03 Oct

NYTimes.com – Corporations Getting New Tools for Calculating Emissions

The creators of influential measures of greenhouse gas emissions plan to announce two new tools for corporations on Tuesday.

One is a way to calculate the amount of climate-warming gases released through a company’s supply chain, as well as in the use and disposal of its products. A standardized way of calculating such emissions had eluded energy experts and statisticians for several years. The tool is known as Scope 3.

The second tool is for calculating the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and four other gases linked to climate change across a consumer product’s entire life cycle. With a toaster, for example, a company would seek to count greenhouse gases released in the mining of elements for its metal shell and the coal burned to make the electricity to power it — and even the fuel burned when the toaster is carted away.

Now that there is a method for tallying those emissions, experts hope to refine it in years to come, perhaps eventually enabling consumers to compare the greenhouse gas footprints of, say, two frozen dinners or two sofas.

via NYTimes.com – Corporations Getting New Tools for Calculating Emissions. I would be skeptical of any tool able to reasonably estimate this in a meaningful way, just too many differences across the whole ecosystem of every product from the original ore being mined to manufacturing to shipping to use by the end user. Plus the difficulties in presenting this information in a way that actually means something to the business. That being said more tools to enable customers to estimate what effect that new laptop has, is a good idea.

29 Sep

Computerworld – Chrome poised to take No. 2 browser spot from Firefox

Google’s Chrome is on the brink of replacing Firefox as the second-most-popular browser, according to one Web statistics firm.

Data provided by StatCounter, an Irish company that tracks browser usage using the free analytics tools it offers websites, shows that Chrome will pass Firefox to take the No. 2 spot behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) no later than December.

As of Wednesday, Chrome’s global average user share for September was 23.6%, while Firefox’s stood at 26.8%. IE, meanwhile, was at 41.7%.

The climb of Chrome during 2011 has been astonishing: It has gained eight percentage point since January 2011, representing a 50% increase.

via Computerworld – Chrome poised to take No. 2 browser spot from Firefox. Can’t say I’m that shocked Google has been doing really awesome work with Chrome.

27 Sep

Vivek Haldar – Size is the best predictor of code quality

A long paper trail of software engineering studies has shown that many internal code metrics (such as methods per class, depth of inheritance tree, coupling among classes etc.) are correlated with external attributes, the most important of which is bugs. What the authors of this paper show is that when they introduce a second variable, namely, the total size of the program, into the statistical analysis and control for it, the correlation between all these code metrics and bugs disappears.

via Vivek Haldar – Size is the best predictor of code quality. Essentially length of code tied with code metrics becomes a reasonable predictor of bugs.

20 Aug

The Atlantic – Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don’t Know How to Use CTRL+F

This week, I talked with Dan Russell, a search anthropologist at Google, about the time he spends with random people studying how they search for stuff. One statistic blew my mind. 90 percent of people in their studies don’t know how to use CTRL/Command + F to find a word in a document or web page! I probably use that trick 20 times per day and yet the vast majority of people don’t use it at all.

via The Atlantic – Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don’t Know How to Use CTRL+F. It always astonishes how many people who use the computer every day for a large part of their daily lives know almost zero shortcuts.

20 Oct

FiveThirtyEight – The Most Overrated Concept in Elections Analysis: Momentum

In general elections, the direction in which polls have moved is not predictive of the direction in which they will move.

Thus, it is usually wrong to say that a candidate is gaining ground in the polls — present tense — or that her position is improving. Instead, you should say that the candidate has gained ground or that her position has improved.

via FiveThirtyEight – The Most Overrated Concept in Elections Analysis: Momentum. Another post from FiveThirtyEight that shows why I love reading it, no spin just the facts. A sorely missing concept in reporting especially political reporting.

01 Aug

The New Yorker – The real numbers on illegal immigration

In fact those numbers are surprising: they are sharply down, according to the Border Patrol—by more than sixty per cent since 2000, to five hundred and fifty thousand apprehensions last year, the lowest figure in thirty-five years. Illegal immigration, although hard to measure, has clearly been declining. The southern border, far from being “unsecured,” is in better shape than it has been for years—better managed and less porous. It has been the beneficiary of security-budget increases since September 11th, which have helped slow the pace of illegal entries, if not as dramatically as the economic crash did. Violent crime, though rising in Mexico, has fallen this side of the border: in Southwestern border counties it has dropped more than thirty per cent in the past two decades. It’s down in Senator McCain’s Arizona. According to F.B.I. statistics, the four safest big cities in the United States—San Diego, Phoenix, El Paso, and Austin—are all in border states.

via The New Yorker – The real numbers on illegal immigration. The New Yorker does some slapping around of politicians who just outright lie in an effort to create fear.

28 Jul

FiveThirtyEight – Politics Done Right: Cap-and-Trade is Dead; Long Live Cap-and-Trade

But my premise is that tax increases are inevitable: it’s a question of who bears those taxes and how they bear them. And at some point Congress — which is surely headed for some massive showdowns over the budget at some point in the next several years — might conclude that cap-and-trade is a more acceptable way to raise revenues than an omnibus tax increase. In fact, cap-and-trade actually polls rather well. That might change as the public learns more about policy and comes to grips with the fact that they’re going to have to bear some of the costs personally. But other than increased taxes on the very wealthy, and some gimmicky stuff like sin taxes and windfall profits taxes that don’t have all that much revenue-generating potential, it polls a lot better than other types of tax increases, and may be a more politically palatable compromise.

via FiveThirtyEight – Politics Done Right: Cap-and-Trade is Dead; Long Live Cap-and-Trade. If I could I would just re-quote the whole article word for word.

27 Jul

BBC News – US border violence: Myth or reality?

In the past two years, more than 5,000 people have been murdered in Juarez as drug-related crime has soared.

A few hundred yards away across the river in El Paso, local authorities have recorded just two murders this year. In 2009 there were 11.

Yet politicians including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott tend to portray border towns as being pushed to crisis point.

via BBC News – US border violence: Myth or reality?. BBC News on truth versus perception in terms of violence on the border.

23 May

The El Paso Miracle – Reason Magazine

Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that, in fact, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be behind bars than are the native-born. This is true for the nation as a whole, as well as for cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami, and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border such as San Diego and El Paso.

via The El Paso Miracle – Reason Magazine. Totally goes against most anti–immigration talking points but hey facts are facts.

06 Mar

Priority Candidates Wants Graduates Off Sofa and Into Job – NYTimes.com

Everyone seems to know someone whose child graduated dean’s list and can’t find work fetching coffee. But if you want official numbers, here they are: Employers estimated that their hiring of recent graduates declined 21.6 percent in 2009, and that it would drop another 7 percent this year. Just under 20 percent of graduating seniors looking for jobs were lucky enough to land one.

via Big City – Priority Candidates Wants Graduates Off Sofa and Into Job – NYTimes.com. Scary statistic for college graduates, also about the only reason to read the article.