This month Cancer Research UK released a game that helped scientists find a cure for cancer. It takes the obscure data that needs to be analyzed and translates that into a fun little game which can be played on Android or Apple devices. The aggregate data of players help scientists understand what’s going on in the body when someone is impacted by cancer.
The game’s ingenuity lies in its simplicity. Racking up the combined data crunching power of what we hope will be thousands of casual gamers will help our scientists spot the subtle patterns and peaks and troughs in the data, which correspond to DNA faults.
The power of Element Alpha is of course completely fictional, but the power of the data it represents could be exceptional. Our scientists will be trawling through the results as they come in and looking for crucial clues in the quest for new cancer treatments.
So what are you waiting for? Start collecting mysterious Element Alpha to help us solve the mystery of cancer sooner.
Thanks to Craig!
Having zero tolerance policies in schools is a truly horrible way to treat children. It can blunt curiosity and punish severely for minor infractions, combine such oppressive control with bizarre rules (like no playing schoolyard games) and you’ll bored, agitated and disengaged kids. When children aren’t able to express themselves in more traditional ways (like play), they tend to lash out.
With all of that in mind, a school in Aukland decided to toss out the rules. The results were a decrease in bullying and an increase in attentive learning!
Instead of a playground, children used their imagination to play in a “loose parts pit” which contained junk such as wood, tyres and an old fire hose.
“The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It’s during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school.”
Parents were happy too because their children were happy, he said.
But this wasn’t a playtime revolution, it was just a return to the days before health and safety policies came to rule.
AUT professor of public health Grant Schofield, who worked on the research project, said there are too many rules in modern playgrounds.
“The great paradox of cotton-woolling children is it’s more dangerous in the long-run.”
Society’s obsession with protecting children ignores the benefits of risk-taking, he said.
Read more at tvnz.
Urban design is not an easy activity because of the multitude of variables that impact the overall urban experience. There are buildings, traffic (foot and vehicular), landmarks, natural occurrences like rivers, and abstracted economic forces. Space Syntax is a company has set out to make better urban design by using science to calculate the probability of positive spaces being built.
Stonor says his ultimate goal is for the science to catch on with other design firms and consultancies. In a way, he wants to put himself out of business. He says he wants architects and planners to learn to use space syntax themselves, and not rely so much on his consultancy.
Academically, space syntax has caught on in many other schools and countries. However, the Bartlett at University College of London – where Hillier and Hanson developed the science – is still its primary research center. The academic and business sides work closely, a relationship that Stonor says is vital. The academics feed him new ideas, and his company field-tests their research. In addition, every tool and most of the studies produced by both the business and academic sides of Space Syntax are open access and available online.
Read more at Wired’s Map Lab.
Here’s an example of one their reports:
Space Syntax_Informal Settlements Brochure
Walking or biking through neighbourhoods will increase the likelihood that you think positively of that space. A bunch of research has concluded that people have an increase tendency to positively judge an environment when exposed to it using more personal means of transportation. Whereas people who opted to drive a vehicle through neighbourhoods tended to have negative feelings.
The moral of this? If you want to feel like you’re in a positive community all you need to do is not drive through it.
Walkers and drivers had very different reactions. Walkers from the affluent neighborhood had positive things to say about the low-income neighborhood, while drivers held negative views. In general, the affluent neighborhood reacted the most strongly (both positively and negatively) to the low-income neighborhood, while those in the low-income neighborhood rated both areas similarly.
The differences partially confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis, explains Birgitta Gatersleben, an environmental psychology professor and lead author of the study. Generally, humans are pretty good at judging threats or a situation’s trustworthiness in just a few seconds. This is called “thin slicing,” referring to the thin slices of reality we can consume and digest quickly. It comes in handy in the wild, say, if you’re trying to decide whether to approach a pack of lions, or, more realistically, a very angry Apple Care customer.
On June 7th Toronto will be one of many cities having an intervention. 100in1Day is being brought to Toronto through the efforts of Evergreen meaning that Toronto will join many other cities in random acts artiness. 100in1Day uses art and other fun activities to break the routines and everyday sameness that may people get attuned to in urban centres.
The event is called “100 in 1 Day.” It is a global initiative with a lofty ambition: To shake the urban masses out of complacency, and compel residents to do 100 little things, dubbed “interventions,” to improve their city in one day.
Since it was started by a group of Danish and Colombian students in Bogota in 2012, the event has been replicated in a more than a dozen cities around the world. Interventionists in Copenhagen, Cape Town and Montreal have beautified abandoned phone booths, high-fived strangers in the subway and offered free bike tours to seniors. Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax are expected to join the list of cities participating this year.
Thanks to Aurelia