When you know there's a big upcoming threat, how do you get big institutions to commit and follow through? And in particular, how useful is it to frighten whole populaces? Someone in a MetaTalk discussion of doom-saying and climate change made a claim that led me to ask: how did institutions get convinced to take the Year 2000 problem seriously and mitigate it? Was widespread consumer panic a necessary precondition? Would similar preconditions need to hold in order for institutions to take climate change seriously? I investigated the research literature and wrote up my findings in a blog post.
I got sick to the teeth of the constant whining about our municipal taxes on local social media and Reddit, so spent an afternoon doing some research on comparable municipalities and tax rates in Ontario. The more valuable end of this from a broader perspective might be a follow-on page about why ratio complaints (our city pays more for XXX than any other city, or our city's taxes are a higher percentage of YYY than other cities') are kind of bullshit.
Thicket is a platform for rigorous thinking. Users can map out political ideas, discover relevant research, and debate policy claims with others. Thicket puts your beliefs about policy in context, connecting them to relevant academic research and to opposing arguments. Thicket is aimed at students, researchers, journalists, and everyone interested in politics and public policy. The intro video is the best place to start. [more inside]
Folklore from the inhabitants of the 7th continent
We just finished a documentary about some prosthetic instruments we designed for a collaborative dance and music performance. The instruments were designed by myself and Joe Malloch, another researcher at McGill University, and went on tour in Quebec and Europe in the spring. The basic idea was to create physical devices which would attach to the dancers' bodies in order to create opportunities for exploring movement and . Sensors incorporated in the devices send information to a computer, and the information is then used in the generation of computer music. There's more description on the webpage, and the video describing the design process and showing the instruments in use is on youtube. There's also a one-minute teaser vid in case the full video is TL;DW.
Robust data on individual CPS (Chicago Public Schools) schools is often difficult to locate and almost impossible to compare between schools. Although this data is used to make important decisions at the student family level (what school to apply to?) and the district level (which schools to close?), there are few resources that allow open government groups to easily access and use the data in formats that would allow them to educate the public and increase transparency and understanding. So I decided to tackle some of it, unpaid and on my own time as a CPS parent, in a project that I'm calling "Apples to Apples." I get the data out of PDFs and up into Google Fusion. And open gov groups, parents and journalists get to use it.
Phages as bactericidal agents have been employed for 90 years as a means of treating bacterial infections in humans as well as other species, a process known as phage therapy. In this review we explore both the early historical and more modern use of phages to treat human infections. We discuss in particular the little-reviewed French early work, along with the Polish, US, Georgian and Russian historical experiences. We also cover other, more modern examples of phage therapy of humans as differentiated in terms of disease. In addition, we provide discussions of phage safety, other aspects of phage therapy pharmacology, and the idea of phage use as probiotics.
I've started a blog about the world of technology available for academics, researchers and other people who deal with ideas for a living. While there's plenty out there on technology for writers and programmers, I wanted to bring a special focus toward brainstorming, document management and notetaking. I'm gradually expanding into non-technology stuff as the blog grows and progresses. [more inside]
After years of studying these shibboleths, and tracking my research progress here, I'm happy to share some data results from the 2010 survey. My first published article, Sociophonetic Variation in an Internet Place Name is available in Names: A Journal of Onomastics special issue on Names, Naming and the Internet (Maney Publishing). Enjoy! [more inside]
Five-hundred enormous historical maps; all downloadable in their highest resolution. With a new map every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. [more inside]
A multi-disc album (available for download or CD purchase) of original and arranged music, spanning a huge range of genres, for which all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society via UCincinnati's Relay for Life program. The roster is a Who's Who of indie game music, including the composers for Super Meat Boy, Minecraft, and Unreal, and the guys behind Metroid Metal and Overclocked ReMix (and ..MeFi's own jake). The goal is to raise $10k by the end of April.
Many medical interventions, including drugs, procedures, and other therapeutic initiatives, have been studied in the past and found to be effective for some condition or another, only to be lost to the sands of time as researchers move on to other topics and more well-known interventions become dominant. Similarly, many new and promising interventions are hampered from gaining wider acceptance due to the fact that there is often scant literature to be found. This is often the case with research on generic drugs, which does not generally have the benefit of pharmaceutical industry backing to provide funds and exposure. I'm a medical student, and by creating this site, I hope to catalog all the interesting tidbits of forgotten and obscure research that still hold promise for yielding effective treatments now and in the future. While the pickings are a bit slim at present, I aim to add lots of interesting and underappreciated bits of research as time passes! [more inside]