Thursday, March 31, 2005

More?

God... what a depressing day.

"Pope John Paul II has been given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church as his health deteriorates, a Vatican source tells CNN."

More sad news

My boyfriend just called and in addition to his academic troubles he heard a rumor that Mitch Hedberg had died.

I googled and confirmed.

He was a funny funny man. I will never forget the set he did at my University.


RIP
Mitch Hedberg

Laying it to rest

I was going to post something statistical today. But I'm feeling pretty lazy. Maybe in a little while. It's sunny out I just want to go lay in the park and smoke. That would be lovely.

The ongoing battle of Asshats vs. Protein Wisdom minions is still raging. Fairly entertaining to say the least.

Last weekend I was driving around with my sister and we drove past the hospital where my mom had her stroke. (Yes, she had it in the hospital, and then stayed in the hospital.) It occurred to me that we very rarely drove past that hospital on a regular basis. But that suddenly when my Mom was there it became the center of our universe. Daily routines changed completely as my Dad would pick Shorty up from school and then go directly to the hospital. We went to different banks, different restaurants different grocery stores all on our way to and from the hospital. We found new shortcuts, that we no longer use. It was like a different mode of living. (I think I noticed this mostly because I was out of town for 90% of of it.)

I hope that Terri's parents can find new routes that don't go past their daughter's hospice, new restaurants, and a new way to live their lives.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I Herd about some Stupidty

HundredPercenter apparently can't STAND the idea that other people might not follow the herd and agree with him a hundred percent on the Shciavo matter and so he posted a RIDICULOUS post removing some really great blogs from his blogroll. I'm going to ADD all of these blogs to my blogroll, regardless of whether or not I agree with them about anything because they are all diverse voices and that is good. Not that I didn't already read instapundit, but does he really need to be linked to at this point?

In fact, I don't know that I necessarily agree with anyone on my blog roll most of the time, but they are blogs I read and find interesting and if they don't agree with me then I am sure they are in good company.

Anyway F This guy

Yay for These Guys


A SMALL VICTORY
BEAUTIFUL ATROCITIES
COX&FORKUM
DIGGERSREALM
INDC JOURNAL
INSTAPUNDIT
LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS
PROTEIN WISDOM

Welcome to the blogroll with the least traffic ever.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have such a blog-on about thisguy . All of these cows in people clothing are posting on the comments at 100%lame. Ugh, it makes my blood boil when people are closed minded and followers at the same time. They will feel the wrath of the Shinobi. ::polishes throwing stars::

GRRRRR

I just wrote this great post and then it broke. Stupid internet. GRRRRRR

On a relatedly angst filled note APPARENTLY now that I've had 2 interviews BigBoss man is happy with my work and they are thinking of giving us new stuff to do in the fall. (which is awefully far away IMO) But I'm seriously annoyed now, because if I do get a different job I'm going to feel like a bitch taking it. GRRRRRRRRR Damn you Murphy and your laws!

But it isn't like I'm going to get either one of these jobs.... I just wish that I were going too. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Deathmatch: Dumbass v. #Ninja

So a couple of weeks ago Dumbass sent me an e-mail with detailed instructions on what to do with some information we were waiting for. Why do I mention this? The reason is threefold.

1. I didn't need the instructions, even the littlest
bit. I wasn't wondering how to do this, I knew, I was waiting
for the info, in fact I believe I was in the middle of doing this when he sent
the e-mail. Since I was the one who set up the entire file, him giving me
instructions on how to add 2 columns was insulting to say the very
least.

2. He CCed them to about 10 other people who A, don't need the instructions
and B. Now think that I need to be told when to do my job.

3. I sit about 10 feet from him, and so, if he had any questions about
wether or not I was going to do this or if I knew how, he could have very
simply walked over to my desk and asked.

I confronted him about this because it really pissed me off. I mean a lot(PMS). And the e-mail was really long and far too detailed and I'm sure he spent too much time writing it. So I requested that if he needed any adjustments in future he should first check with me and find out what the status was and if I knew what I was doing. And he said "Well I wasn't sure you knew to do it."

Let me clarify for you how work actually gets done around here, CoolGirl has her own set of crap that she shares with NewGuy (who is no longer going to be on the project when PregnantLady gets back, bastard). I sometimes help out CoolGirl, but mostly I handle a separate bunch of crap, I do all of the legwork, all of the updates, all of the adjustments with occasional input from Dumbass. And when he does give input it is things like "you need to make this title bold." The man has sent me back to my cube to change one formatting thing instead of just doing it his god damn self since he has the file open on his computer. Now why, for any minute amount of time would I assume that anyone besides me was going to do any work? He certainly isn't.

So this week he did the same thing, AGAIN, he sent yet another e-mail out with instructions to me to do something I was ALREADY GOING TO DO. AHH. Fortunately, I don't read anything he writes anymore and I had done it differently. I spoke to him about it AGAIN and, the best part is, his detailed and longwinded instructions were completely wrong. He didn't understand what the client wanted, and now he's telling me how to do something completely different. But he was trying to be all funny about it "Oh, I should just let you handle this stuff.. hehehehe" Yes, You should you completely incompetant pompus asshole.

On a happier note I had a phone interview on friday that went really badly because I couldn't tell if the interviewer was entertained or annoyed by my attempts at humor. Three more days until friday.

Sleepy

I am sleepy, so I'm going to post about this MSNBC article. Now see here, the article is just about sleep in America and how americans aren't getting the sleep we need. I'm not going to talk about the poll today, I'm tired. But I am going to talk about the headline that I saw on MSNBC that caused me to link to the article.


B'scuse me? Okay, so maybe that is true for some people. But this article mentions sex Twice, but there is only one fact about it in the WHOOOOLE thing.

  • Roughly one-fourth of respondents who have partners report that their sexual relationship has been hurt because they have been too sleepy. They had sex less often or lost interest in having sex because they were too tired.

That's all she wrote kids. That's it. That's how we know that AMERICANS are too sleepy for sex, not jsut some Americans who have very busy lives or blah blah blah. Clearly.

I hate journalists. They make ridiculous claims and have little or no evidence to support them. But the claim is all about the hook, getting people to read the article, getting ratings. Bastards. Well I promise to keep writing boring stuff so on one will ever read it. But hopefully it will be factually valid.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Post-Easter Post

It's another Gloomy day here in da burgh. Flew in this morning under approximately 3 layers of clouds, ridiculous. I feel like crap. Today I will see how little time I can spend in the office and still get paid.

Anyway on Sunday I went to church because it makes my crazy mother happy and I love her, so I go. I stood in the aisle (no seats left) with my little sister and groaned inwardly when the homily started. But this hear Msgr talked about the Terri Schiavo case (instead of how all the people who show up to Easter mass were missing about 51 other Masses every year.) And I was expecting a right to life diatribe, but he didn't give us one. Instead he read parts of articles that had been in the post presenting differing views. And then he read a passage by someone old whose name I don't remember about how death is God calling us to him, and it was really beautiful. And that was the first time in ages that I didn't hate the Catholic Church.

It seems like the opposite might be beginning to happen all over the country, Jeff Jarvis's Jumping the shark post was GREAT and I really agree that I think the fundamentalists have pushed it too far this time. At least I hope there is some kind of backlash over this.

I do find it interesting how easily people are mislead by the media. My Aunt was going on and on yesterday about how "all these people" agreed with Terri's parents. And I pointed out the different polls that I've read and that all of them had a majority disagreeing with Congress's action. She mentioned too that she heard lots of people on the radio and I pointed out that people who strongly oppose this are more likely to call into a radio show than people who think the whole thing is a family matter. Nutjobs make better radio/tv than normal people, apparently she never watched the real world.

I am concerned that people whose views are more secular will decide that they are clearly the minority and they should just shut up. Because I don't think we are. We shall have to see.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

If by Changing you mean Half

I wasn't planning to post today because I'm going to STL for the holiday. (Yay political arguments with Dad) Aaanyway, I was minding my own business reading CNN and I found this article which said something about cookies, YUM. It turns out to be about how companies are using cookies to collect data and finding that consumers delete the cookies and make their data unreliable. And I was all OOOO YAY data isn't always trustworthy == true. But now I'm reading and I get to this.

Rational or not, fear is dramatically changing consumer behavior. Take a look at
these statistics from Jupiter:
Fifty-eight percent of online consumers have
installed, updated, or operated anti-spyware software over the past 12
months.
Fifty-six percent have deleted the temporary files stored in their
browsers' caches.
Forty-nine percent have deleted their browsers'
history.
Forty-one percent now use a firewall.


Soooo what they are saying is that consumer behavior is "dramatically" changing because almost half of consumers have (COMPLETELY NECESSARY, but we'll get to that in a minute) anti-spyware software. And their evidence of a change here is? Change requires 2 data points, the original one and the new one, and I'm only seeing one. I tried to access Jupiter's data, but this blog makes me no money, so I'm not buying it. But here is the report that it is from if anyone has a subscription and wants to send it to me.

My point is that though it is interesting that so many individuals are now deleting cookies and using firewalls etc, it does not evidence a change in behavior since we do not know how common this practice was say 6 months ago. In fact we might know, but it isn't in this article, Therefore, who ever wrote this should be smaked around a little. (Hey Business 2.0 Hire me!)

Now, to the other main point of the article, which is in my rough summation "Poor corporations can't collect data on consumers because consumers think that their innocent cookies are evil." Now this guy apparently has never had to do a full system reload because of one little malignant file downloaded from a website. Apparently the man has never been foiled in his attempt to read his e-mail by countless numbers of popups caused by allowing websites to put whatever they want onto his computer. And Apparently he has never had multiple system crashes while trying to run Microsoft word because of all of the CRAP that these companies are putting on his machine. (Nor has he had to hide his naughty surfing habits from his Mommy Girlfriend, or Boss.)

While I agree that one cookie is harmless, 500 cookies take up space. This is not a fear issue, it is self defense, I payed for that 40 g hard drive and not so I could keep track of other people's information or get them ad revenue. The statistics described above are the kinds of steps PC users have to go through in order to avoid catastrophic system failure once every three months. Fear is not the problem, other people's crap on my PC is the problem.

Dear Corporations that just want to serve their customers better, Find a new data collection method and quit putting your stuff on my computer. I don't have the disk space to keep track of YOUR data for you. Sorry, but between you and the other 50 companies that want to know everything about me I've run out of room for my porn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Venting

Please note: This post is me bitching about things of a personal nature, it will probably not be very entertaining or interesting to you, but I have to post it somewhere just to get it out of my system or I will go postal.

My boss, is the worst boss in the history of bosses. I know, I know, everyone has bad bosses. They have the micromanaging boss, or the boss who is never around and then gets mad when stuff isn't done, or the boss who thinks he is always right, or the boss who is never right. Well I have all of these, in the form of one person. Not to mention my boss is one of those people who is not very intelligent, and assumes that no one around him is very intelligent so he treats everyone like they are stupid. Any time I talk to him I find myself being "explained" to about something I already have a good understanding of. And to top it all off, the man wears his pants pulled up to high and a polo shirt and ugly golf socks every day. He is like a cartoon character, from now on we will call him Dumbass. I also work with a lovely girl who I will call Coolgirl, she should be in charge of the project because she has been on it the longest, but sadly nothing here at the company that shall not be named ever seems to work out properly.

So a few months ago we added someone to our project because Dumbass was supposed to be working on other project work for senior management. He started training NewGuy and CoolGirl and I were informed of his addition to the project at the last possible moment. (Because why would anyone want to share information with their subordinates or you know, ask their opinions on things.) Coolgirl is asked to take more responsibility for the project and being taking on a more management role. We start working, work picks up, The Unrest begins.

One day NewGuy does sommthing that Coolgirl told him to do and Dumbass yells at him for this. Then again a few days later. Then he proceeds to do the same thing to me (#Ninja). And I blow up at him in a manner that is somewhat notorious because I'm pretty loud for a ninja and the whole department heard me. I explained to him calmly that He could either be the manager or not the manager but that I need to know whose instructions to follow and that his ocillating between ignoring this project and micromanaging it is driving me bonkers. This leads him to believe that I am "Overwhelmed" which lead me to want to bitchslap his ass. In any case, we had a corporate restructuring and more defined roles within the project. YAY.

Well now, he's supposed to be working on other stuff, but he is back to micromanaging. In fact under CoolGirl's very nose he has launched a campaign against NewGuy. For NO APPARENT REASON. (Besides the fact that he his a Dumbass) He is new and the project has a long learning curve, so there is a limit to what we can do. Additionally there is just barely enough work for three people and sometimes it is easier for Coolgirl and #Ninja to just take care of it. And so today because of Dumbasses fucking WHINING NewGuy might get fired. And I am PISSED. There is NO REASON for this, Dumbass's Failure to communicate effectively is more to blame than any one of us, even our client (the producers of Cancer Sticks) hates him.

I hate my job so much. If you're hiring, I'm a fabulous analyst with a BS in Statistics and Decision Science and a little under a year's worth of experience. Please e-mail me and rescue me from this hell.

UPDATE-
I am Shinobi's All Consuming Rage. Not only are they switching all company vending machines and the cafeteria to sell exclusively pepsi, the pepsi will now cost us 1.25 per bottle, instead of the low low price of 1.00. I know it is stupid, but I like to have free choice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Awww your baby looks just like

........ a red.... thing...

Today an article in the New York Time's "examines" the claim by several studies that Babies tend to resemble their fathers. (If by examine you mean regurgitate.) They cite 2 studies (Just "the Facts") that used different methodologies to see if there is a pattern in human resemblance in behavior. In any case, the NYT FAILs to mention this study (by the way the first result on google) which disagrees and fails to replicate the results of the original 1995 study.

I did find another study which based it's conclusions on what people "said" about a baby's resemblance. I actually laughed out loud when I read it. I wont do it the honor of linking it because...... no. I know if I were included in that sample I'd be completely making something up. To me, babies, look like babies. Booooooring.

It seems like this would be an interesting thing to look at for people who are studying facial mapping technologies. (I did some work with these last year actually, the agony of doing data analysis on photographs.) It would be interesting to see if an algorithm would see more resemblance to a mother or father in a baby. Someone smarter than me should do the research and get back to me.

Anyway the NYT's article is interesting if a little one sided. The Claim, The Facts and my favorite part:

"THE BOTTOM LINE Infants are more likely to resemble their dads. "

According to 2 studies that haven't been replicated. Oh god, I'm going to go laugh in the bathroom stall now so people will stop popping over my cube walls and looking at me funny.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Numbers for thought

An ABC poll (N=501 margin of error=4.5%) conducted Sunday found that 60% of those polled opposed of federal intervention in the Schiavo Case. 70% said it was "not Appropriate" for congress to get involved.

Self labled "Conservatives" were most supportive of Congress's move 48% saying they supported federal intervetion in the matter. 44% of Evangelical Protestants supported the move. (I don't know what % of the respondants were conservative/liberal, I can only see what there results are, I would like to know just to make sure that there is enough data for each group to constitute a sample.)


Another interesting post from over on Cabal shows how numbers and comparisons can be misleading when discussing prisoners of war.

The setup is: 108 POWs have already died in American custody, while only 114 American POWs died while in North Viestnamese custody during the entire war!

For some reason, Atrios skips the other question that immediately came to my mind - how many POWs were taken overall by each country?

Read on to find out.


2.5 hours left at work.

BS

The day after my first test in Mrs. F's class she walked up to the front of the room and said

"Well, the tests overall were not that great"

She turned and wrote two letters on the board.

B S

Then turned back to a room full of stunned 16 year olds and said "Be Specific."

In the world of academia where length is key being specific sometimes gets lost in our quest to fill pages and pages of blue books or to type 10 pages of words that have some meaning. The MSM seems to have a similar problem in their search for brevity (or is it their search for ratings)

Today on the NYT's health page I see two quotes that are shall we say slightly less than music to my ears.

"Many Americans are taking an active role in their own deaths, "

Many huh, HOw many? Oh... further down in the article we find out we don't actually know how many americans have had an assisted suicide. But the gallup poll says

"In a 2004 Gallup survey, 65 percent agreed that a doctor should be allowed to assist a suicide "when a person has a disease that cannot be cured and is living in pain," up from 52 percent in 1996. "

Oh so, what we actually know is that 65% of american's think that assisted suicide can be okay. But we don't know how many are taking an active role in their own deaths. (by the way, isn't there something else you could be covering besides contributing to the insane media frenzy over Terri Sciavo. I almost miss daily coverage of the artist formerly known as the king of pop's bowel movements.)

"More Celebrities Finding Roles as Antidepressant Advocates"

OKay, more than what? More than two days ago? Please. You're killing me.

Other words I hate. Less, increased, fewer, higher, few, most... the list goes on and on.

These words tell us NOTHING they don't give us any information unless they are followed up or preceeded by actual facts and actual numbers. I could say that I have more money today than I did a year ago. But In actual fact I have about 5 dollars more. Sounds nice, but in reality all I can get with it is a value meal from the McDrivethru.

So I say to the media. B S, be specific.

Moody monday

I think I'm starting to understand this whole template thing. I added a blogroll and other crap. Woot. If you're sad about not being on my blog roll then you should add me to yours, or if I'm already on yours you should send me a bitchy e-mail because I'm a bitch.

And now, Japan!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Terri

I don't like talking about "right to life" cases because it is a subject I am pretty on the fence on. On the one hand my mother has had several occasions where she could have been given up on and yet survived. (She's amazing.) But on the other I think that death comes for all of us and we must be willing to surrender to it when it comes, not hang on with machines and tubes.

I feel mostly for Terri in this whole conversation, because I wonder how much congress or the judges are really looking out for her. I haven't hear the testimony of doctors and I myself am not a doctor so I don't know if she's really in a "vegetative state" or if she actually interacts like her parents claim. And if she does have the potential to recover, then by all means she should be given the chance. But I don't know if she does have that potential.

What I do know is this woman has been effectively a vegetable for 15 years that is 65% of my life span, an amazingly long time. While I grew up, went to highschool and graduated college she has been sitting in one room on a feeding tube getting visits from her family but never going anywhere, doing anything fun. In fact she might not even know that she is still alive. Even if she is "alive" and able to acknowledge family, is she going to get better? Will she be able to talk with her parents? Will she walk again? Dance? Go to Parties? Or will she simply stay this way until one day she dies despite her feeding tube.

What purpose does keeping her alive serve? And to that end, is she really even alive? 50 years ago she would have died. But now that we have the ability to prevent her body's death, should we?

I see all these "right to life" signs and I wonder, why? What about quality of life, joy in life, experiencing life. There is no joy, no new experiences for Terri, unless by some miracle. But believe that death also is a miracle, saving some people from a life of pain or a life their spirit no longer needs to live.

Is this really about Terri? Is it about our own fear of death?

Or even worse, is it about politics?

Update: Words on this subject from one wiser than I

My Favorite Newspaper

Here's a blog post that I found via instapundit, Which I am sure that you have read already or at least seen. This guy lambast's the NYT's methodologies for criticism of poll data from Iraq.

It is a fabulous writing that I wish I had written, but since I did not, I will leave it to you to read its lovliness and learn more about why one should not always believe what one reads in the newspaper. (Especially if it has anything to do with statistics.)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sad

RIP Andre Norton I will be sad that she is gone, but will look forward to reading her new book.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Dissenting View on Dissent

This morning I did my usually instacheck and found this post, and proceeded to read all of the links therein.

This one is particularly interesting because it presents some interesting experiences, and I have some of my own to share.

I grew up in a conservative environment and for a long time considered myself to be a republican. At college I was one of the two republicans ( I am not exaggerating) and when the whole Bush Gore conflict was going on I was not treated rudely, although I will not say that my views were exactly popular, which is to be expected. But I continued with my support for the Bush Administration through the war in Afghanistan. But after watching the what was in my opinion a gross mishandeling of the lead up to the Iraq conflict and various other things the administration did that I disagree with I withdrew my support.

Well, my family immediately launched into the "liberal arts brainwashing" speech. Absolutely typical, my views are not valid because I was educated at a university which has a liberal bent. Rather than listening to me, they used this to "prove" that my opinions were invalid. (And they weren't very nice about it I might add.) You may think that I just jumped on the band wagon as well, but I don't have to justify myself to you imaginary person who is reading this, so I wont, HAH. I would argue that both sides are in fact guilty of this depending on the environment.

There was also some talk about the Liberals and their dislike of conservative media. And personally, I am not opposed to Fox news. What I am opposed to is people who think that Fox News and commentators like Rush Limbaugh are unbiased. Just like I would be opposed to people who thought MSNBC was unbiased, or any news for that matter. This, is false. If people want to watch or listen to news that includes other people's opinions that is fine by me. But if someone thinks that Fox News is completely unbiased reporting, how do you think they will respond to my opinions? Take my word for it, not well.

And for another example of crushing dissent from the right, how about Bush's Town hall meetings. What's with the loyalty pledges? If you can't ask him real questions, then what is the point. It is about time that the Bush administration answered some of the hard questions that liberals would put to them and acknowledged the dissent among the American people. We aren't all behind you Bush, why don't you try a little harder to convince us, say by addressing our concerns? What am I saying, this is crazy talk.

Anyway, I would argue that BOTH sides of the spectrum are guilty of crushing dissent and that it is simply a matter of geography whose opinions are getting crushed. (New York Dems are probably just as accepting of conservative Dems as Missouri Republicans are of liberal Republicans.) Americans should all work harder to listen to views that are different than our own, not as Democrats or as republicans. But as people who live in the best country on earth and want it to stay that way, we have a responsibility to ourselves to hear what our brothers and sisters are saying and try to do what is best for everyone, not just what we want.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Why

This article in the New York times is an example of the reason that I am having this conversation with myself in the first place. Not only is it about a study that was clearly overpublicized and misinterpreted, it's also not a very good article.

The article talks about a study done in 1997 that showed that girls were reaching puberty as early as 9 and 10 years old. And Apparently the proposed cause was the bovine hormone used in milk. And so apparently "Sales of organic dairy products took off rapidly" (This article talks about the growing popularity of organic products, but that probably had more to do with overall increased consumption of organic products than it does with one study.)

Apparently this study received a lot of media attention. Here is the original article that appeared in the NYT's in 2001. And there are some follow up articles about groups that doubted the claims of early puberty. Suffice it to say that the ENTIRE second page of the original article talks about how milk was a possible cause and really presents no actual proof. Lots of narrative and talk about conversation.

Anyway, so now it is 2005, and we know we were wrong and that milk probably has nothing to do with early puberty. And so this is what we get from the NEw York Times

A study published in 2001, led by Dr. Kaplowitz, showed that girls who developed sooner tended to have higher body-mass indexes. It also said that the findings of the early puberty study coincided with a rise in nationwide rates of obesity.

THE BOTTOM LINE - Bovine growth hormones are not connected to the early onset of puberty in girls.


Studies these days are irresponsible, and looking for media attention (t0 get funding). But getting media attention can spread misinformation and that can have worse affects on society. And it is even worse when the media is irresponsible with the attention it gives to these studies.

Oh and as an added bonus "Watching TV Hastens the Onset of Puberty!" Can you find the logic derailment in that study?

More on Blogging

Once again Jeff Jarvis says what I've been thinking all along (and a lot more than he probably needed to) about the women in blogging issue. Stupid MSM bloggers, we were done with this like a week ago and here we are again.

But for those interested in more statistics on blogging I found this and this, both of which are interesting. But remember that just because it is a number doesn't mean it is the right number.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I suck at titles

I was thinking today about how I don't think I'm very good at this whole blogging thing,

But fortunately Iowahawk is coming to my aid with his new Bloggonetrix™ program! I am so excited. I'm gonna sign me up for the first session.


On an unrelated note, Happy Steak and Blowjob Day!

Walking the blog

It's monday and I'm pretty busy but I wanted to post something so my Blog didn't feel lonely.

So here is a couple of links to make my blog feel loved.

This interesting article from MSNBC about the male dominated upper eschalon of blogging. Why does this happen? I don't know if I agree with the "boys club" idea. The blogosphere isn't about gender, it is about ideas and the people who promote themselves and are the most interesting rise to the top. Ideally. But maybe topp 100 bloggers really just want to create there own little bloggy club of joy and let the rest of us run aorund like little peons, especially the women because they have nothing to say. Hmmm... Somehow I doubt it. I'm so tired of this discussion, why am I even posting about it? Maybe I'm just not frustrated enough yet to be bitter about my lack of traffic, but actually I think if people were really reading this blog it would freak me out. So on with life.

UPDATE: I was just checking out my friends at the NYT and I saw this article. Looks like a few weeks after the blogosphere is done with this Men holding back Women debate the MSM finally picks it up. I still don't agree with this. You can think I'm a nag all you want, it doesn't make me less right. But hey, if anyone is looking for an op-ed columnette they should hire me because I'm smart and bitchy.

MSNBC has another article about petfinder.com which is an amazing resource. (It's where I found my Dora) There are so many stray animals killed every year because they don't have a forever home. Spay, Neuter and Adopt!

Okay, back to work.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Blogging about Blogging

As any Instapundit reader already knows they have published results of a survey of bloggers. Much yayness.

I like this survey, why? Because the write up told us that this survey is merely a sample of a sample. Which is totally true. Also, the survey gathered only demographic information. YAY! So while the questions were still subjective no one can suddenly claim that all bloggers are insane.

Unfortunately it is VERY likely that these results were skewed by the blogs on which the survey was publicized. In a network like the blogosphere where similar blogs link to similar blogs it would be difficult to get a true random sample. So while it may be true that a given blogger is more likely to say they are a Democrat, it could also be true that more left leaning bloggers responded to ads on left leaning blogs. etc and so forth.

And I could wax theoretical about the best way to gather demographic data on a group like bloggers. But the complex structure of the blogging network would occupy me for several pages, so I wont do this. I will just say that it would be hard, and so I give these guys credit for trying to get any information at all.

I wonder how close to accurate the 75/25 male female ratio is? Sausage? Anyone? We're having a festival.

Side note, I find it HILARIOUS that Blogger's spell check function does not recognize the words, blog blogger or blogosphere as being words. Hilarious, and also annoying, like Gilbert Gottfried or something.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Indivisible

What's with Thursday? Why can't we just skip it and go directly to Friday, do not pass go do not suffer through another day at work.

And while I'm venting, why do I have to wake up every morning and be greated by the pale visage of The Creature Formerly Known as the King of Pop. My soy vanilla chai smoothie threatens to resurface ever time.

So to something topical. This weekend at my interview I was asked how I did with "multitasking." Well, I'm fabulous at multitasking, not only can I watch 2 TV shows simultaneously I can also kick the crap out of some rabid thistle bears on WoW all at the same time. Not to mention "I think being able to program a great set of tunes while simultaneously packing a nice, tight bowl is a good example of multitasking. " (thanks Hubris)

But apparently this is some kind of phenomenon among the younger folks. This article by my home newspaper is as usual an example of quality reporting. "Teens juggle homework with multimedia addiction" Addiction? B'scuse me!? For while I do think it is interesting that there seems to be an increase in the amount of time being spent doing media type activities, I think addiction is kindof a strong word. Also there is no proof of any kind of addiction in the study being reported. Bad Headline Awarded!!

I think it is weird that anyone would find the fact that kids IM, Play video games and watch TV all while doing homework newsworthy. I guess that is because I come from this generation and that is what we do. I'm fine, it just takes a little more to entertain me probably than it did my parents. For instance during movies I generally make origami out of my ticket stub or crochet or annoy the people arrond me by twitching. Okay, maybe I'm just weird.

Aaaaanyway, to my point this is one of those dangerous studies. Right now, it's all fine and very interesting. Kids report spending more time using different kinds of media and multitasking. In fact this may help with concentration or visual skills, (this study is good because they even looked at the angle that maybe individuals with better visual skills are more likely to be gamers, good news, not true!) And multitasking will be helpful in the workplace, if not in college.

Regardless soon this will morph into "OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING BRAINWASHED BY THE DEVIL"(Some people are stupid, Henry thinks the homosexuals would want to do him up the bum.) The media will start putting negative spin on it, and all of the bad parents will have to sit there and make sure thier kids only do their homework and not IM, or that they don't have the TV on. This will be lame, and I hope that it does not happen.

With Video games and Instant Messaging for all!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Don't trust your data!

One of my coworkers (I work in a data factory) has a sign in his cube. It has a registration card from a Republican organization, and the sign reads "Don't Trust your Data." I know, statistics humor, hardly funny.

But today I found this article on MSNBC about the recent problems that Choicepoint has been having. Choice point is a supplier for one of my clients so I found this article very interesting. They do age validation for my client where they use an individuals name and address to verify that they are eligable for certain programs. But apparently one year at a conference they looked up data for one of the girls I worked with and they had EVERYTHING.

But besides the security issues which are clearly vast. What is the point in having all of this information if much of it is wrong? Granted the MSBNC article gives only a few examples, and probably neglected to mention individuals whose reports were accurate. But if a company is going to provide complete information on an individual do they not have a responsibility to both their clients and the individual that the information provided be accurate?

This is the kind of thing that makes me wary of massive surveys or other efforts to obtain data about the public. Now that information is so much more readily available, that leaves more room for errors.

(If you do a google search for my name you will come up with about 82 entries. 5 of which actually pertain to me and the rest belong to others. My name is fairly unique so that helps, but I feel sorry for the others whose history might someone get mangled up with mine. Poor Choicepoint, they must be so confused.)

Anyway, this is also one of the reasons I don't use my real name on this blog. I don't want future employers to read my political or ideological musings because they were able to track me down.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Conventional Stupidity

I'm Back! I can tell you missed me. I will be a much better blogger this week I hope. A weekend of shoving my friends in and out of wedding dresses was exactly what the doctor ordered. (I guess the copious amounts of alcohol may have helped too.)

Yesterday CNN had a report on a "review" of 37 studies done by the federal government that consumption of dairy products alone was not enough to grow strong bones.

The study itself I have nothing to say about. I would like to talk instead about the implications of the types of reporting that one finds on these types of subjects. For while it may be entirely true that Milk really doesn't "do a body good" as we have been led to believe all of these years it is still a good source of calcium as the articles indicate on the inside.

Well as long as the article reports facts , what is wrong with a few sensational headlines?

When people make decisions they use methods called Heuristics, some of these heuristics are better at evaluating information than others, but for the most part none of them are good. One of them is called the Availability Heuristic. This method of decision making uses information that is easy to recall, disastrous events or things that have been repeated frequently. So while this information is not necessarily accurate is the easiest thing for us mere humans to remember.

Why am I talking about this? Well when I see headlines like Milk, You May Not Need it Like You Once Thought, or Study: Milk Does Not Help Build Strong Bones I am concerned. It is very likely that parents may remember these headlines and decide not to make their children drink milk, because what is the point? But they probably wont remember that the article suggested that exercise was necessary for building strong bones, or that there are other sources of calcium which is still a useful mineral for growing bodies.

There are much better headlines obviously, I have picked a few of the worst. But the Availability Heuristic is the reason that I pick on headlines specifically. The average Joe American wont remember what the article said, they will remember the main claims made by the headline and they will use it in future decision making. And so this is why I think that journalists should be more responsible in what kinds of claims they make in their headlines and their articles so as not to mislead the public.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Yargh

In Chicago this weekend hanging with the girls. Also have an interview on Friday. Wish me luck!

Sorry for the postlessness, was sick yesterday and so busy today. God forbid we leave my boss alone for 1 day.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hip and Cool

Another reminder of why surveys aren't good. CNN's article today on the "Cell Phone Only" demographic, of which I am a member, brings up an important issue with polling.

The weather outside is frightful. More Later.