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 ...

Read More

New paper out in Open biology

How do bacteria tune translation efficiency?

Read More

New paper out in G3:Genes|Genomes|Genetics!

The recent work of Chuyue Yang, a talent undergraduate (now recently graduated!), and graduate student Adam Hockenberry is now online. This work is a part of a multi-year collaboration with Professor Michael Jewett investigating the mechanisms by which the sequence of messenger-RNA can influence its translation. In this particular work, ...

Read More

Unintended effects of data privacy in healthcare

I would like to draw attention to an instance where I believe the pendulum has swung too far: the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Read More

R v Python: Dawn of Analytics

A fresh yet slightly biased perspective on the recent data science language war.

Read More

The ultimate book about folktales

I’d like to use my first blog post to advertise the ultimate story book – which also happens to be one of the most successful works of information-based science: the Aarne-Thompson index. Briefly, this index tries nothing less than to identify and categorize every folklore tale. Although the first version of the index is more than a hundred years old, it has stayed as a useful tool for folklore research ever since. Parts of the success of the Aarne-Thompson index seem to stem from time-less design decisions for organizing data.

Read More

Toward a Social Contract in Data Journalism

In the ongoing saga of American politics, we the voters have seen some pretty improbable things this election cycle. But to many, the starkest instance of the improbable has been Donald Trump’s rise to presumptive nominee for the GOP. But I won’t be talking about the situation in question – instead I want to discuss the state of data journalism in the wake of this campaign season.

Read More

Computational research, no longer a red-headed stepchild!

This week I had the, almost obscene, pleasure of participating in Northwestern’s Computational Research Day as a chairperson and poster judge.I typically cringe at the thought of attending conferences and symposia, since I am mainly a homebody (I love my desk, computer, research, and daily schedule), but at the symposium ...

Read More

Dataclysm: The very best of

I recently read Dataclysm by Christian Rudder. These are some of my favorite stories from this book.

Read More

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 ...

Read More

'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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

Mounting a remote folder on OS X over SSH (Yosemite)

This is an update of my previous post. The current project I am working on needs to access to a folder on a remote server. It seems like a simple task, but there is one issue: I am a Mac user. Mounting a server folder is very useful if you have a lot of data to share with your colleagues. It is insane to copy it to your hard drive every time that it changes or manage large amounts of data with version control since it will slow down the repository. The best solution we found in the lab is using SSH and mounting folders using sshfs. It works really well in Linux and we don’t want to use a different system for other operating systems.

Read More

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 ...

Read More

Mounting a remote folder on OS X over SSH

The current project I am working on needs to access to a folder on a remote server. It seems to be a simple task, but there is one issue: I am a Mac user. Mounting a server folder is very useful if you have a lot of data to share with your colleagues. It is insane to copy it to your hard drive every time it changes or manage large amounts of data with version control since it will slow down the repository. The best solution we found in the lab is using SSH and mounting folders using sshfs. It works really well in Linux and we don’t want to use a different system for other operating systems.

Read More

I wish I knew then what I know now (reproducible methods are awesome!)

I started working in computational research with no meaningful experience. I spent two years in high school “programming” in C++ on a Windows 98 machine with an IDE that made the programs run (sometimes) through what must have been magic. The past five years have been a constant refinement of ...

Read More

Speed up your Python & Numpy codes

If you run short simulations, you may tell yourself that you don’t need faster code because it only takes a few of seconds or up to a couple of minutes and you don’t want to “waste” your time learning non interesting coding tricks. However, my experience tells me than good programming habits are easier to learn than bad ones, they decrease the probability of having bugs in your code, and you’ll have a clearer and better organized result.

Read More

Confirmation bias and proof by example: Why people think the Moon always appears at night (while it doesn’t)

Xiaohan Zeng, Andrea LancichinettiEdited by Nick Timkovich For thousands of years, people thought that the Sun and the Moon were opposites: the Sun governs the day, and the Moon dominates the night. Surprisingly, this observation is common across many cultures. In Greek mythology, Apollo, the god of the Sun, and ...

Read More

Looking Good

Researchers need to have a better appreciation of aesthetics; one can not simply avoid rainbow-colored text on a poster with a red-green gradient using illegible font sizes in PowerPoint and call it good.

Read More

Coding in Emacs and PyCharm

While I’m paid to do research, much of my daily activities involve programming. As such, I like to experiment with ways to make writing code simpler and faster by playing around with my development environment.

Read More