Our Phones Are Starting to Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves, Thank Goodness
Data exhaust could save your life.
The term data exhaust doesn't seem very pleasant, as it sounds "like something you're trying to get rid of or something noxious that comes out of the back of your car," says Rick Smolan, author of The Human Face of Big Data.
And yet, data exhaust could save your life.
Smolan points to a company called Ginger IO that has a smartphone app that can predict two days before you get depressed that you’re going to get depressed. How does that work? Your phone is recording your behavior, and the app picks up on patterns of behavior. Ginger IO focuses in particular on people with diabetes who have a very high correlation with depression.
"When you get depressed, people stop taking their medicine," Smolan says. So this is one example of how our phones are "starting to know us better than we know ourselves." And Smolan says this ought to be embraced. "They're starting to see patterns that we don’t detect on a day-by-day basis, but the phone sees this overall pattern and then it looks for changes in that pattern."
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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