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HUBweekly #121: The Death of Internet Privacy — Again

December 14, 2018

The HUBweekly is HUBweek's weekly newsletter, featuring a snapshot of the big ideas and innovations in art, science, and tech coming out of the Greater Boston area. You can find this week's full edition here. Want these insights, plus events, interviews, and more, delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the HUBweekly here.


1. COLLABORATION FOR A HEALTHIER FUTURE From our partners at Pfizer:

Gone are the days when scientific research was an insular activity that took place within the walls of a single company—today, collaboration has become more important than ever in developing new therapies and improving our healthcare system. This is especially true in Boston, with over 300 companies in the local biotech ecosystem and over 1800 drug candidates from Massachusetts in clinical studies. During HUBweek 2018, Pfizer’s Barbara Sosnowski and David Shields explained how, to advance drug discovery, they source the best assets and talent from within their company, while also finding creative ways to work with a variety of partners in their broader Kendall Square community. 



Art institutions are increasingly using technology to engage their visitors and make the most of their collections, and the MFA is no exception. According to the Museum’s interactive media team, tech in the gallery aligns with how we're used to consuming information (from social platforms and our smartphones), so interactive experiences can deepen engagement with artworks and make museum-going more accessible and fun for everyone. Looking to experience some art in VR for yourself? Lucky for you, Google Arts & Culture recently unveiled their new Pocket Gallery that brings together all of Johannes Vermeer’s known works, including those stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in a virtual exhibition.



Researchers in MIT’s Senseable City Lab recently released a study that showed how easy it is to “re-identify” our data, even if tech companies say its anonymized. As we move through cities — swiping our transit passes, sending texts, using GPS — we leave behind a huge amount of location data that, although our identities may be initially removed, can still be traced back to us using an algorithm. Want to limit how much information you share? Here are some tips and tricks. Health data is especially important to protect, so hospitals are increasingly turning to the blockchain: MGH recently teamed up with Korean startup MediBloc to explore how the hospital can use the technology to more securely and efficiently manage patient information.



The Massachusetts Conference for Women took place in Boston last week, and featured, among an impressive lineup, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who told audiences that although we’re “living through a defining moment in the fight for gender equality,” there is still much more work to be done to ensure that women have equal opportunities across race, class, and industry. Millennial women throughout Boston also rejoiced (including Zoe Dobuler, this newsletter’s writer) when The Wing, a network of community spaces designed for self-identifying women, announced that it will be opening a co-working space in Back Bay this coming year.



The urban landscape of Greater Boston is rapidly transforming, as the region tries to balance a growing population and shifting business demands with preserving neighborhood character. In Somerville, Union Square is on the verge of a $1.5 billion makeover — one that proponents say will give the city a much-needed downtown, but that some local groups worry might price out some longtime residents and small businesses. To the south, the long-delayed Dot Block development in Dorchester is aiming to break ground next year, bringing with it an underground parking garage, apartments, and retail space. One of the biggest challenges facing the city today? A shortage of housing, which some lawmakers are trying to fix with new legislation and zoning laws that would pave the way for more affordable options.

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