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Sophie Wrobel
Works at iQser GmbH
Lives in Remchingen
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Sophie Wrobel

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Your computerized guts

Imagine if your guts contained a full working computer - made out of a fleet of bacteria. Imagine if computer could store data, act as a surveillance system to detect and monitor bowel infections at an early stage, release medications as necessary, and not require any electricity - all using bacteria that, in their wild form, reside in your guts anyway. There's certainly a lot of potential - organic infestation stories aside!

Which raises some important questions: assuming someone did create such a bacterial computer, who would be responsible for making sure that the 'installations' are not abused? And how would we deal with 'abused installations'?

The nutshell version
Basically, the researchers have managed to control expression of particular bacterial secretions and corresponding receptors to communicate with the bacterial environment. They then used these bacterial 'components' to detect and respond to carbohydrate presence in mouse guts, and checked their feces for indications of the indicators produced by the programmed response reaction. While it's still a long way from full-powered biocomputing, we're definitely starting to see the first small steps to an intriguing future ahead.

More details in the full article:
http://www.cell.com/cell-systems/pdf/S2405-4712(15)00006-X.pdf

/via +Hans Youngmann 
MIT researchers have unveiled sensors, circuits, and memory switches to be encoded in bacterium Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron.
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Is it out of line to say this may add a whole new meaning to "a gut feeling"?
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Sophie Wrobel

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Myth: Small children cannot control their bladders

... at just under one month, my latest daughter can hold for about five minutes after she lets me know that she needs to go and breaking out in pee. Which isn't bad at all. But once this inborn reflex - expressing oneself before excrement - is suppressed, it takes time to re-learn, which the common western 'toilet training' process involves.

This early bladder control, contrary to popular thought, has not been demonstrated to be damaging to child development. Nor has it been demonstrated to be beneficial for child development. There simply is a lack of substantial research in the area.

Well, you may be wondering, how does my daughter do it? Here's the nutshell version of how it works: she expresses herself when she needs to go, and I give her a cue that she can do her business. The baby associates the cue with being allowed to relieve itself, and this cue becomes a command that is subsequently used to signal when it is time to go. At the moment she can hold for about five minutes before she absolutely must, which is not bad for a baby that's a bit younger than one month old.

And it is a very rewarding experience: at the price of six very chaotic weeks at the beginning of life, the rest of infancy is very pleasant - only two or three 'accidents' with pee a day until the infant is 'dry', child is more peaceful and enjoys the constant attention and being carried around all day, no need for a big baby bag when traveling, and the baby is dry all night quite early on in life (somewhere around 6 months, when the bladder is large enough to hold through the night). Not to mention the rest of the advantages that come with 'no diapers', such as cost savings, no diaper rashes, and so on.

There's one thing that I would add, however: the most challenging part of this manner of 'toilet training' is, in my opinion, not the chaos, extra work, or energy that it involves, but rather the difficulties surrounding social acceptance - including strange stares from passers-by and fellow passengers in public transportation, and constant discouragement and comments of all sorts from friends and family.

If you are interested in trying this method, I'd strongly recommend the following book by Ingrid Bauer: Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene
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Update: she doesn't wet her bed anymore, and during the day she's mostly dry. She also mimics her signal to tell us when she needs to go and what she needs to do, and will also cry until someone takes her to go (or until it's too late, about 5 minutes after she starts crying). That's not bad for a three-month-old!

+Rus Davies we are looking for a day home at the moment - but things are up in the air. I do have a potential caretaker in sight who is willing to continue the diaper-free solution - because she is interested in getting back in touch with her heritage, which involves the same diaper-free child rearing - but she needs to clear up some issues with her license before she can take my daughter in. If not, she'll probably end up in a more 'standard' childcare solution.

The lack of cooperative childcare is indeed a problem. My second child was also dry until she came into day care where they required her to be in diapers, and then she forgot during the day to watch for the pee signal (and had to relearn again) after that. But she did stay dry during the night, so I'd say the bladder control was still somewhat there - and that's a large plus over conventional diapers.
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Changing darm flora: Western lifestyle practices may be responsible for more of our health problems than we think

There's an isolated Yanomami village in the middle of the Amazon with no previous contact to western society. And one of the surprising things about them is their health: "The medical workers also documented that although these Yanomami had high levels of parasites, they were healthy and did not suffer from autoimmune disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease..."

With autoimmune disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other problems on the rise in western society, it raises the question of how these trends came about in the first place. Nutritional changes in our diets over the years as a result of industrialization and food processing is not a secret, and the decreasing diversity of intestinal flora is not a secret either. But perhaps they hold the key to answering these questions - and could raise a lot of lobby pressure as the food processing industries fight to maintain their practices. In the words of Justin Sonnenburg, "I think these missing microbes are at the root of many Western diseases. The big message is we in the Western world have lost the diversity in our microbiota. We have to study these groups to figure out what we lost, what these microbes do, and how we get back to a healthy microbiota."

#Geist  #Health #Diet

/via +Wayne Radinsky 
Villagers evolved antibiotic resistance without being exposed to Western medicine
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One confounder is that, without modern medical care, then only the healthiest will survive. Both in the short term and perhaps, selective pressure wise.

I'd be interested in knowing what their mean life span is. As well as early childhood death rate.
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Call for Funding: Dominia, a Negotiation Boardgame

Some time ago I posted about a board game to help teach negotiation skills. After a bit of testing and fine-tuning, I'm almost ready to bring the game to market. What's missing? Well, funding! So here's your chance to secure your copy from the first production run - and have a shiny, professionally produced copy of is board game in your hands! If the funding campaign succeeds, I'll be able to start the first run in June. Look forward to your support!

What's Dominia?
Players: 2-6 players aged 10 and up.
Languages: Bilingual edition in German and English.
Learning Goals: Principled negotiation. 

Each player starts with a character (and secret goal), a region, and two resources. Players take turns rolling the die and performing the action on the die – allowing them to collect resources, ask questions, form alliances, steal resources, and ultimately attain their goals before anyone else does in order to win the game.

Links
Read more about how Dominia teaches negotiation, and the principles behind the game, at: http://igg.me/at/dominia

Or view the original post - and the first iteration of the game - here:
https://plus.google.com/+SophieWrobel/posts/Lw7wTTbJdEn

#Geist   #learning   #negotiation   #games   #funding  
Learn to negotiate with a strategy boardgame! | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!
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Sry that it didn't went so well so far. Maybe a video with the actual gameplay helps?
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More efficient than an oxygen tank

These new cobalt-based oxygen binding crystals look very promising - at the fraction of the size and weight of an oxygen tank, they can bind more oxygen than an oxygen tank and release it as required. And not just once, but repeatedly. This is excellent news for many applications - I can imagine applications not just for diving and submarines but also in space exploration, firefighting, respiritory ailments, and flight safety.

/via +Darin R. McClure​
Danish scientists are a step closer to helping those suffering from respiratory ailments thanks to a revolutionary new absorption crystal. Working out of the University of Southern Denmark the group has uncovered crystalline materials that are capable of pulling oxygen out of both air and water -which could eventually mark the end of the need […]
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+Sophie Wrobel every little step in addressing and treating COPD, every little chance we have, is equally necessary and hopeful.
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A tribute to the most influential man in shaping Singapore's success

For those who don't know the story of Singapore, I strongly suggest you go and read up about it on Wikipedia. Lee Kuan Yew is one of the heros of the nation's short history. After being expelled from Malaysia 50 years ago as a worthless Island with no resources, this man has more or less singlehandedly transformed the nation into the booming trade capital it is known as today. Certainly, he was not perfect, but he does merit the recognition that others before him have had in their similarly rigid but effective regimes in their respective lands - Margaret Thatcher comes to mind, for instance.

Now in bad health, Lee Kuan Yew's days are numbered... but his legacy will surely continue on the island nation of Singapore.

/via +Robert Chew​
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Remarkable art project!
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Sophie Wrobel

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Looks like the definition of "smart" has changed!

The definition of "smart" seems to have changed since I was a kid. No longer does "smart" mean "having an IQ over xxx". Rather, smart now seems to mean "having the ability to learn." And that, it seems, is based on your attitude towards life.

In a nutshell, there are two main groups of learners:
1) Those who believe intrinsically that each person is born with a certain amount of intelligence, and nothing can change that.
2) Those who believe that hard work and dedication can change outcomes.

Surprise, surprise, no matter what IQ you have, children in the second group are those who seemingly outperform the others. In short: what kids need to be "smart" these days is a dedicated attitude.

#Geist   #Learning

/via +George Station 
HINT: Don't tell your kids that they are. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on “process”—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life
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+George Station very good point - process and strategy are two elements that are increasingly important and valuable, not just in growth, but also in everything else, from treatment to management to anything in between!
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Sophie Wrobel

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Speeding up drug research and production

Gene therapy is controversial, but who said we need to modify human genes? Predicting the effects of gene editing is a long-awaited holy grail to drug research: Each living cell has many receptors, and activating or blocking different receptors causes the cell to act differently (or self-destruct). Several drugs work by mimicking the shape of these receptor-binding proteins.

But how do you develop a drug that binds to a particular receptor and requires a particular form? That's where the sort of AI that this startup claims to possess comes to play: it can simulate whether a particular new drug will have the right shape or not to bind to the target receptors. The instructions to create these drugs are then transferred to drug-producing factories (such as bacteria or other genetically modified cellular organisms), which secrete the drugs that are harvested for human use. A long way from human gene modification, but an important advancement in speeding up the development of new drugs that fall into this class of production!

/via +Wayne Radinsky 
Can a Canadian startup with some big names attached set itself apart in the competitive world of bioinformatics?
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When I got to this sentence in the article it seemed as though it could not possibly be correct.

"Gene editing remains a controversial practice, and the US National Institutes of Health flatly stated it will not fund research on ethical grounds."

So I went to the NIH website for more info, and indeed, the article misstates the policy of the NIH. I stopped reading at that point.
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My daughter has arrived!

I've been somewhat silent lately - and one main reason why: my daughter was born recently! And with a very relaxed, almost surreal birth that could not have gone better.

See, I hadn't realised that I was about to give birth when I had sent the kids to kindergarten and then had a regular checkup with my midwife at home. At that point I was told that the birth canal was already open and the kid was on the way. By some stroke of luck, the father-to-be was in home office that day and was able to stop work, join in and witness everything from the start. So we set up everything for the birth, all relaxed, and to be honest I still couldn't quite believe that I was about to give birth at that point. An hour later the contractions began and within another hour the baby was born. One hour later everything was cleaned up, and the big kids came home from kindergarten to be greeted by (surprise) their new sister!

I can't help but ask myself, what would have happened if I didn't happen to have had a regular checkup that day? What would it have been like for the kids? If I had to go to hospital instead? Would I have made it? All I can say for sure is that it certainly would have been a lot more stressful, dramatic and chaotic. And that is probably a big understatement.

Now life is settling in - I am recovering very quickly, the baby is very cooperative, peaceful and even kind enough to let us know when she needs to go to the toilet (well, more like a Tupperware than a toilet, but very effective). The extended family has been very helpful, the father overjoyed and he already feels that the baby has been around for more than just a few days.

And next? Well, everyone, knows that Germany is a country famous for paperwork. But the ladies at the civil registrar's office in our town apparently don't have too many births to process in our particular constellation and had to call another office to double check which paperwork was required. And since they didn't have the right form templates at hand, they 'borrowed' the forms from another city, put white-out over the city name, and had us fill that out instead, lending an amusing little twist to the usual paperwork experience!

At any rate, my little Anna now officially exists!

#Geist #baby
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Awe - So precious.  Thanks for sharing.
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Software defined networks are changing the internet backbone

If you don't know what a software-defined network is or how it works, read the linked post. These networks have wide-ranging implications, both positive and negative.

Example: Throttling and bandwidth quotas.
Implementing bandwidth quotas has been, in the past, something costly, inefficient, and a major consumer annoyance. But now, it comes practically out-of-the-box for internet service providers.

Example: Large-scale network setup and administration.
Now for the good part: network administration has never been easier! Forget the Cisco Certifications and other expensive, year-long training - now, even an amateur hobbyist should be able to set up a big-data-scale network cluster without much difficulty.

Now that's a big change in the IT landscape behind the scenes - and one that, in a time where data analysis and volume is of growing importance, is bound to change the competitive field!

/via +Gregory Esau
 
Software Defined Networking - Everybody needs it. Nobody understands it. We explain it!

Beginning with well known fact, that routers, switches can be configured to work in a fail save mode, being redundant (see BGP - Border Gateway Protocol) and several selected ports can be switched to build their own 'collision domain', called VLAN, there was an urgent need to have VLAN groups depending on protocol basis (e.g. port 80, http) for e.g. load balancing.

Directly after CISCO™, JUNIPER™ did implemented that, customers were asking for firewalling (IP masquerading, NAT), bandwidth control for realtime services, like video streaming (Netflix®), telephony (Skype™), video conferencing, decentralized server clusters. Things became complex, more and more software controlled. Good old ASICS, doing well in routers, switches until now, couldn't solve these complex tasks any longer.

So some CISCO® employees founded JUNIPER®, building up routers, switches with FreeBSD and ASICS as 10/100 GbE network card, gaining significant market share.

Now, something magic happend. Some guys did find out, that memory I/O of a simple INTEL® Core™ i5 is fast enough to care about everything running - Linux!

Have a look at next picture: Jetway NF9G-QM77 plus Jetway ADE4INLANG 4 Port PCI-E daughter board, together available for far under $300. (Available at: http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard_view.asp?productid=996&proname=NF9G-QM77 ). For more ports see cheap $20 TP-LINK 8 port switch (see diagram).

With that hardware you have everything in one: Router, switch, VLANs, redundancy, bandwidth control, firewall.

But not only that. Running isolated in secure LXC/Docker™ containers, you can start e.g. a 'silent, reversed proxy' like Varnish or Squid. Means: All bypassing traffic (http, ftp, video streaming) will be cached in the Linux machine, being internally rerouted (#ip route add...), massively reducing physical traffic going through your network of connected #Linux machines. Akamai® is known to offer such 'caching proxy' services, massively reducing traffic on #Microsoft servers e.g. at "patch day".

Why 6 ports? 6 ports are the minimum and sufficient number of physical ports needed to build up even largest redundant logical networks. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_topology

It's important to understand, that physical topology and logical topology, real traffic flow and logical trafic flow as well as real routing/switching and virtual routing/switching now totally have been decoupled. See diagram.

With #SDN, a physical port in california can build a logical, (firewalled) collision domain with some physical ports in europe, with or without proxy cache somewhere in between to reduce traffic. That's, why companies, like Netflix® with their global #FreeBSD server farms and global million customer base can fullfil their business, do exist.

So, in fact, just by connecting some handful of these magic Linux SDN machines you can throw out almost all network hardware, you ever had.

Now you might ask: Who, the hell, is able to administrate such complex SDNs? From my point of view, you have exactly two choices:

Either install #UBUNTU#OpenStack™, pay for expensive courses learning to administrate that stuff, or use OpenWRT zero administration machines. Based on B.A.T.M.A.N. protocol, just buy some new hardware, plug in, start #OpenWRT and everything is configured automatically. It's building up a professional, highly redundant grid network - automatically. No special knowledge required.

Buying "ready to use" #CISCO® or #JUNIPER® hardware, IMHO, is no option. U.S. NSA is, in fact, spying everywhere (See E. #Snowden papers), silently copying even your internal companies traffic onto #NSA servers in the U.S.A., (self) authorized by U.S. law (see U.S. 'patriot act'). Alternatively buy open sourced #Huawei Linux machines.

Have fun!

What can not be combined on a single manuscript page, is not been thought through yet ready for decision. (Dwight David Eisenhower) 
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Really insightful
Thanks
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Sophie Wrobel

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Computer, tell me what I dreamt last night

Would you really want to know what thoughts linger in your mind? When you lie in delerium? When you are in a 'vegitative state'?

Technology like this mind-reader - when it reaches maturity - could have many important applications in allowing traumatized, paraplegics, and other disabled groups to express their needs and provide insight into their experiences and required therapy.

Yet it also raises ethical questions: to what extent should brain-reading be allowed? As a preventative measure to identify behaviour anomalies in children early on? As a wearable device to 'relive your dreams'? Who stores the data, and how would it be evaluated? What is the risk and consequences of false positive results in an increasingly digitalized analytics environment?

... just a few thoughts to start the day! Enjoy!

/via +Hans Youngmann​
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have invented a brain decoder device that’s able to work out what you’re thinking based on neuron activity inside the brain — essentially, the ...
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The data is there but the cypher and catalog is the challenge. We should look at how we organize the data in our lives to see how our brain does it.  After all, it's our brain that came up with the idea, method and assume very much individualized. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want my brain decoded, the past is done, we have today and look forward to tomorrow.
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Holistic personal development

One of the things that I've been struggling with in helping my children mature is the gap between what schools teach, the skills that the workplace requires, and ultimately what satisfaction in life itself demands. If you set out searching for happiness, you soon discover that happiness isn't based on the consumerism paradigm that most of us, myself included, grew up with. Rather, happiness comes from a balanced, holistic approach to life - one that takes more than just mere logic and intelligence in consideration.

A particularly interesting division is the following chart, which is organized according to eastern perspectives of how an individual matures. This particular chart is based on http://edforlife.org/ - but there are other sources that follow the same basic outline as well.

The first four building blocks - from birth to around 24 years of age - are, in general, the stages of life in which an individual is shaped, and through that, acquires maturity. This is supported through the educational system, and through parental support outside of the educational system. The latter years - from 24 to 72 years of age - are then the years in which selflessness ripens and comes to fruition.

This maturity, however, assumes that there is a solid foundation of intellect, willpower, emotional and physical maturity: something that, in western society, is sometimes absent amidst the focus on logic, goal-setting and consumerism, and the loss of a sense of awesomeness and appreciation for the "soft skills" and "soft communications" in life. The resulting imbalance leads to numerous other societal problems: depression, mid-life-crisis, etc. And this imbalance also points towards the cure: strengthening the foundation stones that aren't yet in balance, bringing the individual back to the stage of maturity in which they naturally belong.

#Geist   #Learning  
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So has someone included the part where some aspects of the brain does not fully develop until the 20's.  I get a kick out of people who hold elementary students to adult standards when the brain is not developed enough to do it.  It's amazing to see how kids learn by play, exploration and fun.  Adults really are the protectors in this stage, not the hammer.
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Everything is possible in the virtual world, it's only a question of innovation.
Introduction

Advocate for technological innovation, digital literacy, and online privacy.

Things that I am passionate about:
  • Technology - Trends, Innovation, Mobile development, Performance, Usability 
  • Online Ethics - Censorship, End-user rights, Data ownership and protection. 
  • Human Awareness - Power of the mind, Relationship to the world and other beings, Quest for Harmony
  • Food - I like to eat food, but don't expect me to post about it often!
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  • iQser GmbH
    Strategy and Business Development, 2014 - present
  • Independent freelancer
    Information Consultant, 2014 - present
  • CAS Software AG
    Software Architect, 2011 - 2014
  • IBM
    Application Development Expert, 2006 - 2011
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