Yesterday someone hacked the Associated Press twitter account and sent a tweet saying that there had been explosions in the White House and that the President was injured. The Dow Jones dropped significantly before returning to previous levels when it was discovered the tweet was a fake.
This highlights two very interesting things:
1. The power of instantanous news and social media on the stock market - even if the news is not true
2. Given that there has been a huge growth in High Frequency Trading - where shares are traded in milliseconds - someone could have made a lot of money doing this (I think).
We seem to have become obsessed with 'live' news or 'breaking' stories. We watch as rumours fly through social media and the news sites. Amazingly Wikipedia is often updated as stories break by comitted editors. Now researchers at Google have created an app that monitors what topics are being constantly revised on wikipedia by more than one author and presents this as somewhere to look for hot topics and change around the world.
Presumably you could use this and filter down to topic areas that you are interested in and monitor when they are changed. Expect more and more of this kind of meta-analysis to appear.
How soon before the ability to connect becomes so cheap it is basically free? If events in China are anything to go by - very soon. Bunnie Studios have a blog about a $12 phone - contract-free, non-promotional and unlocked. The blog breaks down the components and it is astonishing what they have managed to fit in for that price.
It goes on to suggest that this has come out of what they called 'Gongkai' or "the Galapagos of Chinese “open” source". Gongkai - literal translation of “open” as applied to “open source” - "is a unique innovation ecosystem evolved with little western influence, thanks to political, language, and cultural isolation.
At this rate we could have a smart phone for under $10 in a couple of years and that would be extraordinary.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston have enabled human volunteers to trigger movement in a rat’s tail using their minds. Seung-Schik Yoo and colleagues have created a system that links the technologies of two brain/computer interfaces, connecting the rat and human.
“Yoo says it should be possible for two humans to use a similar system in the foreseeable future. Such a system could, for instance, be used to help a paralysed person relearn to use their limbs by having their therapist initially move them with their mind.” However, Chavarriaga at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) says the “experiment will not be meaningful until the human's intention corresponds with the rat's action.”
Either way it’s a fun, or scary, development in research of the brain.
Renato Zenobi and his colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute are now able to identify compounds in our breath immediately. This has major implications in the future of healthcare. There is the potential for instant diagnosis, of certain diseases, from our breath.
“In a preliminary study, Zenobi has shown that breath samples can reveal whether people have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The clever part of the work is that they use a special scheme to selectively charge the trace amounts of volatile compounds, which provides results quicker than other types of gas chromatography.”
Aquafil, a company that makes nylon textile fibres, recently joined the Heathy Seas Initiative to retrieve and recycle nylon fishing nets. A number of companies and NGOs are going further than incorporating post-consumer materials, “looking to upcycle harmful plastic debris from the ocean, even if it means creating a supply chain and tapping new technology.” Aquafil are also joining Dutch company Star Sock to create clothes out of the ECONYL yarn developed from discarded nets.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have developed a microfluidic device that “can quickly grab nearly any type of tumour cell, an advance that may one day lead to simple blood tests for detecting or tracking cancer.”
This micro technology could greatly improve healthcare practices, “identifying these wandering tumour cells could also help researchers study a cancer’s progression and help doctors track treatments or screen for new cases.”
Dr Bharat P Bhatta believes charging overweight passengers more would help airlines recoup the cost of extra fuel required to carry them. He has offered three proposals in this month’s Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management.
One idea would dictate a fixed rate for kilograms per passenger. The second suggestion is to charge a standard base rate with an additional cost for overweight customers and discount for lighter passengers.
However, Dr Bhattas’ most favoured option would be to charge passengers based on three categories - heavy, normal and light.
This comes at the same time as Air India crew are told to lose weight or risk being grounded...
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