17 May 2013
28 April 2013
13 April 2013
I hope you enjoy this absolutely lovely video as much as I did this evening.
"For example, people used to believe ... people who lived in the antiquities would fall off. And that was scary. But then when somebody sailed round the world, and we all got used to it, and we travel around in jet planes and everything... We have no problem thinking that the earth is globular. None whatever. We got used to it."
I have faith in mankind, that someday we will get used to a lot of the scientific ideas that are controversial today. Pretty neat to think about it.
09 April 2013
Along the same lines, I got to that article from this one, which describes a study in which study participants decided between hypothetical male and female political candidates. The conclusion is that the more the media talks about the woman's looks, even in a positive or neutral way, her percentage of the vote drops pretty dramatically.
24 March 2013
I was listening to a few more of the songs on this album and I especially enjoyed this one: Put it to the Test. Who could argue with these lyrics?
"If there's a question bothering your brain that you think you know how to explain-- You need a test! Yea, think up a test. If somebody says they figured it out, and they're leaving any room for doubt, come up with a test! yeah! You need a test! Are you sure that thing is true? Or did someone just tell it to you? Come up with a test! Test it out!"
05 March 2013
A few weeks back, this blog entry from the new york times also stressed the need for context. It tells a story of collecting data using sensors on elevator and stair usage, where after a few days of collection the conclusion was that students use the stairs more at night. That seemed an interesting story until a security guard gave them some needed context: that the elevators had been breaking at night. So of course people were taking the stairs!
Missing context and missing data can be as if not more important than confounding factors in data collection. As we see more and more data collected and analyzed for various decision-making purposes from government to corporations to industry, and in both the private and public domains, I believe that the need to understand potential pitfalls of missing data and uncertainty will be central to actually getting good use out of that data.
12 January 2013
I want you to read the whole thing (it's only a few paragraphs), but still here's my favorite part:
"We don't have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke's arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.
"We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country's future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things."