Covert and mathematically invisible

News around the world recently has focused on massive government lead spying on voice and data messages.  But what about messages that governments and others cannot even detect, let alone decipher?

MIT Technology Review posted an article about research which describes the “World’s First Covert Communications System with Camouflage Guaranteed“.  If communications systems are developed which not only guarantee perfect privacy, but also insure that the message being sent cannot even be detected by anyone outside the conversation, then what does that mean for the future of government voice and data snooping?  Perhaps older methods of spying will take on a renewed importance.  James Bond movies may become more popular than ever.

2014 BPI and Preservation of Value

Foreign Policy Magazine recently published the 2014 Baseline Profitability Index (BPI).  The index, generated by economist Daniel Altman, hints at where one might invest in the world based on a combination of several factors.  One of those factors is Preservation of Value, but I could not find a reasonable economic definition of the term.  I suspect it has to do with social and political variables like corruption (kickbacks, etc.) and security, but I’m not sure.

The calculation of the BPI appears to be complicated.  For example, according to the chart, Qatar ranks highly on the BPI for 2014, but it ranks #50 in Preservation of Value.  This seems to suggest to me that Asset Growth outranks Preservation of Value in determination of the overall ranking. My point is that while the BPI is interesting and seems to provide at least a little guidance that one might use in selecting mutual funds for emerging market investment, a lack of understanding the factors behind the BPI may give the average investor a lack of confidence in the ranking.  Even Daniel Altman says, “The calculation of the BPI is, of course, an imperfect exercise fraught with assumptions.”

Daniel Altman gives a more detailed explanation of the three main factors — “how much an asset’s value grows, the preservation of that value while the asset is owned, and the ease of bringing home the proceeds from selling the asset” — in his introduction to the BPI in an earlier Foreign Policy Magazine article.  If you want to try and make sense of the BPI and particularly Preservation of Value — see the paragraph that begins “Next, local factors may erode the profit after it appears….” — you should probably start there.

Note that while NEWWorthy does not give financial advice, we do like to report on financial news of interest.

“Edge of Tomorrow”

The movie “Edge of Tomorrow” is certainly new, but is it NEWWorthy?  From the trailer, it would appear to be OLDWorthy as it includes a repeat-the-day loop theme which has appeared in a number of science fiction films and stories.  I haven’t seen the film yet, but since I’m a science fiction writer who enjoys telling a good time travel tale, I wrote a bit about the movie recently in my author blog.  I’m hoping it’s more than just a film that traps Tom Cruise and the audience in an infinite time loop with guns blazing.

Big Data makes the dictionary

Computerworld reports that “Big Data” made the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.  Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary says that the term Big Data was first used in 1980.

Related to today’s posts, Cloud Computing can be found in the Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, but “The Cloud” is not listed.  “The Fog” or “Fog Computing” are both missing from their online dictionary.

2014 mock draft predicts NBA picks

Whether any of these 2014 mock draft picks will become NEWWorthy remains to be seen long after June 2014 when the NBA holds the actual draft.  But it’s certainly good entertainment for those who love professional and college basketball.  Below, NBA great Jerry West seems to be predicting that the 2014 draft will not produce many or any NEWWorthy players for at least a few years.

The fog of things

While almost everyone by now knows that “The Cloud” roughly equates to software services and apps plus huge farms of servers and storage run by companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, many don’t know yet about “The Fog”.  The Wall Street Journal posted an article today by Christopher Mims — who has written for MIT Technology Review — entitled, “Forget ‘the Cloud’, Computing’s future is in ‘The Fog’.”  Below, Flavio Bonomi of Cisco explains his concept of Fog Computing.

Dogs in healthcare

According to “Dogs Detect Prostate Cancer In Men At A Remarkably High Rate Of Accuracy” — a recent article in HealtheCareers — “…researchers at several leading Italian institutions, including Humanitas Research Hospital and Humanitas Castellanza, investigated the level of accuracy at which a highly-trained dog can recognize prostate-cancer-specific VOCs in urine samples…” The dogs had an accuracy rate of 98%. NewsyScience reports below.

Social network superspreaders

MIT Technology Review recently discussed research on “The Emerging Science of Superspreaders“.  The math and analysis in the article and the research publication are interesting, but it made me wonder when the term Superspreader was first used to refer to social networks and not health.  It is easy to find definitions of Superspreader (or Super-Spreader) on the internet that refer to its usage in the health field.  Even then, it’s a relatively new term used in the last few years.  But in regards to Superspreaders of information through social networks, I could not determine how far back this term has been used.  So, for now, I’m considering this term NEWWorthy in respect to social networks.

Simply Brilliant (.org, that is)

Brilliant.org has a simple goal that’s OLDWorthy: to nourish brilliant young minds — with a passion for mathematics, science, or engineering — including many who are underprivileged.  Gifted programs have tried to do this for decades, with some successes.  But Brilliant.org is perhaps NEWWorthy in that it attempts to do this on the Internet for students all around the world.  It’s rather a brilliant idea, and I think it deserves mention here.

Metamaterials is not for dummies

Metamaterials are OLDWorthy, since they’ve been studied for decades now.  Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that metamaterials may change our world with invisibility cloaks and other technologies of science fiction.  Perhaps even more world-changing and potentially NEWWorthy is the conjunction of “The New Physics of Metamaterials” and space time.  Below is a video that attempts to explain what metamaterials are.