Friday, July 2, 2010

WIRED: Monthly Perspectives - July 2010

WIRED Magazine: the quirky, tech geek periodical that often takes a superficial subjective perspective of cool and innovative technology and gives us a drill down into the underlying mechanics of how it works. WIRED manages to teach us something we never would have thought we could understand without the textbook drone and bore that is usually associated with learning something new. Let's just say, it's only July 1st, well July 2nd by the time this will be posted, and I've already ripped through the entire July article of WIRED.
WIRED July Cover





There are quite a few interesting articles in this months issue, but I'll just give you the highlights.

FEATURED ARTICLE
The featured article: Sergey's Search (for a cure to Parkinson's; p106-113,138-140) details the story of one of Google's co-founders, Sergey Brin, who has discovered through the sequencing of his genome, that there is a 50% chance that he will develop Parkinson's disease. Of particular interest in the article, aside from the preparations Sergey can now take to better his chances and the resources he is now investing in finding a cure, is the potential for Sergey to completely change the scientific method. Now I'm sure anybody that's taken a high school science course is familiar with this gold standard for experimentation. You make a hypothesis, conduct a controlled experiment, collect the data, analyze it, find out how close your conjecture was and repeat if necessary. In the scientific community (and the 'real world'), there is also the added steps of peer review and repeating the experiment with the same results to give it validity. All in all, a time consuming process that took 6 years to come to the same conclusion that Sergey found in 8 months with his own scientific method. For those that are interested, they both found the same correlation between people with Gaucher's disease and their increased risk for developing Parkinson's. You are about five time more likely to develop Parkinson's if you have Gaucher's.

CLIVE THOMPSON - No Language Barrier (p42)
Have you ever wondered why you are required to take a foreign language in high school to graduate, and often times for a college diploma as well? Well I know I have. I'm fortunate enough that my school doesn't require it for my particular degree (otherwise I'd be sunk); but if what I gather from this article is true, kids of the future may never need to face such hardships. The article details the new social networking site Xiha Life and it's multilingual capabilities. In particular, it starts off describing a thread about people talking about their pets... in three completely different languages.. able to understand each other through the wonder of automatic translation. In the past, it's been nearly impossible to create an effective program that could translate reliably between languages without significant loss of meaning or necessary human intervention. You could get the jist, maybe, but not anymore. Utilizing pattern matching and already available translated digital documents, instant translation is getting more reliable.

BEST NEW PRODUCT
There were quite a few cool gadgets that WIRED detailed in their recent issue, but being the audiophile that I am, I couldn't help but salivate over Bang & Olufsen's BeoLab11 subwoofer. At 18 pounds, it packs quite the punch of 200-watts, and looks sexy doing it. Also, it's so good quality that you can place a glass full of water on top of the woofer and it won't even ripple. At $2,211 it doesn't quite do your laundry, but it comes damn close.

Well that's all for now. If you read WIRED and found other articles of particular interest, feel free to start a thread below that I'll be happy to continue. If you don't read WIRED, are intrigued by any of the summaries and want to know more, feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed.

All the best,
Ethan

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