Eric’s Enlightenment for Thursday, May 14, 2015

  1. Alcohol kills more people worldwide than HIV, AIDS, violence and tuberculosis combined.
  2. Some crystals don’t recrystallize after heating and cooling, but form amorphous supercooled liquids.  Modifying the molecular structure of diketopyrrolopyrrole using shear forces can induce this type of behaviour.  Here is a video demonstration.  Here is the original paper.
  3. How pyrex was born out of an accident in cooking spongecake 100 years ago.  (Hat Tip: Lauren Wolf)
  4. Check out David Campbell’s graduate statistical computing course at SFU.  It dives into some cool topics in his research that are not always covered in statistical computing, like approximate Bayesian computation and many computational Bayesian methods.

Eric’s Enlightenment for Wednesday, May 13, 2015

  1. James Trussel et al. used a Markov model to estimate the relative cost effectiveness of contraceptives in the United States from a payer’s perspective.  Did you know that 49% of the 6.4 million pregnancies each year in the United States are unintended?
  2. Jason Furman (Barack Obama’s Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers) cites empirical research to find social programs that have produced measurable long-term benefits for children in the USA.  (My question for economists: How do you establish causality in such studies?)
  3. Alex Tabarrok blogs on the growing movement to give money directly to poor people in developing countries, especially in using mobile phones to do so.  He also talks about the use of analytics to evaluate charities.
  4. The organic chemistry and biochemistry of allergies (Hat Tip: Lauren Wolf).