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Michi’s blog » archive for 'Politics'

 Topology of Politics — Popular topology lecture

  • September 21st, 2012
  • 1:39 pm

I will be speaking on my research into topological data analysis for political data sets at the University of Edinburgh, at 4:10pm on 15th October, in Room 6206, James Clerk Maxwell Building.

Data Analysis on politics data

Data analysis has played a growing role in politics for many years now; analyzing polling data to predict outcomes of elections is perhaps the most well-known application.

A different approach that has gotten more and more traction lately is to analyze the voting behaviour of elected representatives as a way to understand the inner workings of parliaments, and to monitor the elected representatives to make sure they behave as they once promised. Sites like GovTrack and VoteView bring machine learning and data analysis tools to the citizens, and illustrate and visualize the groupings and behaviour in political administration.

 Jonas Thente och innumeracy

  • July 2nd, 2012
  • 11:55 pm

Jonas Thente har tyckt till på DN. Matematik är ett föråldrat skolämne, eftersom alla har miniräknare.

Jag har en historia jag hörde idag, som jag skulle vilja ta upp. En god vän (och universitetslärare i matematik) till mig förklarade hur han gör för att hantera fuskare på hans matematiktentor. Han sätter sig med studenten, och föreslår att de går igenom alla förklaringarna för varför det misstänkta fusket inte är fusk — och för varje ursäkt, så bedömer de sannolikheten att just de kunde ha hänt, och räknar samman sannolikheterna.

“Jag missade att vi inte fick ha miniräknare.”
“Ja, okej då. Ska vi säga 50/50 på den?”
“Mmmmm.”

och så där fortsätter det. Till sist, efter lagom många ursäkter, så räknar de ihop sannolikheten att allt verkligen hänt som studenten sagt; med de sannolikheter studenten själv gått med på — och ger studenten motsvarande andel av de poäng han annars hade fått. I utbyte slipper studenten disciplinnämnd och FUSKAR-stämpel och kan ta enbart en körd tenta som straff…

 The Topology of Politics

  • January 4th, 2011
  • 8:09 pm

This is a typed up copy of my lecture notes from the seminar at Linköping, 2010-08-25. This is not a perfect copy of what was said at the seminar, rather a starting point from which the talk grew.

In my workgroup at Stanford, we focus on topological data analysis — trying to use topological tools to understand, classify and predict data.

Topology gets appropriate for qualitative rather than quantitative properties; since it deals with closeness and not distance; also makes such approaches appropriate where distances exist, but are ill-motivated.

These approaches have already been used successfully, for analyzing

  • physiological properties in Diabetes patients
  • neural firing patterns in the visual cortex of Macaques
  • dense regions in \mathbb{R}^9 of 3×3 pixel patches from natural (b/w) images
  • screening for CO2 adsorbative materials

 FRA-Lagen och falska positiver

  • June 18th, 2008
  • 9:56 am

Jag har varit en god medborgare. Jag har b

 Own a funny tshirt? Please leave our country.

  • June 8th, 2007
  • 12:12 pm

So, Heiligendamm just outside Rostock in northern Germany these days hosts both the G8 meeting and the numerous protest activities. This setup would have me ranting on and on about the violent left and failure to admonish extremists on your own side.

But that is not the issue that makes me reach for my keyboard.

Swedish news outlets report today about Tomas Eriksson, a swedish lawyer who came on the ferry from Trelleborg with his girlfriend yesterday morning.

In the entry checks, the German border officials found a t-shirt in the girlfriends luggage, with the symbol of the swedish political pro-media-piracy lobbying organisation “Piratbyr

 Retrospection 2006

  • December 30th, 2006
  • 7:31 pm

Inspired by other bloggers on Planet Haskell, I thought I’d just sit down and write a retrospection post, reviewing the past year – primarily from angles such as mathematics, computers and my generic life situation.

It divides neatly into two different sections: the months as a commercial programmer and the months as PhD student and academic careerist.

The year began still working for Teleca Systems, and with security consulting for Stockholm-based firms and frequent trips back home.

Then as the year went on and my PhD applications grew more and more, I started getting results. I got invited to Bonn for an interview with the Homology and Homotopy graduate school program – which was in the end turned down because I was more of a homological algebraist than a topologist. And the week after that, I was invited to Jena for an interview for a position doing PhD work on computational homological algebra. The interview went well, the potential advisor was nice (and a once-roleplaying gamer to sweeten the deal more) and I got the position just a few days later.

 Why I keep organizing congresses

  • April 5th, 2006
  • 9:07 am

Once upon a time, I wasn’t passionate about mathematics. Up to grade 6, I even disliked it quite a bit – it consisted of only mechanical plugging away of numbers, and training of multiplication tables that I had the feeling I already mastered.

Then something changed. Subtly at first – in grade 7, it started to gain texture, it got beyond the rote calculations ever so slightly. And so I started devouring the old popular mathematics texts my father kept in his bookcases. Soon, I stumbled across a new word – “integral calculus” – and of course asked my father to explain it. And thus it was that I, at the age of 13, got introduced to limits, derivatives and integrals.

 This is me losing all faith in Non-Linear Analysis

  • March 28th, 2006
  • 12:30 pm

A paper recently up on arXiv details the errors committed by an author of a paper in Non-Linear Analysis, who, by ignoring basic conditions of theorems manages to prove most of mathematics and substantial parts of physics inconsistent.

This is the second insufficiently reviewed paper at that Journal causing some sort of waves spreading as far as to me so far. The blogospheric and medial storm around the infamous “proof” by Elin Oxenhielm of the 16th Hilbertian problem a few years ago was, at the core, sparked from her getting the paper accepted at … right, Non-Linear Analysis … and taking this publication as a token that her results were in fact true and anyone critizising here were out to steal her credit.

Needless to say, with the density displayed thus far of crackpotism and sloppy publishing, I don’t think I’ll trust NLA for anything at all in the future.

 This came faster than expected…

  • February 13th, 2006
  • 10:09 am

Breaking news! Just in from /.

According to this article, there is a Cincinnati-based company that just had two of its employees implant glass-encapsulated RFIDtags in their biceps as a part of the access control system to their datacenter.

And we’re one step closer to the artificial linking of identity verification to body parts.

I see two aspects to discuss here. One is of the inherent security problems with the solution, and the other is about the sci-fi feel and possible problems and antagonists.

So let’s start with the second aspect. I can remember a lesson in eight grade, discussing in our social sciences class, where I suggested use of passive radio transmitters to implant small chips in people that would work as a central for identification and verification. The implanted chip would be used as ID card, as credit card et.c. et.c. and you wouldn’t have to juggle cards at all any longer. I was quite taken by the vision I had – until my baptist pastor of a teacher started quoting relevations on me, claiming that such an implant would be a perfect example of how the Mark of the Beast would manifest.

 EU Parliament clubbing Big Brother light

  • December 15th, 2005
  • 12:33 pm

Since roughly september, a resolution has been making its way through the EU bureaucracy to institute mandatory storage times for, among other things, internet traffic logs with ISPs. Throughout the discussions, the image has been coming through that the resolution would in endeffect require ISPs to log more or less everything a user does, requiring insane disk volumes for the logs and infringing exceedingly on personal privacy.

The resolution, as it ended up, is actually less panicky than it could have been – somewhat surprisingly. I’m reading the changes instituted by the parliament during the first reading and acceptance of the resolution. They include addition of, among other things, the following text blocks

In particular when retaining data related to Internet e-mail and Internet Telephony, the scope may be limited to the providers’ own services or the network providers’.

making the ISP responsible for their own services, but not for connectiontracking outside their own services.