Dog & Cat

Persimmon Harvest

Native persimmons are much smaller than the Japanese varieties, but they are every bit as tasty. I just picked these in my backyard.

Spatial Data, Rocks, and Voting

Image via Matt Stiles @ NPR.

Why the blue line across the South in the sea of red? Plankton may be the answer. Read the story at Krulwich’s blog:

These same counties went mostly blue in 2004 and 2000. Why? Well, the best answer, says marine biologist Craig McClain, may be an old one, going back before the Civil War, before 1776, before Columbus, back more than 100 million years to the days when the Deep South was under water. 

Stats and Fats

Here’s a good read on the science (and politics) of soda and sugar. For researchers, a key point is:

“If you looked at the secondary endpoints in these studies, said Allison, then yes, each of the studies found one statistically significant result: but they were all for different things and so provided no evidence of consistency that might adduce causality. What was troubling—what the field of obesity research had to avoid—was spinning these secondary endpoints into major findings. You just can’t do this when they weren’t the endpoints you built your study to examine.”

When Politics and Statistics Collide

Most of the increase in unemployment rate happened before Obama took office in January 2009. I’m not a policy expert, so I won’t comment on why that might be. However, I do think that at least in this one case (I haven’t checked others), the statement on Mitt Romney’s flyer mischaracterizes the whole picture. 

You can go to http://data.bls.gov and explore this data for yourself.

Health care according to the candidates

From my inbox today:

“The editors [of the New England Journal of Medicine] asked the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, to describe their health care platforms and their visions for the future of American health care. Their statements follow.”

Mitt Romney’s piece felt (to me) like a lot of telling me what you’re going to do without actually telling me what you’re going to do.

My favorite line from Obama’s article: “Supporters and detractors alike refer to the law as Obamacare. I don’t mind, because I do care.”