Comparing epidemics

In all likelihood, the US will end up with more (direct) deaths from COVID-19 than the “opioid epidemic” since 1999.

Using the CDC WONDER data for opioid deaths and the NYTimes data for COVID-19, I show the cumulative deaths (y-axis) from all opioids (blue) and from COVID (red) over time (x-axis).

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Student’s Tay Distribution

Taylor Swift has recorded 9 albums, each of them (except the most recent) has gone multi-platinum. In total, she has sold over 200 million records, won 10 Grammy’s, an Emmy, 32 AMA’s, and 23 Billboard Music Awards. Not bad for somebody who just turned 31.

This year, she’s managed to release two albums — they’re both very good. However, I noticed there seemed to be more profanity than I had remembered on her older albums. Here, I’ll use tidytext to see if she has actually increased her rate of profanity or if I’m simply misremembering things.

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My collaboration network for 2010 to 2020 (+ other plots)

In what has become a bit of an annual tradition, here is my collaboration network for 2010 to 2020. This year was rough. Of the two first-author papers published this year, one was pre-pandemic. I think it’s fair to say this wasn’t the level of productivity I was expecting of myself. Hopefully, a few projects still in the pipeline will come out early next year.

All that said, I’m thankful for a strong network of kind collaborators who picked up my slack when necessary, checked in on me even when we didn’t have an active project, and understood when childcare issues caused last minute Zoom cancellations.

You’ll have plenty of time to work with famous, smart, and/or fun people — 2020 was a good reminder of the importance of working with kind people.

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Comparing daily (direct) COVID-19 deaths to other causes of death

It’s easy to get numb at this stage of the pandemic, but a friendly reminder that daily COVID-19 (direct) deaths have been consistently higher than 8 of the top 10 causes of death (in 2018) since April.

We’re on track for over 3,000 deaths per day by Christmas (!!) — things are not good.

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Applying an intro-level networks concept to deleting tweets

There are a few services out there that will delete your old tweets for you, but I wanted to delete tweets with a bit more control. For example, there are some tweets I need to keep up for whatever reason (e.g., I need it for verification) or a few jokes I’m proud of and don’t want to delete.

If you just want the R code to delete some tweets based on age and likes, here it is (noting that it is based on Chris Albon’s Python script). In this post, I go over a bit of code about what I thought was an interesting problem: given a list of tweets, how can we identify and group threads?

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Things to consider before applying for a K99/R00

It officially looks like I’ll be awarded a K99/R00 (!!). The application process was a long, overwhelming slog — only possible with the generous support of mentors, colleagues, friends, and strangers.

Here, I will try to pay it forward by sharing some thoughts and advice. There are plenty of good blog posts about applying for K99’s, so I’ll try to avoid repeating those. Instead, I’m going to focus on things I didn’t know before and/or didn’t read elsewhere. It will be based on (1) insight from others who applied, (2) advice from mentors of successfully funded applicants, and (3) my interpretation from reading about 20 K-award summary statements and applications (both funded and unfunded).

If there’s enough interest in the topic, I might write about the writing process itself, but here I’m going to focus on things to do before you apply. The tl;dr is (1) consider non-K99 options, (2) apply early in your postdoc, (3) give yourself more time than you think you’ll need, (4) be strategic about your target institution, and (5) avoid easy critiques.

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Collaboration network from 2010 to 2019

I have been trying to wrap my head around working with temporal networks — not just simple edge activation that changes over time but also evolving node attributes and nodes that may appear and disappear at random. What better way than to work with a small concrete example I’m already very familiar with?

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