- Britain To Provide Free Access to Scientific Publications (Guardian) — the Finch report is being implemented! British universities now pay around £200m a year in subscription fees to journal publishers, but under the new scheme, authors will pay “article processing charges” (APCs) to have their papers peer reviewed, edited and made freely available online. The typical APC is around £2,000 per article.
- Social Media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide — from the Wellington City Council in New Zealand, who have been learning from Christchurch earthquakes and Tauranga’s oil spill.
- Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments: Five Puzzling Outcomes Explained (PDF) — Microsoft Research dug into A/B tests done on Bing and reveal some subtle truths. The statistical theory of controlled experiments is well understood, but the devil is in the details and the difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory […] Generating numbers is easy; generating numbers you should trust is hard! (via Greg Linden)
- Data Sequencing Costs (National Human Genome Research Institute) — Cost-per-megabase and cost-per-genome are dropping faster than Moore’s Law now they’ve introduced “second generation techniques” for sequencing, aka “high-throughput sequencing” or a parallelization of the process. (via JP Rangaswami)
Flipping the Medical Classroom, Inclusion Haters, Information Leveling, and Ars Longa Vita Brevis
- Stanford Med School Contemplates Flipped Classroom — the real challenge isn’t sending kids home with videos to watch, it’s using tools like OceanBrowser to keep on top of what they’re doing. Few profs at universities have cared whether students learned or not.
- Inclusive Tech Companies Win The Talent War (Gina Trapani) — she speaks the truth, and gently. The original CNN story flushed out an incredible number of vitriolic commenters apparently lacking the gene for irony.
- Buyers and Sellers Guide to Web Design and Development Firms (Lance Wiggs) — great idea, particularly “how to be a good client”. There are plenty of dodgy web shops, but more projects fail because of the clients than many would like to admit.
- What Does It Mean to Say That Something Causes 16% of Cancers? (Discover Magazine) — hey, all you infographic jockeys with your aspirations to add Data Scientist to your business card: read this and realize how hard it is to make sense of a lot of numbers and then communicate that sense. Data Science isn’t about Hadoop any more than Accounting is about columns. Both try to tell a story (the original meaning of your company’s “accounts”) and what counts is the informed, disciplined, honest effort of knowing that your story is honest.
Statistical Fallacies, Sensors via Microphone, Peak Plastic, and Go Web Framework
- Common Statistical Fallacies (Flowing Data) — once you know to look for them, you see them everywhere. Or is that confirmation bias?
- Project Hijack — Hijacking power and bandwidth from the mobile phone’s audio interface.
Creating a cubic-inch peripheral sensor ecosystem for the mobile phone.
- Peak Plastic — Deb Chachra points out that if we’re running out of oil, that also means that we’re running out of plastic. Compared to fuel and agriculture, plastic is small potatoes. Even though plastics are made on a massive industrial scale, they still account for less than 10% of the world’s oil consumption. So recycling plastic saves plastic and reduces its impact on the environment, but it certainly isn’t going to save us from the end of oil. Peak oil means peak plastic. And that means that much of the physical world around us will have to change. I hadn’t pondered plastics in medicine before. (via BoingBoing)
- web.go (GitHub) — web framework for the Go programming language.
A review of "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives."
While Leonard Mlodinow's book offers a good introduction to probabilistic thinking, it carries two problems: First, it doesn't uniformly account for skill. Second, when we're talking probability and statistics, we're talking about interchangeable events.
- Dan Saffer: How To Lie with Design Research (Google Video) — Experience shows that, especially with qualitative research like the type designers often do, two researchers can look at the same set of data and draw dramatically different findings from them. As William Blake said, “Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.” (via Keith Bolland)
- Teaching What You Don’t Know (Sci Blogs) — As that lecturer said, learning new things—while challenging—is also stimulating & fun. If that sense of excitement and enjoyment carries through to your actual classes, then you’ll speak with passion and enthusiasm—how better to in turn enthuse your students? Ties in with the Maori concept of Ako, that teacher and student learn from each other.
- Bored of 3D Printers (Tom Armitage) — made me wonder how long it would be before we drop the “3D” prefix and expect a “printer” to emit objects. That said, I love Tom’s neologism artefactory.
AutoUpdater, Extrapolation Apocalypse, C Compilers, and Authentication
- Invisible Autoupdater: An App’s Best Feature — Gina Trapani quotes Ben Goodger on Chrome: The idea was to give people a blank window with an autoupdater. If they installed that, over time the blank window would grow into a browser.
- Crackpot Apocalypse — analyzing various historical pronouncements of the value of pi, paper author concludes “When πt is 1, the circumference of a circle will coincide with its diameter,” Dudley writes, “and thus all circles will collapse, as will all spheres (since they have circular cross-sections), in particular the earth and the sun. It will be, in fact, the end of the world, and … it will occur in 4646 A.D., on August 9, at 4 minutes and 27 seconds before 9 p.m.” Clever commentary and a good example when you need to show people the folly of inappropriate curve-fitting and extrapolation.
- clang — C language family front-ends to LLVM. Development sponsored by Apple, as used in Snow Leopard. (via Nelson Minar)
- OmniAuth — authenticate against Twitter, GitHub, Facebook, Foursquare, and many many more. OmniAuth is built from the ground up on the philosophy that authentication is not the same as identity. (via Tony Stubblebine)
Communities, Statistics, News, and Doubting Data
- The Wisdom of Communities — Luke Wroblewski’s notes from Derek Powazek‘s talk at Event Apart. Wisdom of Crowds theory shows that, in aggregate, crowds are smarter than any single individual in the crowd. See this online in most emailed features, bit torrent, etc. Wise crowds are built on a few key characteristics: diversity (of opinion), independence (of other ideas), decentralization, and aggregation.
- How to Fit an Elephant (John D. Cook) — for the stats geeks out there. Someone took von Neumann’s famous line “with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk”, and found the four complex parameters that do, indeed, fit an elephant.
- How to Run a News Site and Newspaper Using WordPress and Google Docs — clever workflow that’s digital first but integrated with print. (via Sacha Judd)
- All Watched Over: On Foo, Cybernetics, and Big Data — I’m glad someone preserved Matt Jones’s marvelous line, “the map-reduce is not the territory”. (via Tom Armitage)
ASCII Diagrams, Bayesian Textbook, Telehacks Interview, and Table Resizing in CSS
- ASCII Flow — create ASCII diagrams. Awesome. (via Hacker News)
- Principles of Uncertainty — probability and statistics textbook, for maths students to build up to understanding Bayesian reasoning.
- Playable Archaeology: An Interview with the Telehacks Anonymous Creator (Andy Baio) — The inspiration was my son. I had shown him the old movies Hackers, Wargames, and Colossus: The Forbin Project and he really liked them. After seeing Hackers and Wargames, he really wanted to start hacking stuff on his own. I’d taught him some programming, but I didn’t want him doing any actual hacking, so I decided to make a simulation so he could telnet to hosts, hack them, and get the feel of it, but safely. (Andy was the interviewer, not the creator)
- Responsive Data Tables — CSS ways to reformat data tables if the screen width is inadequate for the default table layout. (via Keith Bolland)
Internet Access Rights, Statistical Peace, Vintage Jobs, and Errata Etymology
- Right to Access the Internet — a survey of different countries’ rights to access to access the Internet.
- Peace Through Statistics — three ex-Yugoslavian statisticians nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. In war-torn and impoverished countries, statistics provides a welcome arena in which science runs independent of ethnicity and religion. With so few resources, many countries are graduating few, if any, PhDs in statistical sciences. These statisticians collaboratively began a campaign to collect together the basics underlying statistics and statistics education, with the hope of increasing access to statistical ideas, knowledge and training around the world.
- Vintage Steve Jobs (YouTube) — he’s launching the “Think Different” campaign, but it’s a great reminder of what a powerful speaker he is and a look at how he thinks about marketing.
- Anatomy of a Fake Quotation (The Atlantic) — deconstructing how the words of a 24 year old English teacher in Japan sped around the world, attributed to Martin Luther King.