Four short links: 13 May 2011

Bogus Analysis x 2, API Classifications, and Expansive Text

  1. Mathematical Intimidation: Driven by the Data (PDF) — excellent article from Notices of the American Mathematical Society about the flaws in “value-added modelling”, the latest fad whereby data about students’ results in different classes are analysed to identify the effect of each teacher. People recognize that tests are an imperfect measure of educational success, but when sophisticated mathematics is applied, they believe the imperfections go away by some mathematical magic. But this is not magic. What really happens is that the mathematics is used to disguise the problems and intimidate people into ignoring them—a modern, mathematical version of the Emperor’s New Clothes. A critical instance of Hilary Mason’s Clean data > More Data > Fancy Math. (via Audrey Watters)
  2. Classification of HTTP-based APIsThe classification achieves an explicit differentiation between the various kinds of uses of HTTP and provides a foundation to analyse and describe the system properties induced. (via Brian Mulloy)
  3. Cancer Clusters (BBC) — straightforward demonstration of how naive analysis of random numbers can yield “patterns”.
  4. FitText.js — a jQuery plugin for inflating type.
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