Dispatches

Shootings in U.S. schools are linked to increased unemployment

By Megan Fellman EVANSTON – A rigorous Northwestern University study of a quarter-century of data has found that economic insecurity is related to the rate of gun violence at K-12 and postsecondary schools in the United States. When it becomes more difficult for people coming out of school to find ...

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Follow me on the Reading Rainbow

Over the summer I’ve been able to successfully chisel away at my goal of reading 20 books by 16 different authors in 2015, with my two weeks of travel to and around Spain providing me ample time to dive into my iPad and digest. For this tour, I went back ...

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Building trustworthy Big Data algorithms

By Emily Ayshford Much of our reams of data sit in large databases of unstructured text. Finding insights among emails, text documents, and websites is extremely difficult unless we can search, characterize, and classify their text data in a meaningful way. One of the leading big data algorithms for finding ...

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'Friending' your way thin

By Erin White EVANSTON, Ill. —- If you want to lose pounds using an online weight management program, don’t be a wallflower. A new Northwestern University study shows that online dieters with high social embeddedness — who logged in regularly, recorded their weigh-ins and ‘friended’ other members — lost more ...

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Data analysis trumps critics, wisdom of crowds and number of awards

EVANSTON, Ill. —- Don’t rely on the Academy Awards next month if you are seeking to know whether the movies deemed great today will survive the test of time. According to a new Northwestern University study, the best predictor of a movie’s significance is how often a movie is referenced ...

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Persuading doctors to quickly adopt new treatments

By Marla Paul CHICAGO —- Doctors are more likely to try a new therapy when they are persuaded to do so by an influential colleague, reports a new Northwestern University study whose findings on adopting innovations also have relevance for business, education and research. The authors have used the new ...

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Big data study provides first insights into behavior of users of peer-to-peer file sharing

OCT 8, 2014 // Megan Fellman Peer-to-peer file sharing of movies, television shows, music, books and other files over the Internet has grown rapidly worldwide as an alternative approach for people to get the digital content they want — often illicitly. But, unlike the users of Amazon, Netflix and other ...

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Filippo Radicchi receives Complex Systems Society's Junior Scientific award

Professor Radicchi (Indiana University), a lab alumnus, is part of the new generation of scientists that are making significant contributions to the study of complex systems and networks. His many important contributions span from theoretical studies of structural and dynamical properties of networks, to analyses of large-scale empirical data about ...

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Historians have a tough job, give them a little slack

Not every discipline has the luxury of being able to bootstrap random iterations to test the significance of their argument

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Fewer resources may explain why some female faculty publish less

New study uncovers impact of gender-biased resource allocation on ‘productivity gap’

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Interactive Data Analysis

GUI programs are notoriously complicated and time consuming to write, but they are an essential component in a computational scientist’s toolbox for one simple reason: they are the best means for developing deep intuition for the behavior of the algorithms that we write every day in our work. – David Mertens

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A biologist goes to the doctor

On Medical Diagnosis: who is ill, the individual who lost its robustness to compensate for deformations or the deviant from the population mean? — Nicolás Peláez

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Imagining Reality

I often imagine physical scenarios representing abstract concepts or phenomena. — Peter Winter

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Learning to fly

I study systems biology using the fruit fly as my model organism. I recently attended my first “fly meeting,” a conference of others who study Drosophila melanogaster. Here are thoughts on studying the fly in general, and my impressions of that event in particular. —Nicolas Pelaez

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Simple or simplistic?

I very much appreciate the effort, but I just don’t agree with a model for human interactions based on the maximization of a utility function, nor with the restriction of human responses to a very limited set of discrete, fixed-no-matter-what strategies.

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Diffusion in complex system: is the anomalous usual?

A brief history of anomalous diffusion as it relates to complex systems. — Haroldo Ribeiro

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Individual intelligence vs. collective wisdom?

To both philosophers and scientists, the way that the human society is organized has always been a compelling subject. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Niccolo Machiavelli may enjoy telling stories about social contracts, monarchy and oligarchy, and modern physicists and social scientists see a world full of “links” and “hub nodes”. Regardless ...

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Anthropocentrism and biology

A recent The Scientist commentary on a recent paper (D. Dickinson, et al., “ A polarized epithelium organized by beta- and alpha-catenin predates cadherin and metazoan origins,” Science, 331: 1336-39, 2011) makes some wonderful points about the working and evolution of biological systems. The first point relates to anthropocentrism: “Yet ...

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Accountability and the Research Enterprise

The Republican leadership has recently turned its attention to “wasteful” research sponsored by NSF (see YouCut for details.) In a youtube video, Representative Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) calls for Americans to search the NSF database and report “wasteful” grants and cites two projects as examples of such waste, a $750,000 grant ...

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NRC Rankings have arrived

(Revised Oct. 3, 2010) The long awaited for NRC rankings have arrived and, as expected, lots of controversy ensued. To avoid suspense, I will state up front that I am convinced that someone has finally gotten the rankings right. The notion espoused by the 1995 NRC rankings or the annual ...

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