Month: July 2017
Why do human beings speak so many languages? – The Conversation
Why is it that humans speak so many languages? And why are they so unevenly spread across the planet? As it turns out, we have few clear answers to these fundamental questions about how humanity communicates.
Technology Is Biased Too. How Do We Fix It? | FiveThirtyEight
Whether it’s done consciously or subconsciously, racial discrimination continues to have a serious, measurable impact on the choices our society makes about criminal justice, law enforcement, hiring and financial lending. It might be tempting, then, to feel encouraged as more and more companies and government agencies turn to seemingly dispassionate technologies for help with some of these complicated decisions, which are often influenced by bias. Rather than relying on human judgment alone, organizations are increasingly asking algorithms to weigh in on questions that have profound social ramifications, like whether to recruit someone for a job, give them a loan, identify them as a suspect in a crime, send them to prison or grant them parole.
Four charts that show who loses out if the White House cuts food stamps – The Conversation
It is hard perhaps for some to judge the benefits of having one less hungry person. But it is not hard to see the costs of a hungry one. If less hunger means fewer dropouts from school, less emergency room use and less crime, those are big gains for society.
Do poor people eat more junk food than wealthier Americans? – The Conversation
Another finding was that working more hours raises fast-food consumption, regardless of income level. People eat it because it’s fast and convenient. This suggests policies that make nutritious foods more readily available, quickly, could help offset the lure of fast food. For example, reducing the red tape for approving food trucks that serve meals containing fresh fruits and vegetables could promote healthier, convenient eating.
Paradoxes of probability and other statistical strangeness – The Conversation
Statistics is a useful tool for understanding the patterns in the world around us. But our intuition often lets us down when it comes to interpreting those patterns. In this series we look at some of the common mistakes we make and how to avoid them when thinking about statistics, probability and risk.
Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball » The New Dominion: Virginia’s Ever-Changing Electoral Map
"The transformation in Virginia’s statewide partisan lean is the product of some major changes in the voting habits in different parts of the commonwealth. If we take a step down from the statewide level, we can start to really see these shifts by looking at Virginia’s three major metropolitan areas and the parts of the state that lie outside of them."
If we stopped emitting greenhouse gases right now, would we stop climate change? – The Conversation
This decades-long lag between cause and effect is due to the long time it takes to heat the ocean’s huge mass. The energy that is held in the Earth by increased carbon dioxide does more than heat the air. It melts ice; it heats the ocean. Compared to air, it’s harder to raise the temperature of water; it takes time – decades. However, once the ocean temperature is elevated, it will release heat back to the air, and be measured as surface heating.
So even if carbon emissions stopped completely right now, as the oceans’ heating catches up with the atmosphere, the Earth’s temperature would rise about another 0.6℃. Scientists refer to this as committed warming. Ice, also responding to increasing heat in the ocean, will continue to melt. There’s already convincing evidence that significant glaciers in the West Antarctic ice sheets are lost. Ice, water and air – the extra heat held on the Earth by carbon dioxide affects them all. That which has melted will stay melted – and more will melt.
NYTimes: Medicaid Worsens Your Health? That’s a Classic Misinterpretation of Research
Medicaid Worsens Your Health? That’s a Classic Misinterpretation of Research https://nyti.ms/2tDUzgB
Medicaid enrollees are of lower socioeconomic status — even lower than the uninsured as a group — and so may have fewer community and family resources that promote good health. They also tend to be sicker than other patients. In fact, some health care providers help the sickest and the neediest to enroll in Medicaid when they have no other option for coverage. Because people can sign up for Medicaid retroactively, becoming ill often leads to Medicaid enrollment, not the opposite.