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Gregory Tooman
Works at Oregon Department of Human Services
Attended Texas Tech University
Lives in salem
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How Twitter Predicts Unemployment
HERE is an article fro the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" which shows how Twitter is able to predict unemployment. Think the two things aren't related?  Remember, Twitter allows people to dialogue about what is happening in their lives, in a very public way. ...
HERE is an article fro the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" which shows how Twitter is able to predict unemployment. Think the two things aren't related?  Remember, Twitter allows people to dialogue about what is happening in the...
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Gregory Tooman

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Big Data = Big Correlations
Another article about big data can be found HERE .  The author's overriding point is a good one - that with a lot of data, you can correlate almost any two things together, like shoe size and IQ.  Partly, that's a trick of the math - modest correlations can...
Another article about big data can be found HERE.  The author's overriding point is a good one - that with a lot of data, you can correlate almost any two things together, like shoe size and IQ.  Partly, that's a trick of the...
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What is "Big Data?"
For the past year or so, folks in my world (my professional world, not the alternate universe I have in my head) have been talking about "big data."  But what the heck is it?  HERE 's a great example of big data, from one of the biggest big-data bigwigs: Fa...
For the past year or so, folks in my world (my professional world, not the alternate universe I have in my head) have been talking about "big data."  But what the heck is it?  HERE's a great example of big data, from one of t...
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**
"Statistically significant." No phrase has been uttered more often in my professional life (or grad school, or probably undergrad...) as a social scientist.  And no phrase is more cringe-worthy, as described in this article by Mark Kelley. Science has been ...
"Statistically significant." No phrase has been uttered more often in my professional life (or grad school, or probably undergrad...) as a social scientist.  And no phrase is more cringe-worthy, as described in this article b...
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you forgot to include "jazzercise" or any other video exercise routine, which appeared in George Orwell's 1984.  Of course, in that version, the aerobics instructor was live, and could see you through a video monitor, and if you didn't exercise appropriately, or tried to sneak outside the camera shot, she'd punish you....but I digress.
What all this has to do with voting I have no idea.
 
Getting Out the Vote

So everyone's saying that the election is basically down to Ohio.  How much longer until the incessant jockeying-for-position of our vaunted two party system leaves a single county, suburb or cul-de-sac as the swing vote?

In 1955, Issac Asimov published a short story called "Franchise" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franchise_(short_story) if you like)  in which a world was envisioned where computer analysis of statistical data enabled representative democracy by just asking a single, carefully selected voter a few questions.  

He envisioned this dystopian future to be 2008.

If you take a look back at 1987's "Max Headroom", they foresaw many aspects of the Internet today - not necessarily in full technical detail, but the social issues raised by a transformative global network, including the huge quasi-political power wielded by firms with mountains of data (Google, Facebook), the societal outcast status of those cut off from networks (3 strikes laws), 10,000 channels with nothing on (Youtube), DRM run wild (can't shorten the list enough to fit a parenthetical comment), and more.

Max Headroom was set "20 minutes into the future", though cues from the series put it at about 2007.

Star Trek portrayed handheld tablets with touchscreens and natural language database queries in 1967.  It was set in the 23rd century, and we're still working on getting computers to really understand what we meant rather than what we said, but I wouldn't trade my Nexus tablet for a dilithium crystal.  So we'll split the difference on that one.

Science fiction gets a lot of things eerily right.  The orbit which allows communications satellites to appear to be parked over a single spot on earth (and thus enabling communication from inexpensive fixed dishes without mechanical tracking gear) was calculated by Arthur C. Clarke in 1942, decades before we built the rockets which could get anything up that far.

The funny thing is, mention science fiction to most people and they'll think of the usual tropes - silver jumpsuits, food in pill form, meeting with aliens, and of course jet packs - none of which have come to pass.

So it's fair to say that like any other forward-looking activity, some things turn out to be right and others, not so much.  But I'm curious why the ideas most commonly associated with science fiction - faster-than-light travel, robot butlers, laser sidearms, and people of all creeds and colors coming together as one planet to fight those evil mauve bastards from Procyon - remain fantasy, while the things SF gets strikingly right are relatively obscure and overlooked.

Well, we do have automatic vacuum cleaners, but they don't offer up sassy wisecracks when you complain about them.

- I reserve the right to repost this elsewhere if I ever get a real blog someday
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It's actually not really mainly about voting, but I'm trying to write attention-grabbing headlines...
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From the YouTube Community Guidelines:
"We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity)."

So how is a video showing the Prophet Mohammad in the most horrible way this side of cannibalism not "hate speech?"  They've removed neo-nazi content from YouTube. How is this different?

This video is the equivalent of yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater.  It has incited riots.  People have died.  There are limits to free speech. There have to be. Even on the internet.

Bad Google!  Very, Very Bad!
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I burned them too.
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Gregory Tooman

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Big Data = Big Correlations
Another article about big data can be found HERE .  The author's overriding point is a good one - that with a lot of data, you can correlate almost any two things together, like shoe size and IQ.  Partly, that's a trick of the math - modest correlations can...
Another article about big data can be found HERE.  The author's overriding point is a good one - that with a lot of data, you can correlate almost any two things together, like shoe size and IQ.  Partly, that's a trick of the...
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Chicken is to Egg as Theory is to Data...
Every once in a while, I find something that perfectly encapsulates my thinking on a topic.  HERE is one of those things. It takes up the question, "which is better, theory or data?" and answers it the only way possible, which is "That's a stupid question."...
Every once in a while, I find something that perfectly encapsulates my thinking on a topic.  HERE is one of those things. It takes up the question, "which is better, theory or data?" and answers it the only way possible, whic...
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If you get people asking whether theory or data is better, you need to hang around with a better group of people.  The next question may well be "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"
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Addressing the Positivity Bias
Experimental psychology has been bedeviled by a "positivity bias" - we publish studies that show an effect, and not things that show lack of effect. Lack of effect - when something DOESN'T work - could be very important to science, but social science doesn'...
Experimental psychology has been bedeviled by a "positivity bias" - we publish studies that show an effect, and not things that show lack of effect. Lack of effect - when something DOESN'T work - could be very important to sc...
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**
A someone who's been doing evaluation research for a long time (evaluating programs to determine if they do what they intended to do, or ...
A someone who's been doing evaluation research for a long time (evaluating programs to determine if they do what they intended to do, or met deadlines as required) I found the arguments HERE very familiar.  It goes to show yo...
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The blog is/was for teaching a research methods class. Class ended months
ago but I keep posting links to relevant stuff to it...but all of a sudden
Google+ decided to cross post. Stupid Google.
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Have him in circles
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Spike Scott's profile photo
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Melissa Hanks's profile photo
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  • Oregon Department of Human Services
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salem
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waldwick - lubbock - denver - lexington - ponca city - ardmore
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