Freeing information and healthcare

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2009 by Hanna

Wolfram Alpha is heading up the Twitter trending charts (yes I’m hooked now too) but I wish we had a UK version as I searched for the number of dietiticians (a query on LIS-MEDICAL) and found US figures. The interesting thing about it is that it is not a search engine but a computational knowledge engine, using a private database of public facts, very intriguing.

The Atlantic has an interesting article railing against comparative effectiveness studies in Obama’s much anticipated healthcare reforms. I agree that IT doesn’t always free up time and public health measures may not free up money but are these the purposes for which they were set up? Perhaps the aims and objectives of such measures just need to be redefined as more realistic outcome measures might bring about more manageable projects.

Peter Murray Rust is becoming one of my favourite bloggers if only because I wish I had done a chemistry degree. Here he talks about why we don’t buy journals nationally and the evils of copyright in the hands of publishers thus destroying the income and then existence of learned societies.


2 Responses to “Freeing information and healthcare”

  1. I like Wolfram Alpha-so much fun to play with. Obviously some brilliant folks behind it. They still have a way to go with making it cultural and literary as well as mathematical (I know, it is ‘computational’ and if you study it enough, you too can sound like a brainer). And international. I typed in a name and it told me the ranking of the name, the average age of people with the name now, and the births plotted on a time graph-but all with US statistics.

    Hortense was the least trendy name I could find. Most Hortenses are in their eighties. Can you do any better?

    You can also plot historical figures on a time chart. In my little world, I would love to see what else was going on-what foods were eaten, new inventions, art works created, wars, which phobias were trendy, etc given a time and place. All plotted visually.

  2. I like a challenge.

    The key is to find a name that dropped out of popularity just about recently enough for the last few to still be alive.

    Ladies n gentlemen I give you – Hampton
    40 born in 1936 before dropping out of the data – 122 expected alive today (1404 of those longer living females in the Hortense cohort).

    Names that fell out the list much sooner than this just don’t get picked up by Wolfram Alpha (Hamp for example is now just a gene sequence and no longer a once not all that popular boys name).

    Keen detectives can use the (frankly very cool) baby name voyager for a visual detective hunt of data going back to the 1880s.
    Note the varied and not so wonderful Alan variants in recent times.

    I’ll get my coat…

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