The other side of our food system: Rethinking human waste as a resource

How are human bodily wastes transformed into resources? And how do cultural taboos, sanitation infrastructure, and legal regulation shape and contour the possibilities of that transformation?

Addressing food waste critical to the success of healthy food systems

Reducing food waste isn’t the first choice approach to reducing hunger. However, the public accrues benefit across multiple domains from reducing food waste, which makes it deserving of its own champions and policies.

Tipping risks call for stringent climate policy

Climate scientists have worked for years to develop predictive models, but some elements are still very uncertain for prediction. Dr. Yongyang Cai's work analyzes five major risky climate factors that could accelerate climate change and lead to irreversible and/or abrupt changes to the natural system.

Making Risky Decisions – Lessons from Australia

Following several years of severe drought in California, water supplies have recovered to the extent that state officials recently suspended statewide restrictions on water use.  During the drought, there had been repeated suggestions that hard-hit localities such as San Diego might consider investing in desalination plants.  A common response was that California should take a hard look at Australia’s…

Economic diversity and community resilience

Major disruptions can leave communities fighting for survival and restoration of normalcy. Some policymakers and academics have begun to search for mitigating measures that can strengthen the resilience of communities.

The role of the social sciences in data analytics

By Bear Braumoeller, PhD

To the considerable surprise of those of us who cut our teeth on Minitab and had to derive the OLS estimator by hand, data analytics is a sexy topic these days. Led by the likes of Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, Ezra Klein at Vox, and Nate Cohn at the New York Times' Upshot, data nerds have made unprecedented forays into both the public…

Libraries, Data, and Privacy

By Alison Armstrong, MALS, and Amanda Rinehart, MLIS and MS, Botany/Plant Biology

Librarians have a long history of respecting, protecting, and defending patron [i] confidentiality and privacy; the freedom to read has been part of the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights [ii] since it was written in 1939. Part of this freedom is protecting patron privacy…

User-generated data is a social science goldmine

By Robert Bond, PhD

As increasing amounts of digital data are produced and stored online it is important to remember that humans produce much of that data. In an era in which people express themselves on Facebook, follow companies on Twitter, allow their phones’ GPS to track their movements and their online retailers to track their buying decisions, social scientists have…

Conference notes: “Big Data in Economics” (Oct. 7, 2015, Rio de Janeiro)

By Mehmet Caner, PhD

On October 7, 2015, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro hosted a conference, "Big Data in Economics," organized by Marcelo C. Medeiros in PUC-Rio’s Department of Economics.

As one of the…

Visual analytics for management: Translational science and applications in practice

An annotated excerpt from the forthcoming text by Elliot Bendoly and Sasha Clark; Taylor & Francis, 2017

Amidst a data ecosystem’s collectors, analysts and users, important meaning can be distorted or lost altogether simply because of differences, often subtle ones, in the data-dialects of…