links for 2009-02-05

  • What do you do when your industry is shifting under your feet? Taking the lead with radical steps is one strategy. The New York Times did just that this afternoon when it announced that it has released a new Application Programming Interface (API) offering every article the paper has written since 1981, 2.8 million articles. The API includes 28 searchable fields and updated content every hour.
  • 1. Surprising results from conditional probability. For example, if you test positive for a disease with a 1% prevalence rate, and the test is 95% effective, that you probably don't have the disease.

    2. Bayesian data analysis as a way to solve statistical problems. For example, the classic partial-pooling examples of Lindley, Novick, Efron, Morris, Rubin, etc.

    3. Bayesian inference as a way to include prior information in statistical analysis.

    4. Bayes or Bayes-like rules for decision analysis and inference in computer science, for example identifying spam.

    5. Bayesian inference as coherent reasoning, following the principles of Von Neumann, Keynes, Savage, etc.

    6. [added at Larry's suggestion; see comments] Bayesian inference as a method of coming up with classical statistical estimators.

  • "A new startup company is in the works at the University of Washington, based on inexpensive, portable solar cells that could go far beyond the standard rooftop model. Conventional solar cells are made from expensive silicon, but the UW group, led by materials science and engineering professor Alex Jen, has come up with a way to harness solar energy using thin polymer film–akin to really thin cling wrap"
    (tags: solar startup uw)
  • "Yes, they were real. No, they didn't carry malaria. And they definitely didn't qualify as a swarm. But they sure did get a lot of attention.

    That's the word from a reliable source after the Microsoft chairman set the tech world, ahem, abuzz by opening a jar of mosquitos at the TED conference today — reportedly telling the crowd that not only poor people should experience the problem. We made a few calls and found out that the jar contained a relatively modest collection of mosquitoes: more than a few, but probably fewer than ten."

  • Eliminating the budget shortfall without raising taxes is difficult. It requires balancing what we need with what we value. What would you keep? What would you cut?
    (tags: budget)
  • As Comet Lulin moves into the northern sky in mid February to rise around midnight, it should at least be spotted by comet watchers with binoculars and a good sky chart. Tracking observations indicate that the comet officially designated C/2007 N3 (Lulin) has now swung by the Sun and is approaching Earth on a trajectory that will bring it within half the Earth-Sun distance in late February.
  • In this work we describe how a single artificial multi-level Cooper Pair Box molecule, interacting with a superconducting microwave coplanar waveguide resonator, when suitably driven, can generate extremely large optical nonlinearities at microwave frequencies, with no associated absorption.
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One Response to links for 2009-02-05

  1. David says:

    Speaking of growing up in the boonies. I went to high school with this guy. He was always an inch smarter than me and two feet harder working.

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