Technology

You see advertisements for fitness apps on smartphones all of the time. Apple prides itself on convincing you that you will be a better dancer and healthier if you buy their phone. The problem is that the people most likely to use a fitness app for more than a week are least likely to need it.

Or maybe they do, according to recent Scare Journalism. In the health fad culture perpetuated by mainstream media, there is now a War On Sitting. Once some crazy claim appears in the New York Times, studies are going to crop up affirming exactly what popular media claims say. 


Want to teach a robot to tend the garden? It will go faster if you let the crowd help. University of Washington computer scientists at the 2014 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Hong Kong showed that crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks

Learning by imitating a human is a proven approach to teach a robot to perform tasks, but it can take a lot of time. Imagine having to teach a robot how to load the dishwasher – it might take many repetitious lessons for the robot to learn how to hold different types of cookware and cutlery and how to most efficiently fill the machine.


YOU’VE SEEN THE REPORTS a thousand times. Samsung is now ahead of Apple in the smartphone wars, the media says.

I’m looking at BBC news while writing this, and there we have the same story, freshly posted: “Apple accounted for 18.8 per cent of all sales and Samsung 29.7 per cent.”

Obviously, as the creators of the four pillars of the Science 2.0 concept, we're interested in new ways to use data to make meaningful decisions, but we recognize that key breakthroughs are more likely to happen in the private sector, where money can be made filling a demand.

A paper by Aetna and GNS Healthcare Inc. in the American Journal of Managed Care demonstrates how analysis of patient records using analytics can predict future risk of metabolic syndrome.


Tesla Motors CEO and Tony Stark do-alike Elon Musk recently raised a great deal of consternation by releasing Tesla’s patents for anyone to use “in good faith”.  Amid the hue and cry of befuddled business analysts, multiple theories bubbled up.

A blood testcould help predict the likelihood of a woman developing breast cancer, even in the absence of a high-risk BRCA1 gene mutation, according to researchers from University College London who identified an epigenetic signature in the blood of women predisposed for breast cancer owing to an inherited genetic mutation of the BRCA1 gene.

Epigenetic alterations are thought to be key molecular switches that are involved in the development of cancer. Strikingly, the same signature was discovered in the blood of women without a BRCA1 mutation but who went on to develop breast cancer, making it a potential early marker of women's cancer in the general population. 


'Big data' means a lot of things to a lot of people but generally it is used to indicate huge amounts of information, like texts or keywords, in use at any time by billions of people.

Though it has many cultural upsides, tracking flu epidemics, monitoring road traffic in real time, or handling the emergency of natural disasters, those are all sunk costs, which means government and that means a lot of poorly-functioning government websites. Big data will be used by marketing people before it gets adopted by social services.


When it comes to organic, the last thing you expect is cheap but a new battery may end up being just that. 

USC researchers have developed a water-based organic battery that is long lasting and made from cheap, eco-friendly components. It used no metals or toxic materials and is intended for use in power plants. Power plants are not in the storage business, they are in the generation business, but if solar and wind power become viable we are going to need high-capacity storage to even out the ups and downs of Mother Nature.


The world of "Fantastic Voyage" is rapidly approaching. Tiny devices are being used in therapeutic applications, and development of nanoparticles that can transport and deliver drugs to target cells in the human body is progressing also.

Recently, researchers created nanoparticles that under the right conditions, self-assemble – trapping complementary guest molecules within their structure. Like tiny submarines, these versatile nanocarriers can navigate in the watery environment surrounding cells and transport their guest molecules through the membrane of living cells to sequentially deliver their cargo.


If you ask one scientist to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar, unless they have worked specifically on that problem before, their guess won't be very accurate. But if you ask 500 random people, the mean of their responses will be quite accurate.

If you ask experts to predict the future of science and technology, will they be more accurate? SciCast, the government crowd-sourcing project, hopes so. They are asking for participants to make their predictions.