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In the Media

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Stat

A recent review by MIT researchers finds that “only about 23% of machine learning studies in health care used multiple datasets to establish their results, compared to 80% in the adjacent field of computer vision, and 58% in natural language processing,” writes Casey Ross for STAT. “If the performance results are not reproduced in clinical care to the standard that was used during [a study], then we risk approving algorithms that we can’t trust,” says graduate student Matthew McDermott. “They may actually end up worsening patient care.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Noah Schaffer spotlights “Subject to Change,” a program on WMBR that explores the evolution of a single song. The show’s host, Patrick Bryant, “usually starts with the original before showing how the song changes when interpreted by jazz improvisers, pop crooners, bluegrass pickers, indie rockers, or how it sounds in foreign tongues or when sampled for a hip-hop track,” writes Schaffer. “A reggae version is seemingly inevitable.”

The Washington Post

Prof. Eric Lander will be sworn into his new post as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on a 500-year-old Jewish text, reports Jack Jenkins for The Washington Post. The question of what book to use for the swearing-in ceremony made him think of the choice as “a statement of what’s in my mind and what’s in my heart.”

The Hill

Prof. Ronald Prinn writes for The Hill about the urgent need for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help reduce global temperature increases. Lowering “transition risks toward net-zero-emissions economies will involve integration of both physical and transitional components, a process that requires new and improved models and frameworks,” writes Prinn. “The goal is to empower decision-makers in government and industry to lower the transition risks as an integral companion to mitigation strategies.”

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Sloan Prof. Erin Kelly and University of Minnesota Prof. Phyllis Moen explore how to create an effect hybrid workplace. “Our hope is that after this past year’s normalization of remote work, more organizations will stop rewarding face time in favor of a future where a variety of work patterns are recognized as productive and welcome,” they write.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Mark Wilson spotlights Strolling Cities, a new AI video project developed by researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, which recreates the streets of Italy based on millions of photos and words. “I decided that the beauty and sentiment, the social, historical, and psychological contents of my memories of Italy could become an artistic project, probably a form of emotional consolation,” says Mauro Martino of the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. “Something beautiful always comes out of nostalgia.”

Wired

Michael Hecht of MIT’s Haystack Observatory speaks with Eric Niiler of Wired about how the Mars MOXIE experiment is successfully extracting oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. "It’s stunning how much the results look identical to what we had run in the laboratory two years earlier,” says Hecht, who leads the MOXIE team. “How many things can you put away for two years and turn on and even expect to work again? I mean, try that with your bicycle.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater writes that MIT researchers have developed a new robotic finger, dubbed the Digger Finger, that can sense and identify objects underground. “It’s a useful skill that could someday be deployed for landmines, finding underground cables and a variety of other tasks.”

United Press International (UPI)

UPI reporter Brooks Hays writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that people tend to follow a predictable travel pattern that remains consistent in countries around the world. The findings could help urban planners “better understand how populations interact with their surroundings, as well as assist city planners with zoning, infrastructure and other development decisions,” writes Hays.

Motherboard

Researchers from the MIT Senseable City Lab have uncovered a new travel pattern in human mobility that remains consistent across four continents, reports Beck Ferreira for Motherboard. “The notion that distance and frequency of visitation are related is in accordance with intuition,” the researchers explain. “What is surprising is that the relationship between these two quantities can be described by a simple and clean mathematical law.” 

The Wall Street Journal

MIT has been named to Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings of the top schools in the Northeast for academic resources, reports Gerard Yates for The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. News & World Report

A new study co-authored by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that a community’s level of collectivism influences whether someone is willing to wear a mask, reports Cara Murez for U.S. News & World Report. “The role of collectivism could be studied in other crises, such as wildfires or hurricanes,” notes Murez, adding that the researchers “felt it would be important to study whether the pandemic itself has affected the sense of collectivism or individualism.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elizabeth Segran writes that a new study by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that mask wearing is more prevalent in communities in the U.S. with higher levels of collectivism. “It’s important to understand how culture fundamentally shapes how people respond not only to this pandemic, but to future crises as well,” says Lu.

Science

A new study by MIT researchers finds that air pollution can enhance lightning sparked by wildfires, reports Nikk Ogasa for Science.  Ogasa notes that the researchers “also found that air pollution did more than enhance lightning; wildfire smoke more than tripled the intensity of thundershowers.”

New York Times

A new study co-authored by Professor Scott Stern finds that stimulus measures enacted during the pandemic may have contributed to a surge in start-ups in America, particularly in Black neighborhoods, reports Quoctrung Bui for The New York Times. “The idea that the pandemic has kind of restarted America’s start-up engine is a real thing,” says Stern. “Sometimes you need to turn off the car in order to turn it back on.”