Fun Friday Links: Big Data Saves Lives, Obama to Map the Human Brain & Jealous Cat is Jealous

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April 12, 2013

Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to for consideration.

Big Data Saves Lives

The term “Big Data” refers to all the information we generate through digital interactions. This includes everything from browsing history to social activity on platforms like Facebook to music downloads and streaming. Most of the time our biggest concern is how to organize it, but when it comes to the health industry simply creating it is the issue.

The better part of the medical world still uses paper forms to collect data, but because the process takes so long in developing countries (going door to door to hand out forms, going back to collect them, and finally entering them all into a database), results are far and few between–and often inaccurate. This lack of data puts huge blind spots in our knowledge of global health. For example, we have no idea how many children were born or died last year in Bolivia, nor is there any record of which hospitals contain medicines and which do not.

In this TEDx talk, Joel Selanikio explains how collecting medical data in new ways (like text messages to track birth rates in Sierra Leone and monitoring vaccination needs) is key to making healthcare more efficient.

Source: TEDx

Brain Mapping

Soooooo… speaking of healthcare, Obama unveiled a $100 million proposal for mapping the human brain earlier this month. His aim is to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“As humans we can identify galaxies light-years away, we can study particles smaller than an atom,” he said. “But we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears.”

True that, Mr. Pres.

(See how great mapping is?!)

Source: Washington Post

The 1-3-5 Rule

The intro to this article by Drake Baer is just the greatest thing:

“The to-do list is necessary part of brain hygiene. And like showers and shaving, if you don’t make them part of an everyday ritual, things can get a little gnarly.”

He goes on to promote the 1-3-5 rule, which assumes that on any given day you can accomplish one large task, three medium ones, and five small guys. It’s a great way to start rethinking your list of tasks in the office.

Source: FastCo

Jealous Cat