The O.R. factory: High volume, big dollars, rising tension at Swedish’s Cherry Hill hospital
From NICAR email:

The main story documents the rise of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute and its top surgeons. We mined the state’s Comprehensive Abstract Reporting System, which provided case-level data for all patients admitted to hospitals and allowed us to quantify caseloads and billed charges for the top neuro and spine specialists. Data also show some patients have undergone more invasive surgeries than available alternatives, particularly in the treatment of brain aneurysms...

Hey folks, just wanted to draw your attention to our latest project. Over the weekend, the Seattle Times began publishing “Quantity of Care” an ongoing investigation into one of Seattle’s most respected hospitals and its neuroscience institute. The Times spent a year digging into the inner workings of Swedish-Cherry Hill and found an institution in turmoil. The hospital had shifted its business approach to incentivize high volume, big dollar surgical procedures, enriching its star brain and spine surgeons in the process. As caseloads increased, so did the concerns of other doctors and medical staff from inside the building: unnecessary surgeries, high rates of complications, issues of patient safety.
compciv  padjo  data-journalism  compjoproject 
10 days ago
Learn to Live with Academic Rankings | November 2016 | Communications of the ACM
As an academic, I also produce such numbers. I assign grades to my students. I strive to have the assigned grade accurately reflect a student's grasp of the material in my course. But I know this is imperfect. At best, the grade reflects the student's knowledge today. When a prospective employer looks at it two years later, it is possible an A student had crammed for the exam and has since completely forgotten the material, while a B student deepened his or her understanding substantially through a subsequent internship. The employer must learn to get past the grade to develop a richer understanding of the student's strengths and weaknesses.
24 days ago
One Dataset, Visualized 25 Ways | FlowingData
Looking at more advanced visualization, you might find yourself wanting to do the same or some variation. That’s good. But if you’re brand new to the practice, programming, or the software, it might feel like a long path to get to where you want to go. That’s fine too.
advice  data  visualization 
4 weeks ago
Kissinger’s Files and Invisible Ink Recipes: C.I.A. Trove Has It All - The New York Times
For those who believe the truth is out there, the website has a collection of reports on unidentified flying objects, and capitalized on interest in last year’s “X-Files” reboot by posting the “top five documents Mulder would love to get his hands on.”

After journalists at MuckRock, a news site, filed Freedom of Information Act requests for access to the Crest database, the C.I.A. said in 2015 that it would take 28 years to publish. In 2015, the agency cut its estimate to six years, and said the documents would be delivered on 1,200 compact discs at the price of $108,000.

Put off by what he perceived as stalling, Mr. Best crowdfunded $15,000 to print, scan and publish files himself. In October, the C.I.A. said it would post the files.

“C.I.A. made significant architectural and procedural changes to load and index the Crest documents more quickly,” said Heather Fritz Horniak, a spokeswoman for the C.I.A. “This means that we were able to post the entire Crest collection, totaling nearly 13 million pages, online much earlier than anticipated.”
5 weeks ago
Orphan Drug Rules Manipulated By Industry To Create Prized Monopolies : Shots - Health News : NPR
More than 30 years ago, Congress overwhelmingly passed a landmark health bill aimed at motivating pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for people whose rare diseases had been ignored.

By the drugmakers' calculations, the markets for such diseases weren't big enough to bother with.

But lucrative financial incentives created by the Orphan Drug Act signed into law by President Reagan in 1983 succeeded far beyond anyone's expectations. More than 200 companies have brought almost 450 so-called orphan drugs to market since the law took effect.

Read our second orphan drug story

High Prices For Orphan Drugs Strain Families And Insurers
High Prices For Orphan Drugs Strain Families And Insurers
Yet a Kaiser Health News investigation shows that the system intended to help desperate patients is being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines already being taken by millions. The companies aren't breaking the law but they are using the Orphan Drug Act to their advantage in ways that its architects say they didn't foresee or intend. Today, many orphan medicines, originally developed to treat diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people, come with astronomical price tags.
5 weeks ago
How Many People Will Attend Trump's Inauguration? Why to Take Turnout Estimates With a Grain of Salt | NBC4 Washington
To attempt an accurate estimate, analysts must take into account differences in crowd density in different places of the Mall. For example, far from the Capitol, crowds are often clustered in front of Jumbotrons but more sparse elsewhere.
5 weeks ago
Today, you are an Astronaut. You are floating in inner space 100 miles above the surface of Earth. You peer through your window and this is what you see. You are people watching. These are fleeting moments.

These videos come from YouTube. They were uploaded in the last week and have titles like DSC 1234 and IMG 4321. They have almost zero previous views. They are unnamed, unedited, and unseen by anyone but YOU.

The Astronaut video stream starts when you press GO. Videos change periodically. If you wish to linger, tap the button.
apis  best  project-idea 
5 weeks ago
Biopharma Can't Keep Getting Blindsided by Trump - Bloomberg Gadfly
This dream was a fiction. An early clue was a Time magazine interview in December, when Trump pledged to bring down drug prices, a warning that took 3 percent off the NBI. Then, in a press conference on Wednesday, Trump accused the industry of "getting away with murder" and pledged to save billions of dollars in government health-care spending by forcing companies to bid for business. That caused the NBI to immediately drop another 3 percent.
politics  pharmalot 
6 weeks ago
How The Chicago Reporter Made 'Settling for Misconduct' - Features - Source: An OpenNews project
The Chicago Reporter was a few days from publishing a major investigation into lawsuits against Chicago police when we learned we needed to revise a number in our story.

A city bond issue, used to pay for two years of settlements and judgments of police misconduct, would end up costing Chicagoans $530 million after interest payments—a number higher than we previously thought.

Our conclusion? “We’re gonna need a bigger chart.” Five hundred and thirty million wouldn’t fit the Y-axis of our bar graph.

It was a fitting wrap to the years-long project, which, in a lot of ways, seemed outsized for a six-person nonprofit newsroom.

In researching Settling for Misconduct, we had to account for details from hundreds of county and federal court filings, identify thousands of officers named in civil complaints and tally hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary awards.
data-journalism  best 
6 weeks ago
From Python to Numpy
There are already a fair number of books about Numpy (see Bibliography) and a legitimate question is to wonder if another book is really necessary. As you may have guessed by reading these lines, my personal answer is yes, mostly because I think there is room for a different approach concentrating on the migration from Python to Numpy through vectorization. There are a lot of techniques that you don't find in books and such techniques are mostly learned through experience. The goal of this book is to explain some of these techniques and to provide an opportunity for making this experience in the process.
numpy  python  book  best 
6 weeks ago
Doctors & Sex Abuse: About the AJC’s investigation of doctor misconduct
At that point, our data journalism team wrote computer programs to “crawl” regulators’ websites – a process known as scraping – and obtain board orders. This required building about 50 such programs tailored to agencies across the country. That collected more than 100,000 disciplinary documents. To assist us in identifying those involving sexual misconduct, we then created a computer program based on “machine learning” to analyze each case and, based on keywords, give each a probability rating that it was related to a case of physician sexual misconduct.
compciv  best  investigations 
6 weeks ago
Deep Text Correcter
While context-sensitive spell-check systems (such as AutoCorrect) are able to automatically correct a large number of input errors in instant messaging, email, and SMS messages, they are unable to correct even simple grammatical errors. For example, the message “I’m going to store” would be unaffected by typical autocorrection systems, when the user most likely intendend to communicate “I’m going to the store”.
6 weeks ago
Here’s why the fourth member of the Spotlight team has been pretty quiet
Aside from one compelling scene, Carroll’s role in the film isn’t that glamorous. Like in real life, Carroll’s character creates a spreadsheet of the dozens of pastors suspected of sexual abuse, and he and the team go about filling in those data cells with victims’ stories.
compciv  data-journalism 
6 weeks ago
What Death Penalty Opponents Don’t Get | The Marshall Project
There are fates worse than death.

In many states, the expansion—and the very existence—of life without parole sentences can be directly linked to the struggle to end capital punishment. Death penalty opponents often accept—and even zealously promote--life without parole as a preferable option, in the process becoming champions of a punishment that is nearly unknown in the rest of the developing world.
compciv  best 
7 weeks ago
Spotlight, the movie: A personal view – 3 to read – Medium
Me, I was the geek. (Brian d’Arcy James) I reported and wrote, but also created the database of bad priests. It was an effective tool for developing leads about abusive priests who were placed on sick leave or were transferred frequently because of complaints. Creating the spreadsheet is a nice scene in the movie, and among the few (maybe the first) that makes a database a key part of a journalism movie. Go geeks! Brian later said: “Until I met you, I thought a spreadsheet was something you bought at Bed Bath & Beyond.”

What’s obvious now is the huge appetite for entire databases of primary source, searchable documentation. It wasn’t quite as clear then how deep the hunger for that information would be. Well, live and learn. I can only sigh as think about the dozens of boxes of court documents that are now buried in an Iron Mountain facility somewhere. If it happened now, every page would be online and searchable by the end of the business day.
spreadsheets  databases  best  data-journalism 
7 weeks ago
Automated book-culling software drives librarians to create fake patrons to "check out" endangered titles / Boing Boing
Two employees at the East Lake County Library created a fictional patron called Chuck Finley -- entering fake driver's license and address details into the library system -- and then used the account to check out 2,361 books over nine months in 2016, in order to trick the system into believing that the books they loved were being circulated to the library's patrons, thus rescuing the books from automated purges of low-popularity titles.

Library branch supervisor George Dore was suspended for his role in the episode; he said that he was trying to game the algorithm because he knew that these books would come back into vogue and that his library would have to spend extra money re-purchasing them later. He said that other libraries were doing the same thing.
algorithms  compciv  bots 
7 weeks ago
David Fahrenthold tells the behind-the-scenes story of his year covering Trump - The Washington Post
Working with one of The Post’s ace researchers, Alice Crites, I went digging for records that would reveal Trump’s charitable giving, going back to his early days as a Manhattan developer in the 1980s. We looked at old news clippings, detailing Trump’s public statements. And we looked at tax filings from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which had been dug out of storage by New York state.
politics  best  journalism 
7 weeks ago
No Food, No Medicine, No Respite: A Starving Boy’s Death in Venezuela - The New York Times
MATURÍN, Venezuela — His name was Kevin Lara Lugo, and he died on his 16th birthday.

He spent the day before foraging for food in an empty lot, because there was nothing to eat at home. Then in a hospital because what he found made him gravely ill.
8 weeks ago
This Police Department Tosses Aside Rape Reports When A Victim Doesn’t Resist “To The Best Of Her Ability” - BuzzFeed News
Across the country, some police departments claim a vast number of rape reports are false. A BuzzFeed News investigation into a year of “unfounded” rapes in Baltimore County reveals that detectives often don’t investigate them at all — even when the man had been arrested for rape before.
best  compciv  padjo 
9 weeks ago
Binge drinking at UC Berkeley puts strain on emergency services for entire city | abc7news.com
Berkeley firefighter/paramedic: "That is correct. We've had several police officers tell us that from the UC system."
9 weeks ago
Trump's driver's license casts doubt on height claims - POLITICO
Slate, for example, posited that Trump was adding an inch to his height to avoid crossing into obesity territory — he also weighed 236 pounds — on the BMI index. That Slate article pointed to multiple media that pegged Trump as 6-foot-2, including Google, though the search engine now has Trump at 6-foot-3.
compciv  best  foia 
9 weeks ago
Yes you should understand backprop – Medium
When we offered CS231n (Deep Learning class) at Stanford, we intentionally designed the programming assignments to include explicit calculations involved in backpropagation on the lowest level. The students had to implement the forward and the backward pass of each layer in raw numpy. Inevitably, some students complained on the class message boards:
machine-learning  tensorflow 
9 weeks ago
DOCTOR'S WORLD - Doctors Debate Value Of Test That Gauges Health of a Newborn - NYTimes.com
LUSTY cries immediately after birth count for a lot in the struggle for a healthy life. Using the strength of an infant's wails, as well as other signs, pediatricians can rapidly assess the status of a newborn in a test that is known throughout the world as the Apgar score.
heuristics  best  compciv  padjo 
9 weeks ago
Introduction — 50 Examples 1.0 documentation
My goal was to collect interesting short examples of Python programs, examples that tackle a real-world problem and exercise various features of the Python language. I envision this collection as being useful to teachers of Python who want novel examples that will interest their students, and possibly to teachers of mathematics or science who want to apply Python programming to make their subject more concrete and interactive.

Readers may also enjoy dipping into the book to learn about a particular algorithm or technique, and can use the references to pursue further reading on topics that especially interest them.
10 weeks ago
How I Found the Human Being Behind Horse_ebooks, The Internet's Favorite Spambot
The closest I ever came to actually speaking to Alexey was through a former client, a Florida real estate developer named Matthew Simon. Around 2006, Simon wrote an ebook on "How to Buy and Sell Real Estate in the Bahamas," which he sold through Clickbank. While looking for a place to promote his book, he stumbled on one of Alexey's own Clickbank marketing sites. Seeing that it was rife with grammar errors, he offered to edit it; in exchange, Alexey would promote his book, and providing some web design services.
internet  twitter 
10 weeks ago
The Marshall Project Launches Klaxon | The Marshall Project
The Marshall Project has launched a new open-source reporting tool, Klaxon. This web-based program enables reporters and editors to monitor scores of websites, including data-heavy governmental or corporate sites, for newsworthy changes. When Klaxon finds a new update on one of the pages it is watching, the reporter receives an alert via email, or through a designated Slack channel. Marshall Project reporters are already using Klaxon to keep track of death row cases, federal civil rights investigations and government budgets and spending. Today’s “developer’s release” of Klaxon is aimed at journalist coders who want to set it up for their newsroom and to help their colleagues test its features and provide feedback.
10 weeks ago
New York's sex party scene: Daniel Saynt of Socialyte, Nylon, and FashionIndie.com is attempting to disrupt sin with his sex-party start-up — Quartz
On a Sunday afternoon at 2pm, I rang one of the three new buzzers outside a four-story townhouse in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood. I had booked an interview with libertine fashion/tech entrepreneur Daniel Saynt to ask him—amidst swirling controversy and rumors—whether he still thought he could disrupt New York’s secret sex-party scene.
10 weeks ago
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