Tag Archives: The Economist

Open Source Life

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

As far as scientific breakthroughs go, they don’t get much bigger. Like the splitting of the atom and the invention of two minute noodles, it elevates man into a realm once considered the preserve of the gods.

What I am referring to, of course, is the creation of artificial life by biologist Craig Venter.

The Bride of Frankenstein

Without getting into too much detail, what Dr Venter has in essence done is manufacture a synthetic chromosome and insert it into …

Tags: bacteria Charlie Brooker Craig Venter crowdsourcing crowdsourcing platform distributed work genetics life Synthetic biology The Economist


Is that a hard drive in your pocket?

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

… how big your hard drive is. Yet, for those of us who were young and interested in computers in the 1980s – when a 20MB hard disk was more desirable than Demi Moore – this can be tricky: there is something awe inspiring about new data storage technology.

But even amongst those who claim they are not aroused by the smooth, sleek finish of a pocket sized 1.5TB hard disk, it seems many are excited by the opportunities presented by the data it stores. It doesn’t matter who you are, big …

Tags: big data crowdsourcing data management google IDC samasource The Economist


Kaggle: crowdsourcing genius or statistical anomaly?

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

In 2009 Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, famously claimed that “the sexy job in the next ten years will be statistician”. It still sounds pretty improbable right?

I mean, when did you last see a data-analyst fighting off screaming groupies? Statistics isn’t even a cool branch of maths.

Real “pure” mathematicians wrestle with the fundamental mysteries of the universe. Statisticians wrestle with pie charts. …


Africa online 2011: The mobile continent

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

According to a recent article in the Economist, in most African countries more people have a mobile phone than a bank account. In technologically advanced Kenya, over 50% of the population now owns a mobile. A friend of mine who used to live in Mali told me that many young people there would rather go hungry than go without SMS.

In the West, all the money and media attention goes to smartphones – see the hyperactive press …


Too fast, too furious? The app that’ll slow you down

Posted on by Ville Miettinen

This November, in a “courageous” (i.e. likely to be unpopular) move, the Finnish Government started road testing a new breed of hi-tech speed cameras. Mounted on trailers, these cameras not only detect your speed but can also spot tailgating, undone seat belts and even overdue taxes. Basically, if you see one coming down the road, it’s time to belt up and ease off the gas.

While we might not like the idea of merciless robots clocking our every minor traffic …