Recommended Reading

Prediction of cardiovascular risk factors using retinal fundus photographs via deep learning


  • It a recent study, machine learning algorithms were able to predict age, gender, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, and major adverse cardiac events, using nothing but pictures of patients’ retinas. The accuracy of these predictions is quite high, as you can see by reading the excerpt below. The fact that this degree of accuracy can be achieved by using nothing but pictures of retinas is pretty astounding.


“Using deep-learning models trained on data from 284,335 patients and validated on two independent datasets of 12,026 and 999 patients, we predicted cardiovascular risk factors not previously thought to be present or quantifiable in retinal images, such as age (mean absolute error within 3.26 years), gender (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.97), smoking status (AUC = 0.71), systolic blood pressure (mean absolute error within 11.23 mmHg) and major adverse cardiac events (AUC = 0.70). We also show that the trained deep-learning models used anatomical features, such as the optic disc or blood vessels, to generate each prediction.”

Key terms:

AUC: A measurement of the accuracy used in machine learning. Higher values equal better accuracy.


The real Lord of the Flies: What happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months


  • Turns out human nature might not be quite as dark as William Golding portrayed it to be in his 1954 novel “The Lord of the Flies.”


  • “The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other.”
  • “The kids agreed to work in teams of two, drawing up a strict roster for garden, kitchen and guard duty. Sometimes they quarrelled, but whenever that happened they solved it by imposing a time-out. Their days began and ended with song and prayer.”


Question I love: Are you hunting antelope or field mice? 

This question is from a concept popularized by Newt Gingrich. Here it is in his words:

“A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs an antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run, you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”


  • The internet is packed with field mice, and I am frequently guilty of hunting them.
  • There are so many interesting videos and pieces of information, but if you only spend your time watching them and never actually building something that could be useful/valuable in the future, you’re probably not doing yourself much good.
  • I try to ask myself the “antelope vs field mice” question before starting any significant project. I.e, is this project an antelope or a field mouse?


Music Recommendations 



“A calm mind, a fit body, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought – they must be earned.”

– Naval Ravikant

“Oneness – in some way shape or form, is what every person I’ve ever met has been seeking.”

– Phil Knight, founder of Nike


Photo of the Week by @chaseschoberphotography