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The other day I was watching one of my beloved cheesy holiday films in which a kid wrote Santa asking for a fresh wifey for her dad, and I thought to myself, I wish I could write a letter to Santa asking for what I want

The other day I was watching one of my beloved cheesy holiday films in which a kid wrote Santa asking for a fresh wifey for her dad, and I thought to myself, I wish I could write a letter to Santa asking for what I want

While I don't believe everything I've read about the Law of Attraction — I don't think you can't just think something and hope it will happen; you have to take positive act — I do believe there's something to be said for putting into words the things you want in your life. We often think we know what we want, but when you sit down and actually write down what you want, it can be an eye-opening practice. Your priorities are made clear; your desires are put into words. 

So, ridiculous as it sounds, I'm writing a letter to Santa for the very first time in decades. I'm sitting down and thinking about what I indeed want this year (aside from all of these material things ). I thought about writing about what I want in the year ahead, but that seemed like a big job — more New-Year's-resolution than letter-to-Santa — so instead of focusing on what I want in general, I'm focusing on what I want for the holidays. Here's what I'm asking for.

As you can see from the list, a lot of those things are within my control — patience, mindfulness, etc. — but writing them down is a fine reminder to me about how I want to act and feel during the holiday season. (And I'm sure it'll be a lovely reminder for my family members too — they can pull up this list when I embark hurrying through meals or cleaning up wrapping paper before the presents have been opened.) Writing a letter to Santa as an adult sounds ditzy, but I actually found it to be a good way to truly think about how I want to make the holidays as positive and present as possible. 

It's most likely been a long time since you wrote a letter to Santa, but why not give it a attempt? (Or, if the entire Santa thing is too stupid for you, why not write a letter to yourself or the Universe or whatever entity seems like it might be interested in hearing about your desires?) Click below to download a full-size (8.5x11in) blank letter to Santa that you can pack in with your desires.  

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, packed with all the things you ask Santa for! 

Having trouble thinking about what you indeed want to ask Santa for? You might want to detect more about yourself and what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery . Packed with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here  and purchase your very own soul-searching copy here .

The other day I was watching one of my dearest cheesy holiday films in which a kid wrote Santa asking for a fresh wifey for her dad, and I thought to myself, I wish I could write a letter to Santa asking for what I want.   A bit foolish, I know, the idea of writing to Santa, but then it struck me: I could write to Santa. Sure, I couldn't expect him to produce the goods on Christmas morning, and I couldn't rely on a Hallmark-movie ending, but it might actually do me some good to take a moment to think about what I indeed want and put it in writing.

While I don't believe everything I've read about the Law of Attraction — I don't think you can't just think something and hope it will happen; you have to take positive act — I do believe there's something to be said for putting into words the things you want in your life. We often think we know what we want, but when you sit down and actually write down what you want, it can be an eye-opening practice. Your priorities are made clear; your desires are put into words. 

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Does big data mean good data? Five Challenges researchers face while treating big data sets

Does big data mean good data? Five Challenges researchers face while treating big data sets

Big data has brought an unprecedented switch in the way research is conducted in every scientific discipline. Where the contraptions for researchers were limited to the specificity of their fields, big data is now increasingly becoming a common implement across disciplines. The availability of big data sets and the capacity to store and share large volumes of data has opened several avenues of scientific exploration for researchers.

Being the foundation of research work, data is exceptionally valuable for researchers. Therefore, the data deluge is viewed as a boon by most researchers, particularly those working in the field of genetics, astronomy, and particle physics. While big data is now considered as an unparalleled paradigm of science, statisticians advice researchers to be wary of big data since the nature of big data is multidimensional and ever shifting. Researchers have embraced big data, but along with the opportunities it provides, it also brings complexities. Some of the major challenges academicians face while treating big data are:

1. Managing data effectively is harsh: Storing large sets of data poses both infrastructural and economic problems for researchers who are not supported by institutions. Apart from this, curating and sharing large data sets is complicated since privacy, security, and integrity of data can lead to conflicting interests where international collaborations are involved. Therefore, there is a need for a sustainable economic model that will overcome infrastructural challenges and enable a smoother process for data-driven research.     

Two. Data collection gets prioritized over investigate design: Albeit data is vital for any explore, at times, gathering data precedes in importance over a cautiously designed explore. Some researchers tend to harbor the misconception that more data directly relates to better research. Instead of focusing on the manner in which data is collected and the purpose of collecting it, large volumes of data are collected with the assumption that it would enhance the research. An example of this is a UK probe which involved 20,000 children in order to assess the benefits of pasteurized milk. The study design and the scale at which the trial was conducted were criticized by William Gosset, a statistician. He said that due to inadequate randomization, a investigate with only 6 twin pairs would have been more reliable.  

Trio. Analysis of big data requires special contraptions: Large volumes of data cannot be analyzed using conventional contraptions for data analysis. Standard software mechanisms are typically designed to analyze puny sets of data. Big data, however, contains data of such magnitude that traditional instruments can either take tremendous amount of time to analyze it or be incapable to treat it. Therefore, special implements are required to connect data to models, enabling accurate evaluation of data. An example of this is Microsoft’s algorithm called FaST-LMM (Factored Spectrally Transformed Linear Mixed Model).  

Four. Data deluge can make data interpretation challenging: Big data contains data from various sources, making it multifaceted and difficult to interpret. For example, a data set containing information regarding world population would include data based on varied geographical locations, lifestyle, etc. and it may be collected using different technologies. Researchers may fail to consider all aspects of the data, resulting in incorrect conclusions. Hence, there is a need for developing reliable procedures of data interpretation that can overcome statistical biases.      

Five. The inclination to look for patterns in data is perilous: Since big data is large, researchers need to segregate useful data from the data sets. However, in most cases, instead of eliminating unrequired data, there is a tendency to look for patterns until a pre-conceived idea is supported by some evidence in the data. This is a dangerous pitfall when conducting research.             

Data is undeniably a valuable asset—a fact corroborated by the declaration of data as a fresh class of economic asset by the 2012 World Economic Forum—and big data plays a seminal role in the advancement of science. However, the downsides of dealing with large volumes of data indicate that big data might not always spell good data. Therefore, researchers need to balance data with their subject-matter expertise and scientific reasoning to realize the optimum potential of big data. 

To build up further insights into the challenges researchers face while collecting data and analyzing it, read the interview with Dr. Jo Roislien, a Norwegian mathematician, biostatistician, researcher in medicine, who holds a PhD in geostatistics and is a famous international science communicator.

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