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Rare Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s →

In 2003, a group of scientists and executives from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the drug and medical-imaging industries, universities and nonprofit groups joined in a project that experts say had no precedent: a collaborative effort to find the biological markers that show the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain.

Library 'vending machine' touted for Toronto →

The Toronto Public Library is exploring the possibility of installing an automated kiosk that dispenses books in Union Station, Canada’s busiest transit facility.

"A lot of people go through busy hubs like Union Station every day and it’s a convenience for them," said Anne Bailey, the director of branch libraries for the Toronto Public Library.

Bailey estimates that the kiosk will likely appear at Union Station in 2012. The station serves an estimated 200,000 people on most business days.

Take This Blog and Shove It! →

There’s no shortage of theories on why Wikipedia has stalled. One holds that the site is virtually complete. Another suggests that aggressive editors and a tangle of anti-vandalism rules have scared off casual users. But such explanations overlook a far deeper and enduring truth about human nature: most people simply don’t want to work for free. They like the idea of the Web as a place where no one goes unheard and the contributions of millions of amateurs can change the world. But when they come home from a hard day at work and turn on their computer, it turns out many of them would rather watch funny videos of kittens or shop for cheap airfares than contribute to the greater good. Even the Internet is no match for sloth.

Forget University — Use the Web For Education, Says Gates →

"Bill Gates attended the Techonomy conference earlier this week, and had quite a bold statement to make about the future of education. He believes the Web is where people will be learning within a few years, not colleges and university. During his chat, he said, ‘Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.’"

Inside the online sweatshops →

With the recession continuing to bite, many people may be tempted to venture online to find extra income.

There are plenty of ways to find work on the internet - Amazon, Google and YouGov all run schemes where you can earn money for your work - but you’ll be competing against some desperate people from around the world and the pay rates can be pitifully low. Get rich quick, this definitely is not.

Crowdsourcing and whales →

The reason I mention crowdsourcing in a retirement blog is that I believe that just a few years down the road, retirement won’t be the step change it is today, a phase of not working after a 9-to-5 corporate job. Rather, people will slowly transition into participating in ever more ‘crowdsourced’ projects and activities, some of which may augment their incomes and many that won’t. A much more diffused version of retirement.

How Crowdsourcing Websites Pick Your Pocket →

A number of websites including AssociatedContent.com, the site on which I am publishing this article, do share the profits with users who submit material. Surely, this is the future of crowdsourcing. Sharing the wealth with consumers who submit material is both fair and calculated to encourage future submissions.

For now, though, most crowdsourcing websites continue to pick the pockets of their most valuable players, the users who submit material. This phenomenon cannot last forever. Sooner or later, consumers will wise up and demand to be paid for the value they provide.

Designers, “Hacks” and Professionalism: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy? →

"Most people blame the laptop and easy-to-use software. Many blame art schools for favoring quantity over quality. Can any of these be blamed merely for doing business? If someone who has no idea what they’re doing wants to purchase a computer and a slew of graphics software and call themselves a designer, then they’re in business."

SXSW “Is Spec Work Evil?” panel transcript →

The basic premise of the panel was this – Mike Samson, one of the co-founders of Crowdspring (a design contest platform, based in Chicago, who recently caused a stir after being featured in a Forbes article that opined the design industry was snooty) set up a debate at the recent South by South West Festival, held in Texas back in March. The subject at hand was “Is Spec Work Evil?” (a title taken from a ‘Why I Hate Crowdspring” post featured on Andrew Hyde‘s blog) and subtitled “The Online Community Speaks“. The panel was moderated by Jeff Howe (from Wired magazine) and featured Samson, Jeffrey Kalmikoff of Threadless, veteran designer David Carson of David Carson Design and Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research. Lydia Mann of AIGA was a last minute invitee (perhaps to even things up a bit). The panel turned out to be one of the better attended events, and from all accounts was one of the more interesting, with tempers occasionally flaring during the proceedings. The transcript is long, a little messy, but worth a looksee if you have a bit and a cup of coffee on hand.