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Four short links: 24 May 2010

  1. Google Documents API -- permissions, revisions, search, export, upload, and file. Somehow I had missed that this existed.
  2. Profile of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange (Sydney Morning Herald) -- he draws no salary, is constantly on the move, lived for a while in a compound in Nairobi with other NGOs, and cowrote the rubberhose filesystem which offers deniable encryption.
  3. OpenPCR -- producing an open design for a PCR machine. PCR is how you take a single piece of DNA and make lots of copies of it. It's the first step in a lot of interesting bits of molecular biology. They're using Ponoko to print the cases. (via davetenhave on Twitter)
  4. Metric Mania (NY Times) -- The problem isn’t with statistical tests themselves but with what we do before and after we run them. First, we count if we can, but counting depends a great deal on previous assumptions about categorization. Consider, for example, the number of homeless people in Philadelphia, or the number of battered women in Atlanta, or the number of suicides in Denver. Is someone homeless if he’s unemployed and living with his brother’s family temporarily? Do we require that a women self-identify as battered to count her as such? If a person starts drinking day in and day out after a cancer diagnosis and dies from acute cirrhosis, did he kill himself? The answers to such questions significantly affect the count. We can never be reminded enough that the context for data must be made as open as the data. To do otherwise is to play Russian Roulette with the truth.

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Schweinderl