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Ariella Brown

Analyzing Cellphone Data for the Greater Good

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Jeff
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Texting while driving
Jeff   11/19/2012 8:35:30 AM
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Big one in the US is data for texting while driving is rusulting in bans all over.  http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html

BethSchultz
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Re: Texting while driving
BethSchultz   11/19/2012 3:28:49 PM
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@Jeff, on Friday I took a 2-1/2 hour road trip from Chicago to Champaign, IL. There aren't many electronic road signs once you cross out of the city limits, but all that I did see included a "Don't text and drive" message, then cited Illinois traffic death stat related to texting while driving. So, I can see transportation agencies putting this data to use for public awareness. 

 

kicheko
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Re: Texting while driving
kicheko   11/19/2012 4:21:36 PM
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I wonder how it would work to incorporate an alcohol detector for drivers. A voluntary one though so that they themselves would know if they are too drunk to drive.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/20/2012 9:15:36 AM
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@kicheko Such devices do exist. While those who have been convicted of DWI sometimes must have one built into their cars to prevent it from starting if they don't pass, people can test for themselves, too.  A variety of models are offered for sale here.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/20/2012 9:13:16 AM
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@Jeff @Beth I recall reading an article on the apps to prevent texting while driving 

 There are several apps that will cut off the keyboard when the GPS shows the phone moving over a certain speed.  However, this requires parents to know about, download and install, and manage these applications – usually for their children who are smarter and more adept at turning these features off than they are.


It also mentions that the laws against it are not at all consistent across the nation:

 there are only 10 states with laws on the books that prohibit all cell phone usage while driving, but there are 11 states with no restrictions on distracted driving.  The Governors Highway Safety Association is a great state-by-state resource on the current laws for cell phone usage, texting and even usage laws for school bus drivers (yes, in some states it is legal for school bus drivers to text).  Additionally, it provides links of programs to address "distracted driving" laws in each state, including resources for you to support these initiatives.


As the writer took the problem to be greatest among teens, the solution the article proposed was as follows:

a built-in, parental-locked, no-texting feature on the phone.  Upon setup, parents lock the phone when it is traveling over a certain speed – the phone can even put an "I'm driving" auto-reply to all texts coming in. For our teens, who is typically paying for the phone? Parents.  Parents would flock to purchase a safe phone for their kids – even paying extra for these features.

BethSchultz
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Re: Texting while driving
BethSchultz   11/20/2012 9:44:40 AM
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Ariella, I love this idea -- and think it could prove highly valuable especially but not exclusively for teens. I'd love to have an automated "I'm driving" message go out when I receive texts on my smartphone while driving! I'll also suggest that texting isn't the only culprit. Many drivers, teens and otherwise, use their smartphones for music in the car. Fiddling with shuffle lists and skipping songs could be just as problematic as texting.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/20/2012 10:16:07 AM
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@Beth that's true. It's not just a matter or texting or pressing buttons.  Anything can be a diversion. Some people even argue that people should not eat or drink while driving. 

Callmebob
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Re: Texting while driving
Callmebob   11/24/2012 1:17:44 PM
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@Ariella - I'm on the side of people who believe eating, drinking, and driving don't mix. I stopped doing that when the lid on my coffee popped off when I was drinking and spilled hot coffee all over my lap, car seat, and carpet. Ouch. I was lucky, it was easy to imagine the dominio effect with my coffee spill accident leading to another bigger mishap.

Combine the drinking with changing your playlist, talking to your friends in the backseat, and changing lanes on the 101 in traffic at 70 mph and your multitasking talents are overmatched.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/24/2012 7:41:43 PM
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@callmebob You're right, a mishap that leads to distraction can lead to disaster. Driving alone requires multi-tasking, as one has to keep track of what's in front, behind, on the side, on top of watching the traffic lights, signs, and bicycles that may be coming up the side. 

Louis Watson
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Re: Texting while driving
Louis Watson   11/25/2012 3:40:35 PM
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@Jeff    It is interesting this rail against texting while driving, while I am all for it personally, I just find it very ironic when I recently saw something about how police offers where getting into accidents doing the very same thing that they are supposed to be looking out for in many states - I wish I could recall where I saw this !

Louis Watson
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Location Analysis and Public Health
Louis Watson   11/25/2012 3:35:44 PM
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Thank you Ariella for exposing an excellent use of the byproduct of technology.  Using cell phones to "track movement" of public diseases it a great way to think outside the box.   

 

The analytical challenge is considerable  and the margin of error might be higher than most are comfortable with but at least a general picture can be concocted.  I am sure over time this type of analysis will improve in accuracy.

Ariella
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Re: Location Analysis and Public Health
Ariella   11/25/2012 4:28:40 PM
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@Louise yes, there always is some margin of error. Even the stats we have on the number of cases and deaths resulting from Malaria are estimates with margins of error. That's why the World Health Organization presents its figures as: 

"About 3.3 billion people – half of the world's population – are at risk of malaria. In 2010, there were about 216 million malaria cases (with an uncertainty range of 149 million to 274 million) and an estimated 655 000 malaria deaths (with an uncertainty range of 537 000 to 907 000)."

Louis Watson
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Re: Location Analysis and Public Health
Louis Watson   11/25/2012 7:53:18 PM
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@Ariella  It seems to be almost an impossible task to determine more than even a rough estimate based on cell phone users but even then how does one determine that a cell owner is possibily affected ?

While I appreciate the World organization trying to put numbers on these issues, it is clear that whatever the number - it is unacceptable in this day and age. I have heard of Malaria in Africa my entire life time, while it might have been reduced or contained I don't see much progress as reflected in the numbers.

Granted this may have nothing to do with what we are discussing !  : )

Ariella
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Re: Location Analysis and Public Health
Ariella   11/25/2012 8:21:34 PM
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@Louis, but they are making progress. "Malaria mortality rates have fallen by a remarkable 26% globally and 33% in Africa since 2000, and there has been a 5.3% drop in global malaria deaths in the past year." You can read the full report at http://www.who.int/malaria/world_malaria_report_2011/9789241564403_eng.pdf

The hope is that the new mapping from the cellphone data with the identifications of hubs will have even greater effect in curbing the spread of the disease. Unfortuantely, there is still no real cure, so prevention is what people have to focus us to keep the mortality numbers down.

Louis Watson
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Re: Location Analysis and Public Health
Louis Watson   11/25/2012 10:32:08 PM
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@Arielle  Thank you for the link and information.  As you can see I was not aware of this issue in such detail, it is heart warming to see significant progress has in fact been made. 

Since this disease has no cure, I think the answer is upgrading infrastructures and of course education, and the former seems to be a difficult task in some parts of Africa.  Nevertheless, there are many good people working on this issue ( and others ) who I am confident will keep fighting the good fight.

Case in point, this latest effort to corral locational data from cell phones, now that is thinking outside the box !

Ariella
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Re: Location Analysis and Public Health
Ariella   11/26/2012 8:41:56 AM
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@Louis Indeed. You know, it's interesting how people have different takes on this. My main reaction was: "Isn't it great that they can use this kind of data to improve the odds of people at risk for Malaria?"  But someone who tweeted the link had this reaction: "there should be more coverage on this subject, it is where the true value of #BigData lies. Mobile data should be #OpenData:

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