Five short links

Strawberries
Photos by the_moment

Optimizing conversion rates with qualitative tests – First in a series, this post does a great job of walking through the steps that you can take to figure out simple ways to improve your site. It alerted me to some services I wasn’t aware of like feedbackarmy.com and fivesecondtest.comvia Healy Jones

Orange – An interesting node-based graphical environment for building data-mining pipelines – via Dániel Molnár

Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science – A compelling portrait of a ‘meta-researcher’ who has made a career out of proving how bogus most medical research is. Everyone involved in data analysis should read this; as a culture we have an irrational respect for charts and tables, when in fact they’re just useful ways of telling stories. Just like normal prose those stories are only as good as the evidence behind them, and should be treated just as sceptically. via Alexis Madrigal

Scrapy – Solid, simple and mature, so far this framework for building web crawlers in Python looks very useful and I’ll be using it on some upcoming projects. I’m still not convinced that XPath is flexible enough for the sort of content extraction I need to do, but I’ll see how far I can get with it and if alternative methods are easy to bolt on. via Alex Dong

The ignorance of what is possible – Growing up, my highest ambition was to work in an office, since that let you sit down in a private space and everybody I knew had jobs that involved standing up and dealing with customers. Reading this article reminded me of how limited my horizons were when I was young, it was only when I moved to the US that I realized how much more was possible. There must be so much potential wasted because kids don’t see how wide the world can be and limit their ambitions without even knowing what they’re losing.

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