Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The hypothesis is based on this research paper in the journal international family planning perspectives which comes to this conclusion:
Abortion rates are no lower overall in areas where abortion is generally restricted by law (and where many abortions are performed under unsafe conditions) than in areas where abortion is legally permitted.
The evidence is there to make the correct public health decision - but instead of promoting sex education and other social measures, the United States wastes their time with whole roe vs. wade (life/choice) argument. I feel both sides of the aisle are looking at this problem in the wrong way - we can have life and choice, but we're too blind to see it.
I can't say I'm a huge fan of that research paper and there are probably some flaws in it. However the issue is - why aren't we talking about roe v. wade instead of just saving lives?
Other people are a lot more passionate about this issue than I am, so maybe someone can enlighten me.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
(blue = believes in evolution, red doesn't)
-"Fewer than half of American adults can provide a minimal definition of DNA, the authors add. "
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
A few things that stand out to me:
-The United States seems the most positively skewed - mean is much greater than the median (5th line)
-There is a significant proportion in the US in the lowest decile compared with other developed countries - Canada, Britain, France...
-US has largest top decile by a fair margin
It would be interesting to see this over statistic over time. I'm guessing that our country has always had a larger range than the other countries. I think it's pretty fair to think that this was constantly changing (under every presidential administration).
Friday, October 17, 2008
However, I found this story which we discussed in class especially odd:
The NYT described it like this: "1,000 people who attended a ''rave'' in Michigan and allegedly shared a pacifier dipped in the drug Ecstasy were urged to see a doctor after meningitis was diagnosed in one of them."
-Not only is the pacifier part a bit weird, but supposiedly these teens attended this rave in the middle of a corn field. Really a cornfield?!
"By far the biggest theft problem faced by retailers, however, is employee theft, which accounts for nearly 47% of profit erosion."
(from a 2005 Florida Study - companies lost 1.61 percent of sales to theft or fraud)
I am naive about this subject, but I feel it would be more cost effective on preventing this rather than shoplifters (who make up 33 percent of this sample). You have to consider the negative consequences of attempting to prevent customers from shoplifting like false positives (angry customers leading to lost businness, lawsuits/punitive damges). An earlier version of the study states: "While the average shoplifting incident costs the retailer $212.68, an employee theft averages $1,058.20 per incident."
Investigate Employee Crime more
Replace employees with self-check out machines/robots in the future?
Friday, October 10, 2008
A) Electoral Tie of 269/269. This scenario looked quite possible 2 weeks ago. Obama would have to win all Kerry State except New Hampshire (currently +5.3 obama), and McCain would have to win all Bush States except Colorado (+4.6 obama), Iowa (+10.7 obama), and New Mexico (+6.2 obama) for this to happen. With the recent Obama surge in Ohio, Florida, and Virgina - this doesn't look likely (Sliver has it at a 0.16 probablity). However if McCain made national gains, it does seem possible.
Check out the link above for more, but it looks like it would go to the newly elected house for a vote, and then a senate if as the tiebreaker. One would think this would favor the democrats - but things like popular vote, voter recounts ala florida 2000 (that would be decided by conservative supreme court), need to be taken into account.
B) Maine and Nebraska actually allocate their electoral votes by congressional district
Maine is +7.5 Obama, only 1 point above the national average. The districts in Maine vote approxamiately the same though, so McCain may want to pick one and see if he can turn it red. Nebraska is a deep red state, but has a moderate district that includes Omaha, that Obama could turn blue (but only if it's a blowout - less likely to break a 269-268 ties).
C) Election day surprises?
If it is a good day for McCain - Minnesota and Iowa. These are actually the only two "swing" states that McCain has spent more campaign money than Obama in. Democrats currently believe he's wasting his money, but if McCain mangies to surprise these could be the ones.
If it is a good day for Obama - Indiana, West Virgina, North Carolina, and Georgia. If Obama wins any of these states it will likely be a blow out. Obama's "ground game" has gotten rave reviews, so suprises could happen on these relatively red states because of several different demographic factors.
If Obama wins easily, the analysts will be staying up late on election night trying to figure out if the democrats are able to get a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the senate. If this happens, it is much more likely that Obama's proposed policies will come to fruition.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Muscular men are not the only ones mischaracterized by this measure; a 2004 Paper from the Lancet suggests that Asians are at greater risk of obesity related diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes) at lower BMIs than Caucasians. Asians appear to have increased subcutaneous and upper body fat that is not captured by the BMIs. These fat measurements can be captured in other ways like body fat percentage....
a study in new york measured the following:
Males: Whites: 19.2, Asians: 23.6
Based on the these finding in others the WHO recommended (pdf) the following:
"For many Asian populations, additional trigger points for
public health action were identified as 23 kg/m2 or higher,
representing increased risk, and 27·5 kg/m2 or higher as
representing high risk. The suggested categories are as
follows: less than 18·5 kg/m2 underweight; 18·5–23 kg/m2
increasing but acceptable risk; 23–27·5 kg/m2 increased
risk; and 27·5 kg/m2 or higher high risk."
Friday, October 3, 2008
Cell phone only users are usually those under 30, a group that has been strongly supporting Barack Obama. For their samples most pollsters use a random digit dialer that call only landlines. Therefore they are missing a lot of younger voters in their polling. To make up for this most (respectable) pollsters stratify their sample, making sure they get enough voters in each subgroup including young voters (<30).
The assumption being made with this stratified studies is that the landline user group adequately represents the whole population of cell phone users. Pew Research group recently looked into this problem and found some interesting results...
"Combining polls it conducted in August and September, Pew found that of people under age 30 with only cell phones, 62 percent were Democrats and 28 percent Republicans. Among landline users the same age, that gap was narrower: 54 percent Democrats, 36 percent GOP.
Similarly, young cell users preferred Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over Republican nominee John McCain by 35 percentage points. For young landline users, it was a smaller 13-point Obama edge."
What could the reason be for this difference? Possibly, cell phone only users are those living in cities and more technologically enabled - two groups that seem to go strong for Obama. In epidemiology speak, age is an effect modifier in this election, and it appears Pew believes "cell phone only use" is a confounder. Nate Silver mentions "Urban voters are about 50 percent more likely to be cellphone-only than rural voters, for instance, and while some pollsters weight by geography, others do not. Thus, you may wind up with a biased sample." So this leads to the possibility that other polling outfits are slightly (unintentionally?) biased towards McCain.
So what can we infer from this?
1. Pollsters are using data from the group of young landline users, who are currently +13 Obama.
2. They are inadvertently excluding from the group that is +35 Obama
3. I have seen data stating about 50 percent or more of adults under 30 are cell phone only users (though less likely to vote than their counterparts).
4. Pollsters weigh younger voters under 30, as about 20 percent of the sample.
So according to Pew, pollsters are inputing the +13 Obama data, when they should be inputing +24 Obama data. Assuming that this data is worth 20 percent of the sample, that equals to a 2.2 percent difference in Obama's favor.
-Polls appear to be under polling Obama by a percentage point or two (estimated 2.2 points) based on this variable alone.
I'm not sure how I missed this. It's a good summary of what polls use cell phone data. Nate comes up with a similar value +2.8 Obama comapring two sets of data.