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Sophie Wrobel
Works at iQser GmbH
Lives in Remchingen
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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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+Shivani SP​ ah, so that's why! Thanks for the info. :)
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Superconductivity at room temperature: ready for the next generation of computing infrastructure?

This is a fascinating discovery: a ceramic substance that superconducts at room temperature. That has a lot of potential applications - for example, it may be possible to build a quantum computer without a supercooled room, or to transmit electricity with no energy loss on the way.

/via +Laston Kirkland​ 
Physicists from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter have kept a piece of ceramic in a superconducting state, disproving the widely-held assumption that materials need to be cooled to temperatures of at least -140...
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Wow! I am really enjoying these comments. Many good thoughts are being exchanged. Sadly, I have some experience and knowledge with computers, but it is small and not my strong-point. I am learning more and gaining a better understanding from this exchange.

For example: I was not aware of AI-completeness. So I did some research. Interesting. 
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Lifestyle, not genetics, determines how likely you are to get sick

Some people seem to get sick all the time, and others seem to never get sick. In particular families - bugs go round the household in endless circles, or the family seems to never be sick. But contrary to popular belief, genetics has very little to do with most people's immune reaction.

Rather, how well each individual person's immune system responds depends on their lifestyle choices. In a simplified nutshell: Our white blood cells (the 'germ-killer' cells) are produced to target specific germs, and are produced in finite quantities. So if we expose ourselves to a wide variety of germs starting early on, our body remembers these germs and produces that particular mix of white blood cells. If we expose ourselves to a limited variety of germs, or expose ourselves to a lot of a particular germ, the proportion becomes skewed - and when unknown or less 'common' germs invade, our body lacks the natural immune response, and has difficulty fighting it because our immune memory is already 'blocked off' by the old bias. (Okay, it is a bit more complex than that, but you can read the article to find out how the immune system works.)

At the end of the day, life is an intricate balancing act, and the immune system is no exception. Balance means not just your diet, but also your exposure to germs, your physical activity, and every other aspect of health - and at the end, you'll see a better, healthier, and less prone person in your future path!

#Geist #Health

/via +Tiago Silveira​
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Yes, noticed that correlation with travel. Interestingly enough, it was my wife and I that picked up something this past November in the Philippines. Our kids were just fine!
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Sophie Wrobel

21C Platforms  - 
 
Narrative, Game Design, and Social Media

I was looking at the image on this page and thinking: this reflects a lot of what is going on in the Conversation Community. We have an interesting mix of various narratives, technology, mechanics (determined by the host platform Google+). Building on top of that, we have a set of dynamics created as we interact with the each other and the narrative through the platform, and on top of that the 'take-away' which each individual member of this community receives.

Sure, the analogy doesn't hold for all games, and hanging out here may not necessarily be a game... but it certainly is rewarding, motivating and quite entertaining. At the end of the day: All the world's a stage, and life is just a game!
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A mingling of generational thinking over one word. Interesting.
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Game: Raven's Fruits
Dealing with negative emotions

So, my little kindergarten kids don't always know how to behave. Like every little kid, they have their times when they mess up each other's toys on purpose because they don't get their way, sulk and don't want to come to dinner, etc. So how should they deal with negative emotions?

Make logic take over before emotions take over
The amygdala is one of the emotional centers of your brain. When you are upset, it triggers you to react before you think – resulting in tamper tantrums, highs and lows, and getting upset. Mark Goulston proposes a ten-step process to recognizing this pattern and reacting to it before the negative emotions take over:
1. Trigger awareness – Pause immediately when something upsets you.
2. Physical awareness – Think of where and how intensely you are feeling it.
3. Emotional awareness – Think of an emotion word that applies to what you are feeling.
4. Impulse awareness – Think of what it makes you want to do.
5. Consequence awareness – Think of what will happen if you do that.
6. Taking it too personal awareness – Think of whether you may be taking things too personally.
7. Reality check awareness – Think of whether there may be an alternate explanation for what happened.
8. Solution awareness – Think of a different solution than your impulse.
9. Benefit awareness – Think of the benefits of following the alternate solution.
10. Special person awareness – If you can’t talk yourself out of reacting, imagine someone who deeply cares about you and what they would say if you did that.

Materials
Preparation: You will need a game board, some game markers (rabbit, dog, bear, and porcupine), a die, a pile of fruit cards (apples, oranges, cherries pears), and a spinner.

The game takes you through steps 1-4.

The spinner simplifies steps 5-10  into three sections:
Consequence: What will happen if you do that?
Solution: Is there a better alternative reaction? What makes that reaction better?
Reality check: Could there be another reason for what happened? Are you taking it too personally?

How it works
Setup: Each player gets 10 fruits and picks one game marker. The game markers are placed on GO. The youngest player goes first.

Gameplay: In each turn:
 - the player rolls the die and moves that number of spaces forwards. Read the situation and perform the requested action. If you land on a green square, your turn is over. If you land on a red square, then continue in these instructions until the turn is over.
 - How do you feel as a result of that action? Pick the emotion face that corresponds most closely. If you feel very strongly, then put three fruits on that face. If you feel moderately strongly affected by the situation, then put two fruits on that face. If you feel only lightly affected by the situation, then put one fruit on the face.
 - State how you would react to the situation.
 - The player spins the spinner. Read the question - anyone can answer.
 - If the answer leads to a "better" solution, then the player keeps all of the fruits on the face and takes the same number of fruit from the raven. If the answer leads to a "worse" or the same solution, then the raven gets all the fruits on the face.
 - The turn is over and the next player rolls.

The game ends when the raven has all the fruit, or the raven has no fruit. If the raven has all the fruit, then the raven wins. If the raven has no fruit, then the players win.

Does it work?
Well, good question. :) I don't know yet! I'm waiting for my two little ones to come home and test it out... and will see whether their reactions end up milder over time. I'll update the post when they're there!

Update: the kids reactions seems to be a bit mixed. My son figured out fairly quickly that he needs to improve his rection (lets see if he applies that the next time he fights with his sister!) in order to get ahead, but my daughter was often happy when most people would be upset by the situation - which is consistent with her behaviour, but didn't always help in discussing her reaction.

#Geist   #Learning   #Emotions   #Game  
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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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Your first sentence should be branded onto the palms of every legislator in the world. If you come up with a shorter, sound-bite version that I can put on a palm sized iron...
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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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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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The human battery: Powering wearable electronics

Do you recall those kinetic watches that used to exist some time ago - the kind that charge when you shake them? No? Well, generating power for wearable electronics that does not need a battery has been a long-standing dream. And the latest attempt looks very promising.

This thin, flexible material has a bunch of tiny 'hairs' that harvest static electricity from the skin - sort of like how rubbing a balloon on your skin also generates electricity. The current prototype generates 90V at the touch of a finger. Not sure about the produced current, but that cetainly may be enough for some sort of movement-activated alert device, and perhaps a more energy-efficient smart device, watch, communicator, or glasses with HUD in the future.

/via +Panah Rad​​
Flexible friction-based generators could lead to self-powered wearable electronics
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3D Printing: The next big thing in medicine

3D printing works by modeling, and then printing, objects out of thin cross-sectional layers of materials. These cross-sections are the same sort of cross sections that most medical devices deliver. That means that putting medical scans together results in a beautiful 3D model of the patient - and should they be suffering from a tumor or some physical disorder, it also means being able to model the shape of that tumor or physical deficiency.

The result: this 3D layering technique is being pioneered to solve a multitude of health problems that were previously diagnosed with a low cure rate, or in some cases a low survival rate. It also helps to clearly demonstrate whether a diagnosis - like massive growth of a tumor - is accurate or inaccurate. And best of all, you can do a lot of it yourself with your health records and a bit of technical savvy.

In the last years, there have been a multitude of cases cropping up where 3D modeling, and 3D printing, have made life-changing differences in people's lives:
- Eyesight: http://makezine.com/magazine/hands-on-health-care/
- Heart: http://www.cnet.com/news/doctors-3d-print-a-model-heart-to-help-save-a-little-girls-life/
- Trachea (Windpipe): http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201305/baby’s-life-saved-groundbreaking-3d-printed-device
- Gastric cancer: http://www.cnet.com/news/3d-printing-helps-surgeons-save-5-year-olds-life/

It will be exciting to watch this technology take off, reduce health costs, and increase health quality, in the next few years.
When his wife was misdiagnosed, Michael Balzer used 3D printing and imaging to get her well
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Game: Dragons and Disasters
Guiding young children to learn effectively

Recommended age: 3 years and up
Primary learning goal: Adapting to change

Background
Alvin Toffler once stated, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

The world around us constantly changes, and the ability to continually learn, unlearn, and relearn defines our ability to adapt to continuous change. Without the ability to adapt, we become trapped in a static world of the past – leaving us unable to effectively deal with changes needed to stay up-to-date. The key to successfully dealing with change, then, lies in effective learning.

Effective learning is about training the mind to recognize recurring patterns and put them into appropriate contexts to create a bigger picture, as well as to store these patterns in long-term memory as opposed to short-term memory.

This game modifies several techniques that are proven to improve learning effectiveness to provide a learning framework for young learners, who, once the novelty effect wears off, lack the motivation to learn ‚boring’ materials:
Chunking: During the game preparation, learning texts and exercises are broken down into small chunks that the young learner can handle.
Pomodoro method: For adults, this involves a 25-minute focused concentration period is followed by a brief, 3-minute reward. Small children can’t focus for 25 minutes, nor do they understand the concept of one minute, so this game breaks down concentration and reward periods into something that they can grasp and that approximates their concentration span with an interspersed reward (game ‚round’). 
Deliberate practice: In order to get more  cards to win the game, the players need to complete their practice exercise sets. When played in reading-comprehension mode, the material is recalled and applied through the „question die“ to support effective learning reinforcement and applying the material to a defined context.

How it works
Preparation: 
Cut out the cards. You will need a set of practice exercises or a text for reading comprehension. Break up this set into sections, if this is not already the case. Shuffle the cards and place them face down in a stack.

Variation #1 – Basic Game
After answering one question (or reading one block of text), the player takes one card from the top of the stack. Once the player has finished a page of exercises (or reading one chapter),  the player begins to play as follows:
• The player places one card of choice in the middle and turns over the next card in the pile.
• The player rolls the game die.
• If the player’s card has more points for the category that he rolled than than the card from the pile, the player wins the round.
• If the player’s card has less points for the category that he rolled than the card from the pile, the player loses the round.
• If both cards have the same number of points for that category, the player rolls again until there is a clear winner.
• When the all cards have been used, the player wins if he has won more rounds than he lost.

Variation #2 – Review Game
Every time the player loses a round, he must:
• Practice exercises: Answer one question from the final section.
• Reading comprehension: Roll the question die and answer the question on the die.
If this is answered correctly, he wins the round.  If he must ‘cheat’ by looking back, he loses the round.

Download link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B52D6ns6sCFvWExfSnYtckJXaU0/view?usp=sharing

Personal Experience
The basic version of this game works well to get young children (e.g. 2- and 3- year olds) to focus on tasks like working through reading letters, writing, or math exercises. I was personally surprised with how long my two-year-old daughter was able to focus using this game (7 writing exercise sheets!) before she needed a play break. And, since she’s not yet able to add yet, she also was forced to practice adding points together in context of winning the game instead of doing math – reinforcing the concept of addition by transferring it to the game context instead of just math exercises. My five-year-old son was also able to focus considerably longer on tasks that he didn’t enjoy (e.g. writing). That said, I'd be curious on how other small kids react, and whether your experiences are similar!

#Geist   #Learning   #Game  
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+Weber Luk that's a great idea, thanks for the link! While development may be too much for my two-year-old to grasp, it certainly makes sense for an older audience. I'll see how I can work it in.
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Tagline
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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Female
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