miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2014

Can you hold a conversation in English?

Can you do it? How well? Just compare the percetage in Spain and the rest of Europe. Don't you feel you are privileged? Let's do anything to increase the number of Spanish people who can speak English.

english-eu

If you want to read an interesting article by Jakub Marian, click here:

Map of percentage of people using English_ article

miércoles, 25 de junio de 2014

lunes, 16 de junio de 2014

Amazing! and frightening?



Watch this amazing video. I felt really "frightened" after watching it. Will the future be like this?

jueves, 12 de junio de 2014

Baidu Turns to Big Data to Forecast Flu Outbreaks


 
Chinese Internet giant Baidu will be watching closely when users of its search engine type “cold,”“fever” or other terms possibly linked to the flu.
The firm, which says its search engine attracts more than 160 million users daily, is working with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to use big data to forecast flu outbreaks.
The project is one of several big-data initiatives that Baidu is planning, including efforts to monitor real-estate and financial markets, movie sales and career trends. A big-data-fueled visualization of the most popular travel routes for Chinese flocking home to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families is already online. For that mashup, Baidu looked at data from its location-based applications.
The firm declined to comment on its latest health-focused project, saying that it is still in the works. However, given that Google has previously launched a similar big data initiative, Baidu is expected take some cues from its U.S. counterpart.
The decision by Baidu and Chinese authorities to launch a prediction tool for flu trends in China was inspired by the creation of Google Flu Trends in 2008, said Lai Shengjie, a researcher at the CDC’s infection prevention and control department, according to a report in China Daily.
One challenge for Baidu will be how to address the same types of problems that have resulted in an overestimation by Google of the number of flu cases in recent years. Researchers have found that the algorithms Google used haven’t been good enough to beat the accuracy of results derived from more traditional data, including reports from doctors.
The traditional flu monitoring system, via surveillance from hospitals, is thought to have more gaps in China compared to developed countries, as locals don’t necessarily visit doctors regularly and may wait longer for symptoms to develop before seeking professional advice. Data from search engine activity would in theory give Chinese health officials faster access to information that could point to emerging trends, such as possible flu outbreaks in certain localities.

 

Pinpointing the exact location that might be harboring viruses is essential for containment. Chinese authorities said earlier this year that a January outbreak of the H7N9 bird flu remained contained after the strain was found in three members of a Chinese family in Hangzhou. Apart from such family members, only humans who have had close contact with poultry have contracted the virus, authorities said.
Having previously suffered through severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the country remains perpetually on the alert against the threat of pandemics: The increase of H7N9 infections including deaths in Zhejiang this year, for example, led officials to shut down live poultry market in the province, in order to minimize possible transmission from chickens to humans.

By Chao Deng
 (DIGITS)