Sweden: Blood Donors Get a Text Message Whenever Their Blood Saves Someone’s Life

With blood donation rates in decline all over the developed world, Sweden’s blood service is enlisting new technology to help push back against shortages.

One new initiative, where donors are sent automatic text messages telling them when their blood has actually been used, has caught the public eye.

Source: Blood donors in Sweden get a text message whenever their blood saves someone’s life

I like the idea, and could stand to see it on social media as well.

Halifax Zoologist: Rainbow Lobster Catches Exaggerated by Social Media

Lobster catches across the Maritimes this season have, despite the odds, proven to be very colourful.

Four blue lobsters, a yellow and an albino lobster have all been caught in the last two weeks.

While chances of catching a yellow lobster are ten times less frequent than blue ones, the odds of catching an albino lobster are one in 100 million.

Source: Rainbow lobster catches exaggerated by social media, says Halifax zoologist

Lobster used to be cheap – here’s why that changed.  Whatever the colour, you can make lobster butter with the shell afterwards.

Complaining on Twitter Correlates with Heart Disease Risks

FYI: “correlates” does not mean “links”.

This week, a study was released by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania that found a surprising correlation when studying two kinds of maps: those that mapped the county-level frequency of cardiac disease, and those that mapped the emotional state of an area’s Twitter posts.

Source: Study: Complaining on Twitter correlates with heart disease risks

Conclusion: Stick with Facebook for complaints.

Actually they’re going to be studying Facebook for evidence of depression. There is no safe ground anymore – they are watching.

Using Social Media, Algorithm Predicts Personality Better Than Friends

The idea for the study came together last year when psychologist Youyou Wu and computer scientist Michal Kosinski, then both at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, watched Her, a 2013 science fiction film in which a man falls in love with his computer operating system. “By analyzing his digital records, his computer can understand and respond to his thoughts and needs much better than other humans,” Wu says, “including his long-term girlfriend and closest friends.” Wu and Kosinski wondered: Is that possible in real life?

… a team led by Kosinski showed that the pattern of people’s likes on Facebook is enough to predict their personal traits such as gender, race, political persuasion, and even sexuality.

Source: Your computer knows you better than your friends do

It was never a matter of “if”, but “when”.  Social media is a sociologists dream come true.  All the demographics, all the data…  If the service is free, the product is you.

Social Media Threats Hyped by Science Reporting, Not Science

It has been a bad week for social media—based on the headlines, at least. News reports have linked Facebook use to poor grades, while Twitter wound up being accused of putting morality itself at risk. Needless to say, the studies behind the headlines didn’t lend themselves to this sort of easy characterization. This is a relatively common occurrence—it’s rare for a month to go by where we don’t consider doing a story that primarily involves debunking a news report that gets the science wrong. But this time, we decided to try to trace back and figure out how these stories developed.

Source: Social media threats hyped by science reporting, not science

The article was published in 2009, and is still relevant…

Wikipedia: Helping Scientists Predict the Spread of Disease

Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has become the sixth most visited site in the world. Researchers reported the site contains around 30 million articles in 287 languages and it serves roughly 850 million article requests per day. More importantly, it’s a free, open source of data that is gaining traction as an “effective and timely disease surveillance.”

Source: Wikipedia Positioned To Track Disease Outbreak: The Model That Could Rival Current Resources

Given the long standing joke about people – hypochondriacs – googling their illness (physical or mental), I have to think there’s too much false positive for this to be of any value.  The signal to noise ratio…