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David Nesting
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For those that have been thinking about public service, and see the recent election as a reason not to participate, consider that this is the time when your skills are needed the most.

The US Digital Service is still here and there will still be projects that we're going to work on in the next administration that benefit people that need our government now more than ever. If any of you feel like the next administration is going to be a disaster due to a lack of people that know what they're talking about, be one of those people that knows what they're talking about.

If a few months in DC doesn't sound appealing right now, first, Obama's still president until next year, and second, Trump wasn't elected mayor of San Francisco nor governor of Washington. People there need your help too.

Finally, if you just can't bring yourself to step away from your job, I understand. How about we tackle the problem of content optimized for clicks and shares over truth? How about we figure out a way to unwind the decisions that have resulted in showing only hyper-partisan narratives of reality? It's time we stopped optimizing for getting users the information they seem to be looking for, because it is human nature to be more receptive to information that agrees with their preconceptions and biases. Surely there's a machine learning opportunity with understanding reputation, agreement and controversy.

And if you're reading the above and thinking, "but I voted for Trump, so this doesn't seem to have worked out so badly for me," consider that in 2020 we might end up with the progressive/liberal version of Trump as the Democratic candidate for exactly the same reasons we ended up with Trump in 2016. We need a course adjustment right fucking now.

One thing that I'm frequently re-learning is just how much government agencies behave like individual companies.  Our badges all look similar, but no matter what your security qualifications are in one agency, you'll be going through airport-style security (sometimes with shoes off!) with a 'guest' sticker at any other agency you visit.

This of course extends to IT systems.  It's usually impractical to share information between agencies beyond simple e-mails.  Different agencies have different attitudes about blocking access to things, where "might be able to share information in a way that we can't control or record for posterity" is often an overriding concern (though blocks are often arbitrary and frustrating to remove; can't let your employees exercise independent judgment, after all).  Google Drive and Dropbox are common targets.

These things often combine for extra lols: this week I learned of one agency sharing data with another agency by copying files to an external hard drive, walking over to the fence around the agency's building, and passing it through the bars.

Think you have a better solution to this problem?

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There are many things I'm really excited about at Google.  This is probably my favorite.

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Who designs crap like this? Four outlets covered! #linksys #firstworldproblems

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Balconies Cave at Pinnacles
Pinnacles 2013
3 Photos - View album

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Overheard from the AC guys in the attic: "What did he have it set to when we got here? 74 degrees?"  "Oh, he has his thermostat set to Celsius, so like 23 I think?"  "23 degrees Celsius?  I don't know what the fuck that is!"  #metric

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I've always had an enormous respect for Lawrence Lessig.

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I've always been a bit jaded by how mainstream media sensationalizes results from scientific studies that usually don't actually support the media's conclusions.  But I never realized how often the studies themselves show severe statistical deficiencies.  I learned a lot just by reading this article and if you've ever put your faith behind someone's "statistically significant" conclusions, I encourage you to push through this.

I don't understand why Calculus and Trigonometry are standard/required topics in high school, but statistics is not.  There's only one right way to do math, but statistical significance is an art: the beholder needs to be educated in order to properly appreciate what it's trying to say.  Everyone else is just going to nod in agreement so that they don't appear to look stupid.
The article is about how stats are often misused in scientific studies, but it ends up being a great explanation of statistical significance, what it means, and what it doesn't mean.  This is the sort of thing they should teach everyone in undergrad.
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