Wednesday Web Watch for August 27, 2014

Eric Goldman provides an insightful overview/primer of the European Court of Justice’s finding a few months ago (much to Google’s chagrin) that, indeed, folks have a right to be forgotten – on the internet.  Goldman notes that “American law would not permit a similar result” for Constitutional reasons (i.e. freedom of speech & press) — though California has such a protective measure in place, which goes into effect in 2015, for minors who wish to delete online content they themselves have posted (third-party postings excluded).  The in-depth “overview” and analysis of the Google pummeling is available here.

Tuesday Triple Trivia Tease for August 26, 2014

3 Questions. 3 Hints. 3 Answers.  Every Tuesday.

1. What technology has some focused experts thinking a few steps ahead… and fearing the potential consequences?


Answer: electrical brain stimulation kits, freely available to consumers, may have a negative impact on areas of the brain when used improperly by laypeople.  The technology transfers electrical currents across the scalp to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.  While used by the military and within the medical community to treat certain ailments, some companies are promoting such devices to improve cognitive function for activities like gaming.  They further claim cognitive success rates as part of their advertising, which are not necessarily transferable to other areas.  When used by the inexperienced, risks may include seizures, mood changes, scalp burns and other undesirable effects with potential long-term repercussions.   When used in a controlled setting, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), as it is officially called, is linked to improved cognitive performance and amelioration of symptoms for those suffering from cognitive impairments and psychological conditions.  Nonetheless, some researchers feel that regulation of tDCS devices is necessary for consumer protection.   These devices are most often marketed to select industries and avoid making medical “treatment” claims, thereby avoiding regulatory oversight.  Those in the field have also raised concerns that tDCS is not ready for the open market and that more research is required.  Read more here.

2.  What invention has Kodak and spice giant, McCormick shaking their corporate heads & wondering why they didn’t think of it?


Answer: Pangaea Services, developers of “The Defender” have given women (and men) a new multi-tasking self-defense tool: pepper spray, a camera and link to emergency services all in one.  The Defender is connected through Bluetooth to a smartphone app, and is equipped to debilitate an attacker, take a picture of him (or her) and forward the image to authorities, along with a victim’s location.  Read more about this one-stop-shop protective device, here.

3. Who might be headed to court because she provided requested advice and went along for the ride?


Answer: Apple’s Siri, when asked where to hide a body, logically answered “swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries and dumps.”  The accused murderer likely reflected on Siri’s advice but instead elected to bury his roommate’s body in a nearby forest.  The issue now is, whether Siri’s data is admissible in court.  Admissibility  may depend on the availability of the Verizon employee as a witness and/or additional Siri-related technicalities.  Read the details here.

Technology and Health Care Economics: an Opportunity for the Practicing Physician

An article, written by Professor Gary Marchant and Dr. Arnold Calica, was published in AZ  MEDICINE magazine this summer.  The article, entitled TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH CARE ECONOMICS: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PRACTICING PHYSICIAN is available here: AzMed_Sum2014_Calica-Marchant-1. The idea for this article is derived, in part, from a conference entitled, Technology and the Rising Cost of Health Care: A Paradigm Shift, sponsored by the University of Chicago and ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, and held at Arizona State University in March 2013.




Wednesday Web Watch for August 20, 2014

Jason Tetro places little faith in experimental drugs being shipped to West Africa to combat Ebola and believes “[t]he key to stopping the spread is infection prevention and control through proper isolation and a reduction in the levels of interaction amongst susceptible individuals.” Tetro likens the recent Ebola crisis to a sweeping influenza outbreak in Winnebago County, WI in the early 1900eds where isolation and restricted interactions appear to have finally killed the virus.  Tetro’s blog was recently published in Popular Science.  What do you think?  Is Tetro’s recommendation too simplistic and unworkable or is he spot on?

OPEN HOUSE TODAY at the Center for Law, Science & Innovation!

The Center for Law, Science & Innovation is hosting an OPEN HOUSE on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 from 1p-3p in Room 120. 

Come by to be introduced to, or become more familiar with, our five core programs (along with our new Neuroscience program), stellar faculty and related student opportunities

Light snacks & refreshments will be served. We look forward to hosting you!

Tuesday Triple Trivia Tease for August 19, 2014

3 Questions. 3 Hints. 3 Answers. Every Tuesday.

“What’s The Difference?”

1. What’s the difference between a robot and a kilobot?


Answer: the smarty-pants at Harvard have done it again with the development and design of over 1000 small robots that are individually programmed to follow self-organizing instructions for a global end result.  For instance, when directed to form a shape, each kilobot collaborates and moves in conjunction with all the other kilobots, rearranging itself as required if there is a traffic jam or other obstacle in order to form the requested shape.  Automated self-organization is important as we enter the era of self-driving and unmanned vehicles & systems that are placed in situations where countless unpredictable variables are encountered on a daily basis.  To read more about this cutting-edge example of collective artificial intelligence, click here.

2. What’s the difference between organic and conventional pesticides?


Answer: not much.  In fact, organic or “natural” pesticides may be more toxic than synthetic ones.   For instance, rotenone and pyrethrin, both widely-used organic pesticides, are more toxic (by weight) than synthetic Glyphosate (Monsanto’s “Roundup”).   The moral of the story is, like many other things (e.g. mycotoxins, mercury, rhubarb leaves, apple seeds, etc.), just because it is “natural” does not mean it is not toxic and “organic” does not mean it is safer.  Further, if you think organic farmers use less “natural” pesticides… think again.  Read the details here.

3. What’s the difference between today’s & yesterday’s smartphone?


Answer: big difference!  Not only is today’s smartphone lighter, sleeker and faster than IBM’s “Simon,” the first smartphone introduced to the public in August 1994, it is also less expensive and has much greater range.  See additional comparisons here.