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Denise Case
The secret of life is two words: not always so :)
The secret of life is two words: not always so :)

Denise's posts

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President Trump wants your input. Take a moment to share your opinion regarding the media.

#media #press #facts #propaganda
I just learned about this survey being taken by Trump.
I answered it, not the way he would like to hear. They ask for your name and email at the end, and I was happy to supply mine, but do be warned that you need to do so.

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Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont

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Interesting times. We should be investing in the birth of a new scientific Renaissance - our human potential is collectively greater than ever. Instead, we seem to cheer the expression of the more base aspects of our humanity: selfishness, greed, vanity. If we lose sight of the principles and values that form the foundation of the republic and if we fail to uphold the desire and resolve to practice them, then our experiment may have been heartbreakingly brief.

How Republics End

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The use of Python as a data science tool has been on the rise over the past few years: 54% of the respondents of the latest O'Reilly Data Science Salary Survey indicated that they used Python. The results of the 2015 survey indicated that 51% of the respondents used Python.

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Last Wednesday I attended the first meeting of the Data-Science Education Roundtable. This is a group initially put together by the Statistics branch of the National Research Council, but later joined by the Computer-Science branch and also ACM, so there was a bit of balance in the viewpoints.

The first meeting was devoted to getting the lay of the land, and there were presentations from four viewpoints: Stat. CS, Engineering, and Math, as well as presentations from various potential employers of the students to be educated. The entire proceedings will eventually be posted at At the moment, it is just a skeleton, however.

Interestingly, there was little disagreement about the components of DS degrees, which I might summarize as Algorithms + Statistics + Machine Learning + Cloud Computing (i.e., MapReduce and the things that followed). A surprise that there seemed to be many participants who viewed a PhD program in DS as premature. I disagree, and surely at Stanford and many other places I know about, students are gaining PhD's with theses that are squarely in the DS area.

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The writing is on the wall

This is the main building of the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, right across from Trump Hotel in Washington DC.   A lot of us are protesting the guy Trump hired to demolish the EPA.  His name is  Myron Ebell.  He's a climate change denier whose work has long been funded by fossil fuel industries.

Join the battle:

George Monbiot provides more detail:

Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.

Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government.

I first encountered the machine when writing about climate change. The fury and loathing directed at climate scientists and campaigners seemed incomprehensible until I realised they were fake: the hatred had been paid for. The bloggers and institutes whipping up this anger were funded by oil and coal companies.

Among those I clashed with was Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI calls itself a thinktank, but looks to me like a corporate lobbying group. It is not transparent about its funding, but we now know it has received $2m from ExxonMobil, more than $4m from a group called the Donors Trust (which represents various corporations and billionaires), $800,000 from groups set up by the tycoons Charles and David Koch, and substantial sums from coal, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.

For years, Ebell and the CEI have attacked efforts to limit climate change, through lobbying, lawsuits and campaigns. An advertisement released by the institute had the punchline “Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution. We call it life.”

It has sought to eliminate funding for environmental education, lobbied against the Endangered Species Act, harried climate scientists and campaigned in favour of mountaintop removal by coal companies. In 2004, Ebell sent a memo to one of George W Bush’s staffers calling for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to be sacked. Where is Ebell now? Oh – leading Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency.

It's not just Ebell: Trump is hiring lots of creatures from the swamp of fake industry-funded "research institutes".  For details, and links providing evidence, go here:

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The loser won

Having lost the popular vote, Trump is busy deleting tweets from 2012 in which he falsely claimed that Obama did the same - and argued that therefore "We should have a revolution in this country!"

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American leadership. Climate change is becoming expensive in the short-term as well as the long-term. Fiscal conservatives around the world should be supporting a solid plan for working together to address this issue. American needs to lead the effort, not run from it.

#climatechange #usEPA #sciencematters
This man must be stopped

Trump has said on Twitter that:

the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.

While he later denied saying this, he is now threatening to put Myron Ebell in charge of his Environmental Protection Agency "transition team".  Transition team?  Yes, apparently Trump wants to weaken or destroy this agency.  And if you don't know Myron Ebell, you'd better learn about him now!

Myron Ebell has said:

I don’t want to say it’s a disaster, but I think it is potentially a disaster for humankind and not necessarily any good for the planet.

What's he talking about?  Global warming?  No, he's talking about the Paris agreement to fight global warming.  He claims global warming is, on the whole, a good thing.  Why?

In fact, there is no question that most people prefer less severe winters.

After running an organization devoted to eliminating protection for endangered species, he switched to heading the Global Warming and International Environmental Policy project at an institute funded by Exxon.  His job was to sow doubt and create confusion about climate change.

But he burst into fame in 2002.  That's when he helped Bush's "council on environmental policy" water down a key report on global warming.  He was caught by Greenpeace, and a scandal erupted.  

He also tried to get the head of the Environmental Protection Agency fired.  Back then it was Christine Todd Whitman.   In a secret memo to Philip Cooney, head of Bush's anti-environmental council, Ebell wrote:

It seems to me that the folks at the EPA are the obvious fall guys, and we would only hope that the fall guy (or gal) should be as high up as possible. I have done several interviews and have stressed that the president needs to get everyone rowing in the same direction. Perhaps tomorrow we will call for [Christine Todd Whitman] to be fired. I know that that doesn't sound like much help, but it seems to me that our only leverage to push you in the right direction is to drive a wedge between the President and those in the Administration who think they are serving the president's best interests by publishing this rubbish.

"This rubbish" was a report put out by the EPA warning people of the dangers of climate change.

So, get ready: this guy will be working full-time to cause trouble!

Here's a good Scientific American article to get you up to speed:

Here's Myron Ebell on Wikipedia:

Here's Myron Ebell rewriting scientific reports:

Myron Ebell saying global warming is, on the whole, a good thing:

Here's Trump's claim that climate change is a notion invented by the Chinese:


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Progress in Alzheimer's understanding. Discovering how Alzheimer's harms the brain can help us alleviate it. #Alzheimers #research #sciencematters
Brain Cell ‘Executioner’ Identified
Despite their different triggers, the same molecular chain of events appears to be responsible for brain cell death from strokes, injuries and even such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have pinpointed the protein at the end of that chain of events, one that delivers the fatal strike by carving up a cell’s DNA. The find, they say, potentially opens up a new avenue for the development of drugs to prevent, stop or weaken the process.

The new experiments, conducted in laboratory-grown cells, build on earlier work by research partners Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., now director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Valina Dawson, Ph.D., professor of neurology. Their research groups found that injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and the rare, fatal genetic disorder Huntington’s disease share a distinct form of “programmed” brain cell death they named parthanatos after the personification of death in Greek mythology and PARP, an enzyme involved in the process.

Source & further reading:

Image: Nucleus of a cell undergoing parthanatos.
Credit: Yingfei Wang and I-Hsun Wu/Johns Hopkins Medicine

#neuroscience   #research   #humanbrain   #genetic   #parthanatos  

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+The New York Times​​​ provides amazing live data graphics as the election unfolds.
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