Media Mining Digest 21 – Apr 6, 2012: Aspirin and Cancer, Apple and ATT&T, Guild Lessons, Innovative Virologist, Puscast, Canary Honeybees, Regen Medicine Trials, R/C News and IfixIt

Fifteen links to podcasts from this digest are found in two formats here and here.

Aspirin and Cancer 14 mins – New research about aspirin and cancer prevention discussed in The Lancet includes the comment that daily aspirin isn’t necessary for people with healthy hearts.

Apple and ATT&T 17 & 9 mins – This two-hour TWIT digest contains a comprehensive interview with Matt Spaccarelli who won the Small Claims Court challenge to AT&T in Feb and was paid $935. It starts at the 57 min mark and runs for 17 mins. A second piece is an insightful discussion about the Mike Daisey-Apple controversy for 9 mins starting at the 121 min mark. Of note is the $316 price of the parts in the new iPad vs $499 shelf price, and a comment that it would cost Apple only $60 more to produce the iPad in the USA. (A newspaper article about the Chinese manufacturer of Apple products points out that Foxconn is headquartered in Taiwan rather than mainland China.) Then the World Technology Podcast added another facet with a great interview with Leslie Chang, author of the book Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China. Her account of time spent among workers in Apple factories in China is a real ear-opener. The most comprehensive coverage looks to be from Marketwatch with nine segments that include photos, video, at least one audio download, and transcripts about the facilities, workers, bosses and the production process.

Guild Lessons 30 mins – This Planet Money episode presents the story of a 16th Century German weavers’ guild who were savvy political operators and knew how to push their competitors out of the market. Over a 200 year period they set up a system of fines, wage ceilings, and public rebukes that would be the envy of a modern cartel. It’s a tale of economic monopoly and discrimination. Of inequality and conflict. And it’s a story of how businesses can stifle innovation even today.

Innovative Virologist 47 mins – The Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education was awarded to Professor Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University Medical Center, NY, at the Spring 2010 meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Edinburgh. Dr Racaniello describes what he has done in his acceptance speech by way of blogs, podcasts, and internet lectures. He makes reference to a professional article on the same topic.

Puscast 30 mins each – Dr Racaniello’s article references include the Puscast podcast by a doctor of infectious medicine who, like Dr Racaniello, broadcasts a technical subject, with some professional humor thrown in, to experts and the lay public. Puscast is eight years old. Each bi-weekly episode includes a list of about twenty reviewed titles with links to PubMed and Google where you just cut and paste a title to view the details. That approach works well when you learn how to identify the title. This type literature study is what a doctor does weekly to stay current, in addition to conferences and workshops. Dr Crislip, the producer, also offers a 30-minute QuackCast about health supplements; a series of 5-minute case study podcasts called “A Gobbet o’ Pus; an Infectious Disease Compendium: A Persiflagers Guide ©2005-2012” in an online free version or a downloadable form for a fee plus apps for mobile phone, and finally a book Puswhisperer: A Year in the Life of an Infectious Disease Doctor for only 99 cents. All of this is focused on health care workers, but applies to everyone and will return benefits to a degree that we spend time understanding what Dr Crislip (or Dr Racaniello) says. And they volunteer to do it in their spare time.

Canary Honeybees 31 mins – This is an extended interview with Niwot, Colorado, Beekeeper Tom Theobald about three recently published studies on how neonicotinoids harm bees. The studies, one from Purdue and two from Europe, indicate these pesticides cause more harm to bees than previously thought. The bees are environmental canaries. Colony collapse isn’t a syndrome, it’s a symptom, according to Theobald an experienced beekeeper. He says the pesticides kill the ground, turning soil into adobe that won’t grow plant life. The companies that make the pesticide also control the seed and chemical fertilizers needed to grow our crops, so they are creating a company store paradigm. The studies show the original safety evaluation of neonicotinoids was flawed and unacceptable. The EPA has been petitioned to remove the chemical from use. It is already banned in Europe. The EPA effort has been ongoing for over a year. PS: Here’s a more scientific discussion of the topic .

Regen Medicine Trials 10 mins – Dr Peter J. Rubin describes three new and ongoing Government-sponsored clinical trials to replace missing muscle, repair scar tissue and remodel damaged breasts for which more participants are being sought. Go to the site, locate the title, Regenerative Medicine Today – J. Peter Rubin – Podcast #107Friday, March 30, 2012 9:42 AM, right click RegenMedToday_107Mar2012.mp3 and select “Save Link As…” to download.

R/C News – Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are a very busy growth industry. Look at this 27 min video made five years ago by the Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine. Anderson discusses an auto pilot for electric Radio Controlled (R/C) plane or plane with a brain. Anderson is interviewed on the same topic in a podcast by one of several R/C hobby groups. The interview starts about 30 minutes into the 90 minute episode. Your little drone can be equipped with wireless video providing a First Person View (FPV), but a computer flies it. The computer can be programmed to fly a set path, equipped with a camera that takes pictures at 1.5 sec intervals, or about 100 feet of travel, until a quarter mile square patch of land is covered. The result is then stitched together with a program like PTGui and resolution will allow reading of a license plate. Ten years ago such a drone cost $10,000 and was only for the military. Today one can be purchased for $1500, but only for recreational purposes, limited to line of sight, flown under 400 feet and away from built-up areas. DIYdrones has 3000 members and ten to twenty thousand hits per day. Many customers for these are outside the USA, so those members and hits are not restricted to the USA.

This radio control hobby evolved from little liquid fuel models controlled from the ground and by wires flown like kites, to battery-powered vehicles, mostly airborne with props or single to multiple rotors. Several active R/C groups in the USA produce podcasts. TheCrashCast from AllThingsCrash is a 60 minute podcast with lots of help. A second equally long series of podcasts are AllThingsThatFly which run 60 to 90 minutes each with ten minutes or more socializing at the start. R/C hobbyists posses a very large body of knowledge about flying, simulators, materials, motors, batteries, transmitters, receivers, GPS, fabrication, repair, control, digital photography and microprocessors. They are greatly motivated by loss of or damage to fragile and expensive equipment in trees, on rooftops, over water, and runaways. They are also sensitive to serious hazards from sharp objects moving at high speed equipped with fast-spinning blades. The result is a rich body of expertise.

Model aircraft appear to have a maximum flying times of fifteen minutes based on current battery technology; however, North Carolina State has an Aerospace Energy Program with one project to develop a drone that can fly cross country. These recreational vehicles are limited to low wind conditions and fair weather and this query to Slashdot on 4 April indicates commercial application is unlikely. Concern about their use has also prompted interest in countermeasures. Nevertheless in 2009 the Japanese were already using a 30 pound helicopter to fertilize rice fields. Clustering a group of R/C hobbyists with Maker groups, fab labs and DIY bio advocates might produce some interesting results.

PS: The Brookings Institute at Harvard hosted a 3-person panel that discussed the private use of drones for 90 mins. Forthcoming legislation, use of iPhone control, commercial and rescue work were some topics covered. Mention was made that one of these can be purchased from Brookstone for $300.

IfixIt 26 mins – The creator of this site, which has 50 employees, describes how such devices as the iPad are dismantled, videos and manuals are made about the process, and tools identified for us to use in fixing them. The goal is to make us all better fixers and improve the life span of expensive things we buy. Apple is identified as a major culprit in producing expensive throwaway equipment with the life span of the batteries – 1 to 1.5 years – and by not selling repair parts. The tool kit discussed that costs $25 is available at the site.

The 110 feeds used to prepare this weekly blog are gathered using Feedreader3 and are available as an opm file at Google Docs.

Thanks for visiting.


About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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