Help get more women into Science

There is a problem that is well articulated by one of our students, Jean Fan. To quote her:

According to the US Department of Commerce, girls (women, females, Homo sapiens with two X chromosomes, whatever term you wish to use to refer to us) remain vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs as well as among STEM degree holders. Despite filling nearly half of all jobs in the US, girls hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. And despite the rising number of girls pursuing college degrees, girls hold a disproportionally low share of STEM degrees. So what's the problem?

After articulating the problem, she provides an ingenious kickstarter project that seeks to make a small contribution to addressing this problem. I recommend you join me in supporting this project.


Ghost stories for scientists

This report in Scientific American, just in time for the Halloween season, demonstrates that incorporeal beings take great interest in obesity, adipokines and leading laboratories at Harvard University. Perhaps they tired of the irreproducibility of their paranormal experiments.

Hat tip: Rachel Ramoni


A thoughtful and useful report on the Aaron Swartz tragedy

This (http://swartz-report.mit.edu/docs/report-to-the-president.pdf) is a report that Professor Abelson helped author on the behalf of MIT. It is chock full of lessons for education institutions, libraries and the larger academic ecosystem, including the ancillary industries. Although section V is focused on questions for MIT, many of those same questions will find wider resonance.


Innovation to grow (and track the growth of children).

I've written in the past about the bottleneck in innovation in electronic health records and how the design of such systems with substitutable "apps" would go a long way towards overcoming that bottleneck. In that context, hats off to the design team at Fjord who just won the prestigious Red Dot design award for their growth chart/growth tracking applications that are now being adopted by several vendors.



Getting Big About Mapping Dengue

Here's a very nice application of lightly used data sources about Dengue, a scourge of underdeveloped countries. As in so many areas of public health, this huge health burden is woefully under-documented. In the absence of a vetted vaccine, understanding where it is endemic is essential for the application of scarce preventive resources. This group of investigators have cleverly used a number of public but under-used data sources, including the published literature, to create a predictive map of where 390 million infections per year are occurring.

) Dengue Map


Epidemic or epiphenomenon?

A number of crowd-sourced infection monitors such as FluNearYou (by our own Dr. J. Brownstein) have reported an apparent upsurge in influenza-like illnesses over the last week. The CDC has not yet reported the same trend. If the CDC then confirms this early warning, it will represent a transition from proof of principle of the citizen as health monitor (see here and here) to general public health utility. If not, then we may be witnessing an outbreak of hypochondria.