September 19, 2012

Higgs Boson Explained for Everyone with Animation Comics

What better way to learn about this Higgs Boson business?

Watch the video at vimeo. Learn about the Higgs Boson and why they use that big collider in Switzerland to try to prove it is there. Just  click on HIGGS.

Enjoy the learning.


August 12, 2012

Cloud dangers for YOUR digital life.

If you have a new smart phone, iPad, tablet or computer, and you are busy linking all your devuces to automatically syncronize your music, pictures, and work files, then reas and share this blog post. Your digital life can be erased in seconds using the cloud too. Clouds and iClouds may seem fluffy and nice, but both have their dangers. New pilots get Visual Flight Rules licenses: control of your aircraft requires visual reference to the horizon and the ground. VRF pilots should NEVER FLY INTO CLOUDS. Without more training, the average VFR pilot will get their aircraft into a spiral-dive in about 15 minutes. Your computing "Cloud" can also take you into a digital spiral-dive with its new vulnerability to hacking.
In 2012, we learned that linking your devices via the Cloud, including iCloud, renders you susceptible to the malicious use of the Cloud to wipe your entire digital life.
Tech writer Mat Honan got hacked recently, and then all of his linked services, including iCloud based services, were used to erase his iPhone, MacBook and all his web based iCloud data. The use of a single service, such as FaceBook, to log into different services also factored into the malicious actions of the hacker to invade one of Mr Honan's services after another. You can read about Mr Honan's nightmare that he kindly shared on one of his blogs at:   EMPTYAGE.   Darlene Storm (Computer World) also has a nice story about this subject:   HERE  , where you can read about some warnings regarding the CLOUD that were uttered by no less than Steve Wozniak himself (Apple's co-founder).

This experience highlights the danger of syncing all your devices and online services. When you change or create a document on one device, the change propagates to the Cloud server, and then to all your other devices. Your laptop, home computer, phones, iPad. What many of us have not appreciated is that these updates also include the DELETION of your files. I have been concerned with this for some time, since Apple's iDisk service went away. Since 2000 my iDisk was a handy external shared disk. I added or removed files from my iDisk and coordinated several lab workstations with this tool. Of course, while these shared files were on my iDisk, there were also copies of the files on my computer drives. Even if my iDisk was hacked, there was no automatic sync to my devices. This is NOT the case with iCloud's file syncronization. It is also similarly dangerous if you use SugarSync's option to autosyc to any file on your hard drive. Deleting files will propagate the deletion for you. If that was your only copy of the file, ouch, its gone!

So, if you are a Mac user that upgraded to OS-X Lion, or your new Mac already uses this system,  you can quickly autosync your devices. However, the more services you link in some way, the more danger there is for your digital life. If one service gets hacked, it can be the gateway to get information and keys for your other accounts, storage and services.

My immediate recommendations:
1) If you are using any Cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive or SugarSync, just use the one sycn-folder option: you have ONE folder on your hard drive that is sync'd automatically with your Cloud and other devices. If you have digital stuff you would HATE to lose, then do not leave the only copy in your sync folder. Build your documents in other folders and directories, and place updated COPIES of those files into your Sync folder. Always keep copies in regular folders that are not integrated into the autosyc process. A hacker can erase your Sync folder contents, but your main file copies will reside elsewhere on your hard drive.

2) For any iPhone users out there, consider NOT autosyncing your pictures and critical work files through iCloud. You should have the option to inactivate some of these functions. I have had a Mac account since 2000, and I loved my iDisk. However, while I have an iCloud capable account now, I do not use it for syncing files. The iPhoto program is a great tool, but I do not sync my photos through the iCloud and do not plan to. It is too risky for me. Should I get hacked, my iCloud could be used to wipe those files on all my devices.

3) Run backups of your main device, maybe this is your laptop, with a good old USB-2 external hard drive. OS-X has a great "time-machine" backup system that is easy to use. Windows also has basic backup functions for external drives. Use your external drive at least once a week. If you plan to keep your devices fully integrated and autosycned in iCloud, then do your backups. If Mat Honan had a backup drive, he would be much better off. Mr Honan noted that he had drifted away from the habitual use of his good old backup drive once he went into the cloud, in hindsight a mistake.

These new data dangers have great implications for Google's new operating system and Microsoft's next system, coming out soon. These systems are based on the Cloud for their very fundamental operations. At this time they are completely vulnerable to this kind of hack that can wipe out your entire digital life. SO DO NOT GET RID OF THAT EXTERNAL BACKUP DRIVE YET, KEEP USING IT. I AM TOO. As online services have rushed to link to each other, very little effort has gone into solving the security issues that exist with this kind of mass connectivity. Do you use Facebook to log into all your services now? Imagine that your password is hacked. All your services are then breached.

It seems that APPLE's phone support screwed up, and actually gave hackers more information about Mr Honan's account, even though the caller could not answer some of the security questions. What Apple might do to fix that problem I have yet to learn, but it just goes to show you that the iCloud ain't all its cracked up to be. The implications for businesses and industrial espionage are significant. So follow some of these IFR ways and stay out of that cloud induced spiral dive.

August 4, 2012

Make Computer Thieves your Prey.

Just a short blog. No matter what computer system you are using or even Android and Apple smart phones, you can install Preyproject's free theft reporting tools on your computer/phone. Simply go to

and download the installer for your device. Make a new account, and if your device is stolen, you can go online, login via the web and activate reporting from your device. If your device has a camera, it will even take secret pics of whoever is using your machine. It also will report its location.

I recommend it.

Dr Mitton

July 28, 2012

July 27, 2012


Check out "Info Navigator for London 2012"
I have made this App free with no ads. The program is movable to your SD card too. FOLLOW the games and see where the events are located. VERSION 1.5 has instructions.

July 14, 2012

Info Navigator for London 2012: A free Android App

Info Navigator for London 2012 is actually an Android App that I have created for my own interest in following this summer's Olympic games. Something "Made in the USA", right here in the Caribou Coffee shop at the corner of Adams Road and Walton, Rochester Michigan, just outside the gates of Oakland University.

Download the Ap for free here: Google Play

As a scientist, and professor, I have started to build Android Apps that are full of activities that I can customize for my own work. Work flow, organization, portable study guides, information sharing, resource aggregators and organizers.

June 20, 2012

The Android Trilogy Part C) The right Aps

(Updated 6/20, New Ap Discussions below: Dolphin and DropBox)
(This is the third posting in my ABC's of Android:  A) The right gear, B) the right provider and data plan, and C) the right "Aps". You can find parts A and B posted previous to this one. Comments are welcome, even encouraged. Ken Mitton)

C) The right Aps.

When you get Aps for your smart phone, I recommend that you stick with the Google Play application to read about and download the latest Aps you want to try. This is the Google Ap site, now named "Google Play". If you do not know already, you should also be aware that your phone has two areas of memory that you can use to store and run your programs. There is memory on your phone's mother board, and there is memory on removable SD memory cards. Your phone may have come with a 2-Gigabyte microSD card, but I highly recommend going to Walmart or Bestbuy and getting a cheap 8-Gigabyte microSD card. More if you wish. You can have your phones camera/photo gallery software store your pics and movies on the SD card. You can also move installed Aps to the SD card memory. This is important, because most smart phones are made with insufficient internal memory. The problem arises when some Aps are not able to run unless they only installed in the phone's main internal memory.

April 9, 2012

The Android Trilogy: Part B) the right provider and data plan

(This is the second posting in my ABC's of Android:  A) The right gear, B) the right provider and data plan, and C) the right "Aps". You can find parts A and C on either side of this one. Do comment. Ken Mitton)

Welcome to Part B) of my Android Trilogy, on how I use an Android smartphone to  do real work, access email, information, share files, video conference and yes, listen to music, and for a lot less than the $50-$200 per month paide by some. So, lets talk about Part B) providers and phone plans.

April 8, 2012

The Android Trilogy Part A): Smartphoning at $35/month. The Right Gear.

My Optimus V running Android 2.2.2, from Virgin Mobile, 
with my center page showing some favorite Aps. When 
I got that PhD diploma on the wall (left), the computers
 in the space shuttle were less powerful than this humble 
Android smartphone. 
How do I control "my universe" for $25/month (now $35, I was grandfathered in), have  a computer in my hand to email, tweet, maintain this blog, communicate with employees and friends, search for information, browse the Human genome, navigate (drive) to a destination, take pics and video, stream and play my own iTunes music collection, use WiFi when available and G3/4 when its not, read science journals, take part in video conferences, oh yes.. and sometimes talk on the phone?

By following my ABC's of Android:  A) The right gear, B) the right provider and data plan, and C) the right "Aps". Your key to Android Nirvana is knowledge. If you are not feeling productive with your current smartphone, or you have not dared to choose one yet....... read on.

March 2, 2012

Dr Winkler's "Last" Lecture

Professor Barry Winkler, PhD, of the Eye Research Institute of Oakland University will give his final lecture before official retirement this term. March 19th, in Oakland Center, on our campus. Barry Winkler has made important contributions to understanding how the neural retina functions, in great detail over 40 years as an NIH funded investigator. Many people, all over the world, have learned where the cellular components of the basic ERG (Electro  Retina Gram) come from, from both his papers and from attending his seminars.

Many students have benefited from his mentorship in courses on neuroscience and even the intersection of the art and science of vision in our society. Many scientists and trainees have benefited by his work for our vision science research societies, including ARVO and ISER. 

February 22, 2012

Bacteria in Regular versus Silver-Impregnated Contact Lens Cases

A recent research study reported in IOVS (Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, a peer reviewed science journal) examined the numbers of bacteria found in regular contact lens storage cases versus silver impregnated cases. The researchers also compared the effects of keeping the cases wet or dry between uses.

February 16, 2012

Autism: seeds are planted long before immunizations

Seeds of Autism. Not the mysterious condition it used to be. New tools made possible by the human genome project are revealing its genetic nature.

Autism can exist as a broad spectrum of symptoms, some severe and some mild. Many functional adults are working in intense professions, such as medicine, and have difficulty making person to person eye contact; a relatively minor form of an autistic disorder. Some persons from a very young age are more profoundly affected and unable to interact with other people or their surroundings. This condition has alarmed our modern society as it became more well defined and more often diagnosed in children. An unfortunate set of statements by a UK physician over two decades ago speculated that some immunizations might be linked to the condition. This turned out to be theory and conjecture that was not derived from actual scientific study, but this theory has unfortunately taken off and sparked much controversy. Indeed, many families that avoid immunization programs will cite this theory as the the basis for their decision. I can certainly understand their concern, but should you worry about immunizations regarding autism?

The Science of World Micro-Finance.. we have the power.

Kiva is the organization you have read about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and heard about on NPR, PBS and MSNBC. They let YOU disperse loans directly around the world and change lives, $25 at a time.

Welcome to my world financial empire, and to those of you who worry about the troubles you hear about around the globe, feeling hopeless helpless to make a difference: wake up. There is something you can do. You can have a direct impact on improving and empowering hard working honest men and women in places you may never see in your travels. You can directly choose who you help and see every cent of every dollar go where YOU want it to go!

February 15, 2012

Big genomes, little genomes, Madonna’s genome?

Genes tend to be surprisingly similar between many other organisms and humans.

Genomes are getting cheaper and cheaper to sequence with every passing day.
In 2010, I spent a day checking out the first SOLiD-3 analysis system installed at the University of Michigan, which was the first in the state of Michigan. Good thing, since I heard there are already three of these systems at the University of Toronto alone, in Ontario, Canada. Why is it a good thing to have this machine in the Cancer Center at U. Mich?