Summary of “Five ways to fix statistics”

To use statistics well, researchers must study how scientists analyse and interpret data and then apply that information to prevent cognitive mistakes.
In the past couple of decades, many fields have shifted from data sets with a dozen measurements to data sets with millions.
How do we reduce the number of choices an analyst has to make without missing key features in a data set? How do we help researchers to explore data without introducing bias?
We need more observational studies and randomized trials – more epidemiology on how people collect, manipulate, analyse, communicate and consume data.
Open-science practices can benefit science by making it more difficult for researchers to make overly strong claims from noisy data, but cannot by themselves compensate for poor experiments.
To demote P values to their rightful place, researchers need better ways to interpret them.
Better than rules about how to analyse data are conventions that keep researchers accountable for their analyses.
How should researchers account for variables such as gender or age, if they do so at all? Which extreme data points should be excluded, and when? The plethora of options creates a hazard that statistician Andrew Gelman has dubbed the garden of forking paths, a place where people are easily led astray.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Exclusive: Daniel Day-Lewis Opens Up About Giving Up Acting After Phantom Thread”

Around two years ago, as part of his preparation to play the couturier ­Reynolds Woodcock in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, Phantom Thread, Daniel Day-Lewis re-created a Balenciaga dress.
To become Woodcock, Day-Lewis, who is 60, watched archival footage of fashion shows from the 1940s and ’50s, studied the lives of designers, and most important, learned to sew.
To get into the mind-set of Reynolds Woodcock, Day-Lewis not only learned the couturier’s trade but also meticulously invented every aspect of Woodcock’s personal wardrobe, from the wool and cashmere fabrics he selected from Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard to the bishop purple socks he ordered from an ecclesiastical shop in Rome to the shoes he had custom made at George Cleverley, in London, which, Day-Lewis said, “Has the allure of being slightly less well known than John Lobb.” He also considered Woodcock’s surroundings-how his house should be decorated, the pens and sketch pads he used, the items on his nightstand.
For years, Day-Lewis, who is the son of Cecil Day-Lewis, a poet laureate of England, and Jill Balcon, an actress who was the daughter of Sir Michael Balcon, the head of one of England’s predominant film studios, was not the least bit interested in stories about his home country.
“I don’t know why, but suddenly I had a strong wish to tell an English story,” Day-Lewis said about Phantom Thread. “England is deep in me. I’m made of that stuff. For a long time, a film set in England was too close to the world that I’d escaped from-drawing rooms, classic Shakespeare, Downton Abbey did not interest me. But I was fascinated by London after the war. My parents told stories about living through the Blitz, and I felt like I ingested that. I am sentimental about that world. And my dad was very much like Reynolds Woodcock. If a poet is not self-absorbed, what else is he?”.
Day-Lewis has not seen Phantom Thread. He has viewed many of his other films, but has no plans to see this one.
In the past, he always took extended breaks between films-blue periods and times of decompression that prompted Jim Sheridan, the director of My Left Foot and two other Day-Lewis films, to remark that “Daniel hates acting.” But after a break, he would be seduced anew by a fascinating character, a compelling story, an exciting director.
Although there have been rumors that Day-Lewis is going to become a fashion designer, he laughed when I suggested that career.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Muslim Population Growth in Europe”

Even if all migration into Europe were to immediately and permanently stop – a “Zero migration” scenario – the Muslim population of Europe still would be expected to rise from the current level of 4.9% to 7.4% by the year 2050.
This report, which focuses on Muslims in Europe due to the rapid changes brought on by the recent influx of refugees, provides the first estimates of the growing size of the Muslim population in Europe following the wave of refugees between 2014 and mid-2016.
Most of the Muslim population growth in Europe during the period was due to migration: The Muslim population grew by an estimated 3.5 million from net migration.
By comparison, a smaller percentage of regular migrants to Europe in this period were Muslims, although this still greatly exceeds the share of Europe’s overall population that is Muslim and thus contributes to Europe’s growing Muslim population.
Combining Muslim refugees and Muslim regular migrants, Germany was the destination for more Muslim migrants overall than the UK. France also received more than half a million Muslim migrants – predominantly regular migrants – between mid-2010 and mid-2016, while 400,000 Muslims arrived in Italy.
Pew Research Center’s three scenarios projecting the future size of the Muslim population in Europe reflect uncertainty about future migration flows due to political and social conditions outside of Europe, as well as shifting immigration policies in the region.
In Europe overall, even if all Muslim migration into Europe were to immediately and permanently stop – a zero migration scenario – the overall Muslim population of Europe would be expected to rise by 2.5 percentage points, from the current level of 4.9% to 7.4% by 2050.
Young Muslim population in Europe contributes to growth.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple is sharing your face with apps. That’s a new privacy worry.”

Apple just started sharing your face with lots of apps.
I also think Apple rushed into sharing face maps with app makers that may not share its commitment, and it isn’t being paranoid enough about the minefield it just entered.
Apple’s rules say developers can’t sell face data, use it to identify anonymous people or use it for advertising.
The MeasureKit app’s maker told me he wasn’t sensing much extra scrutiny from Apple for accessing face data.
Apps are supposed to make clear why they’re accessing your face and seek “Conspicuous consent,” according to Apple’s policies.
Overwhelming people with notifications and choices is a concern, but the face seems like a sufficiently new and sensitive data source that it warrants special permission.
Facial detection can, of course, be used for good and for bad. Warby Parker, the online glasses purveyor, uses it to fit frames to faces, and a Snapchat demo uses it to virtually paint on your face.
What keeps privacy advocates up at night is that the iPhone X will make face scanning seem normal.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon, in Hunt for Lower Prices, Recruits Indian Merchants”

A merchant who chooses the full array of Amazon services, including buying advertising and contracting with the company to store and deliver the products from Amazon’s American warehouses, typically hands over about one-third of the item’s sale price in fees and commissions.
These third-party sellers are crucial to Amazon’s business, said Aaron Cheris, head of the Americas retail practice at Bain, a global management consulting firm.
While Amazon.com has sellers hailing from many countries, Mr. Cheris said that India and China are the two most important places for Amazon to recruit new merchants, since both nations are sources of cheap manufactured goods.
Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, views India and its 1.3 billion residents as vital to his company’s future, and he has vowed to spend at least $5 billion building up his India operations.
By promoting Indian exports, a top priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amazon is positioning itself as a good corporate citizen.
The Indian merchants selling on Amazon.com find their local site, Amazon.
He recently began selling the spoons on Amazon’s Indian site, too.
An earlier version of this article misidentified the company that sells Titan watches on Amazon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What On Earth Is Going On With Bitcoin?”

If every currency is a consensual delusion, then bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency that changes hands over the internet, feels more like a consensual hallucination on psychedelic drugs.
The concept of bitcoin was born in a detailed white paper published in late 2008 by a pseudonymous “Satoshi Nakamoto.” By 2013, one bitcoin was worth $12. As of this writing, it’s worth more than $10,000.
To help me make sense of it, I started calling cryptocurrency experts and academics to ask, is bitcoin just a dumb bubble, like 17th-century tulip bulbs? An investment hedge, like gold? A currency, like dollars? The answers I got weren’t satisfyingly unanimous.
The payment network is maintained by bitcoin “Miners,” a decentralized group of individuals with powerful computers that approve transactions and are rewarded with new bitcoins for their work.
In November 2013, shortly after the FBI shut down Silk Road, several senators praised bitcoin and other virtual currencies at an official hearing as “Legitimate financial services.” Senatorial droning on C-SPAN doesn’t always move markets.
In early November, Bloomberg reported that “Buy bitcoin” had overtaken “Buy gold” as an online search phrase, suggesting that bitcoin’s rising valuation could be partly due to investors seeing it as the precious metal’s trendy equivalent.
Just as the U.S. dollar benefits from its status as the world’s reserve currency, accepted worldwide in lieu of or in exchange for the local currency, the same is often true of bitcoin in cryptocurrency markets.
Even if one buys the argument that blockchain is brilliant, cryptocurrency is the new gold, and bitcoin is the reserve currency of the ICO market, it is still beyond strange to see any product’s value double in six weeks without any material change in its underlying success or application.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Scallops Have Eyes, and Each One Has a Living Mirror”

For millions of years, scallops have been gazing at the world using dozens of eyes, each of which has a segmented mirror that’s uncannily similar to those in our grandest telescopes.
Look at a full, living scallop, and you’ll see a very different animal.
He identified the mirror, he showed that it consists of layered crystals, and he suggested that the crystals are made of guanine-one of the building blocks of DNA. “It’s very impressive how Land was right about pretty much everything from some pretty simple approaches,” says Daniel Speiser from the University of South Carolina, who also studies scallop eyes.
The mirror consists of flat, square guanine crystals, each a millionth of a meter wide.
Guanine crystals grow in layers, and Addadi thinks that the scallop somehow shifts the orientation of each layer by 90 degrees relative to the ones above and below it.
The mirror is not an inanimate structure within the eye.
As a result, the mirror focuses light from the center of the animal’s visual field onto the upper retina, and light from the periphery onto the lower one.
They probably allow it to scan a wide area, but does it consider the information from each eye separately, or combine them all into a single image? After centuries of study, scientists finally know how each individual eye sees.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Layoff Effect: What Is ESPN After the Carnage?”

Let me direct you to a couple of words in the memo ESPN president John Skipper sent out Wednesday to announce that the Worldwide Leader will lay off 150 people, its second big cut since April.
Even in happier times, ESPN had a knack for retreating.
Remember the ESPN phone? The parallel-universe, Gen X-curious network where Keith Olbermann wore a leather jacket? There were even ESPN feature films, and one of them was directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
Now, if we’re talking paradigm shifts, it’s not that ESPN is putting newspapers out of business.
It’s almost weirder to think about one whose ambitions are held in check - about an ESPN that can’t churn out any form of content it wants to.
This is the third ESPN layoff in two years, meaning there are now enough ex-ESPNers to make up an informal support group.
In April, ESPN laid off Paul Kuharsky, who covered the Tennessee Titans.
Kuharsky told me recently that the supervisor who gave him bad news had also left ESPN, because she feared she would be in the next round of cuts.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Finding the Right Title for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry”

One of the more compact outlines of the contradictions and the culture of the British Royal Family, and of Meghan Markle’s place in it, comes in a brief Telegraph article on what Markle’s title will likely be when she marries Prince Harry-their engagement announcement came from Clarence House, on Monday morning-next spring.
Upon his marriage, the Queen will most likely make the Prince a duke and Markle a duchess.
Kidd continued, referring to another theoretically available title, “Connaught, with its links to the Republic of Ireland, might not be suitable at the moment.” That is true: it is hard, in these Brexit days, to see Harry laying claim to territory in another country.
One of Queen Charlotte’s sons also had the title of Sussex, for a while.
If the Queen passes up conferring the title of Cumberland on Harry, then we’ll miss the chance of a legal battle between the descendants of Ernst August and Harry and Grace and Meghan-all of which is a useful reminder that borders have always been blurry, and respectability not always so respectable.
The title of Duke of St. Albans was invented for the illegitimate son of King Charles II and Nell Gwyn, who was also an actress.
It might be a little trickier now, with the monarch more constrained, but the enduring reality of the title situation was best expressed, ahead of the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in a comment by Kitty Kelley to the Washington Post: “Oh, honey, they can just make them up.”
The engagement announcement made use of another title, referring to Harry as “Prince Henry of Wales”-the formal designation of the son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales-which suggests that, somewhere in the past few years, he has made a Prince Hal-like transformation into an adult, the kind who doesn’t play strip poker with strangers, and does organize Olympic-like events for wounded soldiers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Babies who get more cuddles have their genetics changed for years, study shows”

A new study says it can actually affect babies at the molecular level, and the effects can last for years.
Based on the study, babies who get less physical contact and are more distressed at a young age, end up with changes in molecular processes that affect gene expression.
During the study, parents of 94 babies were asked to keep diaries of their touching and cuddling habits from five weeks after birth, as well as logging the behaviour of the infants – sleeping, crying, and so on.
This marker was lower than expected in the kids who hadn’t had much contact as babies, and had experienced more distress in their early years, compared with their actual age.
Similar findings were spotted in a study from 2013 looking at how much care and attention young rats were given from a very early age.
Gaps between epigenetic age and chronological age have been linked to health problems in the past, but again it’s too soon to draw those kind of conclusions: the scientists readily admit they don’t yet know how this will affect the kids later in life.
We are also talking about less than 100 babies in the study, but it does seem that close contact and cuddles do somehow change the body at a genetic level.
Of course it’s well accepted that human touch is good for us and our development in all kinds of ways, but this is the first study to look at how it might be changing the epigenetics of human babies.

The orginal article.