# Paths to Explore

Dear College of Arts & Letters students, As the new Dean of the College of Arts and Letters it is my pleasure to welcome you to Michigan State University. Many of you have already experienced the network of pathways that figure prominently throughout the MSU campus. It is no wonder that so many students …

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# No genomic dark matter

Let me put it very simply: there is NO genomic “dark matter” or “missing heritability” — it’s merely a matter of sample size (statistical power) to identify the specific variants that account for the total expected heritability. The paper below (see also HaploSNPs and missing heritability) suggests that essentially all of the expected heritability can …

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# Rats!

Terry Link is an occasional reader of the Thornapple Blog who never posts comments, but he will occasionally send an e-mail or make a comment when I see him in person. This week he passed along a link to an article by Sheldon Krimsky that has just been published in Science, Technology and Human Values. …

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# Don’t Worry, Smart Machines Will Take Us With Them: Why human intelligence and AI will co-evolve.

I hope you enjoy my essay in the new issue of the science magazine Nautilus (theme: the year 2050), which discusses the co-evolution of humans and machines as we advance in both AI and genetic technologies. My Nautilus article from 2014: Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming. Nautilus: … AI can be thought of as a search problem …

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# Trump carried on interest and hedge funds: “They didn’t build this country.”

Say what you want about Trump, he’s one of the only candidates who isn’t beholden to oligarch campaign contributors. Below he goes after the crazy tax break that hedge fund managers enjoy. Bloomberg: … “I know a lot of bad people in this country that are making a hell of a lot of money and …

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# Arms Are for Hugging

Arms are for hugging. At least, they should be. But Oscar Arias Sanchez, former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize winner notes that arms are also killing us. He just published this opinion piece to accompany the First Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (Cancún, Mexico,  August 24-27th, 2015). “Throughout modern history, we …

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# MSU Fight Song: MAET style

The summer of 2015, there were 133 students and instructors in the hybrid and overseas components of the MAET program. These people were spread out across three locations: East Lansing, MI (with 2 cohorts, Yr1 and 2 of MAET); Chicago, IL (with 2 cohorts of the MSUrbanSTEM program) and  Galway, Ireland (with 3 cohorts, Yr1, 2 & …

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# Ed Psych in a digitally networked world: APA handbook chapter

Figure/Ground ambigram for Educational Psychology by Punya Mishra It has been a while coming, but finally the 3rd Edition of the Handbook of Educational Psychology is finally here. We have a chapter in it about the manner in which digital and networking technologies are changing the work that educational psychologists do. Reference and link below. Enjoy. Mishra, …

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# Synthesis: A creative cognitive tool (2 articles)

Over the past couple of years my research team (the Deep-Play Research group) and I have been writing an on-going series of articles  about rethinking technology and creativity for the 21st century. Published in the journal TechTrends, these articles have been great fun to write, providing us the freedom to think deeply about these issues and, most importantly, put our ideas …

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# Paradoxes & Ambigrams: Article 2 of 2

A few months ago I had posted about publication of the first of two articles on mathematics, visual wordplay and paradoxes. The second article (part of our series on Art and Math co-authored with my friend Gaurav Bhatnagar and published by At Right Angles) is now available. You can download all of the articles in the series Of Art & Math by following the links below …

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# Creativity, Technology & Teacher Education: JTATE Special Issue

Danah Henriksen and I recently edited a special issue of the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (Volume 23, Number 3, July 2015) devoted to Creativity, Technology and Teacher Education.  This special issue is organized thematically around eight articles that explore these ideas from a rich range of perspectives. As we write in the introduction: All in …

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# Creativity, Digitality, and Teacher Professional Development

It has been almost 5 years since my research interests shifted formally to issues related to creativity, technology and teacher education. This line of work (though less influential than my TPACK related work) has led to multiple journal articles and research studies. It is influenced the classes I teach and in turn my pedagogical experiences have …

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# TPACK Newsletter #24, August 2015

TPACK Newsletter, Issue #24: August 2015 Welcome to the twenty-fourth edition of the (approximately bimonthly) TPACK Newsletter! TPACK work is continuing worldwide. This document contains recent updates to that work that we hope will be interesting and useful to you, our subscribers. If you are not sure what TPACK is, please surf over to http://www.tpack.org/ …

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# Hillary Clinton’s New College Compact

Photo credit: HillaryClinton.com Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, recently released a set of policy proposals to address the rising cost of college.  While there are many good aspects to her plan, there are also some problems with it.  In a recent op-ed on the website of The Conversation, I analyzed …

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# Amik Minis

Just in from a weekend at Beaver Island. I was up there with my friend and colleague Kyle Whyte, and my student Zach Piso. Kyle is scoping out the possibility of a workshop/retreat focused on environmental philosophy, and he has the idea the Beaver Island might be a good location for it. There are some …

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# Thinking the Twenty-First Century

I stumbled on this one, Thinking the Twenty-first Century: Ideas for the New Political Economy, during one of my usual visits to the new book shelf at the MSU Libraries. I had not heard of the author, Malcolm McIntosh, before, but the title was intriguing and the praise on the book jacket was urging me …

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# It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

Another academic year is upon us, and students, parents and teachers are approaching the beginning of another school year in the “accountability era” with a mix of excitement, anticipation and apprehension. As we ready ourselves for another year in our classrooms, what do we see around us? We have schools that have already been open …

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# More Shiny Hacks

In a previous entry, I posted code for hack I came up with to add vertical scrolling to the sidebar of a web-based application I’m developing in Shiny (using shinydashboard). Since then, I’ve bumped into two more issues, leading to two more hacks that I’ll describe here. First, I should point out that I’m using …

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# Lackeys of the plutocracy?

This essay is an entertaining read, if somewhat wrong headed. See here for an earlier post that discusses Steve Pinker’s response to Deresiewicz’s earlier article Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League. The Neoliberal Arts (Harpers): … Now that the customer-service mentality has conquered academia, colleges are falling all over themselves to give their students …

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# Relief Better Than 2hr Bathroom Waits: Getting Old Work Out!

So, below is the press release for this work that has been in the making since spring 2011. I cannot convey enough how amazing it is to *finally* see it out! Background: For the BEACON course which pairs computer scientists and biologists, I pitched the idea of looking at signals, and lucky me, my co-authors …

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# Sample 1918 Michigan Ballot Proposal on Women’s Suffrage

The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on this day (August 18) in 1920, finally granting American women the right to vote.  But the battle over women’s suffrage was fought first in the legislatures and courts of individual states, and with the passage of time it can be easy to forget just …

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# New Morbid Terminology: Cementochronology

When I saw this word I just knew it would make a great new morbid terminology. If we take the word apart, there are two major pieces: cemento and chronology. Chronology is the easy one; it means the arrangement of events or dates in the order of their occurrence. When we are talking about building …

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# Gun Lake Band Statement on Withholding Revenue Sharing Payments

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi has withheld its gaming revenue sharing payments, and expressed concern that it may impact its budget. The Gun Lake Band has issued a statement in response: Clearly, when the Tribe and the State negotiated our gaming compact we discussed internet lottery. Both parties …

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# If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Destabilize ‘Em!

The typical reform agenda goes something like this: demoralize the teachers defund the unions dismantle the schools privatize public education We see evidence of this approach in places like New Orleans with its “Recovery School District,” and Detroit, where Gov. Snyder’s Frankenstein-like “Education Achievement Authority” continues to deprive the students and citizens of local control …

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# The Skitters

Longtime blog readers expect an entry on peaches about now, but sadly the peach crop in Michigan was not so good this year. In lieu of overpraising the Colorado peaches we’ve been vacuuming into our gullets for the last week, I think I’ll just segue right back to some food references in American literature. Here …

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# Being a part of the attraction

After being in China long enough to maneuver public transportation and understand a few basic phrases in Chinese, I was ready to head out and see the sights. After all, Beijing is home to some of the oldest cultural and historic relics, such as the Forbidden City built in 1406 and occupied by the Ming …

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# Pinker on bioethics

Progress in biomedical research is slow enough. It does not need to be slowed down even further. Boston Globe: A POWERFUL NEW technique for editing genomes, CRISPR-Cas9, is the latest in a series of advances in biotechnology that have raised concerns about the ethics of biomedical research and inspired calls for moratoria and new regulations. …

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# Explain it to me like I’m five years old

Explain it to me like I’m five years old An MIT Technology Review reporter interviewed me yesterday about my Nautilus Magazine article Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming. I had to do the interview by gchat because my voice is recovering from a terrible cold and too much yakking with brain scientists at the Allen Institute in …

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# And so sabbatical ends

Next week, my sabbatical officially ends. As you can imagine, I reenter the academic fray with mixed feelings and a bit of trepidation. I really, really enjoyed my sabbatical. I mean, I really enjoyed it. So much that around March or April, I started worrying about having to come back. But now I’m looking forward …

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# Why Ben Carson is Right–and Wrong–on Race

Retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, was asked one of the few questions on race at the first GOP Presidential debate last Thursday, and his answer provided a fascinating microcosm of our society’s frustrating and challenging understanding–or misunderstanding–of how race impacts the daily lives of so many of our fellow citizens. Fox News’ Megan Kelly asked …

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# Oysters, Anyone?

I spent a good seven nights (though not all at once) this summer a few blocks from the old location of the Reno House on Sacramento St. near Kearney in San Francisco. It’s where Van Vandover is living as he concludes his downward slide in Frank Norris’ novel Vandover and the Brute, written in the …

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# Donald Trump, Sexism and No Heroes

This has been an…interesting week in the world of politics, at both the state and national levels. Here in Michigan, we witnessed the personal and professional self-destruction of two Tea Party legislators, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, as the result of an ill-conceived plot to conceal their affair by distributing a fake email “outing” Mr. …

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# Deep Learning in Nature

When I travel I often carry a stack of issues of Nature and Science to read (and then discard) on the plane.The article below is a nice review of the current state of the art in deep neural networks. See earlier posts Neural Networks and Deep Learning 1 and 2, and Back to the Deep. …

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# Caltech crushes Harvard, MIT, and all the rest

A few years ago I posted a list of number of Nobel prizes aggregated by undergraduate institution of the winner. A social science researcher who reads this blog got interested in the topic and has compiled much more complete information, which he is preparing to publish. He reports that the school with the most Nobel …

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# The Ronnies!: Republican Debate Awards

As a self-avowed policy wonk and political junkie (don’t judge me!), I forced myself to watch every minute of the two Republican presidential candidate debates last night–both the undercard, or “kids table” debate at 5pm, and the “grown up” show at 9pm…or 8:50pm, or whenever that debacle was actually supposed to air. So, in the …

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# Fight to the Death! Violence and Trauma in 16th-17th c. Romania

Right now I’m working on the historical background to my dissertation, which means reading a lot of historical texts and history books on early medieval England. As an archaeologist, I’ve been trained to find direct evidence of events and not to rely on text- so I’ve been struggling a little with accepting the interpretations I’m …

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# Optimizing Part of the Objective Function

A somewhat curious question showed up on a forum today. The author of the question has an optimization model (I’ll assume it is either a linear program or mixed integer linear program) of the form \begin{alignat*}{2} & \textrm{maximize} & & \sum_{i=1}^{N}x_{i}\\ & \textrm{s.t.} & & x\in\mathcal{X} \end{alignat*} where the feasible region $\mathcal{X}$ is presumably polyhedral. …

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# SOAR

The visit of SOAR was not on our original itinerary, but I asked to visit and my wish was granted (thanks Tim Spuck!). SOAR is just a jaunt down the road from Gemini on the same peak of Cerro Pachon. The reason I wanted to go was because my employer, the Physics-Astronomy department at MSU is one …

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# Healing with animal companions

I have now been in China for almost two months, and realized I have not written any updates for quite some time. Perhaps this is because they would be too depressing! I unfortunately injured my knee a few weeks ago crashing a moped which brought my fieldwork to a halt, and when I tried to …

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# Autocorrupt in R

You know that “autocomplete” feature on your smart phone or tablet that occasionally (or, in my case, frequently) turns into an “autocorrupt” feature? I just ran into it in an R script. I wrote a web-based application for a colleague that lets students upload data, run a regression, ponder various outputs and, if they wish, …

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# Kludging: Web to TXT

Text analysis projects share in common 3 challenges. First, data of interest must be found. Second, data must be gettable. Third, if it’s not already formed according to wildest dreams, ways must be known of getting data into a state that they are readily usable with desired methods and tools. While surmounting these challenges are typically …

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# More on caregiving Part 2: The pluses and the not-so-pluses

In my last post, I shared some research that found similar patterns of burden among caregivers across 20 countries. The bottom line: caregiving is hard work no matter what the structure of the health care and social welfare systems. Today I look at a slightly older study that uses data from over 5,000 caregivers in …

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# Anna and the soybean talk

Ironically, after almost two weeks in China I still haven’t had any tea. I have dined in homes and in restaurants, with young and older people but have not encountered this elusive cornerstone of Chinese culture. However, I have encountered many products made from soybeans (黃豆). After being harvested from the field, 85 percent of …

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# An Additional Appearance by Our Favorite Satellite

We have finally made it to August. In Michigan, that means tomatoes. I realize that some of you may have been enjoying tomatoes for several weeks now, but give me a large break. It’s not only Michigan, where we never get tomatoes much before the last week of July, it’s been kind of a cold …

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