this week i

heard a tune while in line at starbucks.  thought i could do better.

spent the evening with three of my favorite people.  new rule: only eat ben's chili bowl when at least 66% of the friends i'm dining with are doctors.  unbroken streak so far.

read about the inherent bias in published research, and the public library of science's admirable role in the crusade against it.

figured out parallel processing in the windows 64 bit version of r.


listened to the magnificent eric lewis at the final night of hr-57 on 14th st..
video

..turn it up.
video



took an excellent short course on survey sampling, designed not to confer mastery, but to 'bring you to the point where you can interrogate people who do survey sampling.'  critical skills, the origination of most of the data sets i work with.  the decennial census the only survey conducted by the u.s. government that lacks some formal sampling strategy.

the chances of being hit by lightning are very low, but once you've been sampled, it's too late.

a statistic derived by sampling requires a precision statement to make it useful.
 
sample size does not depend on population size, but on the variability within the population and the desired level of precision.
 
sampling each state to predict the winner of the presidency with america's electoral college system costs about fifty times as much as simply predicting the winner of the popular vote.

if you know something about the population, build that into the design.

if the population is homogeneous, you can get the correct answer from sampling one person.
 
you're looking for a miniature of the population.

if we have a design effect and a simple random sample variance, the product of the two will give us the variance taking the clustering into account.
 
stratification is always at least as good, and often better, than simple random sampling.


12/16/10

this week i

occasionally think of myself as the next generation of journalist, and always as a storyteller.

recorded with my lap steel guitar on verses two and four.

hopped on a bus to nyc..

..to help emma move to wdc.  only one furniture casualty.

winterized my father's pond.


12/9/10

this week i

began examining the effect of adverse selection on the exchanges.

watched the first four seasons of mad men.

had free wine and cheese for dinner while browsing photos of the atacama at the chilean embassy.

listened to the stones, deconstructed.

donated $100 to wikipedia.

saw a homeless man with "i bought this shirt with your money" printed on his t-shirt.

12/2

this week i

wonder why you would be against genetically modified dengue-fighting mosquitoes.  jurassic park was fiction, mosquitoes aren't velociraptors.  greenpeace needs to focus on oil spills, not public health interventions.  more detail about the anti-campaign in this ancient (3 y/o) wired article.  unrelated: velociraptors were mongolian!

dropped by the natural history museum for a quick helping of imax.  didn't realize that land animals predate seed-bearing plants, but it makes sense.

might have a starbucks eggnog latte addiction problem.

got my mini-amp.  strung her up.

 still need to solder.

have liftoff.  first time playing made me feel a little like dr. frankenstein.
video

11/25

this week i

updated a snapshot detailing the relationship between higher wage workers and offers of health insurance.

saw the punch brothers at strathmore and the black crowes at 930.

love accessible quantitative graphics, like this budget puzzle.

toured some modern art with morgan.

11/18

this week i

wrote an r script to download every file for every year of the medical expenditure panel survey.

10/11

this week i

released our quinquennial medicare chartbook, containing every statistic you could possibly want to know about medicare and its beneficiaries.

realized that in the not-too-distant future, improvements in facial recognition software and web-searching technology will allow anyone to take one picture of you and scour the entire internet for every other picture with your face in it.  in other words, don't get caught picking your nose in the corner of a stranger's online vacation photo album unless you want everyone to see it in a decade or two.

ran in my new evolution-designed shoes. exercised a different set of muscles, soreness-confirmed.

drank perhaps too much great coffee.

ate perhaps too little of london's finest turkish, thai, and south indian.

saw the skeleton of napoleon's horsest. paul on the skyline..

 ..and a police chase sans billy clubs.
video 

don't get why they drive on the left but walk on the right.

strongly disliked the first few exhibits at the tate modern.
 
draw the line between good and bad art with the question, "could i have done that?"

warmed up to it..


ok that's even better
 
definitely couldn't have done this..

or that

..or that.  changed my mind.
 

didn't know that russia's rosie the riveter was svetlana the soldier.

strolled the tony chelsea district.  did i mention my name is an adjective for quality here?

toured the physic gardens expecting to see angular momentum equations, instead found explosion trajectories.

herbal remedies..

 some well below the worth it line
 

others no longer potent for malaria
 

 but still and always a cure for the mondays.

beelined for the carnivorous plants!  they catch victims via snap trap..
 

..or adhesive tunnels of death.  photosynthesis is for suckers!

saw some other plants too, i guess.


 

bade farewell to this fairytale land..

..and my everymorning foggyriver sunrises.


turned back to barcelona, my first and favorite city in europe.  because the sun is always shining here..

because every day is thanksgiving day..

..and somehow also halloween.

because not everything makes sense, but that's not terribly important..

because that pigeon a few balconies up looks delicious..

but i wonder what these cats are growling at.

because take-your-own-photo booths are ultra-affordable when you squeeze in and use your own camera

because frosty gelato cheers just as well as frosty beers 
because if ben affleck ever needs a stunt-double fluent in catalan..

because the graffiti lacking proper nouns makes postcard photos a cinch

because the meat is so fresh and juicy, it drips on your head if you don't stab it with tiny reverse-umbrellas

because of the haunting architecture..

..the bustling market cafes..

..and unlimited remedies for the blues.

don't think you can go wrong as long as you go.

11/4/10

this week i

respect nate silver's ability to explain important statistical concepts about polling to the public.

want to be bill gates' foot soldier.  'polio could be the first disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.'

attended a mckinsey presentation at lse about a new management metric.  they presented one (arguably) significant correlation with one health outcome (heart attack within thirty days) in one country studied (of seven) for one brief slide, then dove into the intricacies of this hospital management score before convincing us it had any real bearing on patient care or hospital quality.  suffering from an acute case of being economists with no healthcare background.  a reminder to focus health research on outcomes and cost and nothing else.

explored london.
 
stood where you're supposed to stand.

went where you're supposed to go.

sightsaw what you're supposed to see..

..it's beautiful, but not for me.

love this city for the children chasing pigeons..

..not the ornamented bridges.
 
for another language always within earshot..

for constant reminders that they drive on the other side

for rare scenes, unsuitable for postcards

for british assholes, faking disabilities with a smile

for world cuisine and save-the-world conversation..

..not stone cold earles.

understand that the history books might already be full..

..but also that the whole story hasn't been written.
video


..but treasure today's terrible translation.

demand to discover.

spent the weekend in geneva..

..home to the who.

bought a pound of vegetables - yes still eating a pound of vegetables every morning - for $7.50.  unlike american vegetable medleys, however, found a naturally-occurring fractal among the cauliflower and broccoli stumps.

don't mind the high prices, so long as your host will home-cook for you.

enjoyed the icrc museum..

..housing the first nobel peace prize..

..and a wall of opportunity to do tremendous good with facial recognition software (conflict-displaced children).

stereotyped the swiss..
expert clockmakers

socialized railways

low competition for the primo domain names

swiss chocolate overdose alternatives

 
bicycle parity

and everyone looks the same.

10/28/10