Blog Archives

Voting and vaccinating

February 13, 2016
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Some people think it isn’t rational to vote. Usually the argument is as follows: the probability of being pivotal, that is: the probability that your vote will ‘decide’ the winner, shrinks rapidly as the number of voters increases. So if you vote in the hope of determining an outcome, then the probability of that happening […]

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Premises

January 9, 2016
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A: You know I like the idea of using logic and logical deduction to understand how thinking should be done. This idea that beliefs are, or at least should be, the conclusions of deductive arguments is very clear and elegant. But I do worry… B: You worry?  Tell me about your worries. A: For a […]

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Identifying the OS from R

June 10, 2015
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Sometimes a bit of R code needs to know what operating system it’s running on. Here’s a short account of where you can find this information and a little function to wrap the answer up neatly. Operating systems are a platform issue, so let’s start with the constants in the list .Platform. For Windows the […]

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What’s so great about real names?

May 14, 2015
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A little while back a New York Times article discusses the consequences for college admission of saying undiplomatic things in social media. Apparently colleges monitor, or at least check up on, the social media presence of their potential applicants to see … Continue reading →

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Translational Bioinformatics Year In Review

April 10, 2015
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Translational Bioinformatics Year In Review

Per tradition, Russ Altman gave his "Translational Bioinformatics: The Year in Review" presentation at the close of the AMIA Joint Summit on Translational Bioinformatics in San Francisco on March 26th.  This year, papers came from six key areas (a...

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Getting R and Java 1.8 to work together on OSX

December 29, 2014
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Hey Mac OSX users with Java 1.8 installed. Did R just request a Java 1.6 installation and then promptly crash your session?  If so, read on… The Problem A few days ago I was attempting to use the mallet package … Continue reading →

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An open letter to Scotland on the eve of their independence vote

September 17, 2014
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Bye.

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Mycoplasma Contamination in Cell-Line Based Experiments

May 6, 2014
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Mycoplasma Contamination in Cell-Line Based Experiments

For a few years now, my EvoSTAR colleague, Bill Langdon, has been exploring the degree to which Mycoplasma bacteria have contaminated experimental systems and even "infected" online databases with the contents of their genomes.  He and his colleag...

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Russ Altman’s Translational Bioinformatics Year in Review

April 22, 2014
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Russ Altman’s Translational Bioinformatics Year in Review

A few weeks ago the 2014 AMIA Translational Bioinformatics Meeting (TBI) was held in beautiful San Francisco.  This meeting is full of great science that spans the divide between molecular and clinical research, but a true highlight of this meetin...

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There is no Such Thing as Biomedical "Big Data"

February 11, 2014
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There is no Such Thing as Biomedical "Big Data"

At the moment, the world is obsessed with “Big Data” yet it sometimes seems that people who use this phrase don’t have a good grasp of its meaning.  Like most good buzz-words, “Big Data” sparks the idea of something grand and complicated...

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