Okay, all of the stuff I wrote before happened, but it was this time last year, not this year. I was off by an entire year. It’s still cool, though - maybe more impressive, actually, given how much functionality has been added to Semantic MediaWiki, etc. since last year. Anyway, what’s written below is not timely in the least.
This is cool. The company 23andMe creates reports for people on their genetic profiles - it doesn’t send anyone their entire DNA chain, but just notifies about the presence of SNPs (”snips”), which, as I understand it, are DNA sequences considered specifically informative. (The company’s also known for being founded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s wife, but I digress.) Anyway, in April they ran a contest in which they published the 23andMe data for an anonymous woman, and those who took part had to guess at as many of her attributes as possible. The winner was announced three weeks ago, and it was Mike Cariaso, whom I always enjoy talking to, and who runs the site SNPedia.com (”snipedia”). In his winning entry, he gave details for her race, hair and eye color, proclivity for diseases, and more intangible things like personality and intelligence. In their announcement of the winner, the company didn’t say which of the details were accurate, but if even half of them are, it’s a surprising (to me) level of detail.
In any case, the really neat thing is that Mike used SNPedia as the database to get all this information; and SNPedia is a wiki that runs on Semantic MediaWiki, and Semantic Forms. So I think it’s great proof that SMW can compete with any technology out there at the moment as far as enabling open, collaborative databases.(Oh, and the prize is a free genetic screening, which sounds good if you’re into that sort of thing.)