Thursday, July 31, 2014

Yin and Yang of Statistics vs. Anecdotes in Educating the Public on an Issue



I have copmpleted my third Master's degree with this presentation on the conflicts if anecdotes and statistics in persuading the public on an issue.  The slides are above and the videos from it are below.  I believe they speak for themselves. 





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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The National Review Takes on Neil Degrasse Tyson and Nerd (God I hate that word) Culture

This month The National Review published an article by Charles C. W. Cooke skewering Neil DeGrasse Tyson and what he calls the new "Nerd (God I hate that word) Culture' where individuals adopt characteristics of a culture to look cool.  Cooke begins with a discussion of the clip below from the TV show Portlandia where a beautiful blonde states that she wants to give up modeling because she saw The Avengers 2 which makes her a nerd (did I mention I hate that word I'm calling it my N word from here on out this link will tell you why).  The video below shows what happens next.

On Real Time with Bill Maher, Tyson responded to the article as can be seen in the clip below.  Maher stated that conservatives hate Tyson.  Tyson responded by saying that N words (at comic con) tend to vote democratic and the right wishes that more N words would vote with their side.


The article doesn't denounce Tyson so much as N word culture.  It does say that just because you attend comic con doesn't make you a bonafide intellectual.   I don't read comic books or go to comic-con conventions.  They hate the 60's Batman TV series, I think it's hilarious. Cooke correctly criticizes those argue in favor of climate change while not really understanding the theory.  This he claims is a result of the wedding of Hollywood, science, and politics.

The article did not mention climate change or evolution but it did talk about how N word culture shuns researchers Cooke admires such as Charles Murray (author of the Bell Curve which argues for a racial hierarchy of intelligence) and anti transsexual Paul McHugh.  Cooke also claimed that there was conclusive evidence that the government programs Medicaid and Head Start do not work (I've read considerable evidence to the contrary).  


With all of this complaining about the supposed snobbery of those who engage in intellectual pursuits, I'm reminded of the founder of The National Review, William F. Buckley who debated Noam Chomsky in this clip about US foreign policy,  Both men engage in high sounding words but Chomsky speaks in opposition to US power while Buckley is in favor of the war in Vietnam.  Snobbery is only a problem when you're on the short end.

Understanding of complex phenomenon is aided by presenting scientific principles in novel ways as the series Cosmos did in 1980 and in 2014.  The science was sound but it did not jive with what the right wanted to hear at least with the 2014 version.  I don't know if the National Review criticized Carl Sagan and the original Cosmos but SCTV did a pretty good spoof of both of them in The Battle of the PBS stars.


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My N Word (not what you think)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trends in the Uninsured are Flat by Race and Gender for Pennsylvania

The Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE) for Pennsylvania can be broken down by gender at the state and county level and by ethnicity at the state level only.
For race the trends can be seen in the table below. The trends for the three groups were similar with Hispanics having rates more than double that of whites with African Americans being in between.
State Uninsured % by Race
Year20082009201020112012
All Races-PA10.611.712.112.011.7
White9.110.110.410.410.0
African American15.116.216.115.215.5
Hispanic21.522.623.023.322.9
The breakdown by gender for the state and Allegheny County (as an example) are presented below. The rates were lower for Allegheny County than the state as a whole. The rates form men were consistently higher than for women in both PA and Allegheny County. The trends for men and women were different with male rates increasing in 2009 and then leveling off. For women the rate increased steadily from 2008-2010 and then leveled off. The numbers for 2013 should be out later this year to give an idea of the impact of full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
State and Allegheny Co. % Uninsured by Gender
Year20082009201020112012
PA10.611.712.112.011.7
Women9.510.010.810.810.5
Men11.713.313.313.212.9
Allegheny9.110.410.410.310.2
Women8.08.69.19.19.0
Men10.212.311.611.611.4

**Related Posts**

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Patriotic Projections and Calculations

I know I've been away for awhile between my last post and the one before that.  Hope you had a good time on the 4th.  There has been some podcasts in conjunction with the holiday.  The first was on NPR's science Friday where Dr. Edward Frenkel discusses how understanding math enables citizens to better question authority which is their patriotic duty.  He gives examples of how the consumer price index was manipulated to reduce the deficit and many in Congress did not think critically about what was being done.  It did reduce the deficit but it cut the cost of living adjustments to social security benefits hurting millions of elderly, the disabled, and children who've lost parents.  

Another recent podcast on Inquiring Minds discusses how math is taught and how it can also be used as a way of separating fact from fiction.  Of course this site also uses math and statistics so I'm in complete agreement with what they say.for a change.  Here are other patriotic math games for kids. Questioning is patriotic but so are facts.

 

**Related Posts**

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pennsylvania's Uninsured Rate at an All Time Low?

Donny Deutsch at MSNBC's Morning Joe claimed that "Once again the party of no," Deutsch said on July 1, 2014. "The country’s will was for immigration reform, they're against it. Minimum wage, we want to raise it for everybody, another populist point of view. They don't want to do it. By the way, 13 percent of Americans, the lowest ever, are without health care. Everything is going in the right direction." The website PunditFact rated his statement as half true because he seemed to be relying on the quarterly Gallup Survey which is seen below which dates back to 2009 when the debate over the Affordable Care Act began.



That is one survey however. The Census Bureau has been measuring the rates with annual estimates since 1999 based on the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the state and national rates, as shown in the chart below. There has been a decline in the national rate from 2009-2012 but they are still above the pre-recession levels. The methods to measure these rates have evolved over time. Pennsylvania's rate has leveled off during the recession with an increase in 2012.

PA SAHIE 2012
The Census Bureau uses another annual survey to estimate the uninsured rates at the local level, the American Community Survey to produce the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates. The estimates for 2012 are now out and are presented in the tables below with their respective margins of error. Over the years Philadelphia and Sullivan Counties have consistently had the top 2 rates in the state. Lancaster County's rate has changed little over the years and is now third. The 6th thru the tenth ranked counties are now all from the western half of the state. Allegheny County's rate has remained stable since 2010.

The trend for each of the state's 67 counties is presented at the bottom. Pennsylvania's rate looks different than in the graph above because different surveys were used but the basic trend is the same with the rate holding steady. Taken together these surveys do not suggest that the uninsured rate is at an all time low. Of course estimate for 2013 will be needed because that is when the ACA was fully implemented to assess it's impact but up to 2012, when it was partially implemented seems to have had little effect for Pennsylvania.

Top 10 County Uninsured Rates in PA
county
% Uninsured 2012
MOE Uninsured 12 (+/- %)
1
Philadelphia
15.80
.70
2
Sullivan
14.70
1.40
3
Lancaster
14.50
.90
4
Susquehanna
14.40
1.20
5
Mifflin
14.30
1.30
6
Forest
14.20
1.50
7
Juniata
14.10
1.30
8
Crawford
13.80
1.10
9
Bedford
13.70
1.10
10
Indiana
13.60
1.20
Total
N
10
10
10
a. Limited to first 10 cases.
Trend in County Uninsured Rates from 2008-2012
county
% Uninsured 2008
% Uninsured 2009
% Uninsured 2010
% Uninsured 2011
% Uninsured 2012
MOE Uninsured 12 (+/- %)
1
Pennsylvania
10.60
11.70
12.10
12.00
11.70
.20
2
Adams
11.60
12.40
12.40
12.50
12.30
1.00
3
Allegheny
9.10
10.40
10.40
10.30
10.20
.60
4
Armstrong
12.20
11.80
12.10
12.10
11.30
1.00
5
Beaver
9.70
9.90
10.20
10.90
10.10
.80
6
Bedford
12.80
12.80
14.40
14.30
13.70
1.10
7
Berks
10.40
12.40
12.40
12.70
13.10
.80
8
Blair
10.30
11.80
12.20
11.20
11.20
1.00
9
Bradford
11.60
12.90
13.80
13.40
13.10
1.10
10
Bucks
7.60
8.00
8.80
8.70
8.70
.60
11
Butler
8.70
9.80
9.70
9.60
9.10
.70
12
Cambria
11.10
12.10
12.00
11.20
10.60
.80
13
Cameron
12.50
13.00
13.10
12.40
11.80
1.20
14
Carbon
11.60
11.90
13.40
12.40
12.20
1.10
15
Centre
10.60
11.20
12.60
11.80
12.00
1.20
16
Chester
7.90
8.50
9.50
9.50
8.80
.60
17
Clarion
12.70
13.60
13.80
13.50
12.40
1.20
18
Clearfield
12.60
13.50
13.20
12.70
11.80
1.00
19
Clinton
11.50
12.60
13.40
13.80
11.90
1.10
20
Columbia
11.30
11.90
12.00
11.90
10.20
1.00
21
Crawford
13.20
14.10
14.60
14.80
13.80
1.10
22
Cumberland
9.30
9.90
9.70
9.70
9.70
.80
23
Dauphin
10.20
11.80
11.70
11.70
11.60
.90
24
Delaware
9.10
10.00
10.90
10.20
10.60
.70
25
Elk
9.90
10.70
10.80
11.30
10.30
1.00
26
Erie
11.00
11.30
11.90
12.50
10.60
.80
27
Fayette
12.10
13.80
13.50
13.30
12.80
1.00
28
Forest
13.40
15.10
14.20
13.90
14.20
1.50
29
Franklin
12.80
13.80
14.00
14.60
13.20
1.10
30
Fulton
12.90
13.30
13.30
12.90
12.60
1.20
31
Greene
10.90
13.10
11.30
11.10
10.10
1.00
32
Huntingdon
12.80
15.30
12.30
12.70
11.50
1.00
33
Indiana
12.00
13.70
13.90
12.50
13.60
1.20
34
Jefferson
12.10
12.70
14.20
13.90
13.00
1.10
35
Juniata
13.60
14.30
15.60
14.40
14.10
1.30
36
Lackawanna
10.20
11.10
12.60
12.20
11.80
.90
37
Lancaster
13.20
13.90
14.40
14.20
14.50
.90
38
Lawrence
12.10
11.90
12.70
12.30
11.70
1.00
39
Lebanon
11.60
11.70
12.10
11.10
12.30
1.00
40
Lehigh
11.60
12.00
12.80
13.30
13.60
.90
41
Luzerne
10.40
11.40
12.90
12.50
12.70
.90
42
Lycoming
10.70
12.40
12.60
13.50
11.50
1.00
43
McKean
10.30
12.90
12.40
11.90
11.90
1.10
44
Mercer
10.70
11.90
12.10
12.00
10.70
.90
45
Mifflin
12.90
14.50
15.80
14.90
14.30
1.30
46
Monroe
12.20
12.50
13.40
14.40
13.50
1.00
47
Montgomery
7.30
8.00
8.10
8.40
8.00
.50
48
Montour
7.90
10.00
10.00
10.50
8.90
1.00
49
Northampton
9.80
11.40
11.10
11.10
11.20
.80
50
Northumberland
12.10
13.30
13.30
13.00
12.90
1.10
51
Perry
12.90
12.10
14.20
14.40
12.80
1.10
52
Philadelphia
13.80
16.30
16.50
16.30
15.80
.70
53
Pike
12.40
11.50
13.60
13.10
13.60
1.10
54
Potter
11.30
13.10
14.40
13.70
12.70
1.20
55
Schuylkill
10.70
12.10
12.00
12.30
12.30
.90
56
Snyder
12.40
15.10
14.00
14.90
13.30
1.20
57
Somerset
13.30
14.10
15.00
13.90
12.80
1.00
58
Sullivan
15.60
14.80
15.90
14.30
14.70
1.40
59
Susquehanna
12.70
13.40
14.80
14.00
14.40
1.20
60
Tioga
12.70
14.70
14.70
14.20
13.40
1.20
61
Union
13.70
16.70
13.70
12.30
12.00
1.20
62
Venango
10.90
12.40
12.90
12.30
12.10
1.00
63
Warren
10.00
11.90
12.40
12.70
12.10
1.10
64
Washington
10.70
10.10
10.70
10.70
9.60
.80
65
Wayne
13.20
13.20
14.80
13.50
12.90
1.10
66
Westmoreland
9.90
10.10
10.50
10.20
9.60
.70
67
Wyoming
11.00
11.30
11.30
11.80
11.90
1.10
68
York
10.30
10.20
11.10
11.70
10.90
.70

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