Mega Millions $540M jackpot, or How to NOT LOSE at the lottery

I quickly prepared the fun slides below for a short interview with KOAT Channel 7 on the Mega Millions $540M jackpot (estimated at $640 at 3:30pm on the day of the drawing), since it is greatly surpassing the previous record of $390 million.

A ticket’s probability of winning the jackpot is roughly the ratio of the length of one of your fingers to the diameter of the earth, so unchangeably near 0 (0.00000000569). It is interesting for the jackpot to be large enough that the expected value is a few times larger than the cost of a ticket, which makes it a sensible time to buy from an expected value point-of-view. In fact, now’s a good time to purchase EVERY ticket combination — hurry, and hope you don’t have to split it with another winner!
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Paper published: Correspondence between Structure and Function in the Human Brain at Rest

Correspondence between Structure and Function in the Human Brain at Rest
Judith Maxine Segall, Elena A Allen, Rex E Jung, Erik B Erhardt, Sunil Kumar Arja, Kent A Kiehl, Vince D Calhoun
Frontiers in Neuroinformatics
Accepted 12 Mar 2012, 6:10

To further the understanding of basic and complex cognitive functions of the human brain, multidisciplinary neuroimaging research has explored both functional and structural connectivity. For structural connectivity, the most prevalent method has been diffusion weighted imaging, which measures the connections of large white matter bundles. Recently, functional connectivity has been measured using resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI). Surprisingly, few studies have examined structural gray matter, which supports the BOLD response. The overall aim of this study is to explore how gray matter (GM) structure corresponds to function. A cohort of 603 healthy participants was scanned on the same 3T scanner at the Mind Research Network to investigate the spatial correlations between structure and function. This was done by applying spatial independent component analysis (ICA) to GMD maps, to delineate structural components based on the covariation of GMD between regions, and to rs-fMRIdata, to discover spatial patterns with common temporal features. Decomposed structural and functional components were then compared by spatial correlation. The basal ganglia network showed the highest structural to rs-functional component correlation (r=0.59). Our remaining results generally show correspondence between one structural network and several functional networks. We also studied relationships between the weights of different structural components and found networks in frontal and parietal regions showing covariation across subjects. We also identified the precuneus as a hub for in structural network correlations. In addition, we analyzed relationships between component weights and age, concluding that age has an effect on structural components.

Promotion: Sigma Xi full member

I feel grateful for being promoted to full member in Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, on March 2, 2012 (certificate). Their membership page has this to say about membership:

Nearly 60,000 scientists and engineers are currently members of Sigma Xi, inducted on the basis of their research potential or achievement. Since its founding, Sigma Xi is pleased to count more than 200 winners of the Nobel Prize among its membership.

Induction into Sigma Xi has been a milestone in many distinguished research careers. Membership in this respected community of scientists and engineers is professionally rewarding and offers a chance to participate in ongoing programs and activities at the local and Society levels. Active, dues-paying Sigma Xi members also have access to valuable benefits.

Membership in Sigma Xi is by invitation. Those who have shown potential as researchers are invited to join as associate members. Full membership is conferred upon those who have demonstrated noteworthy achievements in research. Each year the Society initiates more than 5,000 new members.

Funded: UNM Math&Stat Travel award to WNAR 2012

The UNM Department of Mathematics and Statistics funded my travel request to go to 2012 WNAR – Graybill June 17-20, 2012 at Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Colorado. I intend to participate with a talk on my trophic-level modeling in the “Biostatistics and systems biology” session, meet and discuss research with those working in similar areas, and look for opportunities for cross-collaboration for students at these other western universities.