Brian Wansink is one of the most-cited nutrition researchers in the world; 30,000 US schools use his advice to design their lunch programs, drawing on studies he's done that show that kids eat more carrots when they're called "X-ray vision carrots" and that putting out fruit bowls improves eating habits, and that smaller plates reduce portion sizes. Read the rest
The old stats adage goes: "All models are wrong, but some models are useful." In this 35 minute presentation from the O"Reilly Open Data Science Conference, data ethicist Abe Gong from Aspire Health provides a nuanced, meaningful, accessible and eminently actionable overview of the ways that ethical considerations can be incorporated into the design of powerful algorithms. Read the rest
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has run the numbers on Trump's childcare credit proposals and concluded that it is a massive gift to the richest American households, with little-to-no benefit for the poorest Americans who struggle most with childcare costs. Read the rest
Silver's predictions of the election outcome took much of the shine off the statistician-pollster-guru, and no amount of statistical spin ("we were expressing our confidence that the unpredictable wouldn't happen, but we left open the possibility of the unpredictable!") can restore it to its former glory, but this Fivethirtyeight explainer on the polls that show a huge variance in Trump's approval and disapproval ratings is the kind of detailed analysis that is mostly light, with little heat. Read the rest
Fivethirtyeight's analysis of a Surveymonkey data-set shows that Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election if registered Democrats had turned out and voted in larger numbers -- in other words, Hillary's failure to convince registered Democrats to vote, rather than abstain, lost her the election. Read the rest
After years of guesswork -- in which civil society groups and government stats bodies produced radically divergent estimates of killings by police in America -- the Bureau of Justice Statistics has finally released a report that validates the civil society groups, admitting that killings by police in America are 1,100-1,400/year, more than double the official figure. Read the rest
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an authoritarian war criminal who is part of the worldwide surge of trumpist leaders and hopefuls, including Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte; Hungary's Viktor Orbán; Russia's Vladimir Putin; South Korea's Park Geun-hye; France's Marine Le Pen; the UK's Nigel Farage, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and others -- bound together by xenophobia, a lack of transparency, violent suppression of opposition, and savvy use of the internet. Read the rest
The OECD's 2011-2015, 33 country, 215,942-person study of computer skills paints a deceptively grim picture of the average level of computer proficiency around the world -- deceptive because it excludes over-65s, who research shows to be, on average, less proficient than the 16-65 cohort sampled. Read the rest
Fast-talking national-treasure math vlogger Vi Hart (previously) takes a statistical look at the polling data from the 2016 presidential election and concludes that the most significant divide in the country is "old vs young," which drives things like rural/urban (because young people leave failing rural areas for cities) and even racial divides. Read the rest
The New York Times' presidential forecast has millionaire Republican Donald Trump at his lowest ebb of the campaign, with only an 8 percent chance of winning the Nov. 8 general election.
A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible: Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an N.F.L. kicker misses a 31-yard field goal.
The situation is so dire, with only three weeks to go, that polls are finding the candidates within the margin of in Texas, a Republican stronghold where a Clinton victory would represent a spectacular obliteration of the party's ticket.
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...it seems utterly unlikely that Clinton could actually win Texas. Though the state's large Latino population, combined with where Trump has led the GOP with his rhetoric about Mexicans and policy on immigration, could soon make winning Texas a real possibility for Democrats.
There are other reliable Republican states where the Clinton campaign is investing more seriously, which is a sign of where the race stands. Clinton is positioned to win the White House if she gets just the battleground states that are already leaning to the Democrats. Her campaign says it's putting the "lion's share" of resources in traditional battleground states like Ohio and North Carolina, which remain toss-ups. But they also have the luxury of being able to invest in some states that traditionally go to Republicans.
The month after the Brexit vote, recorded racist verbal and physical assault rose -- and even arson -- by 41% in the UK. Read the rest
Deji from Access Now writes, "How much does it cost to shut down the internet? A new report by the Brookings Institution assesses costs during a one year period between 2015-2016 and found immense losses. It's just a baseline too -- and doesn't even include things like mobile money or lost tax receipts. The real number is likely much higher." Read the rest
Correlation is not causation, and the data-set is awfully small (39 incidents), but computational epidemiologist Maimuna Majumder is working with what's available, because the federal government won't fund research into gun fatalities, and does not require states to gather data on police use of force. Read the rest