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David Graff
Works at Unscented Consulting
Attended University of Chicago
Lives in Reading, PA
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David Graff

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More dry wit from scientists:
"The book of Ecclesiastes says: “Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us.” As the job of the scientists is to discover new things, they are the most affected. In this paper we report a case study."
Abstract: Scientists often re-invent things that were long known. Here we review these activities as related to the mechanism of producing power law distributions, originally proposed in 1922 by Yule ...
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Slm

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It was just an interpretation problem after all...
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why doesn't it feel like progress?
why doesn't it feel like progress? John Tamny argues, correctly, that manufacturing job loss is a sign of increasing productivity. So why does it feel like so much pain? What is it about the manuf...
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You're pretty right, +David Graff, that upper management gets more than its fair share. But stock prices reflect lots more than corporate profitability,of course, and extra profits DO add to corporate value by going into company coffers (or into real or anticipated dividends). Keep in mind that the top 1% own over 60% of business equity and financial securities - so they've got the biggest vested interest in a healthy stock market: MOST increased stock value (when it happens) goes to them.
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This video got me thinking about the world-wide nature of the Occupy Wall Street protests. It shows how Israel is raging in such a familiar manner against the corrupt hold that elites have on its society. The video is called "The Israel Machine".

The people who bop around are leaders of different Israeli political parties: Prime Minister Bibi Netanhayu of right-wing Likud, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman of hardline Our Home is Israel party, Minister of Internal Affairs Eli Yeshai of the religious Shas party, Defense Minister Ehud Barak (recent leader of the Labour party), and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni of the Kadima party.

The leaders bop around on valves labeled "Prime Minister", "Foreign Minister" and the like.

Election after election, the same elites still run the country, just shifting who sits where.

The animations of the machine are pretty self-explanitory, but I had trouble with the last two, which refer to the walling off of the Palestinians and the deportation of the foreign (often Thai) guest-workers brought in to replace them.
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David Graff

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On a thread started by +Sheril Kirshenbaum , I compared belief in Global Warming to belief in Evolution.

I'm not a climate scientist, though some of my astronomy research did touch on solar forcing of Global warming. But I can say with complete certainty that there is no scientific controversy on Global Warming. When the AAAS and all the other major scientific organizations (including my own AIP and AAS) have position papers showing that they believe in the existance of anthropogenic global warming, well, that pretty much defines the scientific consensus. This doesn't mean that Global Warming is real, Galileo yada yada yada, but it does mean that it is the scientific consensus, and has been for years. Still, only a bare majority of Americans believe that Global Warming is the scientific consensus (which is not the same as being real).

Evolution has also been the scientific consensus, but for decades, not years, and supported by a much greater wealth of observational evidence. And yet, according to numerous polls, it is rejected by a plurality of Americans with strong divides between Republicans and Democrats (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution#United_States). To me, that suggests that once an issue moves out of the scientific realm and becomes more of a partisan badge of identification, its difficult to move the publics view even after decades of effort. Its all we can do merely to keep intelligent design out of the textbooks.

Is Global Warming different from Evolution? Will it be easier to convince people of it? I know plenty of educated, intelligent and non-religious lay people who don't believe in Evolution. I know a couple of technically educated people who don't believe in Global Warming (though they are not climate scientists). And many of the people who hear that I am an astronomer think this makes me an expert on how the planets control our fates.

What does it mean for our Democracy if there is such a large disconnect between our voting public and the scientific consensus? This isn't a question of reducing complex ideas to a soundbite. The fact that the AAAS (and therefor the scientific consensus) believes in global warming is not a complex idea. You don't have to understand Bayesian Statistics to properly interpret it. But it still doesn't seem to carry over.

(and how do I link to multiple websites in a single Google+ post?)

http://www.gallup.com/poll/126560/americans-global-warming-concerns-continue-drop.aspx
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Without being a personal expert, I can say that your friend's view is outside the scientific consensus. See e.g. http://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/climate_change/mtg_200702/aaas_climate_statement.pdf which begins, "The scientific evidence is clear: global cli- mate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society." The AAAS pretty much defines the scientific consensus, but a simple Google search will find similar statements from more or less every other relevent scientific society in the world.

Here is the American Geophysical Union, endorsed by one of my societies, the American Astronomy Society and the umbrella organization, the American Institute of Physics: "Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century."

Here is the American Physical Society: "Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.


The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.

If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now."

These are just the scientific organizations which I am a member of. There are many others that have similar statements.
I have participated to some extent on this sort of consensus panel (the astronomy society decadal survey), and I can tell you that they really are consensus. Nothing that is remotely scientifically controversal gets into them. If these organizations put this out as a consensus statement, that means that the leading experts in the field are uniformly confident that these statements do represent the current scientific understanding.

Of course, this does not guarantee that they are correct. But I would be leary of challenging them without some personal expertise. In particular, nonscientists such as politicians look foolish to me saying that they believe that the science isn't in yet. The scientists are saying as loudly as they can that the science is in. Any scientists who do not ascribe to these views have, almost by definition, fringe views. This does not mean that they are not correct of course, but does mean that their views are not shared by the vast majority of their colleagues who are experts in this.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of politicians and other opinion leaders, who, despite their evident lack of expertise, feel perfectly comfortable challenging the clear scientific consensus on this scientific component of this issue. I wish they would focus on the numerous political aspects of climate change.
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David Graff

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I love the dry humor of scientific writing!

"Culturomics, and the study of human culture in general, seemingly has little to do with deterministic chaos and fractals. However...."
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David Graff

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If you're not making art with the intention of having it copied, you're not really making art for the twenty-first century. -- CoryDoctorow
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Corollary: if your scientific data and methods are not easily and digitally copied, you're not really making science for the twenty-first century.
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As a scientist who has worked in startups, hospitals, and small colleges, nothing has been professionally more frustrating than the inability to access the latest research. Why would we want to keep the latest medical discoveries, paid for at taxpayer expense, from our doctors? Why would we want to keep them from the engineers and inventors who are developing the next big thing? Why else is the government funding basic research if not to aid development, inform the public, and guide medical treatment?

Here is a petition at the White House to support that government funded research must be made available to the public that funds it. Please sign!

http://wh.gov/6TH
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If you remember, or look back through my stream, I had asked on this for people to recommend a text on digital signal processing. You may also remember that I have complained about the monopolistic pricing schemes of academic publishers.

I'm pleased to recommend Digital Image Processing: Mathematical and Computational Methods by Jonathan M. Blackledge. Dr. Blackledge has been generous enough to make his book available as a Creative Commons license. He also has another CC book on Digital Signal Processing.

I'm still halfway through the book, but one thing that I've appreciated about it is that it starts with a physics basis, beginning with topics like Maxwell's equations and layered seismology theory, projection tomography and syntehtic aperture imaging to derive the physical basis of different types of images.

This book is available in print for $130 at Amazon. It is a 700 page tome and clearly the result of a lot of work by the author. It was clearly typeset and edited by the author in LaTeX (and looks great!). I wonder how the economics of its production work.
Newspapers and the popular scientific press today publish many examples of highly impressive images. These images range, for example, from those showing regions of star birth in the distant Universe t...
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A beautiful gallery of sand grains. Fascinating how so many are composed of the shells of living things. HT Austin Frakt.

By the way, for those science followers out there, you should check out Austin's blog, The Incidental Economist, which focuses on the US Health Care system with a fact-based rigor. Health care reform is kind of the global warming of American politics, a case where the status quo will lead to gradually and irreversibly rising levels of cost and poor results, but where strong incumbent interests conspire to mislead the public. And a case where America is once again outside the mainstream of other industrialized nations.
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Have him in circles
3,607 people
Steven Latta's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Fallen Astronomer, Medical Imaging Physicist
Employment
  • Unscented Consulting
    Consultant, 2012 - present
  • Sensors for Medicine and Science, Inc.
    Signal Processing Consultant, 2012 - present
  • Quantason, LLC
    Scientist, 2010 - 2012
  • Human Network Labs
    Physics, Math, and Statistics Modeler, 2009 - 2010
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital
    Assistant Physicist, 2009 - 2009
  • Reading Hospital
    Physicist, 2007 - 2009
  • Johns Hopkins University
    Research Fellow, Medical Imaging Physics, 2005 - 2007
  • Ohio State University
    Postdoctoral Researcher, Astrophysics, 1998 - 2002
  • US Merchant Marine Academy
    Assistant Professor, Physics, 2002 - 2004
  • Centre d'Etudes Nucleaires
    Boursier Chateaubriand, 1997 - 1998
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Reading, PA
Previously
Reading, PA - Baltimore, MD - Briarcliff, NY - Detroit, MI - Columbus, OH - Ann Arbor, MI - Chicago, IL - Paris
Story
Tagline
No one at my highschool reunion was surprised to hear that I had become a rocket scientist.
Introduction
I am a fallen astronomer.  I trained in cosmology, found myself wandering over to Galactic Astronomy, and then in 2004, switched over to Medical Imaging Physics.

It was a wrenching shift from the most expansive studies of the universe to the intensely parochial focus on humanity.  But the math is very similar.

When basic researchers talk about why they are doing what they do, they often talk about the possibilities of improvements to medicine.  I now make that happen.

I currently work in a small startup focusing on using ultrasound to make images by doing weird things with sound that have never really been done before. I'm fortunate that I actually can do more basic physics research now than I ever could when I was still in Academia.

I'm finding that on Google Plus, I don't really write too much about science: the difference between industry and academia is that I'm now not allowed to talk about my work (that should hopefully change in a few years when we bring our product to market).  But I bring my sensibility as a scientist to the many other issues that I'm interested in- music, geography, politics, history, Judaism, and bizarre esoteric concepts – US health care, traffic engineering, segregation.
Education
  • University of Chicago
    Mathematics, 1986 - 1990
  • University of Michigan
    Physics, 1990 - 1997
  • Columbia University
    Applied Physics, 2004 - 2005
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Simply the best sandwich shop in Reading. The Tuna is excellent with great hunks of solid albacore. I'm also partial to the meatball sub and cheese steak.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
This is the best used book store in Berks County. Of course he has a great selection of books on local and regional history, his specialty, but he also has a great collection of science, literature, biology, philosophy, and other books.
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
A good vietnamese grocery in Reading. Good produce
Public - 5 years ago
reviewed 5 years ago
5 reviews
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I don't live in Philadelphia, but every time I come into town, I plan my trip to include a stop at Capogiro. It is the bet gelato I've had since Italy.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
The food here was amazing! We loved the Mariscos and the shakes. This is a small neighborhood restaurant and the clientelle like loud music in the jukebox, which made conversation difficult for what we hoped would be a romantic evening. But the service was excellent. The owner's daughter was our server and she offered to turn the music down for us.
Public - 5 years ago
reviewed 5 years ago