Online home of Jeremy Scheff

Model-based insights into distinguishing cortisol profiles in depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


One of my main scientific goals is the application of mathematical models to find interesting insights into biological systems. This is a really broad goal, as depending on the area, there may be very different ways to gain insight. Here, I want to discuss one example, an interesting paper by Sriram and coworkers that was published in PLOS Computational Biology last year entitled "Modeling cortisol dynamics in the neuro-endocrine axis distinguishes normal, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans".


Did Adrian Peterson actually rush for more yards than Eric Dickerson but have it go unnoticed due to measurement error?

Despite miraculously recovering from ACL surgery and successfully leading his team for the playoffs, Adrian Peterson tragically missed the all time rushing record by 9 yards.

...or did he?

Let's think about how the NFL measures yardage. They take the difference between where the ball was before the play and where the ball is after the play, and then they round to the nearest integer. What happens if you rush for half a yard? It'll get recorded as either 0 yards or 1 yard. Spread out over an entire season, and this kind of rounding error can have a big impact.


Things I wish I knew about food and cooking 7 years ago

7 years ago, I was an undergrad moving into my first apartment with a kitchen. Two of my roommates had a crazy idea. They wanted to not get meal plans and instead just cook all our food. My other roommate and I thought that was ridiculous, but we were at least willing to give it a try. That turned out to be a fortuitous decision for me, as I found that cooking allows me to make healthier, tastier, and cheaper food and it's actually pretty fun.


Vote and die: are you more likely to cast the deciding vote in the election, or to die on your way to your polling place?

Vote or die? Or, vote and die?

Here is a calculator that will compare the odds of your single vote swinging the 2012 US presidential election with the odds of you dying on the way to your polling place.


Find the RSS feed URL for a Twitter user

Update: June 2013: Previously, this post contained information about how to access RSS feeds of Twitter user timelines so that you could read them in whatever RSS reader you wanted to. But now, those RSS feeds are completely deleted because Twitter is evil. However, it is still possible to recreate the RSS feeds if you jump through some hoops. Probably the easiest way is described in this blog post. It'll take a couple minutes to set up, but then you can easily get an RSS feed for any Twitter timeline.


Butgers University

I like to read old scientific papers. They give me a broader perspective on how things became as they are today. So when I came across this paper from 1977 in the reference list of a more recent paper, I knew I had to read it. Unfortunately, even with my university-provided access to most journals and most certainly to a journal like Nature, the evil overlords at Nature Publishing Group do not include papers as old as from 1977 in our site license. So I had to send a request to the library and wait a few days for someone to scan in a copy of the paper and email it to me, a relatively minor inconvenience.

In the mean time, I read the abstract, all that was available at the time. I noticed the affiliation of one of the authors: Rutgers, my undergraduate alma mater and current graduate school! Awesome, I'm all for school spirit! Except, the affiliation didn't actually say "Rutgers", it said "Butgers". A humorous typo... or something more sinister?


Some notes on porting from PyGTK to PyGObject

These are some notes I wrote as porting my on-again off-again hobby project Basketball GM from PyGTK to PyGObject. I did this because PyGTK is dead and stuck on GTK+ 2, and PyGObject is the future and already on GTK+ 3 through the use of GObject introspection. So, others going through the same transition might (or might not) find this useful. You can see the code I'm referring to on the pygobject branch on GitHub.


A preliminary review of Cinnamon 1.2

I think Ubuntu is a practical joke. After several years of progress, they were finally very very close to the mythical usable Linux desktop. And then they just started fucking with things seemingly at random. At the same time, the GNOME folks started making similarly erratic design decisions.

In response, the Linux Mint folks are making a new UI for GNOME 3 called Cinnamon with the goal of creating a more traditional desktop. They recently released version 1.2. I've been using it for a bit now, and some thoughts are below.


The genius of Hieronymus Bosch

No, not the painter. The death metal band. You know, the perpetually unappreciated band that toiled away in hidden genius for two decades before they tragically broke up a couple years ago? Yeah, those guys.

Not that a split up band really needs more publicity, and not that my blog has a large number of readers, but I'm going to write a bit about one of my favorite underappreciated bands.


My previous life as a programmer/entrepreneur - Part 6: The shadier the SEO, the bigger the profit

This is part 6 of a series of articles. If you missed the previous articles, you should start at the beginning.

At this point, I had a pure gold SEO tactic. I used this to make some quick cash and promote various side projects that I eventually sold off. That was all well and good, but I thought it was time to try a slightly more bold moneymaking approach.


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