Monday, June 1, 2015

Q&A - 1/6

FT

Mr Kolton says that while there are five plausible candidates [from the Republican party ..] all the contenders think 2016 is probably their best chance. He says waiting until 2020 would be risky, as only three incumbent presidents [..] have lost bids for a second term since Herbert Hoover [..]

Party incumbency works better

Reps have a good chance this time (2016) but they will continue to have an advantage for 2020 against a President Hillary Clinton. Here is why: The model we shared previously looks at whether the incumbent party has been in power for more than 2 terms. The older model checks if there is an incumbent president in the race.

The modified model, let's call it TfC2, works better than the original, TfC1. Here is the data for the TfC1. [geek] AIC on this data gives 84.6, on the other, 73.4, lower being better [/geek].

Example: TfC1 would say Bush I had an advantage in 1992, but TfC2 says he had a disadvantage because his party had been in power for more than two terms at that point. The fact that TfC2 performs better suggests that its assumptions make more sense, people tend to throw out the party in power (if there bigger advantages of course, they can keep them as well).

Funny story about this data / model - I was googling for political prediction models when I stumbled upon this piece of code on Github (coolest site ever!). I lifted the data from there, then realized later this person, whoever s/he is, tweaked the model / data from Abramowitz and made it better in the process. Serenpitious Google discovery!

Question

Any other models for prez prediction?

Yes

I actually had been on the lookout for prez polsci models for a while; Statistician Andrew Gelman has one in this book, I wrote to him about it, he said the code was lost, then I googled and found a lecturer who had code implementing Gelman's model. He said he lost his code as well (dude!) and the page he listed it was literally gone, but I managed to recover it from Google Cache. Major digital archeology there... Here's that code - it does state level prediction and uses poll data (as well as other variables) as its input. Gelman's model is more complicated than TfC.

Book

The “unibody process” [Apple uses for its recent computers] is a blanket name for a number of machining operations. Machining in general has long been time- and labor-intensive. It relies on big, slow machines like drills and milling machines, but modern CNC machines have greatly sped up and automated the process.

“Machining enables a level of precision that is just completely unheard of in this industry,” said Jony [Ive].

How much of the process is automated is not clear, though at least part of the assembly is done by robots. While most Apple products have been assembled by hand by legions of workers, it appears the unibody process may enable the company to shift toward automated assembly.

“There’s a lot of focus on robotics and robotic control,” said a former mechanical engineer who worked as a liaison among ID, product development and operations, and spent months in the factories. The engineer declined to elaborate, citing confidentiality agreements, but said that many of Apple’s products are now primarily made and finished on CNC machines with robots moving parts between machining cycles.

“I have literally seen buildings where as far as the eye can see, where you can see machines carving, mostly aluminum, dedicated exclusively for Apple at Foxconn,” said Guatam Baksi, a product design engineer at Apple from 2005 to 2010. “As far as the eye can see.”

Ha ha

For some reason an image from The Matrix popped in my head. This place is like a .. Mac Matrix then? Or .. iMatrix?

More automation, good.

Question

What happened to Worf character in Star Trek?

He became less nationalist

Worf in ST TNG was a "Klingon nationalist" - he kept harping about Klingons, he was "loud and proud", chest thumping so forth... But as ST evolved, so did its writing; by the time ST Deep Space Nine started, the character Worf, who was also in this show, realized he wasn't exactly a Klingon anymore. Then his brother Kern (one of my most favorite ST characters) gets thrown out of the Klingon council, he is so ashamed he wants to commit suicide. Worf arranges his memory to be erased and asks a friend to take him to their house. Hilarous stuff.

So actually the TV land, major scifi shows were already going somewhere with this (less nationalism, little more realism), then 9/11 happened and fucked it all up. After this point scifi writing became unhinged, that's how we ended up with shows like Lost which is mostly about bunch of confused people running around like chicken with its head cut off. Everyone is perplexed all the time, about something, they are like "wow! dude, you came out from behind that bush, I didn't see you there man! That was so mystifying!". So scifi went to the other extreme. Very odd.