Data Skeptic

In this episode, Benjamin Uminsky enlightens us about some of the ways the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk leverages data science and analysis to help be more effective and efficient with the services and expectations they provide citizens. Our topics range from forecasting to predicting the likelihood that people will volunteer to be poll workers.

Benjamin recently spoke at Big Data Day LA. Videos have not yet been posted, but you can see the slides from his talk Data Mining Forecasting and BI at the RRCC if this episode has left you hungry to learn more.

During the show, Benjamin encouraged any Los Angeles residents who have some time to serve their community consider becoming a pollworker.

Direct download: uminsky.mp3
Category:civic data science -- posted at: 12:32pm PDT

[MINI] k-Nearest Neighbors

This episode explores the k-nearest neighbors algorithm which is an unsupervised, non-parametric method that can be used for both classification and regression. The basica concept is that it leverages some distance function on your dataset to find the $k$ closests other observations of the dataset and averaging them to impute an unknown value or unlabelled datapoint.

Direct download: MINI_knn.mp3
Category:miniepisode -- posted at: 10:51pm PDT


How do people think rationally about small probability events?

What is the optimal statistical process by which one can update their beliefs in light of new evidence?

This episode of Data Skeptic explores questions like this as Kyle consults a cast of previous guests and experts to try and answer the question "What is the probability, however small, that Bigfoot is real?"

Direct download: Data_Skeptic_-_Crypto.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34am PDT

This mini-episode is a high level explanation of the basic idea behind MapReduce, which is a fundamental concept in big data. The origin of the idea comes from a Google paper titled MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters. This episode makes an analogy to tabulating paper voting ballets as a means of helping to explain how and why MapReduce is an important concept.

Direct download: MINI_Map_Reduce.mp3
Category:miniepisode -- posted at: 10:17pm PDT

The Credible Hulk joins me in this episode to discuss a recent blog post he wrote about glyphosate and the data about how it's introduction changed the historical usage trends of other herbicides. Links to all the sources and references can be found in the blog post.

In this discussion, we also mention the food babe and Last Thursdayism which may be worth some further reading. Kyle also mentioned the list of ingredients or chemical composition of a banana.

Credible Hulk mentioned the Mommy PhD facebook page. An interesting article about Mommy PhD can be found here. Lastly, if you enjoyed the show, please "Like" the Credible Hulk facebook group.

Direct download: glyphosate.mp3
Category:gmo -- posted at: 12:30am PDT