[News article] Walking, driving and riding in a winter wonderland
Snow and icy conditions affect human decisions about transportation. These decisions can ripple through other infrastructure systems, causing widespread disruptions. Shown here are points of connectivity.
Credit: Paul M. Torrens and Cheng Fu, University of Maryland, College Park; Sabya Mishra, University of Memphis; Timothy Welch, Georgia Tech.
For Paul Torrens, wintry weather is less about sledding and more about testing out models of human behavior.
Torrens, a geographer at the University of Maryland, studies how snow and icy conditions affect human decisions about transportation. He also studies how these decisions ripple through other infrastructure systems.
“After moving to the Washington, D.C., area from Arizona,” Torrens said, “I saw firsthand how snow upsets even careful plans for getting kids to school and commuting to work.”
Common disruptions such as those associated with snow, while not always catastrophic, have real economic costs, and the costs add up.
“Critical infrastructure systems are the lifelines of society,” said Dennis Wenger, program director in NSF’s Engineering Directorate. “They are complex, highly interdependent processes and systems and are subject to disruption through their normal life cycle and as a result of the impact of natural and technological hazards.”
In real life, transportation is affected by moment-to-moment decisions by people, explained Torrens, who may adjust their transportation routines depending on their individual circumstances and activities.
Relying on big data from social media sources, Torrens is building a dynamic, near-real-time atlas and census of a population from which motifs of human and infrastructure behavior can be extracted as rules for agents’ behavior.
“Social media data is a treasure trove for information scientists, because not only do we have the message content, but the content is stamped with a location and a time,” Torrens said. “We can study how information propagates throughout social networks and correlate that with physical situations as they unfold.”
When snowstorms and other behavior-changing events happen in the physical world, online interactions change, too. During a snowfall on the morning of Jan. 6, 2015, Washington-area residents tweeted about traffic conditions (for example,#Alexandria residents – Van Dorn Street is awful @WTOPtraffic #vatraffic #snow #ice #dctraffic).
One school system tried to open on time despite the slick conditions. Soon local Twitter users began posting photographs of snow-covered streets, car crashes and links to television news reports with the quickly viral hash-tag #closeFCPS. Information about the resulting problems seemed to spread, bottom-up, via a viral tag, rather than via official school channels.
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February 9, 2015 - Posted by Janice Flahiff | Consumer Safety | Computer engineering, infrastructure, infrastructure systems, national science foundation, Paul M. Torrens, Paul Torrens, snowstorms, Social media, transportation disruptions
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This blog presents a sampling of health and medical news and resources for all. Selected articles and resources will hopefully be of general interest but will also encourage further reading through posted references and other links. Currently I am focusing on public health, basic and applied research and very broadly on disease and healthy lifestyle topics.
Several times a month I will post items on international and global health issues. My Peace Corps Liberia experience (1980-81) has formed me as a global citizen in many ways and has challenged me to think of health and other topics in a more holistic manner. (For those wishing to see pictures of a 2009 Friends of Liberia service trip to this West African country, please visit www.fol.org. My photo album is included).
This blog is a companion site to my Health and Medical News and Resources Web site with…
- Informational sites and guides
- Links to help from others (as health care providers and support groups)
- Interactive tools (as health calculators and apps)
- Select related news sites and blogs
My professional work experience and education includes over 10 years experience as a medical librarian and a Master’s in Library Science. In my most recent position I enjoyed contributing to our library’s blog, performing in depth literature searches, and collaborating with faculty, staff, students, and the general public.
While I will never be be able to keep up with the universe of current health/medical news,
I subscribe to the following to glean entries for this blog
- Medical News Today, a MediLexicon International daily online health news product
- MedLib-L ,a medical librarian discussion list
- Science Daily – Your source for the latest research news
- A Consumer and Patient Health (CAPHIS) discussion list , by a section of the Medical Library Association (MLA)
- MedlinePlus email updates from the US National Institutes of Health
- Public Health Partners from the National Library of Medicine
- US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) electronic newsletter with updates on the agency’s efforts to “improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans”
- Krafty (Medical)Librarian,” a collection of writings from Michelle Kraft on items of interest to medical librarians. She tends to write on technology and medical libraries but she also writes about things in general on librarianship, medicine and health”
- Research Buzz, “news about search engines, digital archives, online museums, databases, and other Internet information collections since 1998”
- Library Journal – Breaking News
- librarian.net by librarian consultant Jessamyn West
- The Cornflower, the blog of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region
- DocuTicker with “abstracts from ‘grey literature’: PDF reports published by government agencies, think tanks, NGOs, research institutes and other public interest groups”
- PubMed New and Noteworthy, updates from the largest indexer of biomedical journals in the world
- Free Government Information, a “place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information”
- Scout Report, a “weekly publication offering a selection of new and newly discovered Internet resources of interest to researchers and educators”
- Latest from Brookings Institute, independent research reports on social and political issues
- KevinMD.com -“Social Media’s leading physician voice”
- EurekAlert-Medicine and Health
- FTC sanctions yet another digital health product, a vision training app, over claims about effectiveness [Reblog]
- St. Louis Plan4Health Traffic Calming Demonstrations [YouTube]
- Made ya look: Moviegoers may have little control over their eye movements during Hollywood-style films, study finds [news release]
- Articles focus on OTC medications, dietary supplements & complementary/alternative medicine
- The Invisible World of Human Perception [news release]
- Do Cell Phones Make Us Less Socially Minded?
- New study maps hotspots of human-animal infectious diseases and emerging disease outbreaks
- (Obama Administration) Partnerships for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs
- [Reblog] Real Food – Good, Better, Best Principle
- [News release] Are temper, anxiety, homework trouble medical issues? Many parents don’t realize it
- Database of Promoting Health Effectiveness Reviews (DoPHER)
- New USDA Dietary Guidelines (released January 31, 2011)
- High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol (CDC Vital Signs Feature Issue)
- How to Create a Pill Card to Keep Track of Meds
- Patients want to understand the medical literature (with links to resources for patients)
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