Wednesday, July 29, 2009

G is for Gastroenteritis

This just absolutely slays me. I may perish from cute overload.

Sesame Street: Anderson Cooper Reports

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

candy cures your spine?

CNN: Same blue dye in M&Ms linked to reducing spine injury

No way. No way no way no WAY no way.


babies slightly more interesting than tv

NY Times: TV Reduces Adult-Child Conversations

The title pretty much says it all: turn off the tube, talk to your kid. Otherwise, you may end up with this situation....

Bauhaus / in the middle of our street

NY Times: Biggest-Ever Bauhaus Exhibition in Berlin

OhboyohboyOHBOY would I love to visit Berlin, and this would be the perfect example of a reason. True, part of me deeply resents the Bauhaus movement (hat tip to Tom Wolfe for giving me the words to express my loathing), but still, there is undeniably a certain zest to it which I can't resist at times.

random round-up

1) How dare they steal my name for an app? Oh, wait, maybe I should be flattered instead.

2) I've decided that my dream man would be John Foxx on the outside

and Victor Borge on the inside.

The results would probably freak out everyone else, but I would be a very happy lady.

3) Has anyone tried Prezi yet? It looks potentially nifty, but I don't need to do any PowerPoints for a while.

4) My father recently explained the Brompton cocktail to me, saying that it's pretty standard in England and that each hospital prides itself on its own special mixture. Here in the U.S., however, it's illegal and unthinkable to provide such comfort to your terminally ill patients.

Remind me to die in England, okay? Okay.

5) I'm typing this in a Coffee Bean, and this awesome song came on over the sound system. I inquired into the song's identity, and the gal behind the counter was kind enough to research it and tell me it is, in fact,

Happy Up Here / Röyksopp

How is it that I'm not officially a fan of Röyksopp, yet every time I hear a piece of music which makes me happy, more often than not it's Röyksopp? Am I really that perverse?

Speaking of music,

6) I've updated my playlist on YouTube. I'm mad that there's no Prince available, because I'd love to stick "Starfish and Coffee" in the lineup, but so it goes.

7) I nearly did a post about the following, then had a hunch somebody may have already beaten me to it, and sure enough, looky looky:

"Together for the first time..."

I was also going to say that "Henna Placenta" is Hannah Montana's evil stepsister, but really, wouldn't it be the other way around?

Okay, shutting up now.

twitter catch-up

Rory_Blyth: Going out is frustrating. I want witty, challenging, flirtatious banter, but mostly just find people who text with their mouths.

fireland: Yeah, swimming is good, but I still think the best full-body workout is grabbing someone's baby and running away.

onecreativenerd: I heard a porsche car alarm going off today in quarter notes (but in Eb not F), found myself singing Treadmill

mcgrory: Bilingual - or Bivisual?

jagwicK: in a job interview, when asked if you have any questions for them, don't say "If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?"

Truly, I love you all. Hooray for the stupendously awesome.

because bludgeons are so 12th-century

NY Times - No Doubts: Women Are Better Managers

I put off reading this for a while -- and put it off some more -- because articles about managing people tend to tire me out. Everyone has their words of advice, most of which seem impractical to me, and they all start blending into each other.

Carol Smith, however, thinks exactly like I do, therefore I adore her to bits. (Cue sheepish grin.) Like me, she prefers gender-balanced offices to environments which are mostly women or mostly men. Like me, she prefers to interview candidates over meals. Like me, she prefers to avoid setting long-term goals, since they can evaporate quickly and without warning, and instead go in whichever direction is working spectacularly already. Like me, she likes to be the boss without being bossy.

Hooray, Carol Smith! She's a lady after my own heart, and I someday hope to possess a fraction of her awesomeness (and an empire comparable in size to hers).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Philippe Starck, eat your heart out

InventorSpot: 10 New Designs Every Safe Hospital Should Have!

These students' designs are just incredible. Cabinets which are unlocked by a patient's RFID wrist tag? Mattresses which change color when accidentally pierced by hypodermic needles? Magnetic blood pressure cuffs?

Hospital gear can be useful AND gorgeous; I think it's a great sign when hospital design is so good that you might even consider having it in your own living room -- and you're not even ill. If only they offered more options in magenta + orange, or at least in a jaunty argyle....

Friday, July 24, 2009

read by the light of your own skin

LiveScience: Strange! Humans Glow in Visible Light

We give off photons. Which, if you have a sensitive-enough camera, can show what parts of you are glowing the most or least. Which, if enough studies are performed, could potentially indicate to you what parts of your body are having a rough time, healthwise. Which, depending on your imaging software and the quality of your display, could be a beautiful work of art on your living room wall. Which, depending on how often you update it and what sort of lesions you secretly have, could potentially be a damning piece of evidence to anyone who visits your home, especially if it's a full-body image.

"Thanks, a glass of wine would be wonderful. I love what you've done with this space and HOLY MONKEY TRUMPETS HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD ATHLETE'S FOOT, RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, BELLYBUTTON LINT, AND HERPES?"

Don't you love how I jump to the best possible uses of technology?

TV shows like CSI:NY could have a field day with this, in much the same way they've already had a field day with DNA portraits.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mindshare, BIL:PIL, batvision for the blind

In order:

Mindshare LA is a monthly event wherein a mixture of technology, design, and community is explored. Awesome guest speakers, good food, open bar, and an incredible range of fantastic attendees who can't wait to meet you. It's every third Thursday and sells out fast, so keep checking the ticket site! I attend this religiously.

BIL:PIL is a healthcare unconference, exploring the next phase of the medical field. It's a fascinating alternative to TEDMED, and the website does a far better job of explaining it than I ever could. I'm unofficially officially coordinating the A/V, since I am a Lady of the Lens.

Last, but definitely not least: - Sound imaging: Clever acoustics help blind people see the world So a blind person wears a video camera, which translates its view into an acoustic equivalent which provides an aural version of depth perception to the blind wearer. If this can evolve into a nearly 100% reliable way for blind people to be autonomous in otherwise crowded situations, this would be phenomenal. Question is, would blind people find this practical? How this supplements natural hearing ability is rather beyond me; I'm guessing it exaggerates the placement of sound to emphasize the person's position in their environment.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I just called / to say / I'm having a myocardial infarction

The progress of telemedicine (or remote diagnostics, potayto/potahto) marches ever onwards:

WSJ: EU Approves Device Monitor
From the article:
"Boston Scientific Corp. said it received European approval to introduce its Latitude remote-monitoring program for heart-failure devices and defibrillators across the continent in a move that could boost the adoption of its products there. The remote-monitoring system is already approved for use in the U.S. . . . Telemedicine allows doctors to monitor their patients without in-office appointments and to intervene early if they see problems. This has the potential to reduce hospital visits and length of stays, though no company has completed clinical studies on the effect."
I guess that if you're hanging out in, say, a Parisian nightclub, and you're wearing this device, and your heart suddenly goes a tad wobbly without any major mishap, and you're always hanging out in an area with terrific wireless connectivity, you too could receive a text message from your doctor saying, "Yo, lay off the hookers and E, ok?"

I'd be interested in speaking with anyone who's tried this out already in the U.S. How many false alarms do they get? How many undetected problems did they have which since became apparent?

I love that this is so relatively new that people haven't studied it yet. It's exciting, yet also mildly alarming.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Webcam Wellness

Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance

Leaving aside the ick factor of having your personal records implanted in you, I'm happy to see all the other projects this alliance is pursuing. I firmly believe it's only a matter of time before the majority of us (if not all) could enjoy health care through thin air -- our insulin levels, heart rates, etc. could all be monitored remotely by medical services, who could send paramedics if things suddenly go awry. It would be a great way to supplement visiting doctors via webcam:

This is handy for Brooklyn hipsters, but how great is it to have this kind of quality healthcare when you're in a part of the world with decent Web connectivity and understaffed hospitals? True, there's no beating an in-person consultation, and none of this would be worthwhile without access to medicine and emergency care, but it's a strong start.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why am I hitting myself? Damn hackers.

Wired Magazine: The Next Hacking Frontier: Your Brain?

First things first:

Can you imagine having somebody hack your brain? What if people wanted to hijack your prosthetic limb so they could play a hi-tech version of "Stop Hitting Yourself"? Could they tweak your perceptions, giving you hallucinations? If you wanted to kill someone, could you drive them to suicide by yanking down their seratonin and dopamine? What if someone could hack your brain to make you think you're in love with them? Switch out your identity with somebody else's? Your mind could be wiped clean and controlled remotely, down to the words you say and moves you make. Welcome to the new zombie era.

On the plus side, you could hack your own brain to make yourself artificially happier. Maybe you could be a better dancer or kung fu fighter. Best of all, you could appear smarter than you really are, assuming your brain has WiFi and you can 'see' webpages without cluttering your field of view too much.

Here's what I want to know: what if you could connect your cyborg brain to somebody else's cyborg brain via WiFi? The two of you would be telepathic, right? It would be the ultimate IM experience! Also interesting: what if you could use your cyborg mind to hack other computer systems? You could change your grades or your criminal records just by thinking about them, assuming your brain's software and the server's software are compatible and your brain has the aforementioned WiFi.

I look forward to all of these issues cropping up in my lifetime. How will we harness this power for good, rather than evil?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Slay yon cancer with mighty video game

So, Re-Mission™ looks pretty badass. You kill purple things, which I presume are cancers. You learn a ton, have fun in the process, and can immediately apply your knowledge to your own real fight against cancer (which I hope you never get, or at least have battled into remission). From the site:
Results showed that a specially designed video game can have positive impact on health behaviors in young people with chronic illness. Specifically, playing Re-Mission improved treatment adherence and produced increases in self-efficacy, and cancer-related knowledge for adolescents and young adults with cancer.
I think that's fantastic. I used to volunteer in a pediatric oncology ward when I was in undergrad, and the kids were always desperate for fun ways to distract themselves; they all would have eaten up this game with a spoon, assuming the quality of gameplay isn't too shabby. This may have given each of them a greater sense of control over the disease, and armed each of them with correct information to help fight the good fight.

Also, you get to look like this:

I haven't played Re-Mission™ yet, although the visuals look immersive without being too scary. I think the purple helps.

Per their website, HopeLab has handed out over 142,000 copies of this to kids with cancer all over the world, free of charge. Here's the best part: it seems to work. I say 'seems to' because I do not have a subscription to Pediatrics, so I can't read the data that HopeLab published. I'm assuming it reads like a battle scene from Harry Potter, only with torpedoes and a side effect of healthiness.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Seriously: media + technology + health = awesome. I can't think of a better way to put it.

I've been immersed in my family's biotech company since 2000. I've been an artist all my life, with a background in film production and graphic design. I am now about to start an MBA program, where I want to learn the business end of all these things mashed together. Media and biotech are unlikely-yet-perfect bedfellows, like bacon + caramel or Bing Crosby + David Bowie.

Or like Laurel & Hardy + The Gap Band:

"Egad!" I hear you say. "That sounds brilliant and fascinating, Astrid, plus Laurel and Hardy are totally hot. But what will you be doing, exactly?"

Good question. I'm in the process of figuring that out myself, but guess what I've already learned: media and biotech combine constantly. The convergence of the two can be anywhere -- examples might include video games which make you healthier, or medical diagnostic devices embedded in your clothes and furniture. Maybe one day we'll all have ultra-hi-def TV screens implanted in our eyeballs; our vision will be crazy-awesome, plus we'll be able to toggle between "The Daily Show" and eBay by sneezing. Hooray for the Future!

In all seriousness, this stuff fascinates me, and I'm always discovering more that's on the horizon. I hope to connect people creating media + biotech around the world, because this sounds like a handy way to surround myself with smart, creative people doing terrific things for humankind. Sure beats work, right?

Of course, the big question for me is figuring out what I can bring to all these wonderful media + biotech creators. Thus far, I'm interested in what I call 'the bookends': venture capital and marketing. I'm also interested in organizations which nurture cross-pollination, such as BIL and TED.

It'll be quite the adventure -- or so I'm hoping.