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Jessica Polito
Attended University of California, Berkeley
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Jessica Polito

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These performers are suspended on wires, against the side of a building, and dancing. It's amazing. (The dance starts about 40 seconds into the video.)

In the video, they frequently "jump" off the surface of the building, soar through the air, and "land" again. Their path, doing so, looks totally different that our brains expect a thrown object to look -- naturally, because they're not moving under the influence of gravity . (Well, of course they are, but not in the way our brains expect.) This should make for some interesting classroom demonstration, but I haven't yet put it together.
Watch as members of the "vertical dance troupe" BANDALOOP suspend themselves against the side of a Boston skyscraper and perform a routine that's as terrifying as it is mesmerizing.
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That was lovely.

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Snow, trees, and sun:
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Great maps showing how long travel took at several different points in US history. (The article had 1857 and 1930 as well, so you can see the effect of the railroads.)
A trip that used to take weeks takes less than a day. These maps that show the progress.
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Cool
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Both sets of chess pieces are exactly the same color, and other cool color illusions:
It's not just the dress. These optical illusions show that color can be a tricky concept
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By this group’s reckoning, the valley had 26 percent of the nation's innovation employment, well ahead of Boston, which came in second with 18 percent of the total. The other areas were Seattle (16.5 percent), Austin (16.4 percent), Southern California, (15 percent) and New York (14 percent.)

Those six areas alone are responsible for 105.9% of the "innovation employment"! Impressive, indeed.
A local research group, in a study supported by area businesses, said the Silicon Valley economy has many upsides, but that government should invest more in schools and impose regulations on businesses.
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They posted a correction: 

"An earlier version of this post described incorrectly the percentage of Silicon Valley workers in technology, according to a study. The study said 26 percent of valley workers were employed in tech jobs; it did not indicate that was a percentage of national tech employment."

which is going straight into the talk I'm writing on teaching students how to write about percentages.
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A poet answers the ever-so-charming student question "Did I miss anything?"
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Jessica Polito

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Chocolate cherry sourdough (with some honey, but no dairy or eggs in the bread)
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no eggs?? why don't you murder a small child while you're at it!
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Jessica Polito

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The 8 am NPR news update this morning mentioned a new study by the CDC estimating the risk of microcephaly in women infected by Zika during their pregnancy. The broadcaster stated that the risk was about 2 cases in 10,000 births for infected women, but higher, somewhere between just under 1% and 13%, for women infected in their first trimester.

This struck me because it's a great example of people using percentages without pausing to think, even for a moment, about what they mean. Roughly one third of pregnant women are in their first trimester, right? So even if microcephaly only ever happens when women get infected during their first trimester, the risk for all pregnant women would be one third of the risk for women in their first trimester. The difference between 2 in 10,000 and 1% to 13% is vastly too large to be even remotely plausible.

The actual study, linked below, gives 2 in 10,000 as the baseline risk of microcephaly -- that it, the risk among women who are not infected by the virus.

Possibly to NPR's credit, this segment did not show up on their 9 am newscast. I don't know how they decide what makes the top of the hour, but I'm glad it was yanked.

I think I've come up with a decent analogy: this is as implausible as someone saying they drove from Boston to San Francisco in 3 hours (using the lower 1% risk for first trimester), instead of the roughly 45 hours that Google maps tells me it would take. 
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Maybe someone called in with the exact same complaint. Though, I doubt it.
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This article purports to list the words most Googled "for spelling" in each state.  What does the underlying data actually show, because I don't believe that it's actually what's stated here?  There's no way that the most "Google for spelling" word from Hawaii is actually pterodactyl, and the words are an odd mix of correctly and mis-spelled, including "jealous" spelled correctly for Kentucky, and misspelled as "jelous" in Wyoming.  

I assume, as often turns out to be the case with "most common" lists and maps, that it actually reflects something about what's disproportionally searched for in different states.  It's interesting that the word "grey" shows up for five of the 10 most populous states: California, FLorida, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan.  By contrast, many of the smallest small states have odd words:  in addition to pterodactyl and jelous, we get "radiator" in Vermont, "frusterated" in Maine, and "parynichia," a misspelling of a foot fungus, Paronychia, in Delaware.  This suggests strongly that the higher variability that comes from smaller sample sizes is playing a significant role, whatever this data actually means.
As the Spelling Bee finals approach, we found out which words Americans most often Google for correct spelling. The results may leave you "frusterated".
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Journalists are typically incompetent at statistics and math, so you'll rarely get a good explanation of what a result like this actually says.
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Congratulations to the LigerBots, the chairman's award winner at the UMass Dartmouth district First Robotics event! Their alliance with teams 5735 and 1027 also placed third in the competition!

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W00t!
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Here's the first data I've seen on how people around here feel about the Boston Olympic bid -- tepid support, but a strong desire even among those who support it to see a referendum on the issue:

"Fifty percent of respondents in Boston said they “support” the Games, compared to 33 percent who “oppose” them. If you examine the Boston region as a whole, that support grew slightly to 51 percent. (The WBUR poll surveyed both Boston residents and the “Boston area,” defined as communities inside Route 128).

But pollster Koczela says neither margin is as large as supporters would hope.

“You have more supporters than opponents, but it’s nowhere close to the level of support you’ve seen in other successful Olympic venues in the past,” he said.

In London, 68 percent of people strongly supported or tended to support the 2012 Olympics, according to polling from the International Olympic Committee (see page 108 here). And in Rio de Janeiro, a whopping 85 percent of people supported Brazil’s bid for the 2016 Olympics, according to another IOC poll (page 88)."

Thanks to WBUR for providing links to the data and to a fairly comprehensive set of crosstabs.
Three-quarters of poll respondents said residents in Boston and surrounding towns should vote on whether to host the 2024 Summer Games.
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According to the NYTimes:
"the scientists working on the new study estimated that about 70 percent of cases in West Africa go unreported. That is far fewer than earlier estimates, which assumed that up to 250 percent did."

Confused by that last phrase?  (The journalist certainly was; there's no way more than 100% of the cases can go unreported!.)  Here's the next sentence of the article:

"In practical terms, said Jeffrey Townsend, a Yale biostatistician and the study’s lead author, that means that for every 100 known cases, there are 120 actual ones, rather than 350 as in the earlier estimates."


OK, I see where the 250% "going unreported" came from (although it's certainly wrong -- rather, 250/350 = 71% unreported!), but now, the 70% above is a mystery.  Unless -- the new "70%" number is actually the correct calculation of the old number, and the correct new number (20/120 = 17%) isn't anywhere in this article?

I should probably back-track the original paper, and figure out what the numbers actually are.
Transmission of the Ebola virus occurs mostly within families, in hospitals and at funerals, not randomly like the flu, Yale scientists said.
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The article has been changed, and the correction states:
"The new study estimated that the rate of under-reporting of cases was 17 percent, up to a maximum of 70 percent, not 70 percent. The previous estimate to which this was compared meant that, for every 100 known cases, there were 250 real cases, not 350. (It is not the case that previous estimates assumed that up to 250 percent of cases went unreported.)"
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In their circles
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Education
  • University of California, Berkeley
    Math Ph.D.
  • Harvard University
    1993
Work
Occupation
Teaches math, statistics, and math education
Jessica Polito's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Trip: Chocolate Therapy
blog.explo.org

What goes better with fruit than chocolate?! Students spend this Saturday visiting Ward's Berry farm to pick their own strawberries after a

Prepare To Have Your Fear Of Heights Triggered ... Soothingly
www.npr.org

Watch as members of the "vertical dance troupe" BANDALOOP suspend themselves against the side of a Boston skyscraper and perform a routine t

16 Fun, Escapist Books To Get Your Mind off This Crazy Election Year
io9.gizmodo.com

Yeesh, this is a scary, weird year to be living on planet Earth. And we haven’t gotten those danged off-world colonies set up yet, for some

High-income Republicans less likely to say U.S. economic system is unfair
www.pewresearch.org

Graphic: High-income Republicans less likely to say U.S. economic system is unfair

Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2015
www.tor.com

Other than dinosaur figures, mugs of tea (Earl Grey, hot), and terrifying Weeping Angel cutouts, the sight most prevalent in our little rock

Charter Commission candidates: Why are you running? | Village 14 City of...
village14.com

Thanks to the 22 Newton residents are candidates for Charter Commission. Now comes the hard part for the rest of us choosing nine of you on

Family Resources | NewtonSTEM
newtonstem.org

Summer STEM Programs; After-School STEM Activities; Weekend STEM Programs; School Break STEM Programs; Newton Public Schools STEM Activities

12 fascinating optical illusions show how color can trick the eye
www.washingtonpost.com

It's not just the dress. These optical illusions show that color can be a tricky concept

Dave Epstein on Twitter
twitter.com

“GFS Meteorogram for next 10 days. Record breaking cold possible. Check it out. Image-WeatherBell”

WBUR Poll: Bostonians Back Olympic Bid, But Also Want A Referendum
www.wbur.org

Three-quarters of poll respondents said residents in Boston and surrounding towns should vote on whether to host the 2024 Summer Games.

What If Doctor Seuss Drew All 13 Doctor Who Incarnations?
io9.com

Doctors Who and Seuss blend together in a new work by Seussian mashup maestro DrFaustusAU. Oh, the times and places they'll go!

Who wants a free home theater? | Village 14 City of Newton, Massachusetts
village14.com

The Newton Nomadic Theater is putting together plans for its next production in Feb-March. "Turn of the Screw" by Jeffrey Hatcher is an eeri

The Just City (Excerpt) by Jo Walton | Tor.com
www.tor.com

Excerpt from Jo Walton's The Just City

Poetry 180 - Did I Miss Anything (Library of Congress)
www.loc.gov

Poem 13 of the Library of Congress Poetry 180 Project: Did I Miss Anything?

Run to Stay Young
well.blogs.nytimes.com

Running may reverse aging in certain ways, a noteworthy new study of active older people finds, while walking does not.

rancatore's on Twitter
twitter.com

"10am to 10pm today. Get your Quarts before the snow! Vanilla, Autumn Spice, Pumpkin and more."

The End of Gatekeeping: The Extinction Burst of Gaming Culture - Paging ...
www.doctornerdlove.com

The harassment of women in gaming culture leaves gamers fighting a losing battle against change.

The Home Teams
www.esquire.com

It's primary day here in the Commonwealth (God save it!), and there are actual primary races to care about. Senator Edward Markey is headed

District 3 gov council contest gets weirder as Devaney appears to have f...
village14.com

Just when you thought it couldn't get any weirder in the District 3 Governor's Council contest between inclumbent Marilyn Devaney and challe

Public - 4 weeks ago
reviewed 4 weeks ago
Great assortment of produce, cheeses and deli counter meats at good prices. It's an essential weekly stop.
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
Probably the smoothest cream I've ever had.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
Public - 5 years ago
reviewed 5 years ago
15 reviews
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We had a nice dinner, although I didn't think it was as spectacular as some of the other reviews make it out to be. The charcuterie plate was a delightful mix of things. Be warned, though, that the restaurant can be extremely loud; we had a hard time carrying on a conversation.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
Great scones and buckwheat pancake. Also quick to get us our food, which kept the kids happy. I'd definitely come back if I were looking for brunch in the neighborhood, like the next time we're going to the Exploration.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
Public - 5 years ago
reviewed 5 years ago