cshalizi + blogged   92

Project MUSE - Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance
"In the Renaissance, Epicureanism and other heterodox scientific theories were strongly associated with heresy and atheism, and frequently condemned. Yet, when Lucretius’s Epicurean poem De Rerum Natura reappeared in 1417, these associations did not prevent the poem’s broad circulation. A survey of marginalia in Lucretius manuscripts reveals a characteristic humanist reading agenda, focused on philology and moral philosophy, which facilitated the circulation of such heterodox texts among an audience still largely indifferent to their radical content. Notes in later sixteenth century print copies reveal a transformation in reading methods, and an audience more receptive to heterodox science."

--- Condensation of her forthcoming book (or vice versa).
--- Shorter AP: Sure, experimenting with Lucretius seems harmless enough at the beginning, just philological interest and elegant verse, but all it takes is some cleaned up editions for minds to be warped forever.
--- ETA: http://bactra.org/weblog/1117.html
in_NB  have_read  lucretius  history_of_ideas  renaissance_history  reception_history  epidemiology_of_representations  palmer.ada  blogged 
august 2015 by cshalizi
How to Socialize Uber | Jacobin
I like the idea, but employee ownership is not what's usually meant by "socializing" a company.
uber  corporations  autonomous_collective_as_a_service  blogged 
april 2015 by cshalizi
How Uber surge pricing really works - The Washington Post
This makes perfect sense as a way of reducing the consumer surplus of those who are willing and able to pay more to get a car right now (i.e., price-inelastic consumers); as a way of encouraging supply, not so much. Since presumably the people at Uber have read their Shapiro & Varian, this is presumably no accident.
uber  economics  imperfect_competition  price_discrimination  blogged 
april 2015 by cshalizi
interfluidity » Surge!
I can see a case for raising prices around times of predictably high demand, _because_ that could increase supply, but raising prices in emergencies doesn't have the same logic to it...
economics  market_failures_in_everything  uber  have_read  blogged 
april 2015 by cshalizi
Over at Project Syndicate: Making Do with More (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...)
Brad channeling Keynes, and indeed _The German Ideology_. But notice: he's talking about how prosperity is moving us into areas where we know markets generically fail badly, and are very artificial creatures of state power at best...
economics  market_failures_in_everything  delong.brad  blogged 
february 2015 by cshalizi
My email is a monster - The Oatmeal
Why I have not written an adequate reply to your gracious note. (And yet I much prefer e-mail to just about every other online or printed medium; I have Issues.)
email  networked_life  moral_psychology  cartoons  funny:because_its_true  blogged 
february 2015 by cshalizi
The Sharing Economy Isn’t About Sharing at All - HBR
Well, yes, obviously. (I have used Zipcar regularly for years, but it would never have occurred to me that it was some form of _sharing_; it's a car _rental_ company which is a lot more convenient for me than the older ones.) Something like Uber or Airbnb makes its money by being the centralized intermediary between consumers and asset owners/service workers. (The goal would be to become the only effective marketplace for that sort of good or service --- would that be the monagorist? --- and so collect rents.) I guess I'd supposed/hoped that people actually in the industry realized this, and the "sharing" rhetoric was conscious camouflage, but this article makes it sound like they believe their own press.
corporations  networked_life  marketing  market_making  economics  have_read  via:whimsley  blogged 
january 2015 by cshalizi
Discovery: Fish Live beneath Antarctica - Scientific American
All that's missing is commentary from Drs. Lake and Danforth, and maybe the adjective "Stygian".
antarctica  biology  cthulhiana  blogged 
january 2015 by cshalizi
Abandoned Footnotes: The Saudi Monarchy as a Family Firm
"Indeed, in some respects the Saudi system has more in common with systems of single party rule than with medieval European kingship. The Al Saud are an odd party, to be sure; only women can join voluntarily (by marrying into the family) but without gaining any formal power (though they may have influence through their sons). But, with its internal dispute resolution mechanisms, its intelligence networks, its “service” requirements, the family basically mimics the institutions of an effective (if small) party on the Leninist model. And thus the incentives that keep it in power are not dissimilar from the incentives that kept the PRI in Mexico or the Chinese Communist Party in power: they are basically reasons for insiders to stick together and not seek outsider support, and thus to prefer corporate control of the state to going alone."
saudi_arabia  political_science  have_read  blogged 
january 2015 by cshalizi
Of Course You Hear What I Hear — Christmas Music Season Is Totally Data-Driven | FiveThirtyEight
Observations: (i) The domination of our popular culture by the childhoods of baby boomers --- my students' grandparents! --- is truly a force to behold. (ii) And of course that helps shape what all subsequent generations hear as "Christmas music". (iii) I am unreasonably charmed by the idea of using something like pagerank (or is it Kleinberg's HITS?) to identify Christmas-ness. (iv) Wait, _that's_ what happened to the author of _The War Against Silence_?
data_mining  music  christmas  popular_culture  towards_an_algorithmic_criticism  to_teach:data-mining  path_dependence  pagerank  blogged  have_read 
january 2015 by cshalizi
The Strange Inevitability of Evolution - Issue 20: Creativity - Nautilus
Nice popularization by Philip Ball about neutral networks in evolution, and how they contribute to both robustness and finding innovations. It's obviously very strongly based on talking with Andreas (so, e.g., no mention of Gerhart and Kirshner!), but not crazily so.
evolutionary_biology  biochemical_networks  popular_science  wagner.andreas  schuster.peter  have_read  via:henry_farrell  blogged 
january 2015 by cshalizi
Ask a silly question, get a silly answer | Stats Chat
Presumably there a linguistic-pragmatics explanation of this --- people are interpreting the question so it makes sense as something asked for by an intelligent person, quite possibly more knowledgeable than they are.
bad_data_analysis  bad_science_journalism  surveys  natural_history_of_truthiness  blogged 
january 2015 by cshalizi
Investors Must Confront The On-Demand Economy’s Legal Problem, Part 1 | TechCrunch
Shorter: the "sharing economy" is really all about regulatory arbitrage, and shifting risk to those who are less able to bear it.
economics  the_wired_ideology  great_risk_shift  corporations  law  labor  have_read  blogged  via:whimsley 
january 2015 by cshalizi
Rich Puchalsky's blog: Lew and Pru romantic comedy philosophical thought experiment fanfic
"Here it is: a romantic comedy adventure story with thought experiments. And pornographic novels."

--- There can be very little fanfic about analytic moral philosophy, still less fanfic this charming.
funny:academic  fanfic  pr0n  sfw  moral_philosophy  have_read  blogged 
january 2015 by cshalizi
Socialize Uber | The Nation
I like the proposal, but it's not "socialization"; it's a workers' cooperative, which is just as much private property as the current arrangement, just run more democratically and cutting out the parasitic middle-men.
modest_proposals  economics  corporations  the_wired_ideology  blogged  uber 
december 2014 by cshalizi
The Worst Job I Ever Had | STANTON AND DELIVER
The thing I find implausible about this (very well-told) story is the absence of _live_ insects.
insects  gross  labor  moral_psychology  adolescence  via:unfogged  have_read  blogged 
november 2014 by cshalizi
Information Networks: Evidence from Illegal Insider Trading Tips by Kenneth R. Ahern :: SSRN
The description given by A. Z. Jacobs cannot be bettered: "Insider trading happening adorably between childhood BFFs, not professional contacts." (https://twitter.com/az_jacobs/status/525003389713653761)

--- After reading through: a truly heroic piece of data acquisition. Not wild about things like OLS and ordinal logistic regression (would it hurt you to use a spline once in a while?), but probably wouldn't affect the over-all trend, which is all this is really good for. One thought not explored here: might the tendency for those further down a tip chain to make more money be part of how these particular networks got caught? (He's sensitive on the, to put it delicately, sample-selection biases, but doesn't go into whether that might be one of them.)
to:NB  social_networks  finance  corruption  economics  network_data_analysis  have_read  blogged  to_teach:baby-nets 
october 2014 by cshalizi
Is Pittsburgh The New Austin? The Austin We Hoped And Dreamed Of, The Austin That Was Foretold?
"Could it be? With low rents, a thriving arts scene, and old-school American authenticity, one city may be becoming the unexpected new home for a generation: Pittsburgh, PA. But is it truly the new Austin—the new Austin that was foretold to us? Do we dare dream it so?
"Up-and-coming millennials are among those hit hardest by the sluggish economy, and they’re looking for the next affordable, undiscovered city to settle in. Could their long quest be at its end? The historically rich steel-manufacturing town is home to over 40 colleges and universities brimming with young people, all with one shared dream: to be the next Austin. Not the Austin of old, but the one to come, promised to each other in shared dreams and secret whispers.
"Could it be possible that we have found the worthy successor to Austin?
"“But what of Portland?” one might ask.
"“What of Portland,” indeed. For years, tales of old claimed the Pacific Northwest city was the promised land—a new Eden upon this earth, where men and women would be free to think, and live, and love. A blossoming Eden teeming with hope and food trucks.
"But the old tales are clear reminders that the devil himself could not craft a trap so beautiful in its deceitfulness. And now, we ask, could our salvation lie in the City of Steel? It can. It must.
"“The journey has been long, and the trials have been many,” says Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto, “But young people looking for working-class authenticity surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery need look no further. It is written.”
"From microbreweries, to vegan dining, to endless converted industrial living and studio spaces, Pittsburgh may finally give a lost generation of wanderers a city to call home.
"“Oh, yeah, Pittsburgh is totally the new Austin,” said 26-year-old recent transplant and reclaimed wood sculptor Melinda Rodriguez. “The Austin foretold to us by our fathers and their fathers. The circle is complete.”
"Shooing away her pug with her foot, she added, “Speak not to me of Brooklyn. That name is a curse.”"

--- _The Onion_ is America's finest source of urbanism.
funny:pointed  funny:because_its_true  pittsburgh  class_struggles_in_america  have_read  blogged 
october 2014 by cshalizi
Pre-Columbian mycobacterial genomes reveal seals as a source of New World human tuberculosis : Nature : Nature Publishing Group
"Modern strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the Americas are closely related to those from Europe, supporting the assumption that human tuberculosis was introduced post-contact1. This notion, however, is incompatible with archaeological evidence of pre-contact tuberculosis in the New World2. Comparative genomics of modern isolates suggests that M. tuberculosis attained its worldwide distribution following human dispersals out of Africa during the Pleistocene epoch3, although this has yet to be confirmed with ancient calibration points. Here we present three 1,000-year-old mycobacterial genomes from Peruvian human skeletons, revealing that a member of the M. tuberculosis complex caused human disease before contact. The ancient strains are distinct from known human-adapted forms and are most closely related to those adapted to seals and sea lions. Two independent dating approaches suggest a most recent common ancestor for the M. tuberculosis complex less than 6,000 years ago, which supports a Holocene dispersal of the disease. Our results implicate sea mammals as having played a role in transmitting the disease to humans across the ocean."

--- Shorter: tuberculosis was spread around the world by _seals_.
to:NB  historical_genetics  tuberculosis  plagues_and_peoples  to_read  blogged 
october 2014 by cshalizi
Pinboard Turns Five (Pinboard Blog)
"I enjoy the looking-glass aspect of our industry, where running a mildly profitable small business makes me a crazy maverick not afraid to break all the rules."
networked_life  moral_psychology  blogged  ceglowski.maciej 
july 2014 by cshalizi
Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Eigenmorality
- Observations:
1. The idea that justice is doing good to one's friends and harm to one's enemies is actually _in_ Plato (it's proposed in _Republic_ I 332d, and rejected by Socrates with downright sophistry). --- ETA: doing good to one's friends and harm to one's enemies is however revived as a desideratum for the guardians of the ideal city (_Republic_ II 375), and its psychological plausibility is held to be established by the fact (!) that pure-bred dogs are lovers of knowledge and wisdom (II 376). I am not, as they say, making this up.
2. The idea that justice is doing good to the good and bad to the wicked is also in Plato (_Republic_ I 334d -- 335b). This is not _quite_ the "eigenmoses" idea. It too is rejected because treating people badly makes them worse (I 335c), and because it's supposedly "it is certainly not the property of good to do harm, or treat people badly" (335d), which seems question-begging.
3. The problem of two internally-cooperating but mutually-hostile sub-populations seems insuperable for this approach.
4. I still very much like the idea of using self-consistent linear algebra to break out of vicious circles (cf. http://bactra.org/weblog/479.html).
ethics  moral_philosophy  evolution_of_cooperation  eigenproblems  pagerank  have_read  aaronson.scott  series_of_footnotes  one_mans_vicious_circle_is_another_mans_successive_approximation  blogged 
june 2014 by cshalizi
More Words, Deeper Hole - Today's thought
"Egypt was already 11 dynasties old when the last mammoth died on Wrangel Island."
historical_perspective  nicoll.james  world_history  blogged 
march 2014 by cshalizi
Yes, Kickstarter raises more money for artists than the NEA. Here’s why that’s not really surprising
This is right and fine as far as it goes, but it omits the crucial point that donations to arts charities are _tax-deductible_, i.e., federally subsidized. _That_ is the huge channel of government support for the arts in the US, and of course it's directed towards the arts liked by those rich enough to really benefit from a tax deduction. (Kickstarter donations are not, so far as I know, tax-deductible.) --- I didn't appreciate this point until listening to Gabriel Rossman's course on the sociology of mass communications; I can't recall who he attributed it to.

- A little digging suggests I was thinking of this guest lecture by Frederic Martel, though I haven't re-listened to try to trace the genealogy:
kickstarter  public_policy  art  via:whimsley  blogged 
july 2013 by cshalizi
[1306.4943] Failure of Calibration is Typical
"Schervish (1985b) showed that every forecasting system is noncalibrated for uncountably many data sequences that it might see. This result is strengthened here: from a topological point of view, failure of calibration is typical and calibration rare. Meanwhile, Bayesian forecasters are certain that they are calibrated---this invites worries about the connection between Bayesianism and rationality."

--- Are _large_ failures of calibration typical? Or are these trivial violatins?
calibration  prediction  bayesianism  bayesian_consistency  statistics  in_NB  blogged  have_read 
june 2013 by cshalizi
Single World Intervention Graphs (SWIGs): A Unification of the Counterfactual and Graphical Approaches to Causality
"We present a simple graphical theory unifying causal directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) and potential (aka counterfactual) outcomes via a node-splitting transformation. We introduce a new graph, the Single-World Intervention Graph (SWIG). The SWIG encodes the counterfactual independences as- sociated with a specific hypothetical intervention on the set of treatment variables. The nodes on the SWIG are the corresponding counterfactual random variables. We illustrate the theory with a number of examples. Our graphical theory of SWIGs may be used to infer the counterfactual indepen- dence relations implied by the counterfactual models developed in Robins (1986, 1987). Moreover, in the absence of hidden variables, the joint dis- tribution of the counterfactuals is identified; the identifying formula is the extended g-computation formula introduced in (Robins et al., 2004). Al- though Robins (1986, 1987) did not use DAGs we translate his algebraic results to facilitate understanding of this prior work. An attractive feature of Robins’ approach is that it largely avoids making counterfactual inde- pendence assumptions that are experimentally untestable. As an important illustration we revisit the critique of Robins’ g-computation given in (Pearl, 2009, Ch. 11.3.7); we use SWIGs to show that all of Pearl’s claims are either erroneous or based on misconceptions.
We also show that simple extensions of the formalism may be used to accommodate dynamic regimes, and to formulate non-parametric structural equation models in which assumptions relating to the absence of direct ef- fects are formulated at the population level. Finally, we show that our graphical theory also naturally arises in the context of an expanded causal Bayesian network in which we are able to observe the natural state of a variable prior to intervention."
have_read  graphical_models  causal_inference  causality  robins.james  richardson.thomas  via:ogburn  in_NB  entableted  blogged 
may 2013 by cshalizi
Shalizi , Rinaldo : Consistency under sampling of exponential random graph models
"The growing availability of network data and of scientific interest in distributed systems has led to the rapid development of statistical models of network structure. Typically, however, these are models for the entire network, while the data consists only of a sampled sub-network. Parameters for the whole network, which is what is of interest, are estimated by applying the model to the sub-network. This assumes that the model is consistent under sampling, or, in terms of the theory of stochastic processes, that it defines a projective family. Focusing on the popular class of exponential random graph models (ERGMs), we show that this apparently trivial condition is in fact violated by many popular and scientifically appealing models, and that satisfying it drastically limits ERGM’s expressive power. These results are actually special cases of more general results about exponential families of dependent random variables, which we also prove. Using such results, we offer easily checked conditions for the consistency of maximum likelihood estimation in ERGMs, and discuss some possible constructive responses."

--- Open version: http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.3054
in_NB  have_written  exponential_families  exponential_family_random_graphs  network_data_analysis  blogged  statistics  stochastic_processes  estimation  re:your_favorite_ergm_sucks 
april 2013 by cshalizi
The Pinboard Investment Co-Prosperity Cloud
"I have no understanding of the concept of humor. Can you explain this in a way that makes sense to me?
"Yes. The project aims to draw attention to the fact that if you have access to technical labor, the startup and operating costs for an online project in 2013 are negligible. The biggest obstacle to creating something useful is finding the time to build it and attracting an initial pool of paying customers.
"I can't help you with the former, but I will try to help with the latter by publicizing your efforts and helping you get your project established. I will also give you as much business advice as you like, although that is probably worth much less than the $37.
"Can you explain it in words of one syllable?
"It is cheap to start a site, but hard to get your name out there. I will give you a small bit of cash and ask the world to go look at what you made.
"Can you explain it in PR-speak?
"In 2012, Internet thought leader Maciej Cegłowski rocked the startup community with his provocative slogan ‘Barely Succeed’, challenging prospective entrepreneurs to reject the lottery culture of Silicon Valley in favor of small, sustainable projects that could give them a more realistic shot at financial independence.
"Today he has unleashed the second part of his business philosophy, 'Barely Invest', which shatters the myth that financing is the main obstacle to creating a small technology business. In a world where social capital has become the bottleneck to success, Cegłowski intends to seize the commanding heights of the New Economy as the Internet's premier social capitalist."
pinboard  vicious_parody  capitalism  our_decrepit_institutions  via:chl  ceglowski.maciej  blogged 
december 2012 by cshalizi
Classic Movies in Miniature Style on the Behance Network
I think _Alien_ and _Star Wars_ may be the best, but really they're all good. (Especially having re-read _My Name Is Red_ recently...)
funny:geeky  art  via:asarwate  blogged  cultural_exchange 
july 2012 by cshalizi
Equilibrium in the Jungle (Piccione and Rubinstein)
"We introduce and analyse an elementary model of a society, called the jungle, in which economic transactions are governed by coercion. The jungle consists of a set of individuals, who have exogenous preferences over a bounded set of consumption bundles (their capacity to consume is finite), and of an exogenous ranking of the agents according to their strength. This ranking is unambiguous and known to all. Power, in our model, has a simple and strict meaning: a stronger agent is able to take resources from a weaker agent.
"The jungle model mirrors the standard model of an exchange economy. In both models, the preferences of the agents over commodity bundles and the total endowment of goods are given. The distribution of power in the jungle is the counterpart of the distribution of endowments in the market. As the incentives to produce or collect the goods are ignored in an exchange economy, so are the incentives to build strength in the jungle.
"We define a jungle equilibrium as a feasible allocation of goods such that no agent would like and is able to take goods held by a weaker agent. We demonstrate several properties that equilibrium allocation of the jungle shares with the equilibrium allocation of an exchange economy. In particular, we will show that under standard assumptions a jungle equilibrium exists and is Pareto efficient. In addition, we will show that there exist prices that 'almost' support the jungle equilibrium as a competitive equilibrium."

Blogged: http://bactra.org/weblog/942.html
economics  power  rubinstein.ariel  via:brendano  have_read  blogged  in_NB 
june 2012 by cshalizi
Stock Market Behavior Predicted by Rat Neurons
"We here report for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, rat motor cortex neurons predicting the behavior of the American stock market. We implanted the motor cortex of the brains of rats with silicon electrodes. Using the correlation technique, we monitored the activity of neurons in our rats while simultaneously tracking the activity of stocks in the U.S. stock market."
have_read  to:NB  neuroscience  finance  statistics  prediction  multiple_testing  bad_data_analysis  funny:geeky  funny:malicious  via:mejn  blogged  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
march 2012 by cshalizi
2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse by Matthew Restall - Powell's Books
"Did the Maya really predict that the world would end in December of 2012? If not, how and why has 2012 millenarianism gained such popular appeal? In this deeply knowledgeable book, two leading historians of the Maya answer these questions in a succinct, readable, and accessible style. Matthew Restall and Amara Solari introduce, explain, and ultimately demystify the 2012 phenomenon. They begin by briefly examining the evidence for the prediction of the world's end in ancient Maya texts and images, analyzing precisely what Maya priests did and did not prophesize. The authors then convincingly show how 2012 millenarianism has roots far in time and place from Maya cultural traditions, but in those of medieval and Early Modern Western Europe. Revelatory and myth-busting, while remaining firmly grounded in historical fact, this fascinating book will be essential reading as the countdown to December 21, 2012, begins." --- They're speaking here on Nov. 28th, but I suspect I won't be able to make it.
millenarianism  apocalypticism  maya_civilization  historical_myths  debunking  cultural_appropriation  history_of_ideas  psychoceramics  in_NB  books:recommended  have_read  blogged  books:owned 
november 2011 by cshalizi
Quantum Chaotic Thoughts: Unconditional Justice
No, no, no. I like harshing on lawyers as much as the next scientist, but actually reading the news story suggests something much more reasonable. The judge on the appeals court was not, it seems, throwing out Bayes's theorem, but rather refusing to be cowed by Bayes's theorem when the base rates and the likelihoods appearing in it are wild-ass guesses. To quote the news story Mason links to: "And so he decided that Bayes' theorem shouldn't again be used unless the underlying statistics are "firm"." This is, of course, the completely correct attitude; otherwise, the Bayesian posterior is simply without any evidential value whatsoever, and the difference between an expert stating "I'm, like, really sure" and "My posterior probability is 0.99" lies entirely in the latter's spurious precision.
law  evidence  statistics  base_rates  bayes_rule  bayesianism  accuracy_vs_precision  blogged  porter.mason_a. 
october 2011 by cshalizi
[1108.0833] Temporal statistical analysis on human article creation patterns
Sadly, in this case fitting crappy power laws to the works of Gene Stanley and Laszlo Barabasi is not an_intentional_ joke.
bad_data_analysis  heavy_tails  barabasi.albert-laszlo  stanley.h._eugene  newman.mark  have_read  blogged  su.shi  shot_after_a_fair_trial 
august 2011 by cshalizi
Confirmation in the Cognitive Sciences: The Problematic Case of Bayesian Models
"Bayesian models of human learning are becoming increasingly popular in cognitive science. We argue that their purported confirmation largely relies on a methodology that depends on premises that are inconsistent with the claim that people are Bayesian about learning and inference. Bayesian models in cognitive science derive their appeal from their normative claim that the modeled inference is in some sense rational. Standard accounts of the rationality of Bayesian inference imply predictions that an agent selects the option that maximizes the posterior expected utility. Experimental confirmation of the models, however, has been claimed because of groups of agents that “probability match” the posterior. Probability matching only constitutes support for the Bayesian claim if additional unobvious and untested (but testable) assumptions are invoked. The alternative strategy of weakening the underlying notion of rationality no longer distinguishes the Bayesian model uniquely."
philosophy_of_science  cognitive_science  bayesianism  kith_and_kin  have_read  re:phil-of-bayes_paper  blogged  eberhardt.frederick  danks.david 
july 2011 by cshalizi
TopatoCo: "Keep Calm and Shoot Them in the Head" Print
Would it be wrong to put this up in the office, across from the student chair?  (Yes, probably, but oh so tempting.)
zombies  funny:geeky  affectionate_parody  coveted  blogged 
march 2011 by cshalizi
Ghosts in the Hollow on Vimeo
"Let the flowers be forgotten/ Sprinkle coal dust on my grave/ In remembrance of the UMWA"
via:?  labor  appalachia  modern_ruins  blogged 
september 2010 by cshalizi
Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan... | Foreign Policy
Someone's digitizing the photos from my grandfather's book!
kith_and_kin  afghanistan  photos  via:aks  blogged 
june 2010 by cshalizi
Matthew Yglesias » Sexy Teen Trend Data
"Obviously, this data I’ve cited is perhaps open to some criticisms or alternate interpretations. But Flanagan doesn’t dispute it, doesn’t cite alternate data, and doesn’t even seem to be aware of the possibility of discussing social trends in terms of evidence rather than assertion."
utter_stupidity  why_oh_why_cant_we_have_a_better_press_corps  running_dogs_of_reaction  natural_history_of_truthiness  flanagan.caitlin  yglesias.matthew  practices_relating_to_the_transmission_of_genetic_information  blogged 
june 2010 by cshalizi
Phantom of Heilbronn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In which the combined police forces of Europe spend years chasing a female serial killer known only from DNA evidence, only to find that it's all down to contaminated cotton swabs from a single supplier!

Teaching note for data mining: This should make a great example of the importance of getting the data right, before worrying about the statistical processing...
via:arsyed  serial_killers  to_teach:data-mining  bad_data  DNA_testing  forensics  wtf  inference_to_latent_objects  blogged 
may 2010 by cshalizi
[1004.3138] Statistical Analysis of Global Connectivity and Activity Distributions in Cellular Networks
"we analyze a comprehensive data set of protein-protein and transcriptional regulatory interaction networks in yeast, an E. coli metabolic network, and gene activity profiles for different metabolic states in both organisms. We show that in all cases the networks have a heavy-tailed distribution, but most of them present significant differences from a power-law model according to a stringent statistical test. Those few data sets that have a statistically significant fit with a power-law model follow other distributions equally well. Thus, while our analysis supports that both global connectivity interaction networks and activity distributions are heavy-tailed, they are not generally described by any specific distribution model, leaving space for further inferences on generative models."
have_read  biochemical_networks  heavy_tails  blogged 
april 2010 by cshalizi
Language Log » The defend-your-turf area?
Watching MYL debunking tendentious appropriations of neuroscience _again_, the phrase "One must imagine Liberman happy" comes to mind...
debunking  utter_stupidity  sexist_idiocy  neuroscience  sex_differences  rats  liberman.mark  brizendine.louann  blogged 
march 2010 by cshalizi
Developmental Decomposition and the Future of Human Behavioral Ecology (Kitcher, 1990)
Warning: it turns out that his case study for his approach is the development of the incest taboo, and he's pretty free in quoting the clinical literature about how exactly the taboo gets broken. This actually has considerable redeeming intellectual value, but is still not for the squeamish and/or victimized.
evolutionary_psychology  behavioral_ecology  human_evolution  kitcher.philip  philosophy_of_science  explanation  psychology  incest  have_read  blogged 
december 2009 by cshalizi
Power-Law Distributions in Empirical Data
Begun fall 2004, submitted to this journal at the end of 2007, finally appearing 2009.
self-centered  blogged 
november 2009 by cshalizi
Causal Inference in Statistics: An Overview (Pearl, 2009)
Described by Uncle Judea as "A new survey paper, gently summarizing everything I know about causation (in only 43 pages)".
causality  causal_inference  statistics  pearl.judea  blogged  have_read 
september 2009 by cshalizi
YouTube - Ah Pook The Destroyer
"One of those gobs of grease is our universe on its way to the floor - splat!"
burroughs.william_s.  nukes  you_stupid_greedy_vulgar_ugly_american_deathsucker  blogged 
july 2009 by cshalizi
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