Posts

July 01, 2014

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1:20 PM | “Who’s bigger”—the new book that ranks every human on Wikipedia—is more like Bill Simmons than Bill James
I received a copy of “Who’s Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank,” by Steven Skiena, a computer scientist at Stony Brook University, and Charles Ward, and engineer at Google. Here’s the blurb I gave the publisher: Skiena and Ward provide a numerical ranking for the every Wikipedia resident who’s ever lived. What a great idea! […] The post “Who’s bigger”—the new book that ranks every human on Wikipedia—is more like Bill […]
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11:24 AM | Classical programming
The classical education model is based on the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. See, for example, Dorothy Sayers’ essay The Lost Tools of Learning. The grammar stage of the trivium could be literal language grammar, but it also applies more generally to absorbing the basics of any subject and often involves rote learning. The […]
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10:42 AM | Critical Questions for Big Data by danah boyd & Kate Crawford
I’m teaching a class this summer in the Lede Program, starting in mid-July, which is called The Platform. Here’s the course description: This course begins with the idea that computing tools are the products of human ingenuity and effort. They are never neutral and carry with them the biases of their designers and their design […]
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4:35 AM | The Linearity of Traces
A success story for applied category theory: formal results about bicategorical trace imply the linearity of traces under absolute colimits.

June 30, 2014

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10:14 PM | recycling accept-reject rejections
Vinayak Rao, Lizhen Lin and David Dunson just arXived a paper which proposes anew technique to handle intractable normalising constants. And which exact title is Data augmentation for models based on rejection sampling. (Paper that I read in the morning plane to B’ham, since this is one of my weeks in Warwick.) The central idea […]
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3:28 PM | Who invented the Metropolis algorithm?
Paul Alper writes: I found this at the 15:57 mark of one of Bill Press’s videos but do not know if this bit of history is well known in the MCMC universe. This is Marshall Rosenbluth criticizing Metropolis (and others). The text is taken from an interview of Rosenbluth in 2003 by Kai-Henrik Barth: Barth: […] The post Who invented the Metropolis algorithm? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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1:00 PM | On deck this week
Mon: Who invented the Metropolis algorithm? Tues: “Who’s bigger”—the new book that ranks every human on Wikipedia—is more like Bill Simmons than Bill James Wed: “Being an informed Bayesian: Assessing prior informativeness and prior–likelihood conflict” Thurs: “The great advantage of the model-based over the ad hoc approach, it seems to me, is that at any […] The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal […]
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12:30 PM | Really Big Numbers (Book Review)
“Now and then we pluck numbers from the blur…numbers which have no names except the ones we might now give them…souvenirs from alien, unknowable worlds.” -Really Big Numbers by Richard Evan Schwartz... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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10:51 AM | Thanks for a great case study, Facebook!
I’m super excited about the recent “mood study” that was done on Facebook. It constitutes a great case study on data experimentation that I’ll use for my Lede Program class when it starts mid-July. It was first brought to my attention by one of my Lede Program students, Timothy Sandoval. My friend Ernest Davis at […]
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5:21 AM | Book:Graph Drawing
One of Wikipedia's less well-known features is its Book: namespace. The things there are called books, and they could be printed on paper and bound into a book if you're one of those rare Wikipedia users who doesn't use a computer to read things, but really they're curated collections of links to Wikipedia articles. I've made two of them before, Book:Graph Algorithms and Book:Fundamental Data Structures, which I have used for the readings in my graduate classes on those topics because I wasn't […]
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3:01 AM | The Boolean Circuit and Electronic, Logic Part 2
The Boolean Circuit and Electronic, Logic Part 2 If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted instantaneously by electricity. ~Samuel Morse This is the fourth part in my multi-part series on … Continue reading → The post The Boolean Circuit and Electronic, Logic Part 2 appeared first on The Physics Mill.

June 29, 2014

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10:14 PM | R/Rmetrics in Paris [alas!]
Today I gave a talk on Bayesian model choice in a fabulous 13th Century former monastery in the Latin Quarter of Paris… It is the Collège des Bernardins, close to Jussieu and Collège de France, unbelievably hidden to the point I was not aware of its existence despite having studied and worked in Jussieu since […]
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5:29 PM | Brazuca, a Pogorelov's ball
posted by @ulaulaman about #Brazuca #geometry #WorldCup2014 #Brazil2014 Brazuca is the ball of the World Cup 2014. The particular pattern of its surface is a consequence of the Pogorelov's theorem about convex polyhedron: A domain is convex if the segment joining any two of its points is completely contained within the field.Now consider two convex domains in the plane whose boundaries are the same length.(1)Now we can create a solid using the two previous domains: we must simlply connect […]
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4:19 PM | What a Mathematician can see in London
I will start a new category about traveling. Maybe it sounds a little strange to see something like this in a blog about math, but my blog is ‘Life through a Mathematician’s Eyes’ , so some traveling can find its … Continue reading →
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4:03 PM | Scott Adams blogging
Some of my commenters (you know who you are) demand more Scott-Adams-related content. So I went over to the Dilbert blog and found two interesting recent items: The Pivot: I’m not particularly interested in the topic (rich guys getting richer) but Adams usefully deploys statistical thinking in this one (“Success simply can’t be predicted to […] The post Scott Adams blogging appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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3:34 PM | My Ancestry
I always wanted to be a person of the world. I wanted my genes to be a mixture of everything. I was glad that I had a great-grandfather from Poland and a great-great-great-grandmother from France. I was also thrilled when my mom told me that her Asian students think she is [...]
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12:18 PM | …et sinon Mr Cardoso réussit là où les ont échoué!
A similar flier, a few days later. With very precise (if incoherent) guarantees! And a fantastic use of capitals. Too bad Monsieur Cardoso could not predict the (occurrence of a) missing noun in the last sentence…Filed under: Kids, pictures Tagged: advertising, charlatanism, mailbox, Pantin, Paris
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11:20 AM | ECM2016 — your chance to influence the programme
Just before I start this post, let me say that I do still intend to write a couple of follow-up posts to my previous one about journal prices. But I’ve been busy with a number of other things, so it may still take a little while. This post is about the next European Congress of […]
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6:22 AM | Algebraic probability spaces
As laid out in the foundational work of Kolmogorov, a classical probability space (or probability space for short) is a triplet , where is a set, is a -algebra of subsets of , and is a countably additive probability measure on . Given such a space, one can form a number of interesting function spaces, […]

June 28, 2014

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11:57 PM | Many Words, by Little Red Wolf
One of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard lately.  Came over the PA in Froth House.  What th– what is this thing, I must have it!  You know the drill. This is by Little Red Wolf, a Madison band, who have a great new record, Junk Sparrow, recorded by Brian Liston at Clutch Sound, the same guy who did […]
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11:35 PM | Mathematical progress, artistic progress, local-to-global
I like this post by Peli Grietzer, which asks (and I oversimplify:)  when we say art is good, are talking about the way it reflects or illuminates some aspect of our being, or are we talking about the way it wins the culture game?  And Peli finds help navigating this problem from an unexpected source: […]
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10:14 PM | Prof. Ntayiya résout tous vos problèmes!
One of the numerous fliers for “occult expertise” that end up in my mailbox… An interesting light on the major woes of my neighbours. That can induce some to consult with such charlatans. And a wonder: how can Professeur Ntayiya hope to get paid if the effects need to be proven?!Filed under: pictures Tagged: black […]
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1:57 PM | Grand challenges for mathematics education
The NCTM is asking the public to submit "grand challenges" for mathematics education for the near future. Here are four possibilities that would create free K-16 math curricula, develop industry-standard research tools, and create faster and leaner methods for disseminating math education research.
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1:00 PM | Useless Algebra, Inefficient Computation, and Opaque Model Specifications
I (Bob, not Andrew) doubt anyone sets out to do algebra for the fun of it, implement an inefficient algorithm, or write a paper where it’s not clear what the model is. But… Why not write it in BUGS or Stan? Over on the Stan users group, Robert Grant wrote Hello everybody, I’ve just been […] The post Useless Algebra, Inefficient Computation, and Opaque Model Specifications appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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12:43 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Aunt Pythia has missed you guys, and apologizes for the last two weeks of lost advice-giving opportunities. Her metaphorical advice bus broke down, but it’s back on the road again, it’s got a full tank of gas, and we’re ready to drive anywhere. It’s kind of a luxury winnebego advice bus today, I’m thinking. Here’s the […]
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10:28 AM | The Most Mathematically Perfect Day of the Year
Whether you write it 6/28 or 28/6, today is a perfect day. A perfect number is a number that is the sum of its factors besides itself, and 6 (1+2+3) and 28 (1+2+4+7+14) are the first two perfect... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:56 AM | Kan Extension Seminar Talks at CT2014
Kan extension seminar talks at CT2014.

June 27, 2014

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10:14 PM | Le Monde puzzle [#872]
An “mildly interesting” Le Monde mathematical puzzle that eventually had me running R code on a cluster: Within the set {1,…,56}, take 12 values at random, x1,…,x12. Is it always possible to pick two pairs from those 12 balls such that their sums are equal? Indeed, while exhaustive search cannot reach the size of the […]
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9:18 PM | The future of SoCG
Voting opened this week for members of the compgeom-announce mailing list, on whether the annual Symposium on Computational Geometry should leave ACM, as the Conference on Computational Complexity has recently done from IEEE.There's a lot more opinion on both sides of the issue, and arguments both for staying with ACM and for leaving, in a series of postings at MakingSoCG. If you're a compgeom-announce member, please inform yourself and then make your own opinion known through the vote. Past […]
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8:44 PM | The damages of the heavy metal
by @ulaulaman via @verascienza about #heavymetal #chemistry #health A heavy metal is any metal or metalloid of environmental concern. The term originated with reference to the harmful effects of cadmium, mercury and lead, all of which are denser than iron. It has since been applied to any other similarly toxic metal, or metalloid such as arsenic, regardless of density. Commonly encountered heavy metals are chromium, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, arsenic, selenium, silver, cadmium, antimony, […]
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