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Could IBM's Watson lead us to a cure for cancer?

It's not just Watson. It's Dr. Watson.

Could IBM's Watson lead us to a cure for cancer?

Remember Watson? IBM's supercomputer that broke the game show "Jeopardy"?

It dominated two of the show's top champions. But now one of the world's most famous computers has taken on some new projects.


Image via Atomic Taco/Flickr (altered).

The machine that knows it all has been programmed for a new adversary: cancer.

IBM is collaborating with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to help revolutionize cancer research and treatment. The hospital is using Watson's analytical super-strength to distill massive amounts of information about cancer and make it available to treatment professionals — all at their fingertips.

GIFs via IBM.

Humans are amazing analytical creatures, but our brains have nothing on a computer that can run 80 trillion operations per second.

"The massive amount of data that we collect is difficult for any one person to analyze. ... Watson's capability to analyze huge volumes of data and reduce it down to critical decision points is absolutely essential to improve on our ability to deliver effective therapies and to actually disseminate that information to the world."
— Dr. Craig Thompson, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering

Still, as powerful as Watson is, it can't beat cancer without help from us cognitively inferior humans.

Watson kicked ass on "Jeopardy" because humans taught it how to win — by feeding it past questions and answers and training it how to respond.

The same principle applies to Watson's work on cancer, but they're feeding it loads of information about past treatments so it can identify patterns and guide physicians toward the best possible decisions.

As you'll see, the doctors of Memorial Sloan Kettering are just giddy with excitement:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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