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The Medical News Site That Saw the Coronavirus Coming Months Ago - The New York Times
By Marc Tracy
March 30, 2020
“We’re not seeing stories first because we’re smarter, faster or more savvy,” ...“It’s just because this is the world we’ve been plugged into the whole time. We were built for this.”.........Stat was started by the financier John W. Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and the Liverpool Football Club. Before determining that Boston should have a site to cover the industries of its many hospitals, research labs and biotech start-ups, Mr. Henry bought The Boston Globe from The New York Times Company for $70 million in 2013.........“This realization John had was that we need to tell the story of what’s happening in life sciences, and that story needs to come from Boston,”....  belief was that there was a demand for a news outlet dedicated to health and medicine.....With articles written in a straightforward style, Stat is meant for a general audience. But it wants to win over specialists, too — readers like William Hanage, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, who praised the site’s coverage as “accessible” yet “still rigorous.”
“There is no single place on the internet that I would go to better update myself on the diversity of views that are out and circulating,”.......Ms. Branswell’s reporting on the coronavirus had made her “a godlike figure to people who are infectious-disease epidemiologists.”.......In October, Helen Branswell profiled the World Health Organization’s head of health emergencies, Mike Ryan. “We’re not ready,” Dr. Ryan told her. “If we can’t stop Ebola, what hope do we have of stopping … Disease X?”....She also spends time on Twitter, where she serves up reliable information from experts in the field.
“Helen used Twitter the exact same way with Ebola, with Zika, with SARS,” Mr. Ukman said. “She’s really, really good at communicating information about an infectious disease.”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disease X, incidentally, is the holding name for a “black swan” — an unknown pathogen that could glide in from nowhere to trigger panic. Preparedness is not all about facing down familiar foes. It is also about being ready for adversaries that have not yet shown their hand. [JCK: expand our imaginations. The next catastrophe may take an unprecedented form----Simon Kuper]
ahead_of_the_curve  biotech  Boston  COVID-19  digital_media  healthcare  hospitals  industry_expertise  investigative_journalism  journalism  life_sciences  medical  medical_communication  news  newsletters  newspapers  niches  paywalls  science  Sharon_Begley  specialization  start_ups  storytelling  subscriptions  viruses  websites 
7 days ago by jerryking
Patrick Mahomes became the NFL’s best quarterback by refusing to specialize in football
He used his developmental years to cultivate a broad spectrum of tangible and intangible athletic capabilities. He gained a profound, intrinsic sense of how to wield his body in competition. He learned how to be the best quarterback by not playing quarterback.

Bouncing from one sport to the next carried immeasurable benefits for Mahomes. He was always on a team, and so he constantly honed his competitiveness and leadership. When he subbed out in basketball games, Mahomes would sit next to coaches, so he could understand what they wanted and how best to implore teammates from the bench.
Range  Mahomes  Specialization  Generalization  WAPO 
12 days ago by cdonov35
“Ooops, I guess we're full-stack developers now” by Chris Coyier
Again, a bunch of tasks have sort of moved stacks. From what used to be rather back-end jobs to being in the JavaScript realm. Let's draw a spectrum and see how that has morphed through time.

(Noted for future searches: this is the talk where I think the phrase “back of the front-end” comes from.)
javascript  specialization  divisionoflabor  frontend  css  conferencetalk 
10 weeks ago by beep
Internet of Things by UC San Diego
This Specialization covers the development of Internet of Things (IoT) products and services—including devices for sensing, actuation, processing, and communication—to help you develop skills and experiences you can employ in designing novel systems. The Specialization has theory and lab sections. In the lab sections you will learn hands-on IoT concepts such as sensing, actuation and communication. In the final Capstone Project, developed in partnership with Qualcomm, you’ll apply the skills you learned on a project of your choice using the DragonBoard 410c platform.
Coursera  MOOC  Specialization  IoT 
december 2019 by spencerksmith
An Introduction to Programming the Internet of Things (IOT) by UC Irving
This Specialization covers embedded systems, the Raspberry Pi Platform, and the Arduino environment for building devices that can control the physical world. In the final Capstone Project, you’ll apply the skills you learned by designing, building, and testing a microcontroller-based embedded system, producing a unique final project suitable for showcasing to future employers. Please note that this specialization does not offer discussion forums.
Coursera  MOOC  Specialization  IoT 
december 2019 by spencerksmith
Algorithms Specialization by Stanford
Algorithms are the heart of computer science, and the subject has countless practical applications as well as intellectual depth. This specialization is an introduction to algorithms for learners with at least a little programming experience. The specialization is rigorous but emphasizes the big picture and conceptual understanding over low-level implementation and mathematical details. After completing this specialization, you will be well-positioned to ace your technical interviews and speak fluently about algorithms with other programmers and computer scientists.
Coursera  MOOC  Specialization 
december 2019 by spencerksmith
Don't Be A Full-Stack Developer. Be A Full-Stack Human
You can't know everything, and that's the beginning of knowing anything
phylosophy  specialization  criticism 
december 2019 by gilberto5757
Autoref Based Stable Specialization in Rust
Analysis of various tricky Rust code. Contribute to dtolnay/case-studies development by creating an account on GitHub.
rust  language-design  specialization  type-theory 
november 2019 by joshleeb
What Statistics Can and Can’t Tell Us About Ourselves  | The New Yorker
In the era of Big Data, we’ve come to believe that, with enough information, human behavior is predictable. But number crunching can lead us perilously wrong, Hannah Fry writes.
statistics  data  privacy  surveillance  specialization  humanities 
september 2019 by basemaly
The Navy’s USS Gabrielle Giffords and the Future of Work - The Atlantic
These days, it seems, just about all organizations are asking their employees to do more with less. Is that actually a good idea?
expertise  work  specialization 
september 2019 by lgtout
Are the hyper-specialist shops of Berlin the future of retail?
One shop sells nothing but buttons, another sells only liquorice, and another is ‘the world’s first textile butcher shop’. In the age of Amazon, it seems the way to thrive is to specialise
IFTTT  Instapaper  specialization  retail  economics 
august 2019 by wexxy
Technical Writing: Build a 7-Figure Career [Step by Step] | Josh Fechter
Well done concise yet informative how-to #guide for developing one’s #technical #writing #career, step by step
freelance  technical  writing  howto  career  reference  firm  seo  facebook  specialization  software  example  marketing  differentiation  definition  guide  upwork 
july 2019 by csrollyson
‘San Diego 2049’ offers a glimpse of possible futures - San Diego CityBeat
"AI presidents and VR border workers are envisioned at the yearlong UC San Diego program"



"A local needs to get to their job taking care of a wealthy La Jolla socialite who plans to “go under” for a lengthy stay in virtual reality. But they can’t get to that job because the dedicated scooter lane on Interstate 5 has been compromised due to flooding. To make matters worse, the collective AI who was just elected the U.S. president hasn’t yet announced his (her? its?) infrastructure-funding plan.

Welcome to San Diego in 2049, as imagined by students and affiliates of UC San Diego. The yearlong program, known simply as “San Diego 2049,” is an exercise in “speculative design for policy making,” according to organizers. It is sponsored by the UCSD’s Center for Human Imagination and just wrapped up with its culminating event: A competition between three teams of graduate students tasked “to design a vision for the San Diego border region in 2049 and create an intervention into that future.”

If the submissions to the competition are any indication, the future of the San Diego region is inextricably linked to the future of the rest of the planet. Noted the event’s keynote speaker and best-selling science fiction author, Kim Stanley Robinson, “You can’t talk about the fate of San Diego 30 years from now without talking about the fate of the rest of the planet 30 years from now. It’s a global fate and there’s no such thing as a pocket utopia.”

Robinson, a UC San Diego alumnus, should know. He’s the winner of the trifecta of literary science fiction prizes (the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards) and an expert at world-building, one of the three criteria for the student competition. The other two criteria are “rhetorical strength of the intervention” and “successful realization of the intervention within its given medium” (it is academia, after all).

The results of this theoretical exercise in world-building could be summed up by what Robinson described as an “attenuated peninsula.”

“We’re going to fall one way or another,” he added. “We can either fall into a mass extinction event caused by human action, or we can rally our resources and our expertise and our community and grow together a quite prosperous and glorious future.”

Somewhere in between lies the student submission known as “Fronteras”, a choose-your-own-adventure-style game created for the online platform Twine by a team of UCSD graduate students in varying departments. The game imagines the San Diego border region as a technological playground, an amalgam of “the tourism, caregiving and transportation industries changing immigration policy driven in part by climate change,” said Literature Ph.D. student Jeanelle Horcasitas.

In the game, people called “transfronterizas” are able to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, but only if they are VR workers who take care of the bodily needs of “patrons” while they’re immersed in idyllic virtual reality worlds. Meanwhile, ContraVR radicals have begun meeting at the putrid beaches of Baja California, wearing Aztec-style masks to protect themselves from toxins. The radicals are planning to infiltrate SeAR, a virtual reality version of Sea World.

Whether there will even be beaches and sea ports in San Diego 30 years from now is still up for debate. Robinson noted that even with a five-centimeter sea-level rise, “the beaches will be in deep trouble, and with a one-meter rise, they’ll be gone.” As research for one of his novels, Robinson said he consulted with geoengineers to determine if excess water could be pumped back onto sea ice using oil industry pumping technology (an irony that tickles him, he admitted).

And it can be done, he said. There’s just one catch.

“It would take 10 million windmills and use seven percent of all electricity generated worldwide,” Robinson said.

“This is one way of saying this is a fantasy,” he added. “It’s not going to happen, and that’s true of many geoengineering ideas.”

One solution, according to Robinson’s geoengineering sources, might be to drill through the remaining ice and pump the water out until the glaciers bottom out on rock and slow down again, preventing their slide into the ocean. He proposed that the U.S. Navy (a major employer in San Diego) and all the world’s militaries should “shift their wars on nation states to helping people” instead.

But that requires leadership. Intelligent leadership. So what’s more intelligent than artificial intelligence?

That’s the conceit behind “The Intelligent Governance Network”, a second student project (and the winner of the San Diego 2049 competition). It begins from the premise that a massively crowd-sourced artificial intelligence becomes President of the United States 30 years from now. Among the website’s elements is an excerpt from a televised debate between human and AI presidential candidates in 2049.

“We are able to use the wisdom of the crowd in the best way imaginable and grow together as one,” claims the fictional IGN candidate (which looks a little like a fire hydrant with a brain). “The idea of strong leaders is an idea that has led to countless wars and an endless amount of suffering… The time has come for humans to fully trust in the altruistic infrastructure that the Intelligent Governance Network was built on.”

But will San Diegans be motivated to trust in leadership and make the changes necessary to protect the world as we know it? The students behind the third project, Goose and Gander, seem to have their doubts. Inspired by satirical and absurdist approaches to speculative design, students James Bruce and Joaquin Reyna wrote a work of short fiction that imagines a world where people are motivated to address pressing social concerns in order to protect their most cherished belonging: A goose. In their world, waterways are protected to provide habitats for geese, and transportation is improved because it’s better for the planet, and therefore better for the geese.

“We wanted to make a really annoying satire,” admitted student James Bruce, “and the premise is that a lot of policy is based on the stupidest reasons.” Noting the move toward wide-scale implementation of self-driving cars, for example, Bruce pointed out that among the touted benefits of a self-driving car is that it “lets you not have to worry about driving and talking to the person next to you.”

“Yeah, we have that already,” he pointed out. “It’s called a bus.”

One thing everyone at the San Diego 2049 seemed to agree on was, in Robinson’s words, “we’re in the fight of our lives” when it comes to addressing the challenges of San Diego 30 years from now.

“California is in a good position to lead the way,” he added. “It has the political will to do the right things. I see such an amazing number of skillful creative collaborative people working together, and UC San Diego is one of the greatest intellectual centers on this planet. When I come here, I see this place and I think it could happen.”

And, as Robinson pointed out, it’s important to remember that “at every moment in history what humans were facing was unprecedented.”

“Maybe that doesn’t make us particularly unusual. What I can say is what we’re facing is more unprecedented than ever before.”"
sandiego  ucsd  specialization  designfiction  speculativedesign  2049  border  borders  us  mexico  2019 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Opinion | You Don’t Want a Child Prodigy - The New York Times
"One Thursday in January, I hit “send” on the last round of edits for a new book about how society undervalues generalists — people who cultivate broad interests, zigzag in their careers and delay picking an area of expertise. Later that night, my wife started having intermittent contractions. By Sunday, I was wheeling my son’s bassinet down a hospital hallway toward a volunteer harpist, fantasizing about a music career launched in the maternity ward.

A friend had been teasing me for months about whether, as a parent, I would be able to listen to my own advice, or whether I would be a “do as I write, not as I do” dad, telling everyone else to slow down while I hustle to mold a baby genius. That’s right, I told him, sharing all of this research is part of my plan to sabotage the competition while secretly raising the Tiger Woods of blockchain (or perhaps the harp).

I do find the Tiger Woods story incredibly compelling; there is a reason it may be the most famous tale of development ever. Even if you don’t know the details, you’ve probably absorbed the gist.

Woods was 7 months old when his father gave him a putter, which he dragged around in his circular baby-walker. At 2, he showed off his drive on national television. By 21, he was the best golfer in the world. There were, to be sure, personal and professional bumps along the way, but in April he became the second-oldest player ever to win the Masters. Woods’s tale spawned an early-specialization industry.

And yet, I knew that his path was not the only way to the top.

Consider Roger Federer. Just a year before Woods won this most recent Masters, Federer, at 36, became the oldest tennis player ever to be ranked No. 1 in the world. But as a child, Federer was not solely focused on tennis. He dabbled in skiing, wrestling, swimming, skateboarding and squash. He played basketball, handball, tennis, table tennis and soccer (and badminton over his neighbor’s fence). Federer later credited the variety of sports with developing his athleticism and coordination.

While Tiger’s story is much better known, when sports scientists study top athletes, they find that the Roger pattern is the standard. Athletes who go on to become elite usually have a “sampling period.” They try a variety of sports, gain a breadth of general skills, learn about their own abilities and proclivities, and delay specializing until later than their peers who plateau at lower levels. The way to develop the best 20-year-old athlete, it turns out, is not the same as the way to make the best 10-year-old athlete.

The same general pattern tends to hold true for music, another domain where the annals of young prodigies are filled with tales of eight hours of violin, and only violin, a day. In online forums, well-meaning parents agonize over what instrument to pick for a child, because she is too young to pick for herself and will fall irredeemably behind if she waits. But studies on the development of musicians have found that, like athletes, the most promising often have a period of sampling and lightly structured play before finding the instrument and genre that suits them.

In fact, a cast of little-known generalists helped create some of the most famous music in history. The 18th-century orchestra that powered Vivaldi’s groundbreaking use of virtuoso soloists was composed largely of the orphaned daughters of Venice’s sex industry. The “figlie del coro,” as the musicians were known, became some of the best performers in the world. The most striking aspect of their development was that they learned an extraordinary number of different instruments.

This pattern extends beyond music and sports. Students who have to specialize earlier in their education — picking a pre-med or law track while still in high school — have higher earnings than their generalist peers at first, according to one economist’s research in several countries. But the later-specializing peers soon caught up. In sowing their wild intellectual oats, they got a better idea of what they could do and what they wanted to do. The early specializers, meanwhile, more often quit their career tracks.

I found the Roger pattern — not the Tiger (or Tiger Mother) pattern — in most domains I examined. Professional breadth paid off, from the creation of comic books (a creator’s years of experience did not predict performance, but the number of different genres the creator had worked in did) to technological innovation (the most successful inventors were those who had worked in a large number of the federal Patent and Trademark Office’s different technological classifications).

A study of scientists found that those who were nationally recognized were more likely to have avocations — playing music, woodworking, writing — than typical scientists, and that Nobel laureates were more likely still.

My favorite example of a generalist inventor is Gunpei Yokoi, who designed the Game Boy. Yokoi didn’t do as well on electronics exams as his friends, so he joined Nintendo as a machine maintenance worker when it was still a playing card company before going on to lead the creation of a toy and game operation. His philosophy, “lateral thinking with withered technology,” was predicated on dabbling in many different types of older, well-understood (or “withered”) technology, and combining them in new ways, hence the Game Boy’s thoroughly dated tech specs.

Roger stories abound. And yet, we (and I include myself) have a collective complex about sampling, zigzagging and swerving from (or simply not having) ironclad long-term plans. We are obsessed with narrow focus, head starts and precocity.

A few years ago, I was invited to speak to a small group of military veterans who had been given scholarships by the Pat Tillman Foundation to aid with new careers. I talked a bit about research on late specializers and was struck by the reception, as if the session had been cathartic.

One attendee emailed me afterward: “We are all transitioning from one career to another. Several of us got together after you had left and discussed how relieved we were to have heard you speak.” He was a former member of the Navy SEALs with an undergrad degree in history and geophysics and was pursuing grad degrees in business and public administration from Dartmouth and Harvard. I couldn’t help but chuckle that he had been made to feel behind.

Oliver Smithies would have made that veteran feel better too, I think. Smithies was a Nobel laureate scientist whom I interviewed in 2016, shortly before he died at 91. Smithies could not resist “picking up anything” to experiment with, a habit his colleagues noticed. Rather than throw out old or damaged equipment, they would leave it for him, with the label “Nbgbokfo”: “No bloody good but O.K. for Oliver.”

He veered across scientific disciplines — in his 50s, he took a sabbatical two floors away from his lab to learn a new discipline, in which he then did his Nobel work; he told me he published his most important paper when he was 60. His breakthroughs, he said, always came during what he called “Saturday morning experiments.” Nobody was around, and he could just play. “On Saturday,” he said, “you don’t have to be completely rational.”

I did have fleeting thoughts of a 1-day-old harp prodigy. I’ll admit it. But I know that what I really want to do is give my son a “Saturday experiment” kind of childhood: opportunities to try many things and help figuring out what he actually likes and is good at. For now, I’m content to help him learn that neither musical instruments nor sports equipment are for eating.

That said, just as I don’t plan to push specialization on him, I also don’t mean to suggest that parents should flip to the other extreme and start force-feeding diversification.

If of his own accord our son chooses to specialize early, fine. Both Mozart and Woods’s fathers began coaching their sons in response to the child’s display of interest and prowess, not the reverse. As Tiger Woods noted in 2000: “To this day, my dad has never asked me to go play golf. I ask him. It’s the child’s desire to play that matters, not the parent’s desire to have the child play.”

On the strength of what I’ve learned, I think I’ll find it easy to stick to my guns as a Roger father."
davidepstein  children  parenting  ports  talent  2019  burnout  generalists  specialization  specialists  prodigies  rogerfederer  tigerwoods  music  performance  gunpeiyokoi  gameboy  nintendo  oliversmithies  genius  science  learning  mozart  sampling  quitting  precocity  headstarts  education  focus 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Why specialization can be a downside in our ever-changing world - The Verge
The Verge interviews journalist David Epstein about his new book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (Penguin Random House).
work  specialization  interview  collaboration  organization  management 
may 2019 by basemaly

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