@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:
@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 infactbeen 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 !
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.
@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 ! : )
@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)."
@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 !
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.
@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.
@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.