Italy has a binge drinking problem

Thursday August 27, 2009

Filed under: Australian Politics,general — jackman @ 2:52 pm

The SMH/Brisbanetimes.com.au reports on the untimely death of a young Queenslander named Jason Scorer (for real). Apparently, Jason Scorer got shit-faced in Rome on a back-packers, pub crawl tour and wound up drowning in the Tiber.

The article is precious. The organizer of the tour said that “he believed the death, which happened after the pub crawl finished, was an accident.” Nice qualification re the timing: do put some distance between your organized piss-up and the death of a skylarking “very, very drunk” 20 year old.

But the article ends with the observation:

Italy has been scrambling to tackle a growing binge-drinking problem. A government study said two-thirds of teens between 13 and 15 drink to excess, with the number of diagnosed alcoholics tripling in the past decade to 60,000 out of 60 million.

Thats right. If Australians binge-drink in Italy, skylark and die, it is Italy’s binge-drinking problem you write about.

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United – Air Canada snafu

Filed under: flight nerdery — jackman @ 2:19 pm

So I need to do SFO-YYZ-SFO for APSA. I buy a ticket on ual.com. It is a code-share Air Canada flight, UAL and Air Canada being Star Alliance and all that, right?

I investigate upgrade possibilities. UAL can’t upgrade me on Air Canada: “it isn’t our plane, they [Air Canada] don’t reciprocate like that”. Air Canada says “we can’t upgrade you using United miles, it isn’t our ticket”.


The UAL 1K lady says “Sorry that I can’t help you, but thanks for flying United.” I reply “if only”.

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huh, what?

Wednesday August 26, 2009

Filed under: computing,general — jackman @ 8:03 am

People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time, a group of Stanford researchers has found.

I’m editing proofs for my book right now too, and based on an average of about 3 typos per page, I’d have to say I agree with, um, whatever I was reading before the phone/iTunes/vodcast/e-mail/iChat thing popped up.

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proposed NSW electoral redistribution

Sunday August 9, 2009

Filed under: Australian Politics,computing,politics — jackman @ 4:09 pm

I’ve made a few graphs summarizing the proposed redistribution in NSW. As I did with the Qld proposed redistribution, I’ve taken Antony Green’s calculations of the notional margins of the proposed divisions, and run some simulations assuming (somewhat implausibly) uniform swing from the 2007 results.



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Sotomayor confirmation vote

Saturday August 8, 2009

Filed under: politics,statistics — jackman @ 7:03 pm

Here is a look at the Sotomayor confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate, using the ideal points we recover from ideal as a predictor of the vote (fitted to the votes themselves; i.e., this was not a forecast).

I’ve superimposed the item characteristic curve for this vote as a gray curve (using the probit link function we have in ideal), and the estimated cutpoint (the point where a legislator would be expected to be indifferent between voting “Yea” and “Nay”).

There are just three mis-classifications, all Republicans, and labelled on the graph. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is the biggest surprise, voting to confirm Sotomayor when his ideal point (based on previous roll call votes in the current, 111th Senate) would suggest otherwise.

This was always going to be a “high discrimination” vote, I thought, with the interesting uncertainty being where the cut point would be.


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Sydney winter sunset

Filed under: general — jackman @ 9:07 am

Taos, New Mexico, isn’t the only place to get a beautiful sunset on a regular basis.

Sydney got a winter storm late in the day yesterday (Friday), which then cleared in time for the sunset to light up the underside of the storm heading offshore. Cue pink light, high contrasts between shadow and buildings and sky, and a horizon-to-horizon rainbow in the eastern sky. Also cue a small legion of photographers trying to capture the magic.

Img 0490

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estimating legislators’ preferences using IRT models

Friday August 7, 2009

Filed under: computing,politics,statistics — jackman @ 4:15 pm

Slides from a talk I gave to the Econometrics group at USyd today (PDF). An update of the 111th Senate appears midway.

I’ll try to make a picture re the Sotomayor vote too. The NYTimes was off to the races with a nice look at the split among the Republicans (such as it was).

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statisticians soon to rule the Universe

Thursday August 6, 2009

Filed under: statistics — jackman @ 4:10 pm


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graduate study in the United States

Filed under: Australian Politics,general — jackman @ 4:03 pm

I did an hour long presentation for my hosts here in Sydney, the United States Studies Centre, on applying to graduate programs in the United States.

Slides here as PDF (or click on the image, below).


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A380 at Oshkosh

Wednesday August 5, 2009

Filed under: flight nerdery — jackman @ 4:43 pm

KOSH Crunch.

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