Not too long till now until I start working on the project to try and track influenza through blog posts. I’ve updated the project page to include a link to my proposal for a few more details, I’ll hopefully update that properly once my exams are over.
The recent swine flu will also bring some interesting points to the project, like that fact I’ve just searched for the spelling now so how does Google know that? There has been a bigger buzz in the media, on blogs, and sites like twitter than relates to the actual spread of the disease which has been very quite slow and not that frequent, compared to the size of populations. Maybe a model of media news sources will also be needed to find what proportion of the noise on the web is really a flu signal.
I also found a site called DIYcity which started a project called SickCity a few months ago which they accelerated work on with the outbreak of swine flu. With this they try to track the trends of a range of illnesses over cites in the world, which as they found is a very hard task to do! I’m going to see if I can help them with their goals a bit as there aims overlap quite a bit with my summer project, and it would be nice to have some use-able data for people at the end of it. We’ll see where things go once I start working in June, stay tuned.