Author Archive for lisan

Muzzling Federal Scientists

Breaking news: scientists in selected federal agencies have been told to no longer update their websites with reports, factsheets, etc. Here’s a summary of the memo that the Environmental Protection Agency got:

The memo said there would be no press releases, social media posts or blog messages until further notice. It also asked for a list of external speaking engagements for staff and any planned webinars. It warned that listservs would be reviewed and that staff should “only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press.”

Federal Workers Told To Halt External Communication In First Week Under Trump
Sam Stein | Huffington Post
January 24, 2017

Trump bans EPA employees from giving social media updates
Mallory Shellbourne | The Hill
January 24, 2017

Trump Administration Moves to Muzzle Scientists, Block Research
Union of Concerned Scientists | http://www.ucsusa.org/
January 24, 2017

USDA science researchers ordered to stop publishing news releases, other documents
Jose DelReal | Washington Post
January 24, 2017

Information lockdown hits Trump’s federal agencies
Andrew Restuccia, Alex Guillen and Nancy Cook | Politico
January 24, 2017

[Additional News]

Note, that this happened under the Harper government in Canada [summary]. And Canadian scientists warned US scientists of this possibility a month ago:

Canadian Scientists Warn U.S. Colleagues: Act Now to Protect Science under Trump
Dina Fine Maron | Scientific American
December 20, 2016

More apportionment fun

The Census Bureau just released its 2016 Population Estimates. Let’s take a peek at what the Electoral College might look like in 2020 using the PSC Apportionment calculator. The easiest calculation is to just put the 2016 estimates into the calculator (remember to delete Washington, DC). In that scenario:

The losers: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania
The winners: Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas

If we take the 2010 to 2016 growth rate and extend it to 2020, this is the scenario:

Losers: Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia
Winners: Arizona, Colorado, Florida (2), North Carolina, Oregon, Texas (3)

Notable in this scenario is Rhode Island losing an electoral seat. It is just slightly larger than Montana – 1,056,426 vs 1,042,520. But, Rhode Island has had an extra seat since 1990 when Montana lost 1 seat in the House of Representatives. Montana is on the cusp of getting that 2nd representative in the House – it just needs ~5,000 more people than our 2020 projection, which is not an unrealistic scenario.

One thing that is unrealistic about the previous scenario is the fast growth of North Dakota during this period. North Dakota has been the fastest growing state for the past 4 years, but its growth rate dropped to 37th fastest in 2016 due to the collapse of oil prices and thus the fracking industry. Thus, a more realistic estimate might be to use the 2015-2016 rate for the last 4 years of the decade. In that scenario, the results are exactly the same, except that now Montana needs only 550 more people to gain a 2nd seat in the House of Representatives.

Resources
Vintage Population Estimates (2016)
http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/popest/data/tables.html
State Population Estimates (2016)
http://www.census.gov/data/tables/2016/demo/popest/state-total.html
PSC Apportionment Calculator
Representations apportioned to each state (1790 to 2010)
Congressional Apportionment Resource

Great Tweetstorm: Most important year in Economics?

This is from the blogger @undercoverhistorian. We had a previous post on the site she maintains. Below is an interesting set of almost 50 tweets – some illustrated – where she defends 1952 as the most important year.

twitter feed
Click here for tweetstorm

Risk Visualization Theater

How to better communicate election forecasts — in one simple chart
Justin Gross | Monkey Cage blog [Washington Post]
November 29, 2016

Most folks were surprised by the results of the 2016 Presidential election and this was in part due to some of the rosy forecasts by some of the poll aggregators, like Huffington Post. But, even when a site had a forecast with a 30% chance of Trump winning, most people have trouble understanding that a Trump victory was possible. The explanation:

But certain representations of probability are more readily grasped than others. In particular, we have trouble understanding risk in terms of the “percent chance” but we do better when simple raw numbers of different outcomes are depicted visually.

Solution: Show the risk as a “Risk Visualization Theater.” Below are the representations of forecasts of victory for Trump via FiveThirtyEight, NYT Upshot, and Huffington Post Pollster. The filled theater seats (in black) represent the chance of a Trump victory. Clearly, the chance of that event happening don’t look so remote in the far left depiction, but look very unlikely as one moves to the right.

Risk via a theater

Missing girls in China maybe weren’t missing after all

China has had a highly unbalanced sex ratio at birth for years leading to an estimate of 30 to 60 million missing girls. The traditional explanation was male preference, exacerbated by the one-child policy, which led to sex selective abortion and/or infanticide. New research presents evidence that maybe the missing girls were never missing after all.

Researchers may have ‘found’ many of China’s 30 million missing girls
Simon Denyer | Washington Post
November 30, 2016

Delayed Registration and Identifying the “Missing Girls” in China
Yaojiang Shi and John James Kennedy | China Daily
November 15, 2016

Detroitography Mapping Seminar

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A 2-hour workshop on mapping data from Detroit is offered on Thursday, November 3rd on campus. Perhaps as useful is meeting the presenter who is the founder of Detroitography.com a group that is all about maps and geography of Detroit. And, that also means geographically-referenced data.

Useful Links
Workshop: Link to workshop
Website: Detroitography.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/detroitography
Detroit Opendata: http://detroitdata.org/

Creating a travel time polygon

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Using the TravelTime Search API to Generate an Isochrone
GIS Lounge | GIS contributor
July 9, 2016
Using the TravelTime platform and some simple code, researchers can map how far people can travel in 30 minutes by public transportation from a specific address. This is more realistic than radius circles because these don’t take into account roads, bus routes, etc.

The TravelTime platform includes several countries, including US coasts.

Accidental Data Librarian Webinar Series

Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian Webinars

These monthly webinars out of the North Carolina Library Association provide a good introduction introduction to all sorts of data products by subject experts: APIs, mapping, UN data, global trade, court records, etc. Folks can sign up and watch the presentation in real time or as a recording. Slides are available for all presentations.

Jeremy Darrington’s webinar on election data is up on YouTube. You can also see his slides and links on Slideshare.

Altmetrics: What are they and/or should I care?

Altmetrics are metrics and qualitative data that are complementary to citation-based metrics. Some argue that these metrics should be considered in tenure decisions, along with the more traditional metrics of publishing in a high impact journal with many citations. Almetrics cover a wider range of materials than just those in professional journals – websites, blogs, materials in repositories like figshare or GitHub. It also covers more than citations, such as views and downloads.

How to Use Altmetrics to Showcase Engagement Efforts for Promotion and Tenure
Stacy Konkiel | Altmetric Blog
October 18, 2016

This blogpost from the Altmetric site, shows how Altmetrics can be incorporated into a traditional tenure document.

And an even more informative article on Altmetrics is a summary written by Yan Fu in a PSC news report:
Altmetrics: New Ways to Measure the Impact of Research Products
Yan Fu | PSC Center News
April 2014

The Undercover Historian

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[Link to Undercover Historian blog]

The Undercover Historian
Beatrice Cherrier | blog
since 2011

This is a blog by Beatrice Cherrier, an historian of economics. It has been in existence since 2011 and has a wealth of information about the history of the field of economics. And, no I don’t know what her quote about “pig-headed” is referencing.