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Four short links: 3 March 2014

By Nat Torkington
March 3, 2014

The Programming Error That Cost Mt Gox 2609 Bitcoins — in the unforgiving world of crypto-currency, it’s easy to miscode and vanish your money. Ford Invites Open-Source Community to Tinker Away — One example: Nelson has re-tasked the motor from …

Four short links: 24 February 2014

By Nat Torkington
February 24, 2014

Understanding Understanding Source Code with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PDF) — we observed 17 participants inside an fMRI scanner while they were comprehending short source-code snippets, which we contrasted with locating syntax error. We found a clear, distinct activation pattern …

Four short links: 30 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 30, 2013

tooldiag — a collection of methods for statistical pattern recognition. Implemented in C. Hacking MicroSD Cards (Bunnie Huang) — In my explorations of the electronics markets in China, I’ve seen shop keepers burning firmware on cards that “expand” the capacity …

Four short links: 9 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 9, 2013

Reform Government Surveillance — hard not to view this as a demarcation dispute. “Ruthlessly collecting every detail of online behaviour is something we do clandestinely for advertising purposes, it shouldn’t be corrupted because of your obsession over national security!” Brian …

Four short links: 5 December 2013

By Nat Torkington
December 5, 2013

Deducer — An R Graphical User Interface (GUI) for Everyone. Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) Roadmap (PDF, FAA) — first pass at regulatory framework for drones. (via Anil Dash) Bitcoin Stats — …

Four short links: 6 November 2013

By Nat Torkington
November 6, 2013

Apple Transparency Report (PDF) — contains a warrant canary, the statement Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge an order if served on us which will of course …

Four short links: 30 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 30, 2013

Offline.js — Javascript library so web app developers can gracefully deal with users going offline. Android Guides — lots of info on coding for Android. Statistics Done Wrong — learn from these failure modes. Not medians or means. Modes. Streaming, …

Four short links: 18 October 2013

By Nat Torkington
October 18, 2013

Science Not as Self-Correcting As It Thinks (Economist) — REALLY good discussion of the shortcomings in statistical practice by scientists, peer-review failures, and the complexities of experimental procedure and fuzziness of what reproducibility might actually mean. Reproducibility Initiative Receives Grant …

Four short links: 8 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 8, 2013

Reducing the Roots of Some Evil (Etsy) — Based on our first two months of data we have removed a number of unused CA certificates from some pilot systems to test the effects, and will run CAWatch for a full …

NoSQL Choices: To Misfit or Cargo Cult?

By Eric Redmond
July 29, 2013

Retreading old topics can be a powerful source of epiphany, sometimes more so than simple extra-box thinking. I was a computer science student, of course I knew statistics. But my recent years as a NoSQL (or better stated: distributed systems) …

Four short links: 13 May 2013

By Nat Torkington
May 13, 2013

Exploiting a Bug in Google Glass — unbelievably detailed and yet easy-to-follow explanation of how the bug works, how the author found it, and how you can exploit it too. The second guide was slightly more technical, so when he …

Simpler workflow tools enable the rapid deployment of models

By Ben Lorica
April 21, 2013

Data science often depends on data pipelines, that involve acquiring, transforming, and loading data. (If you’re fortunate most of the data you need is already in usable form.) Data needs to be assembled and wrangled, before it can be visualized …

R as a programming language

By Courtney Nash
April 11, 2013

Garrett Grolemund is an O’Reilly author and teaches classes on data analysis for R Studios. We sat down to discuss why data scientists, statisticians, and programmers alike can use the R language to make data analysis easier and more powerful. …

Four short links: 4 February 2013

By Nat Torkington
February 4, 2013

Hands on Learning (HuffPo) — Unfortunately, engaged and enlightened tinkering is disappearing from contemporary American childhood. (via BoingBoing) FlashProxy (Stanford) — a miniature proxy that runs in a web browser. It checks for clients that need access, then conveys data …

Four short links: 4 January 2013

By Nat Torkington
January 4, 2013

sslh — ssh/ssl multiplexer. Github Says No to Bots (Wired) — what’s interesting is that bots augmenting photos is awesome in Flickr: take a photo of the sky and you’ll find your photo annotated with stars and whatnot. What can …

Visualization of the Week: Evaluating basketball teams as networks

By Jenn Webb
December 19, 2012

Had the Lakers consulted with Arizona State University (ASU) researchers Jennifer Fewell and Dieter Armbruster, they might have gone a different way after firing coach Mike Brown. Nonetheless, current Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni may be wise to consult Fewell and …

Four short link: 27 November 2012

By Nat Torkington
November 27, 2012

Statistical Misdirection Master Class — examples from Fox News. The further through the list you go, the more horrifying^Wedifying they are. Some are clearly classics from the literature, but some are (as far as I can tell) newly developed graphical …

Four short links: 10 October 2012

By Nat Torkington
October 10, 2012

An Intuitive Guide to Linear Algebra — Here’s the linear algebra introduction I wish I had. I wish I’d had it, too. (via Hacker News) Think Bayes — an introduction to Bayesian statistics using computational methods. The State of Javascript …

Four short links: 9 October 2012

By Nat Torkington
October 9, 2012

Finland Crowdsourcing New Laws (GigaOm) — online referenda. The Finnish government enabled something called a “citizens’ initiative”, through which registered voters can come up with new laws – if they can get 50,000 of their fellow citizens to back them …

Digging into the UDID data

By Alasdair Allan
September 6, 2012

Over the weekend the hacker group Antisec released one million UDID records that they claim to have obtained from an FBI laptop using a Java vulnerability. In reply the FBI stated: The FBI is aware of published reports alleging that …

Four short links: 8 August 2012

By Nat Torkington
August 7, 2012

Reconstructing Visual Experiences (PDF) — early visual areas represent the information in movies. To demonstrate the power of our approach, we also constructed a Bayesian decoder by combining estimated encoding models with a sampled natural movie prior. The decoder provides …

Four short links: 2 August 2012

By Nat Torkington
August 2, 2012

Patton Oswalt’s Letters to Both Sides — You guys need to stop thinking like gatekeepers. You need to do it for the sake of your own survival. Because all of us comedians after watching Louis CK revolutionize sitcoms and comedy …

Four short links: 16 July 2012

By Nat Torkington
July 16, 2012

Britain To Provide Free Access to Scientific Publications (Guardian) — the Finch report is being implemented! British universities now pay around 200m a year in subscription fees to journal publishers, but under the new scheme, authors will pay “article processing …

Kickstarter Stats Page - Project Failure Analysis

By Kevin Shockey
June 23, 2012

In nearly every famous example of project success, it is almost always due to prior preparation. Anyone considering launching a Kickstarter project, remember this: "Nearly every key business indicator of the past must be discarded." Social engagement over the Internet is the only metric that matters. Celebrity and "stardom" is earned, like trust.

Four short links: 11 May 2012

By Nat Torkington
May 11, 2012

Stanford Med School Contemplates Flipped Classroom -- the real challenge isn't sending kids home with videos to watch, it's using tools like OceanBrowser to keep on top of what they're doing. Few profs at universities have cared whether students learned or not. Inclusive Tech Companies Win The Talent War (Gina Trapani) -- she speaks the truth, and gently. The...

Four short links: 4 May 2012

By Nat Torkington
May 4, 2012

Common Statistical Fallacies (Flowing Data) -- once you know to look for them, you see them everywhere. Or is that confirmation bias? Project Hijack -- Hijacking power and bandwidth from the mobile phone's audio interface. Creating a cubic-inch peripheral sensor ecosystem for the mobile phone. Peak Plastic -- Deb Chachra points out that if we’re running out of oil,...

Understanding randomness is a double-edged sword

Understanding randomness is a double-edged sword
By Mike Loukides
January 5, 2012

While Leonard Mlodinow's book offers a good introduction to probabilistic thinking, it carries two problems: First, it doesn't uniformly account for skill. Second, when we're talking probability and statistics, we're talking about interchangeable events.

Understanding randomness is a double-edged sword

By Mike Loukides
January 5, 2012

While Leonard Mlodinow's book offers a good introduction to probabilistic thinking, it carries two problems: First, it doesn't uniformly account for skill. Second, when we're talking probability and statistics, we're talking about interchangeable events.

Four short links: 13 September 2011

By Nat Torkington
September 13, 2011

Dan Saffer: How To Lie with Design Research (Google Video) -- Experience shows that, especially with qualitative research like the type designers often do, two researchers can look at the same set of data and draw dramatically different findings from them. As William Blake said, "Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read'st black where I read...

Four short links: 2 September 2011

By Nat Torkington
September 2, 2011

Invisible Autoupdater: An App's Best Feature -- Gina Trapani quotes Ben Goodger on Chrome: The idea was to give people a blank window with an autoupdater. If they installed that, over time the blank window would grow into a browser. Crackpot Apocalypse -- analyzing various historical pronouncements of the value of pi, paper author concludes "When πt is 1,...

Four short links: 20 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 20, 2011

Random Khan Exercises -- elegant hack to ensure repeatability for a user but difference across users. Note that they need these features of exercises so that they can perform meaningful statistical analyses on the results. Float, the Netflix of Reading (Wired) -- an interesting Instapaper variant with a stab at an advertising business model. I would like to stab...

Four short links: 23 June 2011

By Nat Torkington
June 23, 2011

The Wisdom of Communities -- Luke Wroblewski's notes from Derek Powazek's talk at Event Apart. Wisdom of Crowds theory shows that, in aggregate, crowds are smarter than any single individual in the crowd. See this online in most emailed features, bit torrent, etc. Wise crowds are built on a few key characteristics: diversity (of opinion), independence (of other ideas),...

Four short links: 14 June 2011

By Nat Torkington
June 14, 2011

ASCII Flow -- create ASCII diagrams. Awesome. (via Hacker News) Principles of Uncertainty -- probability and statistics textbook, for maths students to build up to understanding Bayesian reasoning. Playable Archaeology: An Interview with the Telehacks Anonymous Creator (Andy Baio) -- The inspiration was my son. I had shown him the old movies Hackers, Wargames, and Colossus: The Forbin Project...

Four short links: 19 May 2011

By Nat Torkington
May 19, 2011

Right to Access the Internet -- a survey of different countries' rights to access to access the Internet. Peace Through Statistics -- three ex-Yugoslavian statisticians nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. In war-torn and impoverished countries, statistics provides a welcome arena in which science runs independent of ethnicity and religion. With so few resources, many countries are graduating few, if...

Four short links: 21 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 21, 2011

Javascript Trie Performance Analysis (John Resig) -- if you program in Javascript and you're not up to John's skill level (*cough*) then you should read this and follow along. It's a ride-along in the brain of a master. Think Stats -- an introduction to statistics for Python programmers. (via Edd Dumbill) Bolefloor -- they build curvy wooden floors. Instead...

Four short links: 10 January 2011

By Nat Torkington
January 10, 2011

Tools and Practices for Working Virtually -- a detailed explanation of how the RedMonk team works virtually. Twitter Accounts for All Stack Overflow Users by Reputation (Brian Bondy) -- superawesome list of clueful people. The Wonderful World of Early Computing -- from bones to the ENIAC, some surprising and interesting historical computation devices. (via John D. Cook) Overlapping Experiment...

Four short links: 31 December 2010

By Nat Torkington
December 31, 2010

The Joy of Stats -- Hans Rosling's BBC documentary on statistics, available to watch online. Best Tech Writing of 2010 -- I need a mass "add these to Instapaper" button. (via Hacker News) Google Shared Spaces: Why We Made It (Pamela Fox) -- came out of what people were trying to do with Google Wave. The Great Delicious Exodus...

Strata Week: Running the numbers

Strata Week: Running the numbers
By Julie Steele
December 9, 2010

IA Ventures raises a huge first-time fund; MathJax provides an open source mathematical display engine; Kevin Drum shares 10 statistics pitfalls; and Paul Bradshaw explains how to bring big data down to a human scale.

Strata Week: Statistically speaking

Strata Week: Statistically speaking
By Julie Steele
October 21, 2010

In this edition of Strata Week: The London Stock Exchange moves from .Net to open source; learn how graphical scales can lie; the Euroean Central Bank president calls for better financial statistics; and we bid farewell to the father of fractals.

Four short links: 21 September 2010

By Nat Torkington
September 21, 2010

Mustache -- templates without the if/then/loop control structures that mangle your separation of logic. (via the technology behind #newtwitter) The Visionary's Lament (Eric Ries) -- love the possibly apocryphal Amazon story about the invention of one-click. TimeFlow -- helps you analyze temporal data. Timeline, Calendar, Bar Chart, Table, and List views. From the legendary team of Viegas and Wattenberg...

Four short links: 25 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 25, 2010

Why Narrative and Structure are Important (Ed Yong) -- Ed looks at how Atul Gawande's piece on death and dying, which is 12,000 words long, is an easy and fascinating read despite the length. Understanding Science (Berkeley) -- simple teaching materials to help students understand the process of science. (via BoingBoing comments) Sax: Symbolic Aggregate approXimation -- SAX is...

Four short links: 17 June 2010

By Nat Torkington
June 17, 2010

What is IBM's Watson? (NY Times) -- IBM joining the big data machine learning race, and hatching a Blue Gene system that can answer Jeopardy questions. Does good, not great, and is getting better. Google Lays Out its Mobile Strategy (InformationWeek) -- notable to me for Rechis said that Google breaks down mobile users into three behavior groups: A....

Four short links: 24 May 2010

By Nat Torkington
May 24, 2010

Google Documents API -- permissions, revisions, search, export, upload, and file. Somehow I had missed that this existed. Profile of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange (Sydney Morning Herald) -- he draws no salary, is constantly on the move, lived for a while in a compound in Nairobi with other NGOs, and cowrote the rubberhose filesystem which offers deniable encryption. OpenPCR...

Four short links: 16 March 2010

By Nat Torkington
March 16, 2010

Government is an Elephant (Public Strategist) -- if Government is to be a platform, it will end up competing with the members of its ecosystems (the same way Apple's Dashboard competed with Konfabulator, and Google's MyMaps competed with Platial). If you think people squawk when a company competes, just wait until the competition is taxpayer-funded .... Recordings from NoSQL...

Four short links: 5 March 2010

By Nat Torkington
March 5, 2010

Rapportive -- a simple social CRM built into Gmail. They replace the ads in Gmail with photos, bio, and info from social media sites. (via ReadWrite Web) Best Practices in Web Development with Django and Python -- great set of recommendations. (via Jon Udell's article on checklists) Think Like a Statistician Without The Math (Flowing Data) -- Finally, and...

Four short links: 19 February 2010

By Nat Torkington
February 19, 2010

How to Seasonally Adjust Data -- Most statisticians, economists and government agencies that report data use a method called the X12 procedure to adjust data for seasonal patterns. The X12 procedure and its predecessor X11, which is still widely used, were developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. When applied to a data series, the X12 process first estimates effects...

Four short links: 17 December 2009

By Nat Torkington
December 17, 2009

New Device Desirable, Old Device Undesirable -- "I'm going to take my new device wherever I go," said Larson, holding the expensive item directly in the eyeline of several reporters. "That way no one on the street, inside the elevator, or at my place of business will ever mistake me for the sort of individual who does not own...

Four short links: 16 December 2009

By Nat Torkington
December 16, 2009

OECD Broadband Portal -- global data on broadband penetration and pricing available from June 2009. Easy Statistics for A/B Testing -- it really is easy. And it mentions hamsters. This is worth reading. (via Hacker News) last.fm's SSD Streaming Infrastructure -- Each single SSD can support around 7000 concurrent listeners, and the serving capacity of the machine topped out...

Four short links: 5 November 2009

By Nat Torkington
November 5, 2009

Heat Maps in R -- We used financial data here because it's easier to access than the airline data, but it's actually a pretty interesting way of looking at a financial time series. Weekend and holiday effects are a bit more obvious, and it's a bit like being able to see the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly closes all...

Four short links: 14 August 2009

By Nat Torkington
August 13, 2009

Page2Pub -- harvest wiki content and turn it into EPub and PDF. See also Sony dropping its proprietary format and moving to EPub. Open standards rock. (via oreillylabs on Twitter) SQL Pie Chart -- an ASCII pie chart, drawn by SQL code. Horrifying and yet inspiring. Compare to PostgreSQL code to produce ASCII Mandelbrot set. (via jdub on Twitter...


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