In Other Words (Week of July 31)

Inviting you to review our newest regular feature, In Other Words, of biweekly policy-related readings from divergent voices across Michigan. On the Left Why Your Religion Shouldn’t Be My Problem (link is external) From the blog Ramona’s Voices, a discussion on religious freedom. Governor Snyder, Please, It’s Time To Show Leadership In The Debate Over Trumpcare (link …

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Robots taking our jobs

The figures below are from the recent paper Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets, by Acemoglu and Restrepo. VoxEU discussion: … Estimates suggest that an extra robot per 1000 workers reduces the employment to population ratio by 0.18-0.34 percentage points and wages by 0.25-0.5%. This effect is distinct from the impacts of imports, …

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Pan-African Sports Studies

The University of Zambia will host the 12th Sports Africa conference on March 26-28, 2018. The theme of the conference is: “Pan-African Sports Studies: Beyond Physical Education.” The conference in Lusaka will bring together sports scholars and practitioners from African, North American, and European Universities working on a diversity of topics in a wide range …

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Natural Selection and Body Shape in Eurasia

Prior to the modern era of genomics, it was claimed (without good evidence) that divergences between isolated human populations were almost entirely due to founder effects or genetic drift, and not due to differential selection caused by disparate local conditions. There is strong evidence now against this claim. Many of the differences between modern populations …

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A Prohibition Whose Time is Now

On July 7th, the UN passed the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty. A treaty the US will not join any time soon, just as it hasn’t joined many other global agreements including: Convention on Cluster Munitions Ottawa Treaty (Mine ban) International Criminal Court Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (Signed, but withdrew in 2002) As one might expect this UN …

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Don’t Touch the Computer

Under what circumstances should humans override algorithms? From what I have read I doubt that a hybrid team of human + AlphGo would perform much better than AlphaGo itself. Perhaps worse, depending on the epistemic sophistication and self-awareness of the human. In hybrid chess it seems that the ELO score of the human partner is …

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Report: Michigan Lags in Evidence-based Policymaking

In an increasingly ideological and partisan political world, the practice of evidence-based policymaking is a critical tool in ensuring the most efficient use of government resources. Objective outcome analyses and rigorous program evaluations can help policymakers and state officials guide limited funds towards investments with a proven track record (i.e., evidence) and away from programs …

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Genetic variation in Han Chinese population

Largest component of genetic variation is a N-S cline (phenotypic N-S gradient discussed here). Variance accounted for by second (E-W) PC vector is much smaller and the Han population is fairly homogeneous in genetic terms: …while we revealed East-to-West structure among the Han Chinese, the signal is relatively weak and very little structure is discernible …

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In Other Words (Week of July 17)

Introducing our newest regular feature, In Other Words, of biweekly policy-related readings from divergent voices across Michigan. On the Left A Better Budget For All Michiganians (link is external) Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, discusses the state budget in Factually Speaking blog post. Concealed Weapons For Convicted Stalkers? ‘What Could …

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Memory Minimization

As I grow older, I’m starting to forget things (such as all the math I ever learned) … but that’s not the reason for the title of this post. A somewhat interesting question popped up on Mathematics StackExchange. It combines a basic sequencing problem (ordering the processing of computational tasks) with a single resource constraint …

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Super-human Relational Reasoning (DeepMind)

These neural nets reached super-human (better than an average human) performance on tasks requiring relational reasoning. See the short video for examples. A simple neural network module for relational reasoning https://arxiv.org/abs/1706.01427 Adam Santoro, David Raposo, David G.T. Barrett, Mateusz Malinowski, Razvan Pascanu, Peter Battaglia, Timothy Lillicrap (Submitted on 5 Jun 2017) Relational reasoning is a …

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Waves of grain

My car packed with too many clothes, an extremely terrified cat and a live Kombucha culture, I headed west to my summer field site. Oddly enough, my summer field site is also where I grew up. The endless waves of grain remind me of my labor-intensive childhood detasseling corn,1 walking beans2 and bucking bales.3  I …

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Creating Humane Metrics for the Humanities and Social Sciences

To support the Humane Metrics for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HuMetricsHSS) initiative, Michigan State University has received a $309,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The collaborative HuMetricsHSS pilot aims to create a values-based framework that will enable humanities and social science scholars to tell more textured stories about the impact of their research …

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Independent Streams (Week of July 10)

Our weekly roundup of policy-relevant reads and IPPSR-connected research. Problems Michigan Schools That Sue The State Would Be Punished Under 2018 Budget (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Kristi Bowman reacts to a new school state budget provision. Has The Death Of American Manufacturing Been Exaggerated? (link is external) IPPSR Affiliate Lisa Cook discusses the ongoing …

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Not Capitalism- But What Else?

What follows are excerpts from two books I’ve recently finished. The first I pulled from my own bookshelf long ago purchased at a used book sale, but never read. It was referenced in something I read earlier this year. The book was written in 1969 and I was reading it simultaneously while I was reading …

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