BREAKTHROUGH ON BOMB DETECTION

This entry was posted by Sunday, 12 July, 2009
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Photography by Tela Chhe under a creative Commons License

SurveilanceTechnology: DETECTING SUICIDE BOMBERS

If I ever start a “Politics Ain’t So Bad” blog (Don’t count on THAT!), I’ll go into more detail, but it doesn’t take a political genius to figure out that suicide bombing’s a bad thing. It’s also a frustrating thing because it’s so hard to defeat.

I know it sounds strange, but some undergaduates at the University of Michigan have, supposedly, created a cheap array of sensors that can identify suicide bombers remotely. With more testing, maybe it can be commercialized and sold to the Pentagon at ridiculously inflated prices.

SubstanceAbuse: MODERATE DRINKING

If you’re on a quest for eternal truth, you can skip the scientific journals in which yesterday’s orthodoxy is today’s trash. Established scientific verities like Newton’s laws, are never safe. So, although the idea that moderate drinking is good has had a long run, that “well established” fact is being shot down by a sociologist at the University of California.

But please don’t sober up on my account. Even a casual review of the literature reveals an impressive array of apparent benefits to be had from a LIMITED amount of imbibing.

Besides. You think tea’s safe?

Cancer: VERY HOT BEVERAGES

Tea. Let it brew please. If hot tea can damage your throat, what about other liquids such as coffee or soup?

OnlineSystems: IMAGINATION CENTRAL

The housing crisis came out of nowhere.

Some crises , like 9/11 and Katrina, just can’t be predicted. Or so claim those responsible. But, you know what? Every single one of these crises WERE foreseen. By someone.

A novel was written about airliners being used as weapons. And editorials were written about the potential for disaster that lay hidden in the levies of New Orleans.

But the foreseeing was over here and the policy making was over there.

No connection.

Science Ain’t So Bad wonders if there’s a way to link up our private prophets with our public authorities?

Could ideas be solicited online? Cash for crash? Could a system be developed for determining the most accurate prediction of a disaster? Maybe, also, a way to call this to the attention of those who can do something about it? Perhaps it could have a board of ombudsmen, each with strong professional ties to particular sectors. How this would work, exactly, I do not know. But I bet there’s a way to do this and I would welcome your thoughts.

Medical Technology: SURVIVING THE HOSPITAL

I’ve talked about Sepsis before. It’s a very dangerous immune cascade triggered by an infection. Docs need to be quick and lucky-as-crap to avoid losing a patient.

This, from Vanderbilt University University Medical Center could be very important in managing these cases.

Information Technology: GOOGLE CHROME (MORE)

I’ve been discussing Google’s plans for Chrome with Alan Wild, a very knowledgeable IT professional (and friend) in Rhode Island, and a great supporter of this blog. He suggested that I include in this post a recent email.

Me (to Alan):

From more reading, I think I figured out where Google is going with Chrome and it is interesting.

The idea (as I understand it) is this. Google hopes to do something really radical. There’s a lot of talk about computing being done “in the cloud” (on the Internet) instead of on the desktop. And Google already has a lot of apps that are out there which, I suppose, it is now going to bulk up. Its Google Docs might emerge as a full fledged equivalent of MS Office. And so forth.

So I think Google’s idea is to limit the computer to being, mostly, a host for a browser (though it would be able to control peripherals such as printers, CDs, etc.). Pretty much ALL your applications and your data would live “in the cloud”. Obviously, this does move the security issues “out there” too which means that it that it would be pointless to attack your computer with viruses and spyware and it greatly reduces the need for you to buy a powerful and expensive computer.

Before Google can sell this idea, it has to show that its “out there” security can be better than security on your own system. It must have some hot ideas that it plans to announce on that front.

ADDED AFTER-THE-FACT

Incidentally, there seems to be some confusion between Android, Googles new operating system for smartphones, and Chrome, its declared-but-not-yet-seen operating system for netbooks, etc.

If I’m right, users of Chrome, will find themselves working on documents “in the cloud”. This if fine for a user who is on a conventional computer or even a wifi-connected box. But, if the user is connect via a cell phone which includes charges for data when you’re working on the WEB, he/she might not be happy about the “cloud solution”.

Android may well offer a different focus then Chrome and it probably should.

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