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Sophie Wrobel
Works at iQser GmbH
Lives in Remchingen
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Sophie Wrobel

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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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Sophie Wrobel

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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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Low-cost drip irrigation and fertilization

Drip irrigation typically conjures up expensive thoughts: long pipes, water infrastructure, and not the prettiest sight in your garden. This innovative technique brings the benefits of drip irrigation, and with compost inside, also instant fertilization, of the surrounding plants - resulting in a low-cost, low-maintenance organic farming system that almost any household with a bit of garden can implement. The original system is built for tomatoes (which apparently need a cage?) but I'd assume this works with any plant that needs regular dung and water just as well.

The nutshell version (details in the original article):
1) Drill holes into a garbage can
2) Put some compost into the garbage can
3) Plant food around the garbage can
4) Fill the garbage can with water once a week.

Now, I wonder if this method will still work with my infamous brown thumb...

#Geist  #Health #Agriculture

/via +David Kokua 
James Bryan had a bright idea that resulted in something brilliant. Gardeners and repurposing fanatics behold, keyhole garden, meets tomato cage, meets drip irrigation. The setup is obviously simple yet highly functional and effective. You can whip one of these up for next to nothing, especially if you salvage the fencing. Bryan says: I started may 28th planting 4 tomatoes around a garbage can with holes drilled in the bottom rim and a second row...
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Might be awkward pruning/picking the plants with that cage. Looking at the final pic, there is loads of foliage but no  tomatoes!
Whenever I see a tutorial online, I look for the 'after' pics, once a technique has succeeded. Also check out 'Ollas'.
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Sophie Wrobel

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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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There is an old cognitive science thought experiment where an "infallible" brain-reading machine determines someone is guilty of a crime but they know they did not commit it. How do we determine truth if we abdicate to machines? What if the machine says we dreamt of birds, but we remember butterflies? What if the paraplegic wants to say "I'm in pain", but the machine says, "I'm okay"?
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Sophie Wrobel

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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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+Michael Heinrich As defined in the chart, "Senior" means mentoring the younger generation. Senior doesn't necessarily mean aged or infirm. I think of it like a law firm which has "senior partners" And I see that as a role for 40 to 60 year old, especially in work settings. Earlier than 40, you are raising your own children, and after 60....? Well, I guess I'll have an opinion about that we I get to that stage. After many years, I am wearying of mentoring. I feel the need to turn inward and "meditate over internal truths". In some ways I've been doing that all along.
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Proposed Australian data retention bill actually gets scrutinized

These days, it seems that legislation makes it through to become law quite often without due scrutiny - resulting in problematic definitions and implementations that work against the interests of citizens. Thankfully, this proposed bill did receive it's share of due scrutiny that all draft bills deserve.

What the draft forgot to provide
The questions raised indicate that this draft bill did not do a good job on the following points:
 - The evidence for data retention?
 - Social media, webmail and data retention
 - The costs of data retention?
 - Not defining 'data' in data retention laws
 - Data retention and the drive toward encrypted technology
 - Circumventing data retention

The consequences of such a loose definition? It could have potentially opened up the door for companies - in particular more recent, social companies - to store unrestricted amounts of information, without much limitation on what kinds of information, on potentially unencrypted technology. Just one step away from dangling your credit card details publicly on the web. And not just that, but also expensive - a price tag that will have to be picked up by consumers. While storing data itself is not so bad, misusing data is a very large ethical issue, in particular when the data use ends up to be something that the affected person did not expect or willingly agree to, and the value generated from data retention seems to be inadequately justified, at least given the present stand of things.

#Privacy   #Policy  

/via +Sue Travers 
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E
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A beautiful take on religion

“We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology."

That's according to a growing group of modern icelandic followers of Norse paganism, who are now erecting a temple in worship of the ancient Norse Gods. And come to think of it, shouldn't the same hold true for all religions - an appreciation for good literature, the forces of nature, and human psychology?

#Geist #Religion #Philosophy #Life

/via +Sarah Rios​
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+Lason Strike​ no problem at all, I'm enjoying the richness of all that information (and learned a lot about Vikings and atheists too)!

+Sander Takens​ Almost every major religion had or has had their fair share of bullies, and their fair share of 'nice' people. Atheists included. Some folk just happen to be more civil than others, or perhaps have a bit more grey matter in the 'social ethics' department.

+Alan Couch​ I recall a play named "Belief, Love, Hope" (German title: Glaube, Liebe, Hoffung), a tragedy depicting that without belief (in oneself), love, and hope, one cannot live. And the order of these three is important: hope, or inspiration, is the last in the list, making it the most important contribution to life.

So what makes for nice people in an inclusive and cooperative society where not just peace but also justice and happiness prevail? Perhaps ensuring that each person is supported in finding and developing inspirations, passions, self-confidence and self-appreciation, regardless of whether these originate from religion, literature, science, philosophy, or anything that anyone might enjoy? While guaranteed respect, tolerance, and basic human rights through the prevailing community framework?
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Sophie Wrobel

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iQser: taking information management to the next level

Late last year, I joined iQser - a relatively young company, but with a brilliant technological basis, of which information retrieval is just one particular application. I expect we'll see them post several more applications in the near future.

iQser focuses on semantic middleware. It extracts meaning out of information and connects relevant bits of information. In my eyes, what makes it unique is rather how it approaches information connectivity: 

Context is the primary factor behind data relationships. You've heard this many times, I'm sure, and I'm also sure that you will not dispute the importance of context in understanding data. But unlike many technical definitions where context involves physical location, device, friends, time, or other such factors to determine a user's context - meaning that the true working context is just a best guess based on these categorized criteria. iQser's approach focuses primarily on the information you're currently working with to determine your context. Instead, if you have a word document open, then that document constitutes your context: it defines the topic, the depth, the scope, the language, and a whole lot of other linguistic and content-related factors related to the context that you'd intuitively expect to define your context.

Dynamic adaption is built into the core of the technology. Language changes over time, and most static systems can't keep up with new memes, terms, and concepts evolving in a living community. So, iQser adopts a dynamic, bottom-up approach to connecting data as opposed to a static, top down approach - allowing it to pick up on and reflect these changes on-the-fly, learning from every interaction and collaboration producing data of any sort.

Speed, performance, and big data. I'll be frank here: most semantic technologies break down after a certain data set size. Indexing Wikipedia is a favorite among researchers, but Wikipedia is a small dataset in comparison to what most large enterprises generate on a daily basis. You'll find that in the fine print of almost every semantic technology on the market today. But a semantic technology that is actually built for and optimized for big, real-time data processing in a production enterprise setting? That's rare. I invite you to have to look into the system architecture and test the technology yourself - after all, it is a daring claim, and the best proof is one that you see yourself. As the ancient wisdom goes, seeing is believing!

And that's what I find very exciting - the potential in this technology as an information bus, linking enterprise information, systems, processes, workflows, and policies, building a backbone to an information ecosystem driving analytics, intelligence, applications, as well as all of the daily operations taking place today. A solution that is simple, fast and easy to roll out, and that can serve business needs not just in 2015, but also for the foreseeable digital future.
 
Search reloaded: a faster and better redesign of the search process
A new approach to information with higher productivity and higher quality

Let's face it: search, despite being a valuable tool in finding information, is actually a rather ineffective way of consolidating information. Consider the amount of mental power required to conduct a search as part of a research effort: you need to think about what you want to find, enter that phrase in a search engine, sift through results, and then hope that your search phrase was structured appropriately to hit all of the relevant information that you need. That's a lot of thinking on the way. And, since technology has come a long way since the first search engine - and can even distill and write news articles that can't be differentiated from human-written articles, shouldn't there be something better than search for the rest of us?

The answer is yes: there is. It's called context-sensitive information retrieval, or "context search". Context search isn't a true search, because you don't have to know what you want. You just need to know that you want more information. Then, it's up to the underlying technology to interpret your current working context, distill available information sources to match your that context, and deliver you with an overview of all relevant and important information for you to process - even essential information that you might not have thought of in a typical keyword search.

The result is a simplified process for doing knowledge work: fewer process steps, and higher quality results. This translates into increased productivity, higher quality, more transparency, and direct cost savings.

You'll be surprised by the simplicity, ingenuity, and effectiveness of this methodology. But enough teasing. Here you have it: the detailed explanation behind it all:
https://iqser.com/fileadmin/user_upload/PDFs/EN/iQser-WorkplaceOfTheFuture-ContextSensitiveInformationRetrieval.pdf

Does this sound like something that could take some pain out of your life? If so, we'd love to work with you!
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Please notify me of any subsequent posts of interest, +Sophie Wrobel . :)
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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!
Work
Employment
  • 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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