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Joren Van Severen
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This news definitely beats the previous article!
It's really nice to be able to share good news for once. A new study in JAMA Pediatrics studied the effect of same-sex marriage laws on teen suicide rates. They looked at 32 different US states which changed their laws at different times, as a way of disentangling this effect from other effects.

The net result? Legalizing same-sex marriage leads to a 7% overall drop in teen suicide attempts, and a 14% drop among LGBT teens.

It turns out that being publicly told that you're an accepted member of society and not a pariah does make a difference in people's lives, especially teenagers. Who woulda thunk?

But the upshot of this is: All of you who worked on this, in one way or another? You just saved some lives. Well done.

The article itself is available online: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2604258

(NB: For clarity, that's a 7% drop in the rate, not a seven percentage point drop drop. We should be so lucky as to have any one thing eliminate seven percentage points. As a baseline, a weighted 8.6% of all high school students, and 28.5% of LGBT high school students, attempted suicide in the year before same-sex marriage legalization. Suicide is the second most common cause of death among people aged 15-24 in the US.

For those who want technical notes: The paper seems to have done a very careful job on statistics, testing a wide variety of alternate hypotheses and ruling them out from the data. One test worth calling out: the two-year leading indicator (suicide rates two years prior to law changes) was not correlated to suicide rates, indicating that this was not triggered by general changes in the state which were also leading to this; the two-year trailing indicator (two years after), however, was correlated, with the same correlation as the immediate future, indicating a lasting effect rather than a one-off.)

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I really don't understand the sad world we live in sometimes...


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A Belgian minister arrived by bike to a news conference to promote cycling on Tuesday, only to find it had been stolen when he left half an hour later.

#oops

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Check out our demo application by +Sentiance!

Journeys is our training, data gathering and demo application. The app automatically creates your personal behavioral profile based on your activity patterns throughout the day, all just by analyzing your phone’s sensor data.

More info: http://www.sentiance.com/2017/02/02/a-journey-of-a-thousand-miles-begins-with-a-single-step/

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sentiance.journeys
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/be/app/journeys-2/id984087229?mt=8

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Warning: This is not a piece about cute dogs!
Read the text here before clicking through.

The piece below is not a cheerful one. It started out as a comment on an earlier post, but it grew into a piece in its own right. I was trying to answer +Enclosed Grand Dad's question of why certain groups are particular targets of the Trump regime; that, in turn, grew into discussing what might be coming down the pipe next.

I come from a family for which thinking these things through, and knowing when to jump, has been a critical survival skill. The things in this post are the sorts of things people talk about quietly, while doing silent calculations about their options, but rarely talk about in public. This time, I thought I would share some of the innards with you.

Why the picture of the puppy? Because I stuck several pictures of cute animals, and links to even more, inside this article. They make this easier to deal with.

I'm going to go pet my dogs now.

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Sentiance is looking for deep learning interns!

One in the field of transportation (http://bit.ly/2jbKeon) and another about biometrics: http://bit.ly/2ksuCJQ.

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Powerful message. We might be all unique, but people tend to forget we don't fit in neatly separated boxes. This goes for race, but also for so many other aspects of our life.


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