Doctor Disruption

Hypochondriacs Rejoice: WebMD is Beefing Up Its Real-Life Doctor Support

(Photo: Getty)

Imagine if your next false diagnosis of bone cancer or gout came from a real doctor instead of an automated database. This idea could be thrilling if you’re a sane person who happens to dislike going to the doctor–not so much if you’re an obsessive online symptom checker.

Either way, WebMD is getting closer to making it a reality. With their purchase of the health startup Avado, they’ll be beefing up their doctor-patient interactions–and possibly giving the Internet’s biggest hypochondriacs actual, not imagined, heart attacks. Read More

It Just Might Work!

Heating Your Home With Data: Cloud Computers As Residential Boilers

An artists rendering

Betabeat is of the opinion that the internet can be used to solve just about any problem. With winter bearing down on us, it was exciting to see a study from a team of researchers at Microsoft and the University of Virginia arguing that cloud computing could be leveraged to cheaply and efficiently heat people’s homes. This being academia, they kick things off with a joke, “Cloud computing is hot, literally.”

The massive amount of data making its way into the cloud means a lot more energy going into IT. “Electricity consumed by computers and other IT equipment has been skyrocketing in recent years, and has become a substantialpart of the global energy market,” the researchers write.

“Computers can be placed directly into buildings to provide low latency cloud computing for its offices or residents, and the heatthat is generated can be used to heat the building. This approach improves quality of service by moving storage and computation closer to the consumer, and simultaneously improves energy efficiency and reduces costs by reusing the electricity and electrical infrastructure thatwould normally be used for space heating alone.” Read More