About the Genographic Project - National Geographic
"Access to the DNA Analysis Repository (DAR) is available for scientists and genealogists through an online application" --- so probably not suitable for classroom use, or at least that would take some negotiation.
3 days ago
now publishers - Convex Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity
"This monograph presents the main complexity theorems in convex optimization and their corresponding algorithms. Starting from the fundamental theory of black-box optimization, the material progresses towards recent advances in structural optimization and stochastic optimization. Our presentation of black-box optimization, strongly influenced by Nesterov’s seminal book and Nemirovski’s lecture notes, includes the analysis of cutting plane methods, as well as (accelerated) gradient descent schemes. We also pay special attention to non- Euclidean settings (relevant algorithms include Frank-Wolfe, mirror descent, and dual averaging) and discuss their relevance in machine learning. We provide a gentle introduction to structural optimization with FISTA (to optimize a sum of a smooth and a simple non-smooth term), saddle-point mirror prox (Nemirovski’s alternative to Nesterov’s smoothing), and a concise description of interior point methods. In stochastic optimization we discuss stochastic gradient descent, minibatches, random coordinate descent, and sublinear algorithms. We also briefly touch upon convex relaxation of combinatorial problems and the use of randomness to round solutions, as well as random walks based methods."
to:NB  to_read  optimization  stochastic_approximation  computational_complexity  convexity 
7 days ago
High Dimensional Statistics (Rinaldo)
"In big-data problems, it is often the case that the statistical complexity of a single datum is increasing in the sample size. In these instances, the classical statistical modeling approach, which is predicated on the assumption that the number of model parameters remains fixed as the sample size grows unbounded, is no longer applicable. In contrast, high-dimensional statistical models allow for the number of model parameters to change with the sample size, so that, as more data are gathered, models of increasing complexity and predictive power can be used. In order to formalize statistical tasks and evaluate the theoretical performance of statistical procedures in high-dimensional settings, it is necessary to use a different suite of techniques and theories than in traditional statistics.
"The learning objectives of this course are two-fold. The first goal is present various concentration inequalities techniques to derive finite sample upper bounds on the performance of high-dimensional algorithms. The second goal is to exemplify the use of such techniques on various problems borrowed from the current literature, including high-dimensional regression and compressed sensing, matrix completion, high-dimensional graphical modeling, community detection, network analysis, etc. "
--- First of two mini-courses, second is at http://www.stat.cmu.edu/~arinaldo/36789/
statistics  concentration_of_measure  high-dimensional_statistics  kith_and_kin  rinaldo.alessandro 
7 days ago
Bresson, A.; Rendall, S.,: The Making of the Ancient Greek Economy: Institutions, Markets, and Growth in the City-States. (eBook and Hardcover)
"This comprehensive introduction to the ancient Greek economy revolutionizes our understanding of the subject and its possibilities. Alain Bresson is one of the world’s leading authorities in the field, and he is helping to redefine it. Here he combines a thorough knowledge of ancient sources with innovative new approaches grounded in recent economic historiography to provide a detailed picture of the Greek economy between the last century of the Archaic Age and the closing of the Hellenistic period. Focusing on the city-state, which he sees as the most important economic institution in the Greek world, Bresson addresses all of the city-states rather than only Athens.
"An expanded and updated English edition of an acclaimed work originally published in French, the book offers a groundbreaking new theoretical framework for studying the economy of ancient Greece; presents a masterful survey and analysis of the most important economic institutions, resources, and other factors; and addresses some major historiographical debates. Among the many topics covered are climate, demography, transportation, agricultural production, market institutions, money and credit, taxes, exchange, long-distance trade, and economic growth."
to:NB  books:noted  economic_history  ancient_history 
8 days ago
America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker - The Huffington Post
The whole series is incredible, and too full of perfectly everyday abuses for any excerpt to do it justice. But I can't help flagging a point of parochial interest, from chapter 4, where J&J is hiring a company to seed the medical literature with propaganda:

"“No other medical education company has the tremendous access to top opinion leaders that Excerpta Medica does … ” Excerpta promised. “Our parent company, Reed Elsevier, is the largest supplier of medical information in the world, publishing over 700 medical journals in almost every conceivable therapeutic area. Each journal has an editorial board composed of renown specialists throughout the world who are available to us as consultants, advisory board members, speakers, and in other capacities. We provide this significant access to all of our clients.” (The Excerpta connection to the giant Europe-based publisher would be severed in 2010, when it was sold to a unit of the giant advertising agency Omnicom.)"

(I also want to acknowledge that, fair's fair, this incredible piece of well-documented journalism is coming from Huffington Post, so my last tag is a genuine question for once.)
have_read  corruption  medicine  our_decrepit_institutions  deceiving_us_has_become_an_industrial_process  to:blog  psychotherapy  why_oh_why_cant_we_have_a_better_press_corps 
11 days ago
Filtering, Prediction and Simulation Methods for Noncausal Processes - Gourieroux - 2015 - Journal of Time Series Analysis - Wiley Online Library
"This article discusses filtering, prediction and simulation in univariate and multivariate noncausal processes. A closed-form functional estimator of the predictive density for noncausal and mixed processes is introduced that provides prediction intervals up to a finite horizon H. A state-space representation of a noncausal and mixed multivariate vector autoregressive process is derived in two ways-by the partial fraction decomposition or from the real Jordan canonical form. A recursive BHHH algorithm for the maximization of the approximate log-likelihood function is proposed, which calculates the filtered values of the unobserved causal and noncausal components of the process. The new methods are illustrated by a simulation study involving a univariate noncausal process with infinite variance."
to:NB  time_series  prediction  statistics 
12 days ago
A Predictive Approach to Model Selection - Journal of the American Statistical Association - Volume 74, Issue 365
"This article offers a synthesis of Bayesian and sample-reuse approaches to the problem of high structure model selection geared to prediction. Similar methods are used for low structure models. Nested and nonnested paradigms are discussed and examples given."

--- Submitted 1977!
in_NB  have_read  prediction  model_selection  statistics  cross-validation  geisser.seymour  eddy.william_f.  kith_and_kin 
17 days ago
A Very British Family
""It is a rule that no Trevelyan ever sucks up either to the press, or the chiefs, or the 'right people.' The world has given us money enough to enable us to do what we think is right. We thank it for that and ask no more of it, but to be allowed to serve it" - G.M. Trevelyan
"The Trevelyans are unique in British social and political history: a family which for several generations dedicated themselves to the service and chronicling of their country, from the radical, reforming civil servant Charles Edward Trevelyan to the historian G.M. Trevelyan. Often eccentric, priggish, high minded and utterly self-regarding, they have nonetheless left their mark on our past. This engaging history dispassionately explores the lives and achievements of this unique family and the part they played in shaping the history of Great Britain."

(Notice the name of the author.)
books:noted  lives_of_the_scholars 
20 days ago
The Politics of Local Participatory Democracy in Latin America: Institutions, Actors, and Interactions | Françoise Montambeault
"Participatory democracy innovations aimed at bringing citizens back into local governance processes are now at the core of the international democratic development agenda. Municipalities around the world have adopted local participatory mechanisms of various types in the last two decades, including participatory budgeting, the flagship Brazilian program, and participatory planning, as it is the case in several Mexican municipalities. Yet, institutionalized participatory mechanisms have had mixed results in practice at the municipal level. So why and how does success vary? This book sets out to answer that question.
"Defining democratic success as a transformation of state-society relationships, the author goes beyond the clientelism/democracy dichotomy and reveals that four types of state-society relationships can be observed in practice: clientelism, disempowering co-option, fragmented inclusion, and democratic cooperation.
"Using this typology, and drawing on the comparative case study of four cities in Mexico and Brazil, the book demonstrates that the level of democratic success is best explained by an approach that accounts for institutional design, structural conditions of mobilization, and the configurations, strategies, behaviors, and perceptions of both state and societal actors.
"Thus, institutional change alone does not guarantee democratic success: the way these institutional changes are enacted by both political and social actors is even more important as it conditions the potential for an autonomous civil society to emerge and actively engage with the local state in the social construction of an inclusive citizenship."
to:NB  books:noted  democracy 
24 days ago
Machine Learning & Non-Linear Models
Lecture slides for a computational sociology course. I hope I may be forgiven a little pride in noting that all of this is material from our undergraduate courses.
regression  additive_models  classifiers  decision_trees  statistics  ensemble_methods  sociology  via:kjhealy  have_read 
26 days ago
CRAN - Package ridge
"Linear and logistic ridge regression for small data sets and genome-wide SNP data"
R  regression  statistics  ridge_regression  to_teach:mreg  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
28 days ago
The Dangers Ahead if Tech Unicorns Get Gored - WSJ
"You might ask why startup founders and their boards aren’t warier of these terms. I think the answer is that the tech industry is currently in the grip of a powerful cultural phenomenon: the cult of the unicorn.
"It manifests in a hundred ways large and small—over-the-top compensation, exploding prices for office space, startup founders prioritizing valuation above deal terms, and most disturbingly, an increasingly complicated menagerie of means by which financiers can convince startups to take on more debt.
"What I worry about most in this climate isn’t the individual deals signed at questionable valuations and under potentially onerous terms, but the sum of all of these deals, and the unpredictable way they could all quickly unravel at once if companies are unable to go public, be acquired or continue through endless rounds of private financing.
"Despite their fondness for playing them on Twitter, venture capitalists aren’t macroeconomists. And to those who seem to believe that the current state of affairs is sustainable, I would ask this: When in history has ever-increasing financial complexity, lack of transparency, perverse incentives and new ways to extend credit and increase leverage not eventually led to disaster?"

--- Surely a simpler explanation is that the founders and their boards are _not_ liable if the company goes belly up? If they can pull it off, they get ridiculous amounts of money; if they fail, they've still been well-compensated for several years, and can go on to try something else.
--- Also, I still can't tell what Mims thinks would happen if these all collapsed, beyond offering some relief to Bay Area real estate prices.
the_wired_ideology  mims.christopher  have_read 
28 days ago
Measures of Complexity - Festschrift for Alexey Chervonenkis | Vladimir Vovk | Springer
"This book brings together historical notes, reviews of research developments, fresh ideas on how to make VC (Vapnik–Chervonenkis) guarantees tighter, and new technical contributions in the areas of machine learning, statistical inference, classification, algorithmic statistics, and pattern recognition."
to:NB  learning_theory  empirical_processes  vc-dimension  books:noted 
4 weeks ago
Vector Generalized Linear and Additive Models - With an | Thomas W. Yee | Springer
"This book presents a greatly enlarged statistical framework compared to generalized linear models (GLMs) with which to approach regression modelling. Comprising of about half-a-dozen major classes of statistical models, and fortified with necessary infrastructure to make the models more fully operable, the framework allows analyses based on many semi-traditional applied statistics models to be performed as a coherent whole.
"Since their advent in 1972, GLMs have unified important distributions under a single umbrella with enormous implications. However, GLMs are not flexible enough to cope with the demands of practical data analysis. And data-driven GLMs, in the form of generalized additive models (GAMs), are also largely confined to the exponential family. The methodology here and accompanying software (the extensive VGAM R package) are directed at these limitations and are described comprehensively for the first time in one volume. This book treats distributions and classical models as generalized regression models, and the result is a much broader application base for GLMs and GAMs.
"The book can be used in senior undergraduate or first-year postgraduate courses on GLMs or categorical data analysis and as a methodology resource for VGAM users. In the second part of the book, the R package VGAM allows readers to grasp immediately applications of the methodology. R code is integrated in the text, and datasets are used throughout. Potential applications include ecology, finance, biostatistics, and social sciences. The methodological contribution of this book stands alone and does not require use of the VGAM package."

--- Hopefully this means the VGAM package is less user-hostile than it was...
to:NB  books:noted  additive_models  linear_regression  regression  statistics  re:ADAfaEPoV  in_wishlist 
4 weeks ago
Humanities Data in R - Exploring Networks, Geospatial Data, | Taylor Arnold | Springer
"This pioneering book teaches readers to use R within four core analytical areas applicable to the Humanities: networks, text, geospatial data, and images. This book is also designed to be a bridge: between quantitative and qualitative methods, individual and collaborative work, and the humanities and social sciences. Humanities Data with R does not presuppose background programming experience. Early chapters take readers from R set-up to exploratory data analysis (continuous and categorical data, multivariate analysis, and advanced graphics with emphasis on aesthetics and facility). Following this, networks, geospatial data, image data, natural language processing and text analysis each have a dedicated chapter. Each chapter is grounded in examples to move readers beyond the intimidation of adding new tools to their research. Everything is hands-on: networks are explained using U.S. Supreme Court opinions, and low-level NLP methods are applied to short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. After working through these examples with the provided data, code and book website, readers are prepared to apply new methods to their own work. The open source R programming language, with its myriad packages and popularity within the sciences and social sciences, is particularly well-suited to working with humanities data. R packages are also highlighted in an appendix. This book uses an expanded conception of the forms data may take and the information it represents. The methodology will have wide application in classrooms and self-study for the humanities, but also for use in linguistics, anthropology, and political science. Outside the classroom, this intersection of humanities and computing is particularly relevant for research and new modes of dissemination across archives, museums and libraries."
to:NB  books:noted  R  statistical_computing  network_data_analysis  text_mining  spatial_statistics  in_wishlist 
4 weeks ago
STICK: Spike Time Interval Computational Kernel, a Framework for General Purpose Computation Using Neurons, Precise Timing, Delays, and Synchrony
"There has been significant research over the past two decades in developing new platforms for spiking neural computation. Current neural computers are primarily developed to mimic biology. They use neural networks, which can be trained to perform specific tasks to mainly solve pattern recognition problems. These machines can do more than simulate biology; they allow us to rethink our current paradigm of computation. The ultimate goal is to develop brain-inspired general purpose computation architectures that can breach the current bottleneck introduced by the von Neumann architecture. This work proposes a new framework for such a machine. We show that the use of neuron-like units with precise timing representation, synaptic diversity, and temporal delays allows us to set a complete, scalable compact computation framework. The framework provides both linear and nonlinear operations, allowing us to represent and solve any function. We show usability in solving real use cases from simple differential equations to sets of nonlinear differential equations leading to chaotic attractors."
to:NB  neural_coding_and_decoding  neural_networks 
4 weeks ago
Seeing Like a Market
"Abstract: What do markets see when they look at people? Information dragnets increasingly mine huge quantities of individual-level data, which is analyzed to sort and slot individuals on the basis of taste, riskiness, or worth, with the goal of improving customer experiences and in- creasing the profits of firms. This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding these changes. We argue, first, that modern organizations follow an institutional data imperative to collect as much data as possible; second, that as a result of the analysis and use of this data individuals accrue übercapital, a form of capital flowing from their positions as measured by var- ious digital scoring and ranking methods; and, third, that the facticity of these scoring methods make them organizational devices with powerfully performative effects. For organizations they create new opportunities to structure and price offerings to their consumers, and for individuals they create classification situations that identify shared life-chances in various product and ser- vice markets. We discuss the empirical implications of these processes and argue that they tend to give rise to a new economy of moral judgment, where stratified outcomes are experienced as morally deserved positions, based on one’s prior good actions and good tastes, as measured and classified by this new infrastructure of data collection and analysis."
to:NB  economics  sociology  data_mining  healy.kieran 
4 weeks ago
» Galactic History, or Galactic Folk Tale? max gladstone
"General Skywalker’s contributions as a pilot are legendary, of course—the Skywalker Doctrine of Snub Combat remains required reading in the Academy—but Skywalker’s military career was cut short by his increasing religious fanaticism and withdrawal from public life. The man, a moisture farmer turned hero, is fantastic enough from a historian’s perspective; while folk tales of his association with “lost masters” of the Jedi Order, and of his personal miracles, make for pleasant campfire evenings, they drip with mythic patterning" --- the last bit is an especially nice touch.
funny:geeky  star_wars  science_fiction  historiography 
4 weeks ago
Keane, W.: Ethical Life: Its Natural and Social Histories. (eBook and Hardcover)
"The human propensity to take an ethical stance toward oneself and others is found in every known society, yet we also know that values taken for granted in one society can contradict those in another. Does ethical life arise from human nature itself? Is it a universal human trait? Or is it a product of one’s cultural and historical context? Webb Keane offers a new approach to the empirical study of ethical life that reconciles these questions, showing how ethics arise at the intersection of human biology and social dynamics.
"Drawing on the latest findings in psychology, conversational interaction, ethnography, and history, Ethical Life takes readers from inner city America to Samoa and the Inuit Arctic to reveal how we are creatures of our biology as well as our history—and how our ethical lives are contingent on both. Keane looks at Melanesian theories of mind and the training of Buddhist monks, and discusses important social causes such as the British abolitionist movement and American feminism. He explores how styles of child rearing, notions of the person, and moral codes in different communities elaborate on certain basic human tendencies while suppressing or ignoring others."
to:NB  books:noted  ethics  moral_psychology  anthropology  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
5 weeks ago
Hahví.net » Blog Archive » What’s in a Name?
Nagata was, IMSAO, one of the brightest lights of hard SF in the 1990s. (Read _Deception Well_ or _Vast_ if you don't believe me.) This is simultaneously remarkably discouraging and totally unsurprising.
science_fiction  sexism  sexist_idiocy  nagata.linda  have_read 
5 weeks ago
The Scary Debate over Secular Stagnation (DeLong)
JBD reads much more smoothly without the autocorrect (or is it voice-to-text?) typos.
economics  political_economy  economic_policy  financial_crisis_of_2007--  delong.brad 
5 weeks ago
[1510.02706] Conditional Risk Minimization for Stochastic Processes
"We study the task of learning from non-i.i.d. data. In particular, we aim at learning predictors that minimize the conditional risk for a stochastic process, i.e. the expected loss taking into account the set of training samples observed so far. For non-i.i.d. data, the training set contains information about the upcoming samples, so learning with respect to the conditional distribution can be expected to yield better predictors than one obtains from the classical setting of minimizing the marginal risk. Our main contribution is a practical estimator for the conditional risk based on the theory of non-parametric time-series prediction, and a finite sample concentration bound that establishes exponential convergence of the estimator to the true conditional risk under certain regularity assumptions on the process."
to:NB  to_read  learning_theory  stochastic_processes  re:risk_bounds_for_time_series 
5 weeks ago
Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants by Bethany Mclean - Powell's Books
"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created by Congress to serve the American Dream of homeownership. By the end of the century, they had become extremely profitable and powerful companies, instrumental in putting millions of Americans in their homes. So why does the government now want them dead?
"In 2008, the U.S. Treasury put Fannie and Freddie into a life-support state known as "conservatorship" to prevent their failure--and worldwide economic chaos. The two companies, which were always controversial, have become a battleground. Today, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again but still in conservatorship. Their profits are being redirected toward reducing the federal deficit, which leaves them with no buffer should they suffer losses again. China and Japan are big owners of Fannie and Freddie securities, and they want to ensure the safety of their investments--which helps explain why the government is at an impasse about what to do. But the current state of limbo is unsustainable."
to:NB  books:noted  mortgage_crisis  financial_crisis_of_2007-- 
5 weeks ago
My stats professor just went on a rant about how R-squared values are essentially useless, is there any truth to this? : statistics
For the record: (1) I am more charmed by one of my students appealing to Reddit to see if I'm full of it than anything else; (2) that rant was two weeks ago; today's rant was very different.
self-centered  statistics  regression 
5 weeks ago
[1509.04555] Understanding interdependency through complex information sharing
"The interactions between three or more random variables are often nontrivial, poorly understood, and yet, are paramount for future advances in fields such as network information theory, neuroscience, genetics and many others. In this work, we propose to analyze these interactions as different modes of information sharing. Towards this end, we introduce a novel axiomatic framework for decomposing the joint entropy, which characterizes the various ways in which random variables can share information. The key contribution of our framework is to distinguish between interdependencies where the information is shared redundantly, and synergistic interdependencies where the sharing structure exists in the whole but not between the parts. We show that our axioms determine unique formulas for all the terms of the proposed decomposition for a number of cases of interest. Moreover, we show how these results can be applied to several network information theory problems, providing a more intuitive understanding of their fundamental limits."
to:NB  information_theory 
6 weeks ago
Yeazell, R.B.: Picture Titles: How and Why Western Paintings Acquired Their Names. (eBook and Hardcover)
"A picture’s title is often our first guide to understanding the image. Yet paintings didn’t always have titles, and many canvases acquired their names from curators, dealers, and printmakers—not the artists. Taking an original, historical look at how Western paintings were named, Picture Titles shows how the practice developed in response to the conditions of the modern art world and how titles have shaped the reception of artwork from the time of Bruegel and Rembrandt to the present.
"Ruth Bernard Yeazell begins the story with the decline of patronage and the rise of the art market in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as the increasing circulation of pictures and the democratization of the viewing public generated the need for a shorthand by which to identify works at a far remove from their creation. The spread of literacy both encouraged the practice of titling pictures and aroused new anxieties about relations between word and image, including fears that reading was taking the place of looking. Yeazell demonstrates that most titles composed before the nineteenth century were the work of middlemen, and even today many artists rely on others to name their pictures. A painter who wants a title to stick, Yeazell argues, must engage in an act of aggressive authorship. She investigates prominent cases, such as David’s Oath of the Horatii and works by Turner, Courbet, Whistler, Magritte, and Jasper Johns."
to:NB  books:noted  art_history 
6 weeks ago
Reflections of the Polish Masters
I haven't read enough Ulam, but Kac was almost unbelievably awesome, for merely-human genius.
to_read  to:NB  mathematics  physics  methodological_advice  kac.mark  ulam.stanislaw  feigenbaum.mitchell  via:? 
6 weeks ago
Anticipating Rare Events: Can Acts of Terror, Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction or Other High Profile Acts Be Anticipated? A Scientific Perspective on Problems, Pitfalls and Prospective Solutions
"This white paper covers topics related to the field of anticipating/forecasting specific categories of 'rare events' such as acts of terror, use of a weapon of mass destruction, or other high profile attacks. It is primarily meant for the operational community in DoD, DHS, and other USG agencies. […] The body of work before you should be viewed as the commencement of a journey with a somewhat murky destination-an exploration of terra incognita. Indeed the challenge addressed in this white paper, that of anticipating 'rare events' is daunting and represents a gathering threat to national security. The threat is supercharged by the increasing lateral connectedness of global societies enabled by the internet, cell phones and other technologies. This 'connected collective' as Carl Hunt has termed it, has allowed violent ideologies to metastasize globally often with no hierarchical, command-directed rules to govern their expansion. It is the emergent franchising of violence whose metaphorical 'genome' is exposed to constant co-evolutionary pressures and non-linearity that results in continuous adaptation and increasing resiliency making the task of effectively anticipating their courses of action all the more difficult. So what distinguishes a rare event in the context of national security? The easy response is to describe them as unlikely actions of high consequence and for which there is a sparse historical record from which to develop predictive patterns or indications."

--- I wonder how much of a period piece this now appears.
to:NB  heavy_tails  terrorism_fears  terrorism  prediction  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
6 weeks ago
Pinboard 2015 Expenses - Google Sheets
< $17k/yr. That's pretty damn cheap (though admittedly it doesn't include Ceglowski's time).
internet  ceglowski.maciej 
6 weeks ago
Sight Of 400 War Elephants On Horizon Marks Hillary Clinton’s Arrival In Swing State
Naturally, from the marshaling yards at the State Dept. in Georgetown, these would be marched up the C&O Canal towpath to its terminus at the Cumberland Gap, and then over the mountains along the Great Allegheny Passage to Pittsburgh. But from here I'm not sure of the most elephant-friendly route to Wheeling.
us_politics  funny:geeky 
6 weeks ago
Paper Writing Service You Can Trust. Custom Writing of the Highest Quality Only
From the department of unclear on the concept: "Write from scratch according to your instructions. Plagiarism free papers, 100% guarantee!"

--- I also like the bits about how customers are learning the arts of time management and delegation.
education  academia  plagiarism  things_that_make_me_want_to_bring_back_oral_exams  fraud  to:blog 
7 weeks ago
Untangling the sources of racial wealth inequality in the United States - Equitable Growth Equitable Growth
Suppose --- work with me here --- that one of the things which makes it easier to buy a home is _having parents with wealth_, who can _pass along some of that wealth while they are alive_. (Hey, it's a hypothesis.) What, exactly, do you learn from the coefficient on "inheritance" in a regression which controls for "homeownership"? Similarly, suppose one of the things wealthier parents buy for their children is _access to education_, leading to job opportunities, and _direct access to job opportunities_. Again, what do you learn in a regression which "controls for" (I can't help the scare quotes) income?
economics  inequality  have_read  track_down_references  racism  the_american_dilemma  transmission_of_inequality  to_teach:mreg  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
7 weeks ago
First, Let’s Get Rid of All the Bosses | The New Republic
When I say that this sounds almost Maoist, that has nothing to do with Hsieh's ethnic origins, and everything to do with the combination of an ideology of pushing power to the workers and dissolving bureaucratic structures ("bombard the headquarters!") in a permanent revolution, with, in practice, charismatic autocracy. (I note that nothing being proposed removes, or even limits, the CEO's rights to order people around in favor of whatever vision happens to grip him this week.)
corporations  management  re:democratic_cognition  via:henry_farrell  have_read  to:blog 
7 weeks ago
Why Washington Won't Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis, Hetherington, Rudolph
"Polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. But contrary to popular belief, Americans are polarized not so much in their policy preferences as in their feelings toward their political opponents: To an unprecedented degree, Republicans and Democrats simply do not like one another. No surprise that these deeply held negative feelings are central to the recent (also unprecedented) plunge in congressional productivity. The past three Congresses have gotten less done than any since scholars began measuring congressional productivity.
"In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment.
"Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong."

--- Well, if we had a majoritarian legislature, you wouldn't need to convince large chunks of the other party to pass bills... (IOW: the Senate must be destroyed.)
to:NB  books:noted  us_politics  political_science  democracy  re:democratic_cognition  our_decrepit_institutions 
7 weeks ago
Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story, Olson
"Ask a scientist about Hollywood, and you’ll probably get eye rolls. But ask someone in Hollywood about science, and they’ll see dollar signs: moviemakers know that science can be the source of great stories, with all the drama and action that blockbusters require.
"That’s a huge mistake, says Randy Olson: Hollywood has a lot to teach scientists about how to tell a story—and, ultimately, how to do science better. With Houston, We Have a Narrative, he lays out a stunningly simple method for turning the dull into the dramatic. Drawing on his unique background, which saw him leave his job as a working scientist to launch a career as a filmmaker, Olson first diagnoses the problem: When scientists tell us about their work, they pile one moment and one detail atop another moment and another detail—a stultifying procession of “and, and, and.” What we need instead is an understanding of the basic elements of story, the narrative structures that our brains are all but hardwired to look for—which Olson boils down, brilliantly, to “And, But, Therefore,” or ABT. At a stroke, the ABT approach introduces momentum (“And”), conflict (“But”), and resolution (“Therefore”)—the fundamental building blocks of story. As Olson has shown by leading countless workshops worldwide, when scientists’ eyes are opened to ABT, the effect is staggering: suddenly, they’re not just talking about their work—they’re telling stories about it. And audiences are captivated."
to:NB  books:noted  science  science_in_society  narrative  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial  rhetoric 
7 weeks ago
Nut Country: Right-Wing Dallas and the Birth of the Southern Strategy, Miller
"On the morning of November 22, 1963, President Kennedy told Jackie as they started for Dallas, “We’re heading into nut country today.” That day’s events ultimately obscured and revealed just how right he was: Oswald was a lone gunman, but the city that surrounded him was full of people who hated Kennedy and everything he stood for, led by a powerful group of ultraconservatives who would eventually remake the Republican party in their own image.
"In Nut Country, Edward H. Miller tells the story of that transformation, showing how a group of influential far-right businessmen, religious leaders, and political operatives developed a potent mix of hardline anticommunism, biblical literalism, and racism to generate a violent populism—and widespread power. Though those figures were seen as extreme in Texas and elsewhere, mainstream Republicans nonetheless found themselves forced to make alliances, or tack to the right on topics like segregation. As racial resentment came to fuel the national Republican party’s divisive but effective “Southern Strategy,” the power of the extreme conservatives rooted in Texas only grew.
"Drawing direct lines from Dallas to DC, Miller's captivating history offers a fresh understanding of the rise of the new Republican Party and the apocalyptic language, conspiracy theories, and ideological rigidity that remain potent features of our politics today."

--- This hardly sounds _populist_. (Ressentiment on stilts, yes; populist, no.)
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  us_politics  vast_right-wing_conspiracy 
7 weeks ago
Legislating in the Dark: Information and Power in the House of Representatives, Curry
"The 2009 financial stimulus bill ran to more than 1,100 pages, yet it wasn’t even given to Congress in its final form until thirteen hours before debate was set to begin, and it was passed twenty-eight hours later. How are representatives expected to digest so much information in such a short time.
"The answer? They aren’t. With Legislating in the Dark, James M. Curry reveals that the availability of information about legislation is a key tool through which Congressional leadership exercises power. Through a deft mix of legislative analysis, interviews, and participant observation, Curry shows how congresspersons—lacking the time and resources to study bills deeply themselves—are forced to rely on information and cues from their leadership. By controlling their rank-and-file’s access to information, Congressional leaders are able to emphasize or bury particular items, exploiting their information advantage to push the legislative agenda in directions that they and their party prefer."

--- Isn't this also one of the channels by which lobbyists achieve influence? Curious that there's no mention of this in the book description.
to:NB  books:noted  congress  political_science  us_politics 
7 weeks ago
Ice Station: The Creation of Halley VI. Britain's Pioneering Antarctic Research Station, Slavid, Morris
"For more than fifty years, Halley Research Station—located on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea—has collected a continuous stream of meteorological and atmospheric data critical to our understanding of polar atmospheric chemistry, rising sea levels, and the depletion of the ozone layer.  Since the station’s establishment in 1956, there have been six Halley stations, each designed to withstand the difficult climatic conditions. The first four stations were crushed by snow. The fifth featured a steel platform, allowing it to rise above snow cover, but it, too, had to be abandoned when it moved too far from the mainland, making its habitation precarious.
"Completed in 2012, Halley VI is the winning design from an international competition organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). It is the world’s first fully relocatable research station, comprising eight modules fitted with hydraulic legs and skis. This book tells the extraordinary story of this iconic piece of architecture’s design and creation and the challenge of building in an extreme environment, illustrated with drawings, sketches, and previously unpublished photographs."
to:NB  books:noted  antarctica  architecture 
7 weeks ago
The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries, Crispin
"When Jessa Crispin was thirty, she burned her settled Chicago life to the ground and took off for Berlin with a pair of suitcases and no plan beyond leaving. Half a decade later, she’s still on the road, in search not so much of a home as of understanding, a way of being in the world that demands neither constant struggle nor complete surrender.
"The Dead Ladies Project is an account of that journey—but it’s also much, much more. Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels an itinerary of key locations in its literary map, of places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependant on and dependable for James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution and fostering myth in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, incisive literary analysis, and personal experience into a rich meditation on the complicated interactions of place, personality, and society that can make escape and reinvention such an attractive, even intoxicating proposition."
to:NB  books:noted  lives_of_the_artists  lives_of_the_scholars  moral_psychology  literary_criticism  rhetorical_self-fashioning  crispin.jessa  coveted  in_wishlist 
7 weeks ago
Free Expression and Democracy in America: A History, Feldman
"From the 1798 Sedition Act to the war on terror, numerous presidents, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and local officials have endorsed the silencing of free expression.  If the connection between democracy and the freedom of speech is such a vital one, why would so many governmental leaders seek to quiet their citizens? Free Expression and Democracy in America traces two rival traditions in American culture—suppression of speech and dissent as a form of speech—to provide an unparalleled overview of the law, history, and politics of individual rights in the United States.
"Charting the course of free expression alongside the nation’s political evolution, from the birth of the Constitution to the quagmire of the Vietnam War, Stephen M. Feldman argues that our level of freedom is determined not only by the Supreme Court, but also by cultural, social, and economic forces. Along the way, he pinpoints the struggles of excluded groups—women, African Americans, and laborers—to participate in democratic government as pivotal to the development of free expression.  In an age when our freedom of speech is once again at risk, this momentous book will be essential reading for legal historians, political scientists, and history buffs alike."
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  freedom_of_expression 
7 weeks ago
The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens, Zucman, Fagan, Piketty
"We are well aware of the rise of the 1% as the rapid growth of economic inequality has put the majority of the world’s wealth in the pockets of fewer and fewer. One much-discussed solution to this imbalance is to significantly increase the rate at which we tax the wealthy. But with an enormous amount of the world’s wealth hidden in tax havens—in countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands—this wealth cannot be fully accounted for and taxed fairly. No one, from economists to bankers to politicians, has been able to quantify exactly how much of the world’s assets are currently hidden—until now. Gabriel Zucman is the first economist to offer reliable insight into the actual extent of the world’s money held in tax havens. And it’s staggering."
to:NB  books:noted  taxes  corruption  economics  political_economy  inequality  globalization 
7 weeks ago
Teaching critical thinking
"The ability to make decisions based on data, with its inherent uncertainties and variability, is a complex and vital skill in the modern world. The need for such quantitative critical thinking occurs in many different contexts, and although it is an important goal of education, that goal is seldom being achieved. We argue that the key element for developing this ability is repeated practice in making decisions based on data, with feedback on those decisions. We demonstrate a structure for providing suitable practice that can be applied in any instructional setting that involves the acquisition of data and relating that data to scientific models. This study reports the results of applying that structure in an introductory physics laboratory course. Students in an experimental condition were repeatedly instructed to make and act on quantitative comparisons between datasets, and between data and models, an approach that is common to all science disciplines. These instructions were slowly faded across the course. After the instructions had been removed, students in the experimental condition were 12 times more likely to spontaneously propose or make changes to improve their experimental methods than a control group, who performed traditional experimental activities. The students in the experimental condition were also four times more likely to identify and explain a limitation of a physical model using their data. Students in the experimental condition also showed much more sophisticated reasoning about their data. These differences between the groups were seen to persist into a subsequent course taken the following year."

--- I'm dubious that this is really "critical thinking", but it does sound, from the abstract, like something worth teaching.
to:NB  pedagogy  statistics  science 
7 weeks ago
A focused information criterion for graphical models - Springer
"A new method for model selection for Gaussian Bayesian networks and Markov networks, with extensions towards ancestral graphs, is constructed to have good mean squared error properties. The method is based on the focused information criterion, and offers the possibility of fitting individual-tailored models. The focus of the research, that is, the purpose of the model, directs the selection. It is shown that using the focused information criterion leads to a graph with small mean squared error. The low mean squared error ensures accurate estimation using a graphical model; here estimation rather than explanation is the main objective. Two situations that commonly occur in practice are treated: a data-driven estimation of a graphical model and the improvement of an already pre-specified feasible model. The search algorithms are illustrated by means of data examples and are compared with existing methods in a simulation study."
to:NB  graphical_models  model_selection  information_criteria  statistics 
8 weeks ago
Checklist for Search Committee Chairs
Since "O Lord, let the cup pass from me" didn't work...
8 weeks ago
The Other Big Brother: Why Workplace Surveillance Should Get More Scrutiny - The Atlantic
"Why has government surveillance become a major political issue, while workplace monitoring barely registers?"

Why is there no labor movement in the United States? This has been another edition of easy answers (in the form of questions) to easy questions. (The article is full of justified horror at horrifying practices, but suggesting that they can be remedied by an alliance of "activists" and law professors strikes me as, well, very law-professorish.)
surveillance  corporations  privacy  labor  the_corporation_as_command_economy  to:blog  have_read  via:? 
8 weeks ago
What Happens Next Will Amaze You
The whole thing is great, but I can't resist quoting one of the laugh lines:

"Or how about raising the Danish flag? You have a proud history of hegemony and are probably still very good at conquering.
"I would urge you to get back in touch with this side of yourselves, climb in the longboats, and impose modern, egalitarian, Scandinavian-style social democracy on the rest of us at the point of a sword."
networked_life  internet  advertising  privacy  surveillance  ceglowski.maciej  to:blog  have_read 
8 weeks ago
Eric Liu for Democracy Journal: How to Be American
I always thought Hirsch had something of a point (cf. Gellner's _Nations and Nationalism_), but I am not sure about any of the ways in which this goes beyond Hirsch are improvements (beyond the need to be up to date and inclusive); Liu strikes me as a writer whom we ought to read with a strong suspicion that there is a catch.
cultural_criticism  cultural_transmission_of_cognitive_tools  nationalism  liu.eric  hirsch.e.d.  something_about_america  us_politics 
8 weeks ago
Of drills and holes and Ronald Coase: the limits of sharing | ROUGH TYPE
In addition to making a shrewd point about why some types of shared-property ideas don't make much sense, this also opens with an excellent example of the epidemiology of a cliche.
(But consider as a counter-example to the transaction-cost story here the possibility of a tool _library_. You'd check out the tool and return it, there'd be fines if you returned it in bad order, the librarians would make sure it was cleaned and charged, a sensible library would have multiple copies of common tools --- and it would _not_ be a single national-scale institution, but one at the level of a city or even a neighborhood. Heck, consider the video rental store, which was a perfectly viable business until the bandwidth of home Internet exceeded the bandwidth of a tape or disc in a car.)
economics  transaction_costs  private_property  natural_history_of_truthiness  sharing_economy  epidemiology_of_representations  have_read  to:blog  via:whimsley 
8 weeks ago
Fox tossing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Fox tossing (German: Fuchsprellen) was a popular competitive blood sport in parts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, which involved throwing live foxes and other animals high into the air. It was practiced by members of the aristocracy in an enclosed patch of ground or in a courtyard, using slings with a person on each end to catapult the fox upwards. It was particularly popular for mixed couples, though it was hazardous for both the tossed animals and the people launching them."
early_modern_european_history  the_nightmare_from_which_we_are_trying_to_awake  to:blog  via:maciej 
8 weeks ago
« earlier      
academia afghanistan agent-based_models american_history ancient_history archaeology art bad_data_analysis bad_science_journalism bayesian_consistency bayesianism biochemical_networks blogged book_reviews books:noted books:owned books:recommended bootstrap causal_inference causality central_asia central_limit_theorem class_struggles_in_america classifiers climate_change clustering cognitive_science collective_cognition community_discovery complexity computational_statistics concentration_of_measure confidence_sets corruption coveted crime cultural_criticism cultural_exchange data_analysis data_mining debunking decision-making decision_theory delong.brad democracy density_estimation dimension_reduction distributed_systems dynamical_systems econometrics economic_history economic_policy economics education empirical_processes ensemble_methods entropy_estimation epidemic_models epistemology ergodic_theory estimation evisceration evolution_of_cooperation evolutionary_biology experimental_psychology finance financial_crisis_of_2007-- financial_speculation fmri food fraud functional_connectivity funny funny:academic funny:geeky funny:laughing_instead_of_screaming funny:malicious funny:pointed genetics graph_theory graphical_models have_read heard_the_talk heavy_tails high-dimensional_statistics hilbert_space history_of_ideas history_of_science human_genetics hypothesis_testing ideology imperialism in_nb inequality inference_to_latent_objects information_theory institutions kernel_methods kith_and_kin krugman.paul large_deviations lasso learning_theory liberman.mark likelihood linguistics literary_criticism machine_learning macro_from_micro macroeconomics manifold_learning market_failures_in_everything markov_models mathematics mixing model_selection modeling modern_ruins monte_carlo moral_psychology moral_responsibility mortgage_crisis natural_history_of_truthiness network_data_analysis networked_life networks neural_data_analysis neuroscience non-equilibrium nonparametrics optimization our_decrepit_institutions philosophy philosophy_of_science photos physics pittsburgh political_economy political_science practices_relating_to_the_transmission_of_genetic_information prediction pretty_pictures principal_components probability programming progressive_forces psychology r racism random_fields re:almost_none re:aos_project re:democratic_cognition re:do-institutions-evolve re:g_paper re:homophily_and_confounding re:network_differences re:smoothing_adjacency_matrices re:social_networks_as_sensor_networks re:stacs re:your_favorite_dsge_sucks recipes regression running_dogs_of_reaction science_as_a_social_process science_fiction simulation social_influence social_life_of_the_mind social_media social_networks social_science_methodology sociology something_about_america sparsity spatial_statistics statistical_inference_for_stochastic_processes statistical_mechanics statistics stochastic_processes text_mining the_american_dilemma the_continuing_crises time_series to:blog to:nb to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial to_read to_teach:complexity-and-inference to_teach:data-mining to_teach:statcomp to_teach:undergrad-ada track_down_references us_politics utter_stupidity vast_right-wing_conspiracy via:? via:henry_farrell via:jbdelong via:klk visual_display_of_quantitative_information whats_gone_wrong_with_america why_oh_why_cant_we_have_a_better_academic_publishing_system why_oh_why_cant_we_have_a_better_press_corps

Copy this bookmark: