Archive for October, 2014

Wonder stuff: Seven new materials to change the world – New Scientist

Friday, October 31st, 2014

7 new materials to change the world #Chitin-based shrilk biodegradable plastic, Frozen-smoke #aerogel insulation

The Disruption Myth – Justin Fox – The Atlantic

Monday, October 27th, 2014

The Disruption Myth Term’s evolution from #Kuhn to Foster to Christensen. Does it still apply in the business world?

The Disruption Myth

The idea that businesses are more vulnerable to upstarts than ever is out-of-date—and that’s a big problem.


After several years of research, and a close reading of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (which introduced the concept of the paradigm shift), Foster came up with an explanation. What threatened these well-run market leaders were what he called “technological discontinuities”—moments when the dominant technology in a market abruptly shifted, and the expertise and scale that the companies had built up suddenly didn’t count for much. One example: when electronic cash registers went from 10 percent of the market in 1972 to 90 percent just four years later, NCR, long the leading maker of cash registers, was caught unprepared, resulting in big losses and mass layoffs.

Foster’s 1986 book, Innovation: The Attacker’s Advantage, described this phenomenon, offered tips for surviving it (just being aware of the possibility of a technological shift was the first step), and predicted that there was much more to come as giant waves of innovation in electronics, software, and biotechnology buffeted the economy. “The Age of Discontinuity,” Foster called it, borrowing the line from the management guru Peter Drucker.

The book did well, but the expression didn’t stick. “I will forever rue the day I didn’t call it ‘disruption,’ ” Foster now says. That was left instead to Clayton Christensen, a consultant and an entrepreneur who headed to Harvard Business School for a mid-career doctorate in 1989 and started teaching there three years later. For his


La Guardia ranks tenth on a list of the world’s worst airports | New York Post

Monday, October 27th, 2014

What Is a City? – The Atlantic

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

V. slick video about scaling laws in city size, includes L Bettencourt

Inside the Biggest-Ever Hedge-Fund Scandal

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The Empire of Edge
Did inside info on an Alzheimers drug trial result in an effective billion-dollar gain on a trade

A Reporter at Large OCTOBER 13, 2014 ISSUE

How a doctor, a trader, and the billionaire Steven A. Cohen got
entangled in a vast financial scandal.

The Dark Market for Personal Data –

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The Dark Market for Personal Data We’re all “judged by a #bigdata Star Chamber of unaccountable decision makers”


We need regulation to help consumers recognize the perils of the new information landscape without being overwhelmed with data. The right to be notified about the use of one’s data and the right to challenge and correct errors is fundamental. Without these protections, we’ll continue to be judged by a big-data Star Chamber of unaccountable decision makers using questionable sources.


Candy Crush’s Puzzling Mathematics » American Scientist

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Candy Crush’s Puzzling #Mathematics,y.2014,no.6,content.true,page.1,css.print/issue.aspx Game reducible to a NP-hard logic circuit; maybe useful in solving other problems

To show that Candy Crush is a mathematically hard problem, we could
reduce to it from any problem in NP. To make life simple, my
colleagues and I started from the granddaddy of all problems in NP,
finding a solution to a logical formula. This is called the
satisfiability problem. You will have solved such a problem if you
ever tackled a logic puzzle. You have to decide which propositions to
make true, and which to make false, to satisfy some set of logical
formulae: The Englishman lives in the red house. The Spaniard owns the
dog. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house. Should the
proposition that the Spaniard owns the zebra be made true or false?

To reduce a logic puzzle to a Candy Crush problem, we exploit the
close connection between logic and electrical circuits. Any logical
formula can simply be represented with an electrical circuit.
Computers are, after all, just a large collection of logic gates—ANDs,
ORs, and NOTs—with wires connecting them together. So all we need to
do is show that you could build an electrical circuit in a Candy Crush

The idea of problem reduction offers an intriguing possibility for
Candy Crush addicts. Perhaps we can profit from the millions of hours
humans spend solving Candy Crush problems? By exploiting the idea of a
problem reduction, we could conceal some practical computational
problems within these puzzles. Other computational problems benefit
from such interactions: Every time you prove to a website that you’re
a person and not a bot by solving a CAPTCHA (one of those ubiquitous
distorted images of a word or number that you have to type in) the
answer helps Google digitize old books and newspapers. Perhaps we
should put Candy Crush puzzles to similar good uses.


The Ethics of Experimenting on Yourself – WSJ – WSJ

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Confectionery served Nutella to teen after told about allergy: suit | New York Post

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Cancer cells can ‘infect’ normal neighbours : Nature News & Comment feedly

Friday, October 24th, 2014

exRNA & cancer
Cancer cells can ‘infect’ normal neighbours : Nature News & Comment