Meet Doctor Watson

Is there anything Watson can’t do?

IBM Watson supercomputer turns to medicine

After battling the flesh-and-blood know-it-alls on “Jeopardy!,” IBM supercomputer Watson is getting ready for its next big challenge – helping doctors navigate the increasingly complex world of medicine.

Watson is being groomed to be a bedside medical tool – digesting medical textbooks, journals, treatment guidelines as well as information from patients’ blogs to diagnose illnesses quickly and accurately.

IBM says Watson, with its ability to understand language, can absorb questions about a patient’s symptoms and medical history and quickly suggest diagnoses and treatments. They envision several uses, including a doctor speaking into a handheld device to get answers at a patient’s bedside or to serve as a second opinion. Watson could also link to electronic health records that the federal government wants hospitals to maintain.

See also:
IBM’s Watson Makes the Move From Answering Trivia Questions to Making Medical Diagnoses
IBM’s Watson leaves Jeopardy to become a doctor (Morning Read)
Jeopardy-Winning Supercomputer Watson Turns Its Sights To Medicine
IBM’s Watson supercomputer to help diagnose hospital patients
‘Jeopardy!’-Winning Computer Delving Into Medicine
Researchers Preparing IBM’s Watson Computer for Medical Applications
Watson (computer)
Watson homepage
Watson Wins!

Well, if Watson is anywhere near as good at medicine as it is at Jeopardy!, it should be a better doctor than most. Seriously, if Watson doesn’t make mistakes and gets the diagnosis right, does it really matter if it’s man or machine?

/I, for one, welcome our new doctor machine overlords

The Sun Is Angry

Don’t forget to duck.

Huge blasts of sun’s plasma hurtling toward Earth

A huge mass of magnetically charged material ejected from the sun is racing across space toward our planet, where it is expected to arrive on Tuesday. When it strikes the Earth’s magnetic field, it could produce spectacular auroras.

A blast of violent space weather could hit the Earth tomorrow following two massive explosions on the Sun. NASA astronomers witnessed a huge flare above a giant sunspot the size of our planet and linked to an even larger eruption across the surface of Sun.

Experts estimate a wave of supercharged gas called plasma will reach us this Tuesday when it will buffet the natural magnetic shield protecting Earth. It could trigger spectacular displays of the aurora or northern and southern lights.

The solar outbursts on Sunday August 1 were recorded by several satellites including NASA’s new Solar Dynamics Observatory which watched its shockwave rippling outwards. The flare over the sunspot was swiftly followed by an eruption 250,000 miles (400,000 km) away in a feature called a filament.

UK solar expert Dr Lucie Green, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, in Surrey, followed the flare-ups using Japan’s orbiting Hinode telescope.

She said last night: “What wonderful fireworks the Sun has been producing! This was a very rare event – not one, but two almost simultaneous eruptions from different locations on the sun were launched toward the Earth.

“These eruptions occur when immense magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere lose their stability and can no longer be held down by the sun’s huge gravitational pull. Just like a coiled spring suddenly being released, they erupt into space.

“It looks like the first eruption was so large that it changed the magnetic fields throughout half the Sun’s visible atmosphere and provided the right conditions for the second eruption. Both eruptions could be Earth-directed but may be travelling at different speeds. This means we have a very good chance of seeing major and prolonged effects, such as the northern lights at low latitudes.”

. . .

Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption, like the Carrington Event witnessed from Surrey in 1859, could destroy satellites and wreck power and around the globe if it happened today.

Such an event would be the biggest disaster ever to hit mankind, preventing the production of essential supplies including food, water and medicines. Other eruptions have been observed directed towards us but thankfully less severe.

See also:
Coronal Mass Ejection Headed for Earth
Here comes the sun storm
Large solar storm headed our way
Solar plasma aurora storm to hit Earth tomorrow!
Solar Tsunami to Strike Earth Tonight
Solar light show expected tonight
Northern lights may shine in local skies
Solar blast may fire up Northern Lights
Northern lights could be visible from UK as Sun’s ‘solar tsunami’ sweeps towards Earth
Sun storms may bring northern lights farther south
Coronal Mass Ejection on Sun, Effects Can Be Seen in New England

So, enjoy the light show if it’s visible where you’re at and let’s hope we don’t suffer any fried satellites.

/eventually, the sun will destroy life on Earth and the Earth itself, but apparently not today