Archive for February, 2016

Colder States report sleeping more—65 degrees F evidently the ideal

Check out the Center for Disease Control (CDC) figures on sleep in the USA map in this Stat report.  Note how dark it gets up in our neck of the woods of Minnesota, i.e., us being able to sleep better.

Dark is good but even better is the cold according to this new YouTube video posted by the Wall Street Journal.

There being a sweet spot on temperature makes perfect sense to me, this being based on many sleepless nights camping in the cold or hot.  However the worst night I can remember was an overnight ice-fishing outing with a bunch of boy scouts.  They could not stop fiddling with the space heater, which cycled us from freezing to boiling for some hours before finally stabilizing at a reasonable temperature.  That is when the farting began and the giggling commenced.  The whole troop deserved a merit badge for flatulence.  But I digress…


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A Data Sherlock’s best friend: IBM’s Watson

According to this report last week by eWeek, more than 1 million users have registered for IBM’s Watson Analytics service since it launched a little over 1 year ago.  Evidently this artificially intelligent (AI) statistician-in-a-box will enable “citizen data scientists” to decipher patterns in the massive pile of information that now flow in from all quarters.  Current clients featuring by eWeek range from multinational law firm using it to identify new areas of practice to a UK a care provider looking for factors that improve worker safety.  IBM itself now operates an enterprise called Watson Health that deciphers medical imagery, and they bought the digital assets of the Weather Company to help businesses defend themselves against Mother Nature.*

Unfortunately for one of the early adopters of Watson—the MD Anderson Cancer Center at University of Texas (UT)—AI’s current IQ still falls far short of initial hopes.

“On Jeopardy! [Where Watson made its name 5 years ago by defeating the human champions] there’s a right answer to the question [actually the right question for the answer], but, in the medical world, there are often just informed decisions.”

— Lynda Chin, chief innovation officer for health affairs, UT

So it seems that, for the moment, at least, human statistical Sherlocks will not be replaced by AI’s overseen by amateurs at sleuthing out the culprits for cancer or other highly prized information.  However, Watson might be as capable an assistant as ‘his’ literary namesake.

*1/6/16 Financial Times “Big Read” on “Artificial Intelligence”, p 5 sidebar.

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