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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Did Facebook lose control of your information? video – CNET

A whistleblower at data analytics company Cambridge Analytica says the UK firm received more than 50 million Facebook user profiles without user consent and the data was later used for political gain. CNET’s Ian Sherr explains.
Source: CNET

Color rolls out a test to try to search for hereditary risk for heart conditions like arrhythmia

Color is looking to add a new test to its line of genetic testing, this time focusing on hereditary factors that may affect a person’s chance for being prone to cardiovascular complications like arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy.

Called the heart health test, Color’s new test looks to isolate the genes that can be partially responsible for heart-related conditions that may have a hereditary component. Color says the test analyzes 30 genes that contribute to the structure and rhythm of a healthy heart to determine if there may be any hereditary factors that could lead to heart complications down the line. VP of clinical operations Scott Topper acknowledged that hereditary factors certainly aren’t the only factors that might play into cardiovascular complications like arrhythmia, but there has been enough research to show that the potential hereditary genetic components that lead to those conditions is impactful enough to warrant building a test for those markers.

“Some of these conditions are relatively rare, and for most of them we expect the actual incidence to be about 1 in 200,” Topper said. “But what that means is, if we handle 1,000 people this week, we expect 5 of them to be affected by this. For those 5, the consequences of it going undetected, can be as extreme as sudden death. While though they’re rare, they incredibly impactful. It’s not a 100% predictive — For BRCA for example, we know that a woman who has a BRCA mutation has about an 80% chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime and getting again and again. It’s not 100%, but it’s a profound enough likelihood that many people decide to take action.”

Color looks to target genes that the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics identified as high-impact and actionable. The end product is to see, if there is a mutation in one of those genes, there may be a possibility that the person is at higher risk for cardiovascular problems like cardiomyopathy or arrhythmia. There isn’t full penetrance — just like there isn’t in the BRCA test — so it’s more of a ‘heads up, go get it checked out just in case’ situation.

Color, previously Color Genomics, is one of a few well-funded genetic testing startups that aim to make it easier for consumers to get tested for potential complications down the line where they can take some preventative steps. In the case of this test, the goal is to flag any potential risk and then have them follow up with clinicians to determine if there are any lifestyle changes that need to happen. Consumers take a swab of saliva and send off the test — either for a few hundred bucks, or through a program that some employers are putting in place. Color raised $80 million in a financing round in August last year.

The latter part of that, employers getting into issuing these tests for their employees, is going to be increasingly important for Color. Catching diseases early helps reduce the overall cost to employers before more problems occur. While Color has largely focused on the cancer space with tests for detecting genes that are associated with higher risk of breast cancer, it started branching into tests for potential cardiovascular problems like Hypercholesterolemia. That test, launched in August last year, costs $249 for a direct purchase for a consumer.

To be sure, the average customer is giving up their genetic data in order to get tested for these potential hereditary conditions, a password that you’ll (probably) never be able to change. As more and more of these tests become available, there’s a good chance it’ll attract a new segment of customers — those that are looking to head off complications based on what’s happened to family members, or even those who are just curious about whether or not they have risk. Topper said many at Color come from a tech-native background from companies like Google, Twitter, and Dropbox, and it’s something that’s perpetually top-of-mind. (Though, to be sure, it’s a very tall order.)

“We’ve put a good deal of effort on the back-end informatics side to make sure our systems are very developed and robust,” Topper said. “It’s not something that comes easy, I think a lot of health companies back into this and realize after the fact that there’s a substantial computer engineering aspect to being able to do this responsibly”

There is still a lot of activity in this space, including at the actual financing level. 23andMe, another genetic testing startup, raised $250 million in new financing last year. And as the research matures, it’s always possible that other companies may want to branch into a similar area — finding spots that might represent some risk for heart conditions. Topper said the company still expects to continue to look for examples where the condition affects a lot of people and that some portion is driven by genetics, and that a lot of players in the space is generally going to be a good thing simply because it will help further the progress on that front.

“We are living in good times for genetics, primarily because of a number of really important consensus-driven efforts around looking at the clinical validity and clinical utility of genetic information,” he said. “None of this happens in a silo. Being able to both move the field forward in terms of making information available and gleaning knowledge, as well as being a good citizen in a space that’s moving quickly, are both very important to us. I feel like there’s a cultural change in terms of where genetics fits into our society. As long as other companies are doing it responsibly, it’s also good.”


Source: TechCrunch

Facebook security chief reportedly leaving the company – CNET

Alex Stamos says he’s “still fully engaged” with his work at Facebook, though his role has changed. Questions about Stamos come as Facebook deals with a privacy flap linked to Cambridge Analytica.
Source: CNET

UK authorities seek warrant for Cambridge Analytica offices – CNET

Data analytics firm is at the center of a scandal over its misuse of Facebook data during the 2016 US election.
Source: CNET

Google will let you play Android games before downloading them – CNET

Google Play Instant is part of a redesign of the Google Play Games app.
Source: CNET

TSA searches inflatable pink flamingo for weapons – CNET

What the flock? This airport security employee had to put his foot down: Floatie birds need to be scanned, even if they’re not flying anywhere.
Source: CNET

Google makes it easier to buy what you search for – CNET

Instead of shopping on Amazon, the tech giant wants you to make purchases from partners like Costco, Target and Walmart.
Source: CNET

The Podcast App aims to be the simplest way to listen to podcasts

While it sometimes feels like everyone has a podcast nowadays, the truth is that most Americans still don’t listen to podcasts regularly. The Y Combinator-backed team behind The Podcast App is planning to change that.

And yes, that’s the app’s real name. Co-founder and CEO Martín Siniawski argued that most existing podcast apps were built years ago, “when it was a really different medium.” They’re designed for people who already understand what a podcast is, already know which podcasts they’re looking for and already understand what it means to subscribe.

In contrast, Siniawski said The Podcast App is designed to be “extremely fast, extremely easy and extremely reliable and stable.”

How easy? Well, the website boasts that it’s “so simple even your grandma could use it.”

“We’ve invested heavily on making sure that we can onboard people and take them step-by-step in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them,” Siniawski said.

So when you first open up the app, you’re asked to identify your interests, and then you get a list of podcast recommendations. Once you’re looking at a specific podcast, you can browse all episodes or just the “Best Of” (curated based on The Podcast App’s engagement data), then hit buttons to favorite the show and download individual episodes.

The Podcast App

Beyond making the app easy to understand, Siniawski said he’s also focused on helping people find the right podcast for them. Creating good app-wide and podcast-specific search features helps, and so do the Best Of lists, but he said that’s just the beginning.

For one thing, there’s more to be done in search, like indexing the full content of the episodes, not just the titles and descriptions. For another, Siniawski is hoping to take more of a Netflix-style approach to “leverage more and more of that data to provide recommendations.”

The Podcast App has built up a library of 30 million episodes, and includes most of the big names in podcasting. (It also includes TechCrunch podcasts like Original Content and CTRL+T. Just saying.) In the future, Siniawski said he’s hoping to work with podcasters to work on original programming, and to incorporate more types of advertising and subscriptions (the startup currently limits its own monetization to display ads that run in the app).

Oh, and if you’re wondering how Siniawski was able to get such a straightforward (and search-friendly) name for his app, the answer is simple: No one claimed it first.


Source: TechCrunch

Un aparato de hace dos siglos para recargar un móvil al andar

Un equipo se ha inspirado en la mítica máquina Wimshurst y la ha convertido en una versión microfluídica que, si se incorporara en una bota, podría generar energía a cada paso a un nivel suficiente como para alimentar pequeñas baterías de móviles y sensores de internet de las cosas


Source: MIT

¿Por qué aún no es buena idea confiar a la IA sus apuestas deportivas?

Kaggle, de Alphabet, premiará con 80.000 euros a los algoritmos de aprendizaje automático que mejores apuestan realicen en la liga universitaria de baloncesto. Pero las máquinas se enfrentan a un problema: el torneo incluye muchos factores que no se pueden medir


Source: MIT

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