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Posts

August 20, 2014

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1:04 PM | “A hard case for Mister P”
Kevin Van Horn sent me an email with the above title (ok, he wrote MRP, but it’s the same idea) and the following content: I’m working on a problem that at first seemed like a clear case where multilevel modeling would be useful. As I’ve dug into it I’ve found that it doesn’t quite fit […] The post “A hard case for Mister P” appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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1:00 PM | The Big Uneasy
“The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina”Arne DuncanAs mentioned before, a lot of people in New Orleans -- parents, educators and students -- are very unhappy with the direction of the city's schools. They complain of draconian policies, firing of popular teachers and discipline policies that border on brutal.The case that still breaks my heart involved a 14-year-old who kept getting demerits because his uniform shirt was too small and came […]
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11:15 AM | Nafeez Ahmed to join Alt Banking this Sunday
I am super excited to announce that best-selling British author Nafeez Ahmed will be speaking at the Alt Banking group this Sunday. The title of his talk is Mass Surveillance and the Crisis of Civilization: The inevitable collapse of the old paradigm and the potential for the rise of the new. Ahmed is an international security […]
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5:00 AM | Compressive Sparse Light Deflection Maps and Imaging for Telescopic Systems
Two instance of CS Hardware today:Compressive Imaging and Characterization of Sparse Light Deflection Maps by Prasad Sudhakar, Laurent Jacques, Xavier Dubois, Philippe Antoine, Luc JoannesLight rays incident on a transparent object of uniform refractive index undergo deflections, which uniquely characterize the surface geometry of the object. Associated with each point on the surface is a deflection map which describes the pattern of deflections in various directions and it tends to […]
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4:38 AM | Approval voting
A short and amusing video showing how approval voting is better than the ubiquitous plurality voting (Hat tip to Nick Mattei!)
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3:12 AM | The Mulford Act
Charles P. Pierce provides an interesting and timely look at how the politics of gun control have changed.Once upon a time in California, the police were knocking off black folks with an alarming regularity. In 1967, a black man named Denzil Dowell was blown away by a shotgun wielded by the police in North Richmond, an impoverished, largely black suburban community outside Oakland. According to the official police account, Dowell had been caught while breaking into a liquor store. He had then […]

August 19, 2014

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4:26 PM | Down to a science
Seth Juarez quipped in an interview that when people say they’ve got something “down to a science,” they probably don’t mean what they’re saying. Science is making guesses and testing to see whether they’re right.   Related post: Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy
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3:30 PM | Foundations of Compressed Sensing
Here is a nice overview: Foundations of Compressed Sensing by Mike DaviesI will shortly add it to the Learning Compressive Sensing page. Join the CompressiveSensing subreddit or the Google+ Community and post there ! Liked this entry ? subscribe to Nuit Blanche's feed, there's more where that came from. You can also subscribe to Nuit Blanche by Email, explore the Big Picture in Compressive Sensing or the Matrix Factorization Jungle and join the conversations on compressive sensing, […]
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3:30 PM | Videos and Slides: Next-Generation Sequencing Technologies - Elaine Mardis (2014)
Last time I mentioned Elaine Mardis videos giving a summary of next generation sequencing the video shot up and garnered more than 127,893 viewers. Coincidence ? I think not :-)Here is the new survey on Next Generation Sequencing where she talks about the current PacBio and Nanopore technology add-ons to the lab. I note the biology people liking the term "massively parallel" sequencing. Anyway, those third generation technologies are very interesting because instead of cutting DNA strands in […]
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3:20 PM | Long Live the Fall Workshop (guest post by Don Sheehy)
An announcement for the Fall Workshop in Computational Geometry, by Don Sheehy.  In all the conversation about SoCG leaving the ACM, there were many discussions about ownership, paywalls, and money.  This leads naturally to questions of ideals.  What can and ought a research community be like?  What should it cost to realize this?  Isn't it enough to bring together researchers and in an unused lecture hall at some university somewhere, provide coffee (and wifi), […]
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1:46 PM | Nectar for the gods: how money made Western culture different
I've never really thought that the fact Greek gods lived off nectar and ambrosia was particularly consequential, but having read Richard Seaford's book, Money and the Early Greek Mind: Homer, Philosophy, Tragedy, it seems to have played a fundamental role in the development of Western culture, particularly science, politics and finance.Unless you are a racist, it is difficult to explain why Western culture delivered wealthy democracies faster than other equally well endowed societies. […]
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1:36 PM | Stroopy names
Baby Name Wizard is all over this one. And this all makes me wonder: is there a psychology researcher somewhere with a dog named Stroopy? Probably so. P.S. I just made the mistake of googling “Stroopy.” Don’t do it. I was referring to this. The post Stroopy names appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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1:00 PM | Well, I'm glad it's not a dispute
A bit more background on the Michigan charter school scandals. As mentioned before both here and in the Monkey Cage, for-profit charter school operators have been caught gouging the state's taxpayers in pretty much every way imaginable. The response from the governor's office has basically been that people shouldn't care about graft and overcharging as long as they are getting quality schools (They aren't -- Check out the Monkey Cage link -- but that's a topic for another day).It's hard to […]
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11:28 AM | Advertising vs. Privacy
I’ve was away over the weekend (apologies to Aunt Pythia fans!) and super busy yesterday but this morning I finally had a chance to read Ethan Zuckerman’s Atlantic piece entitled The Internet’s Original Sin, which was sent to me by my friend Ernest Davis. Here’s the thing, Zuckerman gets lots of things right in the […]
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10:32 AM | Want to cluster a point cloud? Relax, no need to round!
Pranjal, Moses, Ravishankar, Soledad, Rachel, and myself just uploaded our new paper “Relax, no need to round: Integrality of clustering formulation” to the arxiv and I would like to briefly describe some of the results here. The problem we consider is that of clustering a point cloud in . One of the most popular method […]
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5:00 AM | A compressed sensing perspective of hippocampal function
This is a theory but the main question really is: how do we go using fMRI and similar technology to figure out if this is really what is going on ? Food for thought.A compressed sensing perspective of hippocampal function by Panagiotis C. Petrantonakis and Panayiota PoiraziHippocampus is one of the most important information processing units in the brain. Input from the cortex passes through convergent axon pathways to the downstream hippocampal subregions and, after being appropriately […]
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2:10 AM | Models Didn't Cause the Crisis
Some of the comments engendered by the Black Swan post remind me of something I've wanted to say for a while: In sharp contrast to much popular perception, the financial crisis wasn't caused by models or modelers.Rather, the crisis was caused by huge numbers of smart, self-interested people involved with the financial services industry -- buy-side industry, sell-side industry, institutional and retail customers, regulators, everyone -- responding rationally to the distorted […]
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12:30 AM | "For what is the theory of determinants? It is an algebra upon algebra; a calculus which enables us..."
“For what is the theory of determinants? It is an algebra upon algebra; a calculus which enables us to combine and foretell the results of algebraical operations, in the same way as algebra itself enables us to dispense with the performance of the special operations of arithmetic. All analysis must ultimately clothe itself under this form. I have in previous papers defined a ‘Matrix’ as a rectangular array of terms, out of which different systems of determinants may be engendered, as […]
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12:22 AM | Condorcet, Hugo, and sad puppies
Yesterday, this year's Hugo Award winners were announced; this is an annual fan popularity contest for the best works in science fiction and fantasy (there is a different set of awards voted on by the writers themselves, the Nebulas). I have a few thoughts on the nominees (like, why wasn't Her among them?) but that's not what I'm writing about. Rather, what interests me in this year's contest is the issue of voting systems and their resistance to manipulation.Some background: this year's award […]

August 18, 2014

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11:12 PM | Ray Refracting
My friend Alex emailed me a math problem a few days ago. Imagine we have a two-dimensional plane upon which sits a line that refracts any rays coming from a point source. The refraction is done such that the angle of refraction is the same as the angle of incidence; that is, the angle between the refracting line and the oncoming ray is the same as the angle between the refracting line and the outgoing ray. Now imagine that there is another point on the opposite side of this refracting line […]
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5:17 PM | Resnick Sustainability Institute Post-Doctoral Fellowship
I’d like to announce a postdoc opportunity at Caltech for those on the energy-side of things.  The program is run by the Resnik Institute, which is the overarching center for energy research of all forms on campus.  It includes the things that we (Steven, Mani, me, etc) do in power systems as well as lots […]
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4:13 PM | IPAM workshop on Computational Photography and Intelligent Cameras, February 4 - 6, 2015
Yohann Tendero let me know of this IPAM workshop entitled Computational Photography and Intelligent Cameras that is set to take place in LA on February 4 - 6, 2015. I wonder if we are going to see some Data Drive Sensor Design/ Zero Knowledge Sensor Design. Anyway, you can also apply for financial assitance to attend the workshop. From the page:Organizing CommitteeAmit Agrawal (Amazon Lab126) Richard Baraniuk (Rice University, Electrical and Computer Engineering) Lawrence […]
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4:00 PM | Waves: polarization
References: Griffiths, David J. (2007), Introduction to Electrodynamics, 3rd Edition; Pearson Education – Problem 9.8. For the sinusoidal wave on a string, let’s assume that the wave travels in the direction and then define and axes in the usual way. We can produce the wave by shaking the string in the plane, in which case […]
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3:28 PM | Some quick disorganzed tips on classroom teaching
Below are a bunch of little things I typically mention at some point when I’m teaching my class on how to teach. But my new approach is to minimize lecturing, and certainly not to waste students’ time by standing in front of a group of them, telling them things they could’ve read at their own […] The post Some quick disorganzed tips on classroom teaching appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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2:46 PM | Cost of Optical Fiber Versus Kite String
I try to help customers develop some perspective as to the cost of the deploying fiber optic cable. Each cable can carry multiple fibers (see Figure 1). Customers will frequently ask about the incremental cost of adding an additional fiber … Continue reading →
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2:42 PM | Day One...Again...
Though I've been teaching at the college level for 15 years now, I've never been able to shake those first-day jitters. I have, however, gotten better at managing them and overcoming them and even having fun in the process.This morning I taught my first Calc I class in...three years, I think? I believe this is the longest I've gone without teaching Calc I since I started teaching in grad school 15 years ago. That remove from the Calc I classroom, I believe, will help me come back to the subject […]
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1:30 PM | The four things I am really working on this semester
As we transition from summer back into the academic year, there are a lot of things to work on this fall, but four big ideas in particular are going to be a focus for my work this semester.
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1:00 PM | On deck this week
Mon: Some quick disorganzed tips on classroom teaching Tues: Stroopy names Wed: “A hard case for Mister P” Thurs: The field is a fractal Fri: Replication Wiki for economics Sat, Sun: As Chris Hedges would say: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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1:00 PM | Off by just a quarter century
I realize this is a trivial thing, but this paragraph from an article by Thomas Mentel bothers me for a couple of not-so-trivial reasons.One of Showtime’s very first forays into original programming, it’s hard to believe that Californication only just concluded after a run of seven years and seven seasons. First premiering in 2007, Californication tells the story of troubled New York writer Hank Moody who moves to California and suffers from severe writer’s block. Additionally, his issues […]
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11:10 AM | What can be achieved by Data Science?
This is a guest post by Sophie Chou, who recently graduated from Columbia in Computer Science and is on her way to the MIT Media Lab. Crossposted on Sophie’s blog. “Data Science” is one of my least favorite tech buzzwords, second to probably “Big Data”, which in my opinion should be always printed followed by a […]
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