Posts Tagged ‘ data ’

Know your data 18: your location is our product

February 2, 2016
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In the last post in the Know Your Data series, I discussed how Uber can use its vast database of your personal trips against your personal interests. (This does not preclude the possibility that they use the data for your benefit.) It turns out that something more ominous is at foot… a number of news outlets have just published investigative reports about a company known as Vigilant Solutions (EFF, The…

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Optimism with Data

January 21, 2016
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Optimism with Data

What will our future be like? Is there no or some hope that things evolve in a good direction? Will we make progress? Data play a crucial role in answering these questions. Steven Pinker (Harvard University, Department of Psychology) in his answer to the EDGE question of 2016 considers that Quantifying Human Progress is the most interesting recent (scientific) news: ‘But … Continue reading Optimism with Data

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Treating absolute and relative data simultaneously

January 11, 2016
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Treating absolute and relative data simultaneously

A friend asked me to comment on the following chart: Specifically, he points out the challenge of trying to convey both absolute and relative metrics for a given data series. This chart presents projections of growth in the U.S. mobile...

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Know your data 17: when other people can track your Uber location

January 8, 2016
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The news is out that Uber got fined by the New York Attorney General's office for data breaches and privacy concerns. The headline writer for ZDNet nailed this one: "Uber fined peanuts in God View surveillance" (link). And the sub-lead has the kicker: "For a company with a valuation of over $50 billion, a $20,000 fine over user data protection is laughable." This settlement tells us one of the following…

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My Poster at Rocky 2015: Estimating parameters of the Hodgkin-Huxley cardiac cell model by integrating raw data from multiple types of voltage-clamp experiments

December 18, 2015
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My Poster at Rocky 2015: Estimating parameters of the Hodgkin-Huxley cardiac cell model by integrating raw data from multiple types of voltage-clamp experiments

I'm recently returned from the 2015 Rocky Mountain Bioinformatics Conference, where I presented the above poster. This is work with a colleague, Rick Gray, at the FDA. He and I collaborate on our NIH award "Optimal Design of Challenge-Response Experiments in Cardiac Electrophysiology" (HL118392) The (original) poster abstract is below, but the poster content is … Continue reading My Poster at Rocky 2015: Estimating parameters of the Hodgkin-Huxley cardiac cell…

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Statbusters: standing may or may not stand a chance

December 7, 2015
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In our latest Statbusters column for the Daily Beast, we read the research behind the claim that "standing reduces odds of obesity". Especially at younger companies, it is trendy to work at standing desks because of findings like this. We find a variety of statistical issues calling for better studies. For example, the observational dataset used provides no clue as to whether sitting causes obesity or obesity leads to more…

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The proliferation of useless data

November 29, 2015
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One of the secrets of great data analysis is thoughtful data collection. Great data collection is necessary but not sufficient for great data analysis. I recently had the unfortunate need to select a new doctor. Every time I had to do this, it has been an exercise in frustration and desperation. And after wasting hours and hours perusing the "data" on doctors, inevitably I give up and just throw a…

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Andrew Gelman delivers a lesson on statistical adjustment, so you can relax about middle-aged men killing themselves

November 11, 2015
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Andrew Gelman delivers a lesson on statistical adjustment, so you can relax about middle-aged men killing themselves

My co-columnist Andrew Gelman has been doing some fantastic work, digging behind that trendy news story that claims that middled-aged, non-Hispanic, white male Americans are dying at an abnormal rate. See, for example, this New York Times article that not only reports the statistical pattern but also in its headline, asserts that those additional deaths were due to suicide and substance abuse. It all bega n with the chart shown…

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Know your data 16: what have you copied for pasting today

November 9, 2015
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The Daily Beast reports that Facebook knows what you just copied and pasted on your phone (link). Then, when the engineers try to explain what they are doing, it feels a bit more creepy, as usual. We all copy text and then paste it somewhere else. This can be a web link that we are transporting from one app to another, or from an email app to a browser, etc.…

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Statbusters: Games people play with the placebo effect

November 3, 2015
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In the first two chapters of Numbersense, I discuss how people game statistics, and why gaming is inevitable. I have also written about the placebo effect before. Another article has appeared covering the same topic -- the industry doesn't like the fact that more and more drugs fail to clear the "placebo" hurdle; and the industry thinks the problem is that the placebo effect is mysteriously increasing over time. What…

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