Five short links

Fiveisalive
Photo by EmilyDickinsonRidesABMX

If it quacks like an RDBMS – This article made me feel old, but in a good way. It lists all the design constraints that Mongo has been able to avoid by focusing on modern machines. Does this mean I can finally stop targeting 32 bit address space systems?

Why should engineers and scientists be worried about color? – I’m always slightly bemused that I’ve spent my entire career in the graphics world despite being color blind, but maybe it’s made me more attentive to the sort of issues raised in this article. It’s a good illustration that infographics can be just as misleading as a written description, despite their air of objectivity, and so you need to be as careful in your visual choices as you are in the words you pick. Via Daniel Stadulis

Data Mining the Heart – Good coverage of the recent wave of academic studies that use social sites as natural experiments. This is only the beginning for this sort of research, we’re all instrumenting our lives in a thousand ways each day, every time we interact with an online service.

Challenges in front of us – I feel a strong affinity for Alex and Tim as they flesh out their service. They’re unfunded, despite having paying customers, but they’re fighting like demons to build the business. I know from my own experiences that the hardest battle there is psychological, keeping yourself motivated when you seem to be shouting into an empty void.

Needle in the Haystack – The story of a bio-entrepreneurs epic battle to save his daughter’s life by analyzing a mountain of genetic data. His persistence is inspiring, and I can’t think of a more important application of the newly-cheap tools for processing big data.

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