Using Polynomial Regression with Scikit-learn in Python

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Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

Context

About 40 days ago, on September 23rd to be exact, I was tasked by my linear algebra professor with constructing a model to predict deaths from COVID-19 in our university’s home state of North Carolina — from that point up to the day of the election, November 3rd. The model was a fairly simple 2nd order polynomial regression calculated using the Scikit-learn library in Python. Using daily data obtained from the NC Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 dashboard the model was “trained” on data ranging from March 25th, the date of the first recorded COVID death in the state, to September 22nd. …


You’re a subject of late-stage capitalism

“Nihilism is a natural consequence of a culture (or civilization) ruled and regulated by categories that mask manipulation, mastery and domination of peoples and nature.”

Cornel West

Nihilism as a philosophy can be defined by its rejection of human value-systems alongside the rejection that meaning is intrinsic to life and the greater universe. To be more precise, the above description of nihilism really only covers the branch of existential nihilism. …


A deeper look at the house of cards our modern economy rests on

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If you’ve been paying attention you’ve likely noticed the markets tumbling down for the past few days now as apprehension solidifies regarding the coronavirus’ (Covid-19) potential mutation into a global pandemic. This week the S&P 500 experienced its worst 2-day plunge since 2018. Several Asian economies are currently on the brink of recession as economic activity grinds to a halt in China and elsewhere in the region. Gold prices have now reached a 7-year high in response. President Trump is presently panicking since any prolonged recession occurring between now and November would spell death for his reelection bid, and as a result was furious when 14 U.S citizens who tested positive for the virus were allowed re-entry into the country. In fact, it has been reported the president told advisers that he does not want the administration to do or say anything that would further “spook the markets”, in essence rendering the U.S response to Covid-19 one of no response since apparently that is the market-friendly response. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a branch of the federal government that Trump has defunded coincidentally, has stated that it is not a matter of if Covid-19 spreads to and within the U.S but a matter of when. Given the dismal state of sick leave in the U.S, workers will continue to report to work even if they feel sick making the spread of the virus within the U.S a virtually guaranteed eventuality. Cementing this was a new case discovery, the first in the U.S without any ties to a known outbreak, occurring just minutes after Trump's coronavirus press conference tonight, in which he heavily downplayed the potential pandemic, as well as strangely appointed Mike "Evolution is a Myth" Pence as the frontman for handling the crisis. Also today, the World Health Organization announced more new cases of the virus occurring outside of China than inside, marking the transition of the virus from a regional epidemic to global pandemic in all but name. …


One of the most powerful speeches in American history

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Debs addressing a Chicago crowd in 1912

It cannot be overstated the contributions Eugene Victor Debs made to the American socialist cause and to the broader mission of spreading class consciousness nor the lessons he left us to learn. Commensurate with this, unsurprisingly, is the complete absence of Debs’ story from the American curricula. It’s a shame really, Debs’ oratory ability stands out even amongst the most gifted in the American canon. Even if you vulgarly separate his politics from his messaging, you're left with a profound display of linguistic command.

One such example is Debs’ statement to a Federal court 102 years ago today. For background, in July of the same year, near the end of WWI, Debs gave an anti-war speech outside in a Canton, Ohio park. …


Take to the streets if you can! And yes, the irony of this posting is not lost on me.

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My sign making skills are unremarkable.

Preface

My intention in writing this is not to shame anyone, police anybody’s actions, or diminish any valid forms of online resistance — they all have their place of course. On the contrary, I’m arguing against any kind of “woke-policing”, which can only ever fully cease by disconnecting from the Internet. The goal of this writing is to provide an alternative prescription for the heavy information-consumer that may feel paralyzed (as I once was) by wanting to say, think, or do the perfectly “right thing” at a tumultuous time when no such solitary moral form exists. By engaging in offline forms of resistance, I believe one can leave behind the fear they may have of not embodying moral perfection in these unprecedented times, as well as obtain a renewed sense of connectedness that many of us sorely lack due to heightened COVID related alienation. …


A dialectical look at how we got here, how to move forward, and the danger of “respectability politics”

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Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary

— Karl Marx

The insurrection we’re witnessing was bound to blossom sooner or later

Uprisings have occurred in response to police brutality countless times before in America but the scope and intensity associated with this most recent iteration of unrest in response to the recent string of police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, and too many more, is nothing short of awe-inspiring to witness. But what made them reach this degree of intensity we’re seeing? As a materialist first and foremost, I would posit the current material conditions on the ground as the driving force for this bottom-up explosion. The police are routinely murdering black people in such succession that it’s painful and soul-draining to even try and keep up with the tolls they inflict. Seemingly every few days a video or story will circulate on social media showing the denigration or snuffing out of black life at the hands of repugnant uniformed killers who never face justice. It’s almost as if the injustice is purposefully carried out so nakedly so as to encourage resignation and eventual quiet acceptance. …


A deconstruction of the most prominent contradictions present within the neoliberal free-market doctrine & a look at how COVID-19 presents a rare opportunity to drastically amend our reality for the better

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“Economics is unique among the social sciences in having a single monolithic mainstream, which is either unaware of or actively hostile to alternative approaches.”

John E King

Welcome to the latest installment of global economic catastrophe — this time brought to you by failed free-market policies alongside none other than COVID-19. Although to be perfectly candid, one could just as convincingly argue that the total systems-wide collapse we find ourselves in at present is the result of said polices working entirely as intended as opposed to failing. Semantics aside, COVID-19 is undoubtedly rapidly accelerating the post-2008 Great Recession. As others and I have stated before, the 2008 recession never truly ended, instead, migrating to various countries and sectors on the economic periphery, such as Greece for instance. Indeed, the period after 2008 has been marked by relatively stable financial markets propped up by the central banks of the world printing trillions of virtually cost-free currency which corporations have overwhelmingly utilized to buy back their own stock. Of course, this did nothing but exacerbate already worsening inequality as well as siphoned away investment from key productive sectors of the economy. …


Corporate socialism is once again on full display, concurrently student debt sits at $1.5 trillion, & thousands across the nation can’t get tested for coronavirus as a result of ineffectual leadership and profiteering

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Screenshot of the day’s trading of the S&P 500 index, March 12th

The stock market continued its bloody march downwards, triggering a -7% circuit-breaker only 4 minutes after opening Thursday morning. The circuit-breaker, which results in a 15-minute halt on all trading to prevent a more severe reflexive meltdown, was the second of its kind triggered just this week with the first occurring three days prior on Monday. The novel coronavirus, Covid-19, is primarily being scapegoated by many for the ongoing capitulation with the precipitous drops in oil prices being the secondary culprit. Of course, our economy was largely broken before Covid-19 came onto the scene and in reality, the virus was merely the straw that broke the camels heavily overburdened back. …


How the sugar lobby made America obese

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An Addendum to Michael Pollan’s “Nutritionsim Defined” Essay

In “Nutritionism Defined” by Michael Pollan, Pollan produces the argument that “nutritionism” and nutritional science are two separate entities. Nutritionism, according to Pollan is an ideology that emphasizes “quantifying the nutrients contained in foods” (492) — that is to say, exercising scientific reductionism that “encourages us to take a simple mechanistic view” (Pollan 496) of nutrition such that all qualitative aspects are removed in favor of a blandly transactional and often incomplete approach. Pollan further cements this premise by pointing out the many times scientists were wrong about nutrition in the past, citing the different evolutions that nutritional science has gone through, each time having left scientists more convinced that their understanding was surely complete that time (scientists do not actually think like this). Yes, the reduction of food to its summary parts, in an effort to make sweeping generalizations, is in fact problematic. As Marion Nestle, a New York University nutritionist, puts it, this practice “takes the nutrient out of the context of the food, the food out of the context of the diet, and the diet out of the context of the lifestyle.” (Pollan 495). And Pollan’s overarching thesis regarding the proliferation of “bad science” (495) is mostly correct. However, it is incomplete for three reasons. First, because he understates the influence corporations have historically had and continues to have on academia alongside the corresponding journalism that selects which parts of it to publish, and secondly because he takes a dismissive, almost callous stance towards nutritional science. While the validity of looking in hindsight at the ever-sprawling tree of science as evidence for future inevitable incomplete understandings is arguably fallible, there is one nutrient, if you can call it that, that is still impervious to this retrospective logic: sugar. Thus, culminating in Pollan’s third critical omission and or mischaracterization; the well-established danger of sugar, specifically refined sugars (in all its 56 purposefully deceptive forms, see healthline.com …


Joe Biden is a huge liability in the general. The Democratic nomination is far from being a forgone conclusion and Elizabeth Warren has the leverage to ensure this.

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Take a Deep Breath

If some two months ago you told me that Bernie Sanders was going to win the popular vote in the first three primaries, win the largest state in the country — California, and come in a close 2nd place in Texas, I would have asked you who your dealer is. Indeed, before the left curls up and cries, let’s take honest stock of where we are, where we’ve been, and where we could be going.

As of 6:33 pm EST, the most recent count taken by the Associated Press shows Joe Biden holding 566 delegates to Sanders’ 501. A 65 delegate delta is a close race when taking into account the remaining 60% of delegates still in play in future contests. Furthermore, the final California count likely won’t be fully tallied for weeks due to the backlog of mail-in ballots. With over 120 delegates still left to be awarded in CA, and hundreds of delegates still extant across the rest of the Super Tuesday states, there is a decent chance Sanders could actually end up winning the final Super Tuesday delegate haul. Nevertheless, the narrative of Sanders suffering a resounding defeat to Biden’s “resurgence” is fully baked in at this point. …

About

Ali Alsous

Economics student committed to leveraging the power of data science from a left/humanist international perspective; for the good of all and not the few.

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