Category Archives: videos

Welcome to National Public Health Week

Since 1995, presidential decree has designated the first full week of April to be National Public Health Week in the United States. The American Public Health Association is kicking things off with an online “viral video” campaign. Public health has much more experience trying to stop the spread of viruses, so this campaign has some underdog appeal. It’s also got nice motion graphics, but definitely not my first choice for inspirational music.

(Hey, this soundtrack would be so easy to remix, if only it had an appropriate Creative Commons license. APHA could probably get a bit of notice from folks who wouldn’t otherwise see a public health video by changing the license today and send CC and friends a nice press release. Hint hint.)

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Filed under education, global health, videos

Matching Algorithms and Reproductive Health: Part 0

One of the first things on Obama’s agenda after being sworn in as President last week was lifting the “global gag rule”, a Regan-era innovation that tied US aid to strict anti-choice regulations. Meanwhile, the TCS reading group at UW has been studying matching problems and Edmond’s blossom algorithm. Together, this has been the motivation I needed to launch a series of posts about applications of matchings in reproductive health metrics. Part 1 will have more about matchings.

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Filed under combinatorial optimization, global health, videos

Harvey Milk, Mathematician

Movie I sawI had time to see a movie on Christmas day! And it turned out to be a great movie, Milk, with great acting by Sean Penn and many others. It is a true story of the first openly gay politician elected to public office in California.

It was mentioned only in passing in the movie, but it turns out that Harvey Milk was a mathematician. He wasn’t publishing research papers or teaching calculus classes as an academic professor, but, as he mentions in the movie, before getting into politics, he worked in insurance. Wikipedia has a little more to say about this: Milk was a “actuarial statistician”, and after that, but before becoming a political organizer,

Milk abruptly stopped working as an insurance salesman and became a researcher at the Wall Street firm Bache & Company. He was frequently promoted despite his tendency to offend the older members of the firm by ignoring their advice…

Milk was a quant! Any quants looking for a change of pace, Milk is an inspiring example of what a person did in 8 years, without doing a bit of activism before turning 40. I came across this youtube video of a speech Milk gave, that has some music mixed under it and motion graphics layered on top.

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Holiday Viewing

It’s been snowing in Seattle for a week now, and that never happens. Things were already getting quiet around here for the holidays, but now there are almost no cars on the roads and it’s been really quiet. I’ve been watching healthy algorithm videos to pass the nice, quiet time:


Gaussian Process Basics
David MacKay


GP Covariance Functions
Carl Edward Rasmussen


Unnatural Causes
California Newsreel


The Trap
Adam Curtis

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Filed under global health, probability, videos