Crowd Sourcing

Crowd Sourcing

This is very interesting! The amusing conclusion that; “The UCLA team found that a small group of non-experts playing the game (mostly undergraduate student volunteers) was collectively able to diagnosis malaria-infected red blood cells with an accuracy that was within 1.25 percent of the diagnostic decisions made by a trained medical professional”. I’m not sure what conclusions we should draw from this, either that medical professionals are redundant or now we can quantify their value equal to a group of volunteers! (i.e. a doctor is ‘worth’ 50 undergraduates!)

A Journey Into The Unknown

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I’ll be intrigued to hear other peoples’ opinions on this, and I thought i’d share some ideas about travelling and moving abroad. I’m an exchange student and moved from the UK to Australia in 2011. 10500 miles and 11 hours time difference is what separates me from my origins. I’m coming to realize what a wonderful experience it has been. Having been here for more than 9 months I feel I almost have earned the right to call this place home. I began to think what your location and the longevity in that position affects your perception of ‘home’. What I have learnt is that it seems to be based around familiarity with your locale, and I have time-lined my journey from unfamiliar to familiar:

  • Landing and first 3 days: I was on my own and jet-lagged. In complete culture shock and disbelief! I noted at this point that my body was in emergency reset mode! My subconscious knows ‘something is up’ but can’t place new sounds of birds, car designs, architecture, accents and currency. Humorously, I can recall being in denial about how expensive everything was, and I remember thinking but I thought London was expensive! That really shocked me.
  • First 3 weeks: Settling in, I began to rationalize my environment starting to think of goods not in my home currency of pounds (£) but dollars ($A). Everything was still a novelty, there was something rather enjoyable about exploring a completely new city!
  • First 3 months: By this time it was late October. I’d travelled the East Coast and seen more of the country for what it had to offer. I was slowly assimilating Australian words such as ‘arvo, barbie, thongs’ almost as second nature. The climate was having an influence too, it was getting hot and one day it peaked at 38C (however not the highest by Sydney standards).
  • 6 months: Working in a restaurant with many aussie customers, I had alot of exposure to their dialect. By now I had alot of control over the accent choosing when to speak/not speak with an Australian ‘twang’. Much to my amusement, more often than not people would sincerely believe I was a local!
  • 9 months: This is where I am now. It feels like i’ve been here so long that I seem to have greatly integrated into Australian culture, so much so that my London life almost seems ‘alien’. It was only when I thought to myself, ‘why can’t I hear the crows anymore?’. It wasn’t due to their absence, but more that my subconscious had fully assimilated the local environment – it wasn’t something new anymore! This got me excited however, striving through unfamiliarity I had developed the capacity to view my home country through the untainted eyes of a foreigner and with an open mindset. I haven’t actually returned back to the UK as of yet, so am not sure how long the ‘novelty phase’ will last. What I expect is that it will offer a precious insight into the fundamentals of what we call our home. So I think this is why you should not only travel to gain this experience; but travel well, travel far and travel for as long as you possibly can! 

That smell is killing you!

So this is my first post. Thought i’d look into a recent news article on air pollution in the UK . After living in London for a while it’s interesting to actually quantify the damage that air pollution causes. The hazy soot on the underground, the belching traffic fumes and that oh so wonderful red smoggy sunset.

UK pollution is linked to ”2,200 [deaths] every year in Greater London”. How significant is this? The populations and incidence rates of major conurbations in the UK:

  • Greater London is 7.7m  (2009) with 2200 deaths. Premature death rate has an incidence of 29 per 100,000.
  • Greater Manchester 2.6m; (2010) with 630 deaths. Premature death rate has an incidence of 24 per 100,000.
  • Merseyside 1.4m; (2004) with 240 deaths. Premature death rate has an incidence of 17 per 100,000.

London has the top incidence rate, it is more likely to kill you! It would be interesting if we would be able to ‘pinpoint’ these deaths by specific location in the city, where would the best or worst place to live? Would there be certain upsides to counter living in a higher incidence area such as lower commute time? More amenities?