Mistaken Data

23 posts
Study retracted after finding a mistaken recoding of the data

A study found that a hospital program significantly reduced the number of hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Great. But then the researchers realized that the data was recoded incorrectly, and the program actually increased hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Not so great. They retracted their paper: The identified programming error was in a file used for preparation of the analytic data sets for statistical analysis and occurred while the variable...

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The ‘impeach this’ map has some issues

Philip Bump explains why the “impeach this” map is a bit dubious: By now, this criticism of electoral maps is taught in elementary schools. Or, at least, it should be. Those red counties in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, for example, are home to 1.6 million 2016 voters — fewer than half of the number of voters in Los Angeles County. Trump won 1 million votes in those...

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NOAA chief scientist highlights the forecast contradiction

In regards to the press release that seemed to contradict the National Weather Service forecast, Craig N. McLean, chief scientist of NOAA: During the course of the storm, as I am sure you are aware, there were routine and exceptional expert forecasts, the best possible, issued by the NWS Forecasters. These are remarkable colleagues of ours, who receive our products, use them well, and provide the benefit of their own...

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Why you shouldn’t use ZIP Codes for spatial analysis

For Carto, Matt Forrest explains why you shouldn’t use ZIP codes for spatial analysis: The problem is that zip codes are not a good representation of real human behavior, and when used in data analysis, often mask real, underlying insights, and may ultimately lead to bad outcomes. To understand why this is, we first need to understand a little more about the zip code itself. In a nutshell, ZIP Codes...

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Millions of dollars in tax breaks — because of a mapping error

A small discrepancy in a couple of shapefiles led to a misclassification of land. Wealthy investors are taking advantage. For ProPublica, Jeff Ernsthausen and Justin Elliott: They have President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul law to thank. The new law has a provision meant to spur investment into underdeveloped areas, called “opportunity zones.” The idea is to grant lucrative tax breaks to encourage new investment in poor areas around the...

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Big storm on the way. Oh wait, no, it’s a cloud of ladybugs

Apparently ladybugs migrate this time of year, and it’s enough to show up on the radar as a giant rain cloud. Yeah. The large echo showing up on SoCal radar this evening is not precipitation, but actually a cloud of lady bugs termed a "bloom" #CAwx pic.twitter.com/1C0rt0in6z — NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) June 5, 2019 Tags: ladybugs, weather

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When geolocation makes everyone think you stole their phone

People show up unannounced at John and his mother Ann’s home in South Africa, looking for stolen property, but John and Ann didn’t steal anything. For Gizmodo, Kashmir Hill investigates another case of IP address and geolocation mistaken for exactness: John and Ann’s problems weren’t necessarily caused by one bad actor, but by the interaction of a bunch of careless decisions that cascaded through a series of databases. The NGA...

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Fake internet

Max Read for New York Magazine describes the fake-ness of internet through the metrics, the people, and the content: Can we still trust the metrics? After the Inversion, what’s the point? Even when we put our faith in their accuracy, there’s something not quite real about them: My favorite statistic this year was Facebook’s claim that 75 million people watched at least a minute of Facebook Watch videos every day...

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Spotting AI-generated faces

Computers can generate faces that look real. What a time to be alive. As it becomes easier to do so, you can bet that the software will be used at some point for less innocent reasons. You should probably know how to tell the difference between fake and real. Kyle McDonald provides a guide to the telltale signs of AI-generated faces. Tags: AI, faces, fake

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Lessons from posting a fake map about pies

Brian Brettschneider made a joke map randomly designating the favorite pies of certain areas. While intended as a joke and a parody of past “favorite” maps, some people took it too seriously — like Senator Ted Cruz. Brettschneider describes the lessons he learned: Maps hold a special standing among the public. We tend to place very high value in maps as holders of accurate information. If it’s in a map,...

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