“Now, if you write a paper describing negative results—a model where nothing is significant—then you may have a hard time getting it published. In the absence of some specific controversy, negative results are boring. For the same reason, though, if your results just barely cross the threshold of conventional significance, they may stand a disproportionately better chance of getting published than an otherwise quite similar paper where the results just failed to make the threshold. And this is what the graph above shows, for papers published in the American Political Science Review. It’s a histogram of p-values for coefficients in regressions reported in the journal. The dashed line is the conventional threshold for significance. The tall red bar to the right of the dashed line is the number of coefficients that just made it over the threshold, while the short red bar is the number of coefficients that just failed to do so. If there were no bias in the publication process, the shape of the histogram would approximate the right-hand side of a bell curve. The gap between the big and the small red bars is a consequence of two things: the unwillingness of journals to report negative results, and the efforts of authors to search for (and write up) results that cross the conventional threshold.”
“What you saw there was a scaled prototype, 35 feet in diameter. During the test run it arrived on-site in a dock attached to a trailer, then deployed, activated the turbine, and returned to the ground—all automatically. At its highest altitude of 350 feet, it successfully got the turbine to generate twice as much juice than it gets at tower height. We’d say Altaeros is one to watch.”
“There is a pervasive assumption that ebooks are disposable literature. But to the voracious readers, this is not the case. Currently it’s hard for many people to build up collections of books due to space constraints — nevertheless I know many SF fans (of the kind who read 50–150 books a year) who have turned their homes into libraries. They will be the tip of an iceberg once ebooks become mainstream; why discard an ebook when you can file it and come back to it in 10 years’ time and it takes up no space?
For such people, filing and tagging their collections is a major issue. And so is portability. It’s true that if they own an iPad they can have an iBooks app full of books purchased from Apple, and a Kindle app full of books from Amazon, and a Nook app full of books from B&N. But those apps are, thanks to DRM, data silos — you can’t cross-check to see if you bought book 3 in a series from Apple and book 5 from Amazon without a lot of fiddling around.”
“I am not a type designer. This is the story of the creation of a new font, Avería: the average of all the fonts on my computer. The field of typography has long fascinated me, and I love playing with creative programming ideas, so it was perhaps inevitable that the idea came to me one day of “generative typography”. A Google on the subject brought up little, and I put the idea to the back of my mind until it occurred to me that perhaps the process of averaging, or interpolating, existing fonts might bring up interesting results. Luckily at this point I didn’t do any more web searching – instead I grabbed my laptop and came up with an initial idea for finding what the average of all my fonts might look like – by overlaying each letter at low opacity. The results can be seen in the below image.”
“In short, it’s time for a resurrection of the crypto-anarchist / techno-libertarian / cypherpunk movement and it’s associated values, activities and aesthetic. Those of us who care about these issues can’t just lurk in the shadows and act like nothing is happening. It’s time to start telling people about public-key encryption, hosting key-signing parties, developing new technologies for bypassing Internet censorship, developing tools for bypassing State and Corporation controlled messaging channels, and taking a stand for freedom.”
“So basically,when it comes to saving lives, docs are three times more likely to recommend a screening test based on irrelevant data than they are to recommend it based on relevant data. I’m bracing myself for the hate mail, but this is part of the reason why I’m skeptical that just providing docs with more evidence will change the way they practice. Most docs just aren’t trained to understand this stuff.”
“Karthik Ram gave an Introduction to R a couple of weeks ago, and I strongly recommend you to take a look at his cool HTML5 slides. I started trying HTML5 slides last year, and now it is difficult for me to go back to beamer, which I have used for a few years for my presenations. It is horrible to see beamer slides everywhere at academic conferences (especially the classic blue themes).”
“Attractive and rare set of decrees concerning the functioning of the judiciary in the papal city of Bologna. These city statutes were promulgated by the Pope’s legate, Cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani (1554−1621). Despite the issuing authority, the constitutions (a word indicating legislation of the highest level) are entirely non-religious in content, relating to civil law justice in the city. They shed considerable light into how courts worked in Bologna. Included are instructions on cases involving poor people; rules for notaries; the keeping of registers; seizures of property; taking of suspects; payment of officers; expert witnesses; and the governing of appeals. Pages 192–198 comprise papal edicts on the salaries of Bolognese judges and notaries.” — Leo Cadogan Rare Books (Dec. 2011)
‘During the brief, but very interesting Q&A session, Lethem argued that internet culture brought the “closet into the open”, that is, it gave ephemera, trivialities, and everyday activities “A new kind of visibility”. “People have always been producing weird stuff and have always been engaging in arcane activities,” Lethem remarked. “What is really new is the fact the now we can see it. We can see it all. We can quantify what we do — or not do — online.” Lethem mentioned the uncanny ability to track, in real time, “how many books I am not selling on Amazon”. “Reality has acquired a new level of measurability”. “The activities we perform in our digital age are not necessarily new. What is new is that. We. Can. See. Them. All.”.’
“Looming over Saylor’s confrontation with Bolenbaugh was the EPA’s September 27 cleanup deadline, and it appears that Enbridge and its contractors were feeling the pressure as it drew near. In early September, after the Michigan Messenger published its exposé on the use of undocumented workers by Hallmark Industrial, another group of workers employed by a different Enbridge contractor came forward with detailed stories of how they had been instructed to conceal oil at the same site. Workers would land on an island, they said, remove all vegetation, and then lay out absorbent pom-poms, all per EPA regulations. But once the top layer of oil was absorbed, they were instructed to rake dirt over the area to make it appear as though it had been dug out. One worker described his supervisor showing him the process step-by-step, concluding with sprinkling a thin layer of dirt on top. “He said, ‘There, now they can’t see it. It is clean,’” the worker told the Messenger. Another worker described being told to cover pockets of oil with leaves and sticks. As a last step, such areas were cordoned off with caution tape.”
“A number of representation schemes have been presented for use within Learning Classifier Systems, ranging from binary encodings to neural networks. This paper presents results from an investigation into using a discrete dynamical system representation within the XCS Learning Classifier System. In particular, asynchronous random Boolean networks are used to represent the traditional condition-action production system rules. It is shown possible to use self-adaptive, open-ended evolution to design an ensemble of such discrete dynamical systems within XCS to solve a number of well-known test problems.”
Sad to hear him still phrasing this simple truth so obscurely: Not
“Because, on the scale of molecular binding site recognition, say a few tens of angstroms in length, height and width and several other features such as polarity, van-der-Waal forces, and so on, there are far fewer effectively different molecular shapes than there are kinds of molecules.“
… but “Because there are fewer stories than there are facts.”
“I’ve been analyzing my process (and the process of those around me) and figuring out how best to structure code for projects on a larger scale. What I’ve found is a process that works equally well for sites small and large.
Learn how to structure your CSS to allow for flexibility and maintainability as your project and your team grows.”
“Crowd algorithms often assume workers are inexperienced and thus fail to adapt as workers in the crowd learn a task. These assumptions fundamentally limit the types of tasks that systems based on such algorithms can handle. This paper explores how the crowd learns and remembers over time in the context of human computation, and how more realistic assumptions of worker experience may be used when designing new systems. We first demonstrate that the crowd can recall information over time and discuss possible implications of crowd memory in the design of crowd algorithms. We then explore crowd learning during a continuous control task. Recent systems are able to disguise dynamic groups of workers as crowd agents to support continuous tasks, but have not yet considered how such agents are able to learn over time. We show, using a real-time gaming setting, that crowd agents can learn over time, and ‘remember’ by passing strategies from one generation of workers to the next, despite high turnover rates in the workers comprising them. We conclude with a discussion of future research directions for crowd memory and learning.”
“In sports competitions, teams can manipulate the result by, for instance, throwing games. We show that we can decide how to manipulate round robin and cup competitions, two of the most popular types of sporting competitions in polynomial time. In addition, we show that finding the minimal number of games that need to be thrown to manipulate the result can also be determined in polynomial time. Finally, we show that there are several different variations of standard cup competitions where manipulation remains polynomial.”
“If the contents of the inaugural issue—which range from an essay arguing that humanists need to understand and interpret quantitative data to a review of the WordSeer text analysis tool—fall outside your usual scholarly domain, then certainly the journal’s editorial and publishing apparatus will piqué your interest. As Dan Cohen explained in a separate blog post, the journal operates under the model of catching the good—of finding substantive and valuable digital humanities work “in whatever format, and wherever, it exists.” Blogs, podcasts, Twitter conversations, slideshows, and so on, these are all venues in which significant and, though I hate to use such an ungainly word, impactful work is being done. The regular and guest editors “catch” this work, and then provide layers of evaluation and review before it appears in JDH.”
“An important problem in computational social choice theory is the complexity of undesirable behavior among agents, such as control, manipulation, and bribery in election systems. These kinds of voting strategies are often tempting at the individual level but disastrous for the agents as a whole. Creating election systems where the determination of such strategies is difficult is thus an important goal. …”
“Tetravex is a widely played one person computer game in which you are given $n^2$ unit tiles, each edge of which is labelled with a number. The objective is to place each tile within a $n$ by $n$ square such that all neighbouring edges are labelled with an identical number. Unfortunately, playing Tetravex is computationally hard. More precisely, we prove that deciding if there is a tiling of the Tetravex board is NP-complete. Deciding where to place the tiles is therefore NP-hard. This may help to explain why Tetravex is a good puzzle. This result compliments a number of similar results for one person games involving tiling. For example, NP-completeness results have been shown for: the offline version of Tetris, KPlumber (which involves rotating tiles containing drawings of pipes to make a connected network), and shortest sliding puzzle problems. It raises a number of open questions. For example, is the infinite version Turing-complete? How do we generate Tetravex problems which are truly puzzling as random NP-complete problems are often surprising easy to solve? Can we observe phase transition behaviour? What about the complexity of the problem when it is guaranteed to have an unique solution? How do we generate puzzles with unique solutions?”
“We consider the age-old problem of allocating items among different agents in a way that is efficient and fair. Two papers, by Dolev et al. and Ghodsi et al., have recently studied this problem in the context of computer systems. Both papers had similar models for agent preferences, but advocated different notions of fairness. We formalize both fairness notions in economic terms, extending them to apply to a larger family of utilities. Noting that in settings with such utilities efficiency is easily achieved in multiple ways, we study notions of fairness as criteria for choosing between different efficient allocations. Our technical results are algorithms for finding fair allocations corresponding to two fairness notions: Regarding the notion suggested by Ghodsi et al., we present a polynomial-time algorithm that computes an allocation for a general class of fairness notions, in which their notion is included. For the other, suggested by Dolev et al., we show that a competitive market equilibrium achieves the desired notion of fairness, thereby obtaining a polynomial-time algorithm that computes such a fair allocation and solving the main open problem raised by Dolev et al.”
“It turns out that we don’t know the procedure. We haven’t got any clue to just how difficult the procedure is. We aren’t computers. We don’t follow procedures. And so comparing the complexity of the manual task, to the complexity of the procedure is invalid.
This is one of the reasons that estimates are so hard, and why we get them wrong so often. We look at a task that seems easy and estimate it on that basis, only to find that writing down the procedure is actually quite intricate. We blow the estimate because we estimate the wrong thing.”
“We investigate higher-order Voronoi diagrams in the city metric. This metric is induced by quickest paths in the L1 metric in the presence of an accelerating transportation network of axis-parallel line segments. …”
“Computer scientists make LDA seem complicated because they care about proving that their algorithms work. And the proof is indeed brain-squashingly hard. But the practice of topic modeling makes good sense on its own, without proof, and does not require you to spend even a second thinking about “Dirichlet distributions.” When the math is approached in a practical way, I think humanists will find it easy, intuitive, and empowering. This post focuses on LDA as shorthand for a broader family of “probabilistic” techniques. I’m going to ask how they work, what they’re for, and what their limits are.”
“No wonder life (i.e., the thing that my once 10-year old niece referred to as “the thing that isn’t fair”) comes to us as a filigree of ash stories. Walking down the street past a couple in conversation, an overheard morpheme, a mere glance at a wrongly buttoned raincoat, sparks a narrative in our imagination. Ask any question beginning with “why?” and the answer will surely be a story, or it will be embedded in a story. Or, at the very least, it will offer a tempting thread for some story that you yourself will hold onto, embellish even, as you try to absorb the answer. We interpolate between such fragments. This is, for many of us, simply the way we think.
What about the “why questions” in science, in logic, in mathematics? We should acknowledge how they are often “what questions” or “how questions” in disguise. Or how they slide down into such questions, as the ever-elusive, ever-illusory quest for an X that actually causes a Y dissolves. Some of the more satisfying answers to scientific “why” questions involves deft rephrasing. “Why is the sky blue?” is replaced by the question “what is the function that describes scattering amplitude as dependent on wave-length”?”
“We present a novel angular fingerprinting algorithm for detecting changes in the direction of rotation of a target with a monostatic, stationary sonar platform. Unlike other approaches, we assume that the target’s centroid is stationary, and exploit doppler multipath signals to resolve the otherwise unavoidable ambiguities that arise. Since the algorithm is based on an underlying differential topological theory, it is highly robust to distortions in the collected data. We demonstrate performance of this algorithm experimentally, by exhibiting a pulsed doppler sonar collection system that runs on a smartphone. The performance of this system is sufficiently good to both detect changes in target rotation direction using angular fingerprints, and also to form high-resolution inverse synthetic aperature images of the target.”
“This paper gives an introduction to the problem of mapping simple polygons with autonomous agents. We focus on minimalistic agents that move from vertex to vertex along straight lines inside a polygon, using their sensors to gather local observations at each vertex. Our attention revolves around the question whether a given configuration of sensors and movement capabilities of the agents allows them to capture enough data in order to draw conclusions regarding the global layout of the polygon. In particular, we study the problem of reconstructing the visibility graph of a simple polygon by an agent moving either inside or on the boundary of the polygon. Our aim is to provide insight about the algorithmic challenges faced by an agent trying to map a polygon. We present an overview of techniques for solving this problem with agents that are equipped with simple sensorial capabilities. We illustrate these techniques on examples with sensors that mea– sure angles between lines of sight or identify the previous location. We give an overview over related problems in combinatorial geometry as well as graph exploration.”
“A number of representation schemes have been presented for use within Learning Classifier Systems, ranging from binary encodings to Neural Networks, and more recently Dynamical Genetic Programming (DGP). This paper presents results from an investigation into using a fuzzy DGP representation within the XCSF Learning Classifier System. In particular, asynchronous Fuzzy Logic Networks are used to represent the traditional condition-action production system rules. It is shown possible to use self-adaptive, open-ended evolution to design an ensemble of such fuzzy dynamical systems within XCSF to solve several well-known continuous-valued test problems.”
“What mystified Grove was the assertion, voiced by the economist Alan Blinder and others, “that as long as ‘knowledge work’ stays in the U.S., it doesn’t matter what happens to factory jobs.” This was not only inhumane, Grove declared; it was idiotic.”
“Determining whether an unordered collection of overlapping substrings (called shingles) can be uniquely decoded into a consistent string is a problem that lies within the foundation of a broad assortment of disciplines ranging from networking and information theory through cryptography and even genetic engineering and linguistics. We present three perspectives on this problem: a graph theoretic framework due to Pevzner, an automata theoretic approach from our previous work, and a new insight that yields a time-optimal streaming algorithm for determining whether a string of $n$ characters over the alphabet $Sigma$ can be uniquely decoded from its two-character shingles. Our algorithm achieves an overall time complexity $Theta(n)$ and space complexity $O(|Sigma|)$. As an application, we demonstrate how this algorithm can be extended to larger shingles for efficient string reconciliation.”
“They’re turning universities into incubators. It’s happening at NYU and Harvard, two schools I have some familiarity with. Probably everywhere else too, to some extent. But I’d guess these two schools are pretty leading edge. Stanford has been there for a few generations.”
“What if all the bad things that media critics have been said about passivity for the past century or two are now equally applicable to all the demands to interact, to participate? What if interactivity is now one of the central hinges through which power works? In many moments today, the most compliant gesture we can make is to consent to interact on the terms presented to us by our software and machines. This pull is especially strong in those commercial platforms that celebrate their own difference from the so-called passive media of previous decades, and in the process monetize their users’ participation either directly or indirectly. What if—from time to time—we chose not to identify with the interactive promise of new media platforms or for that matter new media art? What if, when the new media savants lambast so-called old media audiences as denizens of passivity and ideology, we say, “yes, that’s me”?”
“But I think it’s clear what his real objection was: universal suffrage has the potential to advance socialistic causes, interfering with his laissez-faire project. From his autobiography: “Another extension of the franchise since made…will inevitably be followed by a still more rapid growth of socialistic legislation.” When he realized women’s equality could potentially interfere with laissez-faire economics, it was time for women’s equality to get cut from his overall theory of a better world. He would rather mutilate his intellectual project instead of allowing his enemies to continue to build their governance project.”
“My approach is different. Poster presentation, like conference presentation, belongs more to the area of dramatic arts than to marketing. It is information/entertainment, and that is the main thing you have to bear in mind when preparing for the session. Plus, while at a conference you have the full attention of your audience (shared, of course, with email, Facebook, plus the 10% that are simply speaking) in a poster session you have to first attract the attention of the people wandering around a hall shared with other 20 to 100 posters, then keep them there for the duration of the spiel and while you start a new one, and then, of course, convey the information you want to share with your poster. ”
“Some Individuals of our Countrymen, by the Smiles of Providence or some other Means, are enabled to roll in their four–wheel’d Carriages, and can support the Expence of good Houses, rich Furniture, and Luxurious Living. But, is it equitable that 99, or rather 999 should suffer for the Extravagance or Grandeur of one? Especially when it is consider’d, that Men frequently owe their Wealth to the Impoverishment of their Neighbours.”
“In fact, one approach is to intentionally over optimize a local optimization. This will often make apparent to management (or even to you) where the true bottle neck in the system is. We shouldn’t worry so much about doing the wrong things righter, but we should be aware that that may be the case and always work to be doing the right things.
In the end, showing improvement and building momentum can lead to exciting changes. In fairness, it can also come crashing to the ground if the right kinds of changes aren’t made at some point, but this should not deter anyone who thinks something can be made better from trying to do so and it certainly should not be a reason to do nothing!”
“…A WHINYYOUTHE cam nexte, barleye a man,
With yelwe haire, tunique, and farmeres tan.
But aquaculture litel did he love,
He wolde been a pilot al above
And bullseye oump-rattes yn a nimble craft.…”
“The knitr package was designed to be a transparent engine for dynamic report generation with R, solve some long-standing problems in Sweave, and combine features in other add-on packages into one package (knitr ≈ Sweave + cacheSweave + pgfSweave + weaver + R2HTML::RweaveHTML + highlight::HighlightWeaveLatex + 0.2 * brew + 0.1 * SweaveListingUtils + more).”
“A set of polyominoes is interlocked if no subset can be moved far away from the rest. It was known that polyominoes that are built from four or fewer squares do not interlock. The project of Dhawan and his mentor was to investigate the interlockedness of larger polyominoes. And they totally delivered.
They quickly proved that you can interlock polyominoes with eight or more squares. Then they proved that pentominoes can’t interlock. This left them with a gray area: what happens with polyominoes with six or seven squares? After drawing many beautiful pictures, they finally found the structure presented in our accompanying image. The system consists of 12 hexominoes and 5 pentominoes, and it is rigid. You cannot move a thing. That means that hexominoes can be interlocked and thus the gray area was resolved.”
“This is the first internationally published paper (it was previously published in a Spanish conference of a series that deals with a system, intended for volunteer computing, that uses a pool for implementing distributed evolutionary algorithms. The basic idea is that the population resides in a pool (implemented using CouchDB), with clients pulling individuals from the pool, doing stuff on them, and putting them back in the pool. The algorithm uses, as much as possible, CouchDB features (such as revisions and views) to achieve good performance. All the code (for this and, right now, for the next papers) is available as open-source code.”
“If the major publishers switch to selling ebooks without DRM, then they can enable customers to buy books from a variety of outlets and move away from the walled garden of the Kindle store. They see DRM as a defense against piracy, but piracy is a much less immediate threat than a gigantic multinational with revenue of $48 Billion in 2011 (more than the entire global publishing industry) that has expressed its intention to “disrupt” them, and whose chief executive said recently “even well-meaning gatekeepers slow innovation” (where “innovation” is code-speak for “opportunities for me to turn a profit”).
And so they will deep-six their existing commitment to DRM and use the terms of the DoJ-imposed settlement to wiggle out of the most-favoured-nation terms imposed by Amazon, in order to sell their wares as widely as possible.
If they don’t, they’re doomed. And all of us who like to read (or write) fiction get to live in the Amazon company town.”