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

# Physics as a Strange Attractor

Almost every student who attends a decent high school will be exposed to Special Relativity. Their science/physics teacher may not really understand it very well, may do a terrible job trying to explain it. But the kid will have to read a textbook discussion and (in the internet age) can easily find more with a …

More

# Population-wide Genomic Prediction of Health Risks

The UK is ahead of the US in the application of genomics in clinical practice. Part of this is due to their leadership in projects like the UK Biobank (500k genomes with extensive biomedical phenotyping), and part is due to having a single-payer system that can adopt obviously beneficial (and cost-beneficial) practices after some detailed …

More

# Quantum Information Science Workshop at MSU

Webpage / Program / Abstracts. My opening remarks: On behalf of Michigan State University it is my pleasure to welcome all of you to this workshop on quantum information science. In the fall of 1983 (my freshman year!) Feynman taught a graduate course at Caltech called Potentialities and Limitations of Computing Machines. Chapter 6 of …

More

# Intuition and the two brains, revisited

﻿ Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, in conversation with Jordan Peterson. I wrote about McGilchrist in 2012: Intuition and the two brains. Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have …

More

# To Rally or Not to Rally?

As I approach this week the “Stand Up for Peace” rally that I have been helping to plan for months, I began to think about what drives people to attend rallies or to stay home. As someone who has not planned a rally before but who has participated in many over the decades, I started to wonder …

More

# Beyond the Soccer Mom

The white, middle class, minivan-driving suburban “Soccer Mom” has been part of U.S. political discourse since at least the 1996 presidential election. Two decades later, soccer is so embedded in mainstream American culture that a candidate is using past college playing experience to boost her campaign. Democrat Amy McGrath is challenging GOP incumbent Andy Barr …

More

# Coordinating Variable Signs

Someone asked me today (or yesterday, depending on whose time zone you go by) how to force a group of variables in an optimization model to take the same sign (all nonpositive or all nonnegative). Assuming that all the variables are bounded, you just need one new binary variable and a few constraints. Assume that …

More

# Sniffing out pandas’ social secrets

I find I tend to write most of my blog posts from the field – I guess this is what I think readers will find most exciting, which is probably because it’s what I find most exciting. I thought that I was done with fieldwork back in April, but while doing analyses for my dissertation …

More

# The French Way: Alain Connes interview

I came across this interview with Fields Medalist Alain Connes (excerpt below) via an essay by Dominic Cummings (see his blog here). Dom’s essay is also highly recommended. He has spent considerable effort to understand the history of highly effective scientific / research organizations. There is a good chance that his insights will someday be put …

More

# Choosing “Big M” Values

I seem to bring up “big M” models a lot, so apologies if I end up repeating myself in places here. Not long ago, someone passed along highlights of a “big M” type model to me and asked if he could somehow reformulate to get rid of $$M$$. I did not see any good way …

More

# Adding Items to a Sequence

A question posed on OR-Exchange in 2017 asked the following: Given a tour of nodes, how does one best add two new nodes while respecting the ordering of the original tour. Specifically, the author began with a tour 0 – 1 – 2 – 4 – 6 – 0 (where node 0 is a depot) …

More

# NP Confusion

I just finished reading a somewhat provocative article on the CIO website, titled “10 reasons to ignore computer science degrees” (when hiring programmers). While I’m not in the business of hiring coders (although I recent was hired as a “student programmer” on a grant — the Universe has a sense of humor), I find myself …

More

# Scientists of Stature

The link below is to the published version of the paper we posted on biorxiv in late 2017 (see blog discussion). Our results have since been replicated by several groups in academia and in Silicon Valley. Biorxiv article metrics: abstract views 31k, paper downloads 6k. Not bad! Perhaps that means the community understands now that genomic …

More

# Genomic Prediction: A Hypothetical (Embryo Selection), Part 2

The figures below are from the recent paper Genome-wide polygenic scores for common diseases identify individuals with risk equivalent to monogenic mutations (Nature Genetics), discussed previously here. As you can see, genomic prediction of risk allows to identify outliers for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Individuals who are top 1% in polygenic risk score are …

More

# Genomic Prediction of disease risk using polygenic scores (Nature Genetics)

It seems to me we are just at the tipping point — soon it will be widely understood that with large enough data sets we can predict complex traits and complex disease risk from genotype, capturing most of the estimated heritable variance. People will forget that many “experts” doubted this was possible — the term …

More

# A Few Reflections on the TOME Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC – Today a group of colleagues from the Association of American Universities, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of University Presses met to advance the Towards an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) initiative. It was heartening to see the progress the initiative has made since our first gathering in the summer of 2016. At the time, I was enthusiastic …

More

More

# Consent to Termination of Parental Rights Decision in Michigan Supreme Court

Opinion here The ICWA Appellate Clinic co-represented the tribe in this case. This case involves a complicated question of state statute interpretation regarding a voluntary consent to a termination of parental right in the face of a state termination petition. In this case, the dad consented to termination before the termination hearing. The children were …

More

# Student Note on ICWA as a Political Classification Statute

Allison Krause Elder has published “Indian” as a Political Classification: Reading the Tribe Back into the Indian Child Welfare Act in the Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy. Here is the abstract: In the summer of 2018, the Ninth Circuit will consider an appeal from the dismissal of a constitutional challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act …

More

# National Indian Law Library Bulletin (5/17/2018)

Here: The National Indian Law Library added new content to the Indian Law Bulletins on 5/17/18. U.S. Supreme Court Bulletin http://www.narf.org/nill/bulletins/sct/2017-2018update.html Read the latest Tribal Supreme Court Project update published on 5/11/18. Tribal Courts Bulletin http://www.narf.org/nill/bulletins/tribal/2018.html McClellan v. Grand Traverse Band Election Board and Petoskey (Tribal Elections) Petoskey and Robert v. Grand Traverse Band Election Board (Tribal Elections) …

More

# Grouping Rows of a Matrix

I spent a large chunk of yesterday afternoon doing something I thought would be simple (relatively speaking) in LaTeX. I wanted to group rows of a matrix (actually, in my case, a vector) with right braces, and label the groups. An example of what I wanted is in the image below. This seems to me …

More