Jump to content


Member Since 29 Nov 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:31 PM

Topics I've Started

Losing Benefits Isn’t Prodding Unemployed Back to Work

Yesterday, 12:44 PM

I remember hearing a lot of conservatives (McClumber?) say that giving unemployment to people kept them from getting jobs. T

Losing Benefits Isn’t Prodding Unemployed Back to Work

The cutoff of federal unemployment benefits doesn’t seem to be helping the long-term unemployed get back to work.

More than a million Americans saw their unemployment benefits expire at the start of the year, after Congress failed to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. The program, which Congress created in 2008, had provided federally funded payments to unemployed workers when their state-funded benefits ran out, usually after 26 weeks.

The Senate recently voted to restore the benefits, but the House shows little sign of following suit.

Some economists had argued that the program was doing more harm than good by discouraging recipients from looking for work or taking jobs. They said that because the job market was improving, the time had come to cut off benefits. That would prod the unemployed to get back to work, perhaps leading them to accept offers that seem less than ideal.

So far, however, the evidence doesn’t seem to support that theory. Rather than finding jobs, the long-term unemployed continue to be out of luck.

We now have three months’ worth of job market data since the benefits program expired. The chart below shows job-finding rates for the long-term and short-term unemployed. Notice three things: First, the short-term unemployed have a much better chance of finding a job than the long-term unemployed and always have. Second, the short-term unemployed are seeing a steady improvement in their prospects, but the long-term jobless are not. And third, there’s been no major shift since the benefits program expired at the end of last year. (The chart shows the data as a 12-month rolling average, which could obscure a sudden shift. The un-smoothed data, however, doesn’t show a jump either.)

Posted Image


08 April 2014 - 10:33 AM

Hmm. Not actually seeing this on Target's site so I'm going to get ahead kill the thread.

Young Justice and TRON: Uprising are on Netflix

06 April 2014 - 10:59 AM

Young Justice is an underappreciated gem. Only season 1 is on Netflix currently. Still give it a watch if you liked Justice League and JL: Unlimited or any of the direct to video stuff.

Both shows take awhile to really get going. TRON especially, which only really found the voices of their characters (in a storytelling sense) by the end of season 1 -- which is unfortunate as it appears no season 2 is in the mix. The VAing and art are incredible though, even if the plots of the early episodes are predictable and pedestrian.

Brain-Computer Interfaces: The Emerging World of ECoG Neuroprosthetics

05 April 2014 - 06:22 PM

Brain-Computer Interfaces: The Emerging World of ECoG Neuroprosthetics

The notion that a computer can decode brain signals to infer the intentions of a human and then enact those intentions directly through a machine is becoming a realistic technical possibility. These types of devices are known as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). In the near term, the evolution of these neuroprosthetic technologies could have significant implications for patients with motor disabilities by enhancing their ability to interact and communicate with their environment. Further into the future, these approaches could substantially alter how humans and machines interact. This talk will review the cortical signals, technical approaches, and current barriers to bringing BCIs to real world application and projecting their future implications on a broader social scale.

What the Fox Knows (538 relaunch)

18 March 2014 - 05:15 AM

What the Fox Knows

By Nate Silver

FiveThirtyEight is a data journalism organization. Let me explain what we mean by that, and why we think the intersection of data and journalism is so important.

If you’re a casual reader of FiveThirtyEight, you may associate us with election forecasting, and in particular with the 2012 presidential election, when our election model “called” 50 out of 50 states right.

Certainly we had a good night. But this was and remains a tremendously overrated accomplishment. Other forecasters, using broadly similar methods, performed just as well or nearly as well, correctly predicting the outcome in 48 or 49 or 50 states. It wasn’t all that hard to figure out that President Obama, ahead in the overwhelming majority of nonpartisan polls in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Iowa and Wisconsin, was the favorite to win them, and was therefore the favorite to win the Electoral College.

Instead, our forecasts stood out in comparison to others in the mainstream media. Commentators as prestigious as George F. Will and Michael Barone predicted not just a Mitt Romney win, but a Romney sweep in most or all of the swing states. Meanwhile, some news reporters defaulted to characterizing the races as “toss-ups” when the evidence suggested otherwise.1

The other reason I say our election forecasts were overrated is because they didn’t represent the totality, or even the most important part, of our journalism at FiveThirtyEight. We also covered topics ranging from the increasing acceptance of gay marriage to the election of the new pope, along with subjects in sports, science, lifestyle and economics. Relatively little of this coverage entailed making predictions. Instead, it usually involved more preliminary steps in the data journalism process: collecting data, organizing data, exploring data for meaningful relationships, and so forth. Data journalists have the potential to add value in each of these ways, just as other types of journalists can add value by gathering evidence and writing stories.

The breadth of our coverage will be much clearer at this new version of FiveThirtyEight, which is launching Monday under the auspices of ESPN. We’ve expanded our staff from two full-time journalists to 20 and counting. Few of them will focus on politics exclusively; instead, our coverage will span five major subject areas — politics, economics, science, life and sports.

Posted Image

There are a bunch of interesting parts of the article...well OK, one more section:

You may have heard the phrase the plural of anecdote is not data. It turns out that this is a misquote. The original aphorism, by the political scientist Ray Wolfinger, was just the opposite: The plural of anecdote is data.

Wolfinger’s formulation makes sense: Data does not have a virgin birth. It comes to us from somewhere. Someone set up a procedure to collect and record it. Sometimes this person is a scientist, but she also could be a journalist.

Take, for example, endorsements made by elected officials (say, senators and governors) during the presidential nomination process. Headlines such as “Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer endorses Mitt Romney” might seem like just the sort of slow-news-day story that journalists make too much of. Indeed, any single endorsement is unlikely to make much difference. It turns out, however, that the sum total of these endorsements has quite a bit of predictive power. A team of political scientists, in their book “The Party Decides,” found that intra-party endorsements often out-predict the polls in the nomination process, especially in the early going.5