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Spartan Ideas is a collection of thoughts, ideas, and opinions independently written by members of the MSU community and curated by MSU Libraries

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One Last One on Food Waste

I have to bring this series of diatribes about food waste to a close, but there was one more thing that I wanted to write about when I started this thread six weeks ago. I’m reminded of a fascinating talk I heard from the former Vice President for Sustainability at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. It was …

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Brexit: victory over the Hollow Men

Congratulations to Dominic Cummings, a formidable man. I met Dominic at SCI FOO in 2014. We talked long into the night, and I came away impressed with his tenacity and capability for long term planning. He urged me to study Bismarck. The Telegraph: The long war: how Vote Leave and the Eurosceptics won “Vote Leave, …

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Enforcing Simultaneous Arrivals

I’m recapping here an answer to a modeling question that I just posted on a help forum. (Since it will now appear in two different places, let’s hope it’s correct!) The original poster (OP) was working on a routing model, in which vehicles (for which I will use and if needed as indices) are assigned …

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Review – Final Rule for FSMA Intentional Adulteration (Food Defense) Regarding Food Fraud and EMA

This is a detailed, 22-page review of the Food Fraud aspects or requirements of the recently published Food Safety Modernization Act Intentional Adulteration (Food Defense) Final Rule (FSMA-IA). In addition to regular contributors Spink & Moyer, we are pleased to add MSU’s Dr. Andrew Huff (College of Veterinary Medicine) and University of Auckland’s (NZ) Bradley …

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Arthur Kroeber (Gavekal) on Chinese economy

Highly recommended. Kroeber gives a realistic assessment of the Chinese economy, covering topics such as historical development models, infrastructure investment, debt levels, SOEs vs private enterprise, corruption pre- and post-Xi, demographics, hukou reform, etc. In this episode of Sinica, we present an in-depth interview with Arthur Kroeber, founding partner and head of research for Gavekal …

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IPPSR Develops List of Policy-Related data.michigan.gov Datasets

Want to learn about environmental contamination, Michigan school locations, or concealed weapons permits? The State of Michigan makes many datasets publicly available for public use. Using data.michigan.gov (link is external), IPPSR has created a list of datasheets potentially useful for policy research and analysis. All datasets have an API making it easy for anyone to access …

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Independent Streams (Week of June 20th)

Our weekly round-up of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Tri-Counties Want To Make The State Focus On Mid-Michigan (link is external) IPPSR affiliate Eric Scorsone comments on the importance of creating policies to draw businesses and people to the Lansing area. Cities Need Basic Services For Economic Growth, Not Flashy Gimmicks, Experts Say (link …

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EQ, IQ, and all that

This Quora answer, from a pyschology professor who works on personality psychometrics, illustrates well the difference between rigorous and non-rigorous research in this area. Some years ago a colleague and I tried to replicate Duckworth’s findings on Grit, but to no avail, although IIRC our sample size was roughly as large as hers. In our …

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More Waste

We’ve been on a run of blogs focused on food waste. The topic can’t help but bring up memories of my Nana, an obsessively frugal woman whose closets always contained at least fifty rolls of toilet paper purchased with triple coupon savings at her neighborhood Publix supermarket. Although she never did, I imagine my Nana …

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MathJax Whiplash

Technology is continuously evolving, and for the most part that’s good. Every now and then, though, the evolution starts to look like a random mutation … the kind that results in an apocalyptic virus, or mutants with superpowers, or something else that is much more appealing as a plot device in a movie or TV …

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CAP Summer Work Update #2

Since we last checked in we’ve had a busy week and a half.  The Abbot entrance landscape rejuvenation project is coming to a close, so we’ve been able to finish work there and move onto testing other research questions. U.S. Weather Bureau  Although the rejuvenation construction was not directly impacting the north west corner of the …

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Hemingway’s cafes

WSJ: Hemingway’s Favorite Parisian Cafes, A tour of the literary Parisian cafes Hemingway’s generation made famous. For some reason they don’t mention Les Deux Magots! See also With Pascin at the Dôme: I always wondered who Hemingway had in mind as the dark sister when he wrote the short story With Pascin at the Dôme, which …

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New TPACK book chapter

The  Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), New Delhi, recently published a book titled “Resource Book on ICT Integrated Teacher Education.” Edited by Dr. Manas Ranjan Panigrahi it is available as an Open Educational Resource (OER) from the CEMCA website. The book has 5 chapters, including one co-authored by a team here at MSU. Complete reference (with link …

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Of zombies and criminals

As the recall for products linked to sunflower seeds potentially contaminated with Listeria grows, I think this is a good time to talk about recalls. I feel like this is a bug I’m hearing more and more about in the news, and have sometimes wondered if it’s just me being more attentive to food safety …

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Takeaways from the Bryant Decision

As observers might have predicted from the oral argument in United States v. Bryant (opinion here), the government’s victory was not surprising. Of course, even a few years ago, this outcome was far from a foregone conclusion, as the 2005 Canby-Washburn-Sands debates in the Federal Sentencing Reporter suggested. A few takeaways: 1. Remarkable that the Court heaps …

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Independent Streams (Week of June 13th)

Our weekly round-up of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Plight of Michigan’s Homeless Students Deserves Attention(link is external) (link is external) IPPSR affiliate Joshua Cowen’s research highlights unique challenges faced by homeless students in Michigan Can Cormorants Help Control Great Lakes Invaders?(link is external) (link is external) IPPSR affiliate Eric Freedman writes about the interaction between …

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Foo Camp 2016

I was at Foo Camp the last few days. This year they kept the size a bit lower (last year was kind of a zoo) and I thought the vibe was a lot more relaxed and fun. Many thanks to the O’Reilly folks for running this wonderful meeting and for inviting me. My first time …

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Can Gentrification mean Integration? Hopes for the Urban Neighborhood School

Part 2 of 2 The Less-Considered Outcome of Gentrification Green & Write’s previous post about gentrification and neighborhood schools highlighted the more common criticism of gentrification and urban areas—as more affluent, mostly white, families move into a lower-cost city neighborhood, low-income families of color are often displaced, finding themselves excluded from the communities that have …

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Waste (at last)

So finally after last week’s silliness and the week before that’s semi-seriousness I want to circle back to the week before that’s deadpan no-foolin’ serious talk about the moral dimensions of food waste. I’ll start by apologizing to anyone who might have been offended by the sarcasm or by the flippancy implied by the way …

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Roe’s scientists: original published papers

Gwern has provided scans of the original papers published by Anne Roe on studies of 64 eminent scientists. These papers include details concerning the selection of these individuals and the psychometric testing performed on them. Roe’s scientists — selected in their 40′s and 50′s for outstanding research contributions — scored much higher on a set …

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Randomized Controlled Trials of Public Policy

At IPPSR, we are underway building a comprehensive database full of policy-relevant research. A large focus of the database is to find randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of public policy experimentation. These studies enable causal inference by randomly assigning a policy intervention to some people or areas and comparing the results to a control group. So far, …

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Independent Streams (Week of June 6th)

Our weekly round-up of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Conservation Criminology at MSU works to Defend the Rights of Nature and Wildlife Around the World (link is external) IPPSR affiliate Meredith Gore’s work in conservation criminology is highlighted. Longtime Couples Get In Sync, In Sickness and In Health (link is external) IPPSR affiliate William …

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FIFA Appoints African Woman as Secretary General: A Preliminary Assessment

Fatma Samba Diop Samoura of Senegal, a career United Nations diplomat, was recently appointed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino as the world body’s new secretary general. “She will bring a fresh wind to FIFA—someone from outside,” Infantino declared. Listen to my radio interview with Assumpta Oturu as we discuss the significance of Samoura’s appointment and …

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$1.2 trillion college loan bubble?

See also When everyone goes to college: a lesson from S. Korea. Returns to a “college education” are highly dependent on the intrinsic cognitive ability and work ethic of the individual. WSJ: College Loan Glut Worries Policy Makers The U.S. government over the last 15 years made a trillion-dollar investment to improve the nation’s workforce, …

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Creativity as Resistance: New article

Image credit: tshirtgifter.com The next article in our series (Rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century) for the journal Tech Trends is now available online. This article has an interview with Dr. Shakuntala Banaji, currently Associate Professor and the Program Director for the Master’s in Media, Communication, and Development at the London School of Economics. Her work “spans multiple areas of …

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Kale Field

Well I promise to get back to the serious talk about food waste sometime, really, I do. John Zilmer’s comment to the first blog on food waste has already made a few points I thought that I might get around to sooner or later, so if you are itching for something more pensive I’d recommend …

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Does Michigan Need Certificate-of-Need?

Last summer, members of the Michigan legislature revisited discussions of eliminating an arcane but long-standing health policy called Certificate-of-Need. Few people, or even policymakers, are familiar with state Certificate-of-Need (CON) programs, but they yield significant authority in influencing the shape of states’ immense healthcare markets. Michigan’s healthcare market, for example, accounted for an adjusted 70.4 …

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Using CLP with Java

The COIN-OR project provides a home to a number of open source software projects useful in operations research, primarily optimization programs and libraries. Possibly the most “senior” of these projects is CLP, a single-threaded linear program solver. Quoting the project description: CLP is a high quality open-source LP solver. Its main strengths are its Dual …

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Independent Streams (Week of May 30th)

Our weekly round-up of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems: With Corporate Income Tax Comes Volatility for Michigan, Economists Say (link is external). State of the State Survey Director Charley Ballard and IPPSR Director Matt Grossmann comment on the latest revenue projections and the role of Michigan corporate tax changes. Wayne County Executive kicks off …

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Forum on Sustainable Energy in Michigan

Sustainable energy is an increasingly pressing issue as the world’s finite resources deplete, and the environment continues to feel the effects of waste and pollution. In March of 2015 Governor Snyder highlighted a plan for the future of Michigan’s energy production. Included in this plan was a goal for 30-40 percent of Michigan’s energy to …

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Meat Camp!

Summer field season is upon us, and our first stop: Meat Camp! As strange as it sounds, this isn’t a summer camp of sorts, but rather the small North Carolina town where some adorable young bluebirds, and their tiny parasites, can be found. Above and to the left, you can see a nest box with …

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Java “Deep Learning” Library

If you are a Java (or Scala) (or maybe Clojure?) programmer interested in analytics, and in particular machine learning, you should take a look at Deeplearning4j (DL4J). Quoting their web site: Deeplearning4j is the first commercial-grade, open-source, distributed deep-learning library written for Java and Scala. Integrated with Hadoop and Spark, DL4J is designed to be …

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Food Waist

So picking up right where we left off last week, I’m going to loop back to the week before last when we were wringing our hands about our own pointy headedness at the 4th Annual Food Justice Workshop. Galen Martin was one of the pointy-headed academics who showed up all the way from Eugene, Oregon …

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For What It’s Worth

There is lots going on in the world of sports. There must be, as our local daily newspaper devotes more space to covering it than any other subject, seven days a week. Some of the most watched television are sports events. And it doesn’t take a genius to recognize that there is big money to …

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Interview with Soren Anderson on Energy Policy

IPPSR Policy Fellow Fabiola Yanez interviewed IPPSR Forum speaker and Faculty Affiliate Soren Anderson, an economics professor and expert on energy and environmental economics. Fabiola Yanez: At the IPPSR forum, you focused a lot on the Clean Power Plan, the options for cutting emissions include investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, natural gas, nuclear power and …

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Theory, Money, and Learning

After 25+ years in theoretical physics research, the pattern has become familiar to me. Talented postdoc has difficulty finding a permanent position (professorship), and ends up leaving the field for finance or Silicon Valley. The final phase of the physics career entails study of entirely new subjects, such as finance theory or machine learning, and developing …

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Cuteness against PEGIDA

There was a brilliant moment in one of the presidential debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama where Mr. Romney was trying to lambast President Obama for being out of touch with the needs of the American military. Mitt Romney had made an impressive showing in the first debate, and Obama seemed to need a …

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