Metabolic costs of human brain development

This paper quantifies the unusually high energetic cost of brain development in humans. Brain energy requirements and body-weight growth rate are anti-correlated in childhood. Given these results it would be surprising if nutritional limitations that prevented individuals from achieving their genetic potential in height didn’t also lead to sub-optimal cognitive development. Nutritional deprivation likely stunts …

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OR in an OB World

Not infrequently, I am asked about my academic specialty. When I reply “operations research”, as I usually do, I’m often met with a polite but blank stare. This happened to me a couple of times at a recent party. If the questioner inquires further, I’ll try to give an example or two of what OR …

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Estimate whether your sequencing has saturated your sample to a given coverage

This recipe provides a time-efficient way to determine whether you’ve saturated your sequencing depth, i.e. how much new information is likely to arrive with your next set of sequencing reads. It does so by using digital normalization to generate a “collector’s curve” of information collection. Uses for this recipe include evaluating whether or not you …

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A Musical Random Walk

I just read a blog post here at MSU about The Infinite Jukebox, a web tool that will analyze a song (either one you upload or one from their library) and map out links between segments of the song that have approximately the same beat. You then see a visualization of the song as a …

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Presidential Task Force on Seafood Fraud – MSU FFI Public Comments for the “Request for Comments”

We seek opportunities to comment – especially early in the development stages – on government and agency activities. The main way the US government communicates its activities is through Federal Register notices. There was a recent notice of public meetings and a request for comments on Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated …

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The Infinite Jukebox

Didn’t get enough “Scatman” in the 90s? Now you can potentially loop those “ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-bop’s” for-ever with The Infinite Jukebox, “for when your favorite song just isn’t long enough.” This web app uses “the Echo Nest analyzer to break the song into beats…but at every beat there’s a chance that we will jump to a different …

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Neural Networks and Deep Learning 2

Inspired by the topics discussed in this earlier post, I’ve been reading Michael Nielsen’s online book on neural nets and deep learning. I particularly liked the subsection quoted below. For people who think deep learning is anything close to a solved problem, or anticipate a near term, quick take-off to the Singularity, I suggest they …

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Physicists Create Water Tractor Beam

A group of physicists have discovered that they can make objects move against the direction of waves by using a tractor beam on water, which generates waves. This has important real-world applications, including confining oil spills. The physicists do not yet know mathematical theories explaining how it works.  Dr. Horst Punzmann said ” . . …

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Embroidery Stop Motion Music Video. Say What?

Throne, a London-based metal band, recent video for their song, “Tharsis Sleeps,” is a visually stunning stop motion masterpiece created entirely with embroidery. ::insert sound of record scratch:: Come again? Metal band…stop motion music video…embroidery. Yes, indeed! Here’s some of the mindblowing stats: “3,000 hand-drawn frames, 250 square metres of denim, 12 million stitches, 40 …

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The myth of the smarter Atheist

Ever since I published my previous article on the average IQ of students by college major, I’ve received several requests to analyze the correlation between IQ and religiosity. Below, I’ve written up an analysis of the existing published literature on the topic. I hope this serves as a springboard for future conversation on the topic …

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Going to Mexico

Is there a robot out there who can help me with one of my more importunate research problems? Some time ago—maybe four or five years back—there was a particular aphorism that was circulating in sustainability studies. I wouldn’t say that it had gone viral, but I must have heard a half dozen different speakers recite …

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Presentation: Food Fraud Vulnerability Assessment Foundation at the GFSI China Focus Day, Beijing & Korean Society for Food Science and Technology, Gwangju Korea

This is an advance copy of my Food Fraud Overview presentation  at the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) China Focus Day, Beijing which is being held August 26-27, 2014. This includes our latest research on how incident clustering fits into the evaluation of the fraud opportunity, which is the theoretical foundation for a Food Fraud …

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Why math ed sucks (not just in India)

My friend Hartosh Bal (author of A Certain Ambiguity, a mathematical novel) has a piece in Caravan Magazine titled “Why Fields medalists are unlikely to emerge from the Indian educational system.” He mentions the fact that of the three winners of the Field’s medal (the highest accolade in mathematics) are Brazilian, Iranian and Canadian respectively. The …

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Two reflections on SCI FOO 2014

Two excellent blog posts on SCI FOO by Jacob Vanderplas (Astronomer and Data Scientist at the University of Washington) and Dominic Cummings (former director of strategy for the conservative party in the UK). Hacking Academia: Data Science and the University (Vanderplas) Almost a year ago, I wrote a post I called the Big Data Brain Drain, lamenting the …

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Introducing the Food Fraud Reference Sheet

Use the link below to access our new Food Fraud Reference Sheet. Over the years we have been asked for a single resource that covers definitions, articles, and videos, as well as educational opportunities. The content will be regularly updated with the latest information: http ://foodfraud.msu.edu/food-fraud-reference-sheet/ From the Food Fraud Reference Sheet: “FOOD FRAUD: The simple …

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PTSD could be prevented with a pill

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been getting a lot of press the past few years, especially regarding the number of active military personnel that are coming home from deployments with PTSD.  Scientists recently discovered how certain people can be susceptible to PTSD after experiencing severe trauma while others are not susceptible.  Scientists introduced a trauma …

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Higher Education and Rising Inequality

In an intriguing article last month on Huffington Post, Harry Boyte, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College and a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs,   talks about how the norms of higher education have shifted. In noting a recent report Unseen Disadvantage, Boyte …

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