With more than 2,400€ collected, our team – Bordet’s angels – can be proud, for a first participation! We are 12th of more than 100 Belgian teams. One key learning is that the gold, old paper display still works better than anything else to raise money.
And it was fun for me, a bit itchy in the end. But with the right trimming tools, this goes away very quickly. Thanks for all my supporters 😉 – your support is worth a thousand thank-you!
When I wrote my last post, videos of health talks at TEDxBrussels were not out yet. Now they are and you can watch them below …
First Andrew Hessel started by talking about synthetic biology, biotechnologies and his participation in the open source biology movement. One day, there will be an org (organism) for the things you want to do.
Then Jack Tiszynski followed with the drastic idea of replacing doctors by software for diagnostics and brought the idea that we will have a “virtual double” in our future smartphones. This double will know our predisposition to diseases and suggest prevention methods and cures.
Finally David Duncan talked about extreme ageing and some of the important issues brought by prolonging life and being healthy for a longer period of time than before.
But among talks I didn’t attend, Peter Hinssen presented his idea of S-curve for the future and especially the future of healthcare. For him, the flip in healthcare didn’t occur yet. But he can already predict that health will become more personal, more numerical, more proactive, more community-oriented. That’s funny because he put words on part of what we are going to say at the closing ceremony of the International Year of Chemistry, this Thursday in Brussels. Hope to have the same vibrant words 😉
TEDxBrussels is a local, self-organized event that brings a TED-like experience to Brussels. I already often mentioned videos and presentations from TED (for instance here, here or here). When I read that it will again be organized in Brussels in 2011 I decided to attend this edition. Here is a short summary of this intense day with my tweets and the just-released videos. It would be very time consuming to write about each and every talk. Here I will just highlight speakers I like the most (you can have a look at TEDxBrussels website for the complete list of speakers).
22.11.11-09.09: Tell people you work in a #pharma company and you immediately get questions on #ethics. Yes it’s an ethical business!
One of the nice thing about a TED event is that you get to see many new people, most of them very interesting with cool background, strange or simply something nice to say. And, yes, when you tell people you are working in the pharmaceutical industry, questions on ethics immediately pop up 🙂
22.11.11-09.40: Nice sweet talk from Cuartielles at #tedxbrussels #arduino. Learn by doing.
One of the first talks was from David Cuartielles on the Arduino project. His talk was like a reminder that life is still very physical and the Arduino project is a good example of “open source hardware” and of “leaning by doing”. It reminded me that when I will have time, I would really like to play with the Arduino!
Also embedded in physical life were talks by Henrik Scharfe (F-Geminoid) and Ken Haase (E Pluribus Unum). Hasan Elahi (Hiding in plain sight) and Kaliya Hamlin (Identity) introduced concepts of radical transparency and participatory totalitarianism (respectively). And during that time, many people were logged in Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks, updating their status, giving everybody parts of their lives and, for most of them, using their unique identity given at birth.
22.11.11-10.28: #eyeborg Spence at #tedxbrussels: I’m not an expert but I have a camera in my eye
Then we went back to hardware with Rob Spence talking about the camera he used to have in place of his eye. It was also interesting to discover how people improved a lot prosthetic arms, legs (and eye thus). I found also cool the augmented reality that was displayed in the fireman mask as well as the simple way a fireman can change this display.
22.11.11-11.16: #smartcars are not just cool tech projects, they can solve some current issues. Waiting for #collaboration between them. #tedxbrussels
Raul Rojas presented his team’s “car that think”. Again, it was very interesting to see how technology evolved: this VW can drive all alone in the traffic in Berlin! It seems that cars are becoming “smarter”. But I thought he would touch the fact these smart cars can autonomously collaborate between themselves (once they are more than one). Then these smartcars could one day outperform human drivers in heavy traffic.
22.11.11-11.27: High concentration of #apple products at #tedxbrussels. Feeling a bit lonely with my #moleskine and #pen 🙂
And if we stay in hardware, there was an awful lot of MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, IObjects in the audience. And even some speakers brought Apple products on stage. I just had a moleskine and a pen to take some notes. My Android phone was way enough to update Twitter 🙂 (but it was definitely not good at taking pictures in the feeble light during talks).
22.11.11-13.16: Great talks from Ashdown, Meyer (entrepreneurship), Hypponen, Janah (microwork) & Chakrabarti (education+) this morning at #tedxbrussels 🙂
The end of the morning was filled with interesting presentations from Paddy Ashdown (Why the world will never be the same …), Mikko H. Hypponen (Definding the net), Julie Meyer, Leila Janah (see below for the previous 2 people’s videos) and Kushal Chakrabarti (What does education mean to you?). While both have their own qualities and bring work to the world, it was interesting to compare the personnalities of Julie Meyer (more formal, on the financial side, “money follows ideas”, presentation with the logo of her company on top right, helping individual entrepreneurs) …
and Leila Janah’s (less formal, playing more with emotions, “technology must serve humanity”, more “web 2.0” presentation, being an entrepreneur and helping individuals getting jobs in the same company (hers)).
22.11.11-07: Wonderful and breathtaking para-music #tedxbrussels
Then we saw an effective way to present what Ph.D. students are doing: dance (John Bohannon and the Black Label Movement)!
22.11.11-16:57: From Oxford or not, a video link is unfortunately still less powerful than a live talk #tedxbrussels
The Science section started with a video conference from David Deutsch (The Unknowable …). His talk was very interesting but nothing will beat a real, live talk, especially if the professor on the other side of the video link is … well, teaching like a professor.
22.11.11-18.31: @xprize I would prize simple delivery system and tech that drastically improve basic sanitation+health issues for 10mio people #tedxbrussels
Deutsch was followed by a presentation of what does the XPrize Foundation by Eileen Bartholomew. In the end, she asked for feedback and what we would like the XPrize Foundation to support. I think that tackling basic health issues will not be very difficult; getting money for less developed countries can be the problem and that’s where the Foundation can help. Solutions submitted to this hypothetical prize won’t necessarily be using the latest, cool hi-tech of the moment but I’m sure they can be very effective. Leveraging power, they said.
22.11.11-17.16: Interesting futuristic story from Marc Millis #tedxbrussels
And after these two high-level talks we went back to science fiction with Marc Millis telling his story going to other planets (“colonies”) in space. That was relaxing (btw, he was sitting on a sofa).
22.11.11-17.39: Great session on the future of biology and health – at least for a biologist #tedxbrussels
22.11.11-18.35: Intetesting perspectives on bioengineering (Hessel), fut medicine (Tuszynski) and ageing (Duncan) #tedxbrussels
Then, as a finale, 3 talks on biology and health! Yippee! Andrew Hessel started by talking about synthetic biology, biotechnologies and his participation in the open source biology movement. One day, there will be an org (organism) for the things you want to do. Jack Tiszynski followed with the drastic idea of replacing doctors by software for diagnostics and brought the idea that we will have a “virtual double” in our future smartphones. This double will know our predisposition to diseases and suggest prevention methods and cures. Finally David Duncan talked about extreme ageing and some of the important issues brought by prolonging life and being healthy for a longer period of time than before. (I wish the videos were already on the website!)
I unfortunately didn’t have time to attend the last part of the session (damn!). But anyway, thanks to the organizers for this edition of TEDxBrussels! Even if all of them are not relevant to your job or will not be applicable before a long time, it gives you lots of ideas and it will take me some time to explore more in details some (many) of them. I started by collecting direct links to presentations above on Pinboard. Feel free to use them as starting point too!
The NPR has produced a nice visualization / video showing how population grew to 7 billion (original article):
If you want to model the improvement in child survival, you just turn the birth tap off (or nearly). Then, with wealth, prevention, healthcare and better food, the population will also grow older (death tap also turned off or nearly) and during a certain time, lots of adults will be economically active (i.e. they will work and consume). This is a demographic dividend. But it comes with a risk: at the next stage, there might be a disproportionately high number of people compared to / depending on a small number of active adults (the next generation). In addition, if you fill it up slowly but you also empty it slowly, the container risk to be full soon, it all depends on the various rates …
For once, I won’t write about a day here but about a week: this week is the Open Access week (OA week). In this fourth edition, it’s not time anymore to explain one more time what is Open Access (but if you still want to read about it, read the Wikipedia article or Peter Suber’s overview). This year, this week is defined as “an opportunity […] to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research“.
Other Belgian universities usually support Open Access without any specific action about this week (except ULB with a recap mainly on the financial benefits). Is it a sign that Open Access is losing momentum or just became part of everyday life in universities?
I became recently interested in wearable electronics and wearable communication. I think we usually don’t need a computer at home. But I also think that electronics, sensory / storage / communication / helper devices will invade our world (privacy) at one point.
A few months ago, I liked Phillip Torrone’s retrospective collection of wearable electronic devices (for Make:). It will be quite fun to wear some of the stuff he showed. However most of the current applications shown are mostly designed to collect information from the body they are attached to or to communicate with this body. This is very much self-centered.
Recently (tonight), I watched Kate Hartman’s TED talk: The art of wearable communication. As the title implies, Kate Hartman goes one step further and designs wearable communication devices. I must admit I’m not sure I would want to wear the devices she designed. But I admire how simple these devices can be and yet some of them create an effective embryo of communication with others.
Three years ago, I wrote about JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments. JoVE was a peer reviewed, open access, online journal devoted to the publication of biological research in a video format. I recently discovered that since 2009, JoVE is now just a peer reviewed, open access, online journal devoted to the publication of biological research in a video format. You can debate at length on whether JoVE was Open Access (as I thought) or not. I just think it’s sad although I understand their motives: in a recent exchange with them, they wrote they “handle most production of our content [themselves] and it is a very very costly operation”.
JoVE dropped the “Open Access” wording as I wrote above (however, there is still a possibility to publish a video in free access for a higher fee, as described as “Open access” in the About section for authors);
the “trick” was still working (and people at JoVE seemed to be aware of that and I saw similar description of the trick elsewhere).
Unfortunately, this trick will not work anymore in the coming weeks since they will “do token authentication with [their] CDN“. JoVE will remain for me a very interesting journal with videos of quality and without any equivalent yet (SciVee doesn’t play in the same playground and I wonder why Research Explainer missed the comparison in their 2010 interview).
I was then wondering what could have been the impact of this decision on the number of videos published in JoVE as free access. I didn’t find any statistics related to this on the JoVE website (unrelated thought: I like the way BioMed Central gives access to its whole corpus). I then relied on PubMed to find all the indexed articles from JoVE and relied on its classification of “Free Full Text” (i.e. copied on the PubMed Central website, including the video). At the time of writing (August 2011), on a total of 1191 indexed articles, 404 are “Free Full Text”. This is nearly 34% of all JoVE articles. When you split this by year since 2006 (when JoVE went online), you obtain the following table and chart:
Free Full Text articles
Full free access
Full free access
Introduction of Closed Access
So far (August 2011)
Extrapolation to full year keeping the same proportion
As we can see on the left chart, plotting the total number of articles in JoVE -vs- time, there is a steady increase in the number of articles since 2006. This tend to prove that more and more scientists enjoy publishing videos. It would be nice to have access to JoVE statistics in order to see if there is the same increase in the overall number of views of all videos. With “web 2.0” and broadband access in universities, I guess we would see this increase.
However, as we can see on the right chart, plotting the percentage of JoVE “Free Full Texts” in PubMed -vs- time, there is a dramatic decrease in the percentage of Free Full Texts in JoVE since 2008-2009. Less and less videos are published and available for free in PubMed Central. This is unfortunate for the reader without subscription. This may also be unfortunate for the publisher since there are less and less authors over time who pay the premium for free access. But since authors also pays for closed access, there is certainly a financial equilibrium.
Some methodological caveats … The PMC Free Full Texts are not necessarily in free access on the JoVE website (and vice-versa ; all the ones I checked are but I didn’t check all of them!). This might explain why there is already a reduction in Free Full Texts in PMC in 2008 while JoVE closed their journal in April 2009. I expected the same proportion of free articles published until the end of 2011 than in the beginning of 2011 ; this might not be the case (let’s see in January 2012 ; this also leads to the question: “is there a seasonal trend in publishing in JoVE?”).
What I take as a (obvious) message is that if authors can pay less for the same publication, they will, regardless of how accessible and affordable the publication will be for the reader. I don’t blame anyone. But I can’t help thinking the Open Access model is better for the universal access to knowledge.
Here is yet another interesting video from Prof. Hans Rosling 🙂 From the video: “Believe me, there is nothing boring about statistics, especially not today when we can make the data seen”. For the rest, watch the video …
This year, I wish you some wonderful holidays (under the snow for those in Northern Europe) and a Merry Christmas with again a 12 days of Christmas song. This time, it’s from Straight No Chaser 😉 Enjoy!
I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.
Although I have a child and I’m obviously interested in his idea, I was also interested in the simple bar chart depicting the leading causes of death in the USA. In the tiny Flash video, the text is unfortunately barely legible and I was interested in knowing where he got his data from.
The answer is really easy: the leading causes of death in the USA are compiled every year by the (American) National Center for Health Statistics and the results are available on their FastStats website. So, for 2007 (the latest results at the time of writing), the 15 leading causes of death in the USA are (ordered by decreasing number of cases):
Diseases of heart *
Malignant neoplasms (cancers) *
Cerebrovascular diseases *
Chronic lower respiratory diseases
Accidents (unintentional injuries)
Diabetes mellitus *
Influenza and pneumonia
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
Intentional self-harm (suicide)
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
The exact ICD-10 codes are in this report ; you can find their exact meaning here. Causes with an asterisk are related to food intake, according to Jamie Oliver.
Now you have the numbers, the origin of the data and the methodology used to collect these data. You can watch the presentation: