a decision can be made.

 

Infographic: the electric car initiative

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1087971_where-are-electric-car-charging-stations-infographic-shows-it-all

This infographic gives us lots of information regarding electric cars. The map clearly shows the growth over the years in a very clear and concise way that is easy to visualize and understand. When it comes to data that tries to describe the location of things on a map, it’s very hard to find alternatives to present that information other than using an actual map; however, what makes this inforgraphic stand out is the use of colors to distinguish and organize information. The colors used are visually appealing and provide very useful visual cues for when reading or just skimming through the infographic. This infographic uses flat styling to help make it as visually appealing as possible as well as to give it a modernistic touch. This infographic adds tremendous value to the article mainly because it displays information that can only be presented visually: one such example of this are the approximate locations of the charging stations on the map. Even without looking at the numbers presented, it is clear to anybody who even takes a quick glance at this inforgraphic that the number of electric car charging stations has increased over the years. The alternative to the infographic would include stating the numbers and perhaps using a basic map to visualize the locations of the charging stations. With this infographic, a legend of 1 car = 1000 vehicles makes interpreting the numbers even easier; readers can visualize how little 326 plug in hybrids in 2010 is when compared to 38,565 plug in hybrids in 2012. Without the visualization, it’s much harder to imagine the real comparison between these two figures. The greatest advantage of having this infographic is the use of easy-to-interpret visual cues that help people understand and retain the information better. Just numbers without pictures make understanding the general concept harder and the article would not be nearly as effective at its argument.

 

The Datafication of Our Lives (Lucas Muller)

“Datafied location across time is most notably being applied to people. For years wireless operators have collected and analyzed information to improve the service level of their networks. But the data is increasingly being used for other purposes and collected by third parties for new services. Some smartphone applications, for example, gather location information regardless of whether the app itself a location-based feature. In other cases, the whole point of an app is to build a business around knowing the users’ locations. An example is Foursquare, which lets people “check in” at their favorite locations. It earns income from loyalty programs, restaurant recommendations, and other location-related services” – Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier’s Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. 

The rise of “Big Data” has been swift, and the data collected on us today is often sensitive as well as private. Data like this can turn into harmful information when in the wrong hands and, for this reason, people should be wary of the technological advances in data collection today that have been utilized by large smartphone corporations.

The technological race that brought portable devices into the vast majority of pockets throughout the 21st century came so rapidly that most people did not realize how much more their phones had become capable of in recent years. I have often seen the look of incredulity as someone I know discovers a feature on their smartphone they were formerly oblivious to. Google, for example, now has the ability to collect data from every smartphone in the form of location, browsing history, and app preferences to provide smarter services to enhance the user experience with their products. However, they also store this data in massive quantities and utilize it for “company research”. Google has data to show where each of their customers has been, what they have searched on the internet, and what pictures they have taken on their phones.

The “datafication” of our lives is a highly sensitive movement; it gives corporations the means to collects data from the privacy of anyone’s life, such as the whereabouts their honeymoons, and makes it accessible to companies like Google who may assess it for “research”. Although it is true that massive data collection helps Google provide a number of conveniences to its users, such as GPS, smarter browsing, and more relevant advertising, the frequent reports of cyber-attacks that occur across the globe remind us of the dangers involved with placing information in the Cloud where it can be accessed by hackers.  For this reason, people have every right to feel hesitant about the rise of “Big Data” today.

Easy Flashbacks

I remember when my grand father told me stories of his youthful days. He tried to paint a picture in my mind of what his childhood was like but I definitely could not imagine it exactly how it was. Why? Because I had no clue how the little village he lived in looked like. Now when my father told his own stories he had a few black and white pictures I could refer to as ‘scribbles’ to give me an idea of what he was talking about. I got only part of the image in my head because his pictures where not consistent enough to form a ‘full image’. Now looking into 30 years I can see my children getting the ‘full image’ of how my childhood was like. Now I can provide them with not only a visual representation but also an emotional feedback on how my childhood was like.

As a very active user of Facebook and Instagram, I have over a hundred pictures of various events in my life, both the important ones and the unimportant ones. With all these pictures and information stored somewhere, it may seem kind of disturbing or insecure to have such detailed information in the hands of the unknown. But looking forward 20 to 30 years, the information can be easily accessed whenever needed . It is very important to have something to refer to when reminiscing about the past. Pictures are very important because they trigger the brain to dig into its subconscious and find things you normally wouldn’t have remembered. These stored information doesn’t only benefit us but also they people we share out experiences with. Archived pictures go a long way in describing an event emotionally and physically.

With sites like Facebook, twitter and instagram, retrieving relevant information about myself will be very easy. This easy access to information is a very huge advantage that technology offers to us. We can now comfortably look at our social network posts from years back and remember how we felt during certain important events in our lives. Maybe Remem might have been a bit too far, but simple images and texts are enough to bring back emotions and a visual representation of such events.

How your “Digital Life” will Affect your Future

I’ve provided a lot more information online than I think I have. Every picture, every post, every search, and every video you post is recorded to a database and can be accessed. Over time, you create a “digital life log” of yourself, which contains a history of your interactions online. This life log can be harmful if it falls into the wrong hands, however it can also have a positive effect on ones life. The ability to look back on your previous actions can provide an incentive to change and improve your life.

Facebook Timeline

(Facebook‘s Timeline)

An example of a common digital life log is Facebook’s new timeline feature, which allows users to look back to certain dates and see what they’ve posted.  This timeline creates a life log of pictures, status updates, and events that are specific to that user’s life. I have posts on my Facebook that date back to 2008.  I can look back on these posts and see how I was acting or what I was doing on certain days. Just by looking at my Facebook, I can see how much I’ve changed over the past couple of years. By looking back on how dumb I was in middle school, I can see how much I’ve matured since then.

I also enjoy being able to look back on all the great memories I have from high school on Facebook’s timeline. You can relive moments, and interact with friends and family who shared those moments with you. Researchers at UC San Diego and the University of Warwick found that Facebook updates are one and a half times more memorable than reading a book, and two and a half times more memorable than faces. This shows that Facebook users remember a lot of their posts and interactions on the timeline, which enhances their memory in the future. So instead of just looking back on updates and moments, Facebook is actually helping me to remember those great moments.

Digital life logs such as Facebook are becoming a reality in our everyday lives. These life logs help individuals gain a better understanding of their lives and even remember the moments they cherish. People should realize how valuable these technologies are in our lives, and use them to interact and grow.

 

Resources

https://www.facebook.com

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3757-facebook-effect-memory.html

The Minds Behind the Data

Revised Edition:

“Google took the 50 million most common search terms that Americans type and compared it the list with the CDC data on the spread of seasonal flu between 2003 and 2008. The idea was to identify areas infected by the flu virus by what people searched for on the internet. Others had tried to do this with internet search terms, but no one else had as much data, processing power, and statistical know-how as Google….Thus when the H1Nl crisis struck in 2009, Google’s system proved to be a more useful and timely indicator than government statistics with ‘their natural reporting lags. Public health ·officials were armed with valuable information.” – Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier’s Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

The amount of information that Google contains on every person is an enormous compilation of information. The data can be dangerous if it is being used against us however, it is only as dangerous as the people behind the screens. Using the data for a greater purpose; to benefit humans is all up to us. If we put data into the right hands then the positive outcomes will outweigh the negative side effects. In the passage, Google demonstrated that by use of its information, we were able to design a formula for detecting the H1N1 virus, eventually helping to control and calm the pandemic. We have so much technology and information that could be potentially harmful, however, we have to realize the information itself is not the  problem. We, the people who make conscious decisions are the ones who make the choice. In Google’s case they helped save what would have been thousands of cases of H1N1.

Many of us are engineers here at Tech. We are the minds behind the technology and we can control the use of it. We are the ones who will use technology to benefit the human race. There are many people who fear that the change in technology has been for the worse. Even though many fear change, overall I believe it has had a positive effect. Data is a tool that is no different than a swiss army knife; we could use it to harm others or to help others, but the decision is up to us. We are now able to live longer, travel faster and communicate further with technological advances. Technology can be dangerous but with the right minds controlling it can lead to a better society ahead.

Original Edition:

“Google took the 50 million most common search terms that Americans type and compared it the list with the CDC data on the spread of seasonal flu between 2003 and 2008. The idea was to identify areas infected by the flu virus by what people searched for on the internet. Others had tried to do this with internet search terms, but no one else had as much data, processing power, and statistical know-how as Google….Thus when the H1Nl crisis struck in 2009, Google’s system proved to be a more useful and timely indicator than government statistics with ‘their natural reporting lags. Public health ·officials were armed with valuable information.” – Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier’s Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

The amount of information Google contains on every human being is a dangerous thing to have. However, it is only as dangerous as the people behind the screens. In actuality, the information is arguably the most useful resource to mankind. In the passage, Google demonstrated that by use of its information, we were able to design a formula for detecting the H1N1 virus, eventually helping to control and calm the pandemic. We have so much technology and information that could be potentially harmful, however, we have to realize the information itself is not the problem. We, the people who make conscious decisions are the ones who make the choice. In Google’s case they helped save what would have been thousands of cases of H1N1.

Many of us are engineers here at Tech. We are the minds behind the technology and we can control the use of it. We are the ones who will use technology to benefit the human race. There are many people who fear that the change in technology has been for the worse. Even though many fear change, overall I believe it has had a positive effect. We are now able to live longer, travel faster and communicate farther with technological advances. Technology is a tool that can be dangerous but with the right minds controlling it can lead to a better society ahead.