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Journal Archives

Learning to See Data

FOR the past year or so genetic scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have been collaborating with a specialist from another universe: Daniel Kohn, a Brooklyn-based painter and conceptual artist.

Mr. Kohn has no training in computers or genetics, and he’s not there to conduct art therapy classes. His role is to help the scientists with a signature 21st-century problem: Big Data overload.

Advanced computing produces waves of abstract digital data that in many cases defy interpretation; there’s no way to discern a meaningful pattern in any intuitive way. To extract some order from this chaos, analysts need to continually reimagine the ways in which they represent their data — which is where Mr. Kohn comes in. He spent 10 years working with scientists and knows how to pose useful questions. He might ask, for instance, What if the data were turned sideways? Or upside down? Or what if you could click on a point on the plotted data and see another dimension?

“A lot of the value of his input is jolting us out of our comfort zone, and making us aware that we can and should be thinking about the representation of data in new ways,” said John Greally, director of Einstein’s Center for Epigenomics, who brought on Mr. Kohn.



2016 Hopefuls (R AND D) and Wealthy Are Aligned on Inequality

Appearing at a candidate forum in late January, three likely Republican presidential contenders — Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul — all made a striking confession: They considered “the increasing gap between rich and poor” to be a problem.

But on the question of whether the government should intervene to solve it, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Paul rejected that approach, and Mr. Rubio appeared to agree with them.

When “government takes over the economy,” Mr. Cruz said, “it freezes everything in place. And it exacerbates income inequality.” He proposed lowering taxes and loosening regulations instead.

The responses, even as they reflect an effort to appeal to voters on an issue of increasing importance, put the three men at odds with public opinion. According to a Pew Research Center poll from January 2014, which surveyed about 1,500 adults, Americans not only consider inequality a problem, but 69 percent of them, and almost half of Republicans, say the government should act “to reduce the gap between the rich and everyone else.

It’s not just right-wing presidential aspirants like Mr. Cruz and Mr. Paul whose statements on inequality diverge from public opinion. Hillary Rodham Clinton, though she has been more open to a government role in solving the problem, has yet to mention tax increases as a possible answer. By contrast, more than half of Americans and three-quarters of Democrats believe the “government should redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich,” according to a Gallup poll of about 1,000 adults in April 2013.



Ohio Republican LAUGHS at Representative's Rape Story- PURE EVIL

Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans

An Ohio politician was interrupted by laughter from opposing party members during an impassioned speech in which she revealed that she had been raped.

Teresa Fedor, a Democrat State Representative, became so incensed during a debate on a bill to ban all but the earliest abortions that she stood up and spoke for the first time about her own personal experience with the issue.

House Bill 69, known as the Heartbeat Bill, would ban abortions in Ohio as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected by doctors – in some cases as early as six weeks.

It has proved controversial in a state where such a law is unlikely to ever be agreed by the Senate – and would probably be struck down by the US Supreme Court, which has generally ruled that states cannot impose abortion limits until around the 24-week mark.




Toon: The HUGS Act

Right-Wing Cardinal Compares Gay And Remarried Catholics To Murderers

During an interview with the conservative outlet LifeSiteNews, Roman Catholic Cardinal Raymond Burke said that the church must not budge on its teachings on homosexuality and remarriage, suggesting that gay and remarried Catholics who are dedicated members of the church are not all that different from “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”

Religion News Service, which first reported the story, notes that Pope Francis “effectively demoted” Burke, who emerged as “one of the pontiff’s most outspoken critics on the right.”

Burke told LifeSiteNews that the church must continue its practice of denying communion to such Catholics and see homosexuality as an “intrinsic evil.”


Another Scary Mike Luckovich Toon

Toon: Still Not Scientifically Proven….

Toon: Can You See My Lips Move?

Charles P Pierce- The Warren Effect: Here Is A Bluff That Needs To Be Called

Let us be quite definite about this. Any Democratic politician who thinks this is a bad situation -- or, worse, will not stand by a Democratic colleague in this situation -- is not worth the hankie to blow Joe Lieberman's nose.

Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party's tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week. Bank officials said the idea of withholding donations was not discussed at a meeting of the four banks in Washington but it has been raised in one-on-one conversations between representatives of some of them. However, there was no agreement on coordinating any action, and each bank is making its own decision, they said.

My god, what a prodigious bluff. Also, my god, what towering arrogance? These guys own half the world and have enough money to buy the other half, and they're threatening the party still most likely to control the White House because they don't like the Senator Professor's tone? Her tone? Sherrod Brown's tone? These are guys who should be worried about the tone of the guard who's calling them down to breakfast at Danbury and they're concerned about the tenderness of their Savile Row'd fee-fees? Honkies, please.

The tensions are a sign that the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis - the bank bailouts and the fights over financial reforms to rein in Wall Street - are still a factor in the 2016 elections. Citigroup has decided to withhold donations for now to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee over concerns that Senate Democrats could give Warren and lawmakers who share her views more power, sources inside the bank told Reuters.

Tensions? These are the guys who should have spent the last six years going door to door apologizing to every American for blowing up the world economy and then buying up the splinters. That is, they should have been going door-to-door to apologize to all those Americans who still have doors they can call their own.



Bernie Sanders: Republican Budget Does Everything for the Wealthy and Nothing for Middle Class

WASHINGTON, March 27 – After trying repeatedly to persuade Senate Republicans to amend their budget to benefit families and seniors, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today voted against it and dismissed it as a ‘rich-get-richer’ plan.

Sanders, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, raised several amendments to improve the budget but was rebuffed along partisan lines; it passed 52-46.

“When you look at this budget, you can see how Republicans turn the equation upside down,” Sanders said. “The reality is that the American middle class has been shrinking steadily and there is nothing in here to address that. You can see that at a time of massive income inequality, the Republicans believe that a rich-get-richer approach fits best. At a time when real unemployment is more than 11 percent, Republicans believe that we should do nothing to create jobs or invest in infrastructure.”

The budget fight marked the first time an Independent senator has led floor debate on behalf of the Democratic caucus. Sanders’ amendments to improve the resolution opened the debate on Tuesday and were the first votes taken during the vota-a-rama session yesterday.

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