Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 1:55 pm
Credit Courtesy of Lada Adamic.
We've been hearing a lot recently about how algorithms can predict just about anything. They find long-lost friends on Facebook and guess which books we'll buy next on Amazon. Algorithms hit the big time this month, when New York Times blogger Nate Silver used mathematical models and statistics to correctly forecast the outcome of every state in the presidential election.
There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.
If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That's how we'll know when we've learned something: when we've mastered the technical words.
In this post I report, in outline, a recent publication in PLOS ONE by Margaret Eppstein, Jeffrey Horbar, Jeff Buzas and myself, Stuart Kauffman. All four of us are at the University of Vermont, with Horbar also director of the Vermont Oxford Network of over 900 hospitals. I will refer to the four co-authors as "The Vermont Group." The full paper is entitled "Searching the Clinical Fitness Landscape".
Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 6:22 am
Credit Stephanie d'Otreppe / NPR
When it comes to diabetes, just about everyone has heard there's an epidemic upon us.
In 2010, about 18.8 million people of all ages in the U.S. had been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 7 million had diabetes but hadn't been diagnosed.
How much have things changed?
Back in 1995, about 4.5 percent of adults in the U.S. had been diagnosed with diabetes. By 2010, the prevalence had zoomed to 8.2 percent.
No millipede actually has 1000 feet--but the species Illacme plenipes comes closest, with up to 750. Entomologist Paul Marek, who rediscovered the rare species a few years ago in California's coastal mountains, calls counting legs and measuring millipedes a "guilty pleasure."
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. If you're a political junkie, I'm guessing a couple of words will make your skin crawl: hanging chads. Or you might like pregnant chads or whatever - we didn't know what a chad was before then. After the problems counting ballots in the 2000 election in Florida, municipalities around the country moved to adopt electronic voting systems with the thought that they would be easier to use, more straightforward to count.