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April 17, 2015

Be a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar

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GET PAID TO THINK FOR AN ACADEMIC YEAR WHILE ENJOYING SUBSIDIZED HOUSING IN NYC

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Visiting Scholar Program at the Russell Sage Foundation

The RSF Visiting Scholar Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for select scholars in the social, economic and behavioral sciences to pursue their research and writing at the Foundation’s New York headquarters. The Foundation annually awards up to 17 residential fellowships to select scholars in the social sciences who are at least several years beyond the Ph.D. Visiting Scholar positions begin September 1st and run through June 30th.

Scholars are provided with an office at the Foundation and supplemental salary support of up to 50 percent of their academic year salary (up to a maximum of $110,000). Scholars who reside outside the greater New York City area are also provided with a partially-subsidized apartment near the Foundation.

Applications for the 2016-2017 RSF Visiting Scholar Fellowship are due by June 30, 2015. A number of changes to the program have recently occurred, such as allowing prior scholars to return for a second visit. More detailed information on the program, along with links to the application portal, eligibility requirements and guidelines, and frequently asked questions can be found here (http://www.russellsage.org/how-to-apply#scholars). Questions about the program can be directed to Senior Program Officer James Wilson (james at rsage.org).

April 10, 2015

All the people in the world could stand in New York City

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OR IN A CUBE-SHAPED BUILDING THAT IS 5 CROSSTOWN BLOCKS PER SIDE

NYC1

We at Decision Science News like putting things into perspective. This is why we bothered putting the size of countries into perspective by comparing them to US states. (Stay tuned for our next post on this topic in which we match states to countries on the basis of both area and population. Who doesn’t want to know things like “Israel is about as big as New Jersey in both size and population”?)

Anyway, we were reading the Internet, as we sometimes do, when we came across the finding (published here and promoted here) that you could fit every person on the earth within the city limits of New York City.

And that’s assuming a flat NYC with no buildings. Considering that much of NYC is built up, you could fit them into even less space by using the advanced technology of multi-story buildings. In fact, you’ll see at the original post that everybody in the world could fit in a cube-shaped building that is just 5 crosstown blocks per side. That is, in a building that would easily fit in Manhattan, like this:

Cube1

Image credit: WaitButWhy.com

These calcs depend on the assumption that you can fit 10 people into a square meter, which was counterintuitive to us. But take this into account:

  • You may be thinking of a square yard, but a square meter is bigger. 20% bigger actually.
  • Much of the world is kids, and the post teaches us that you can pack 22 kids into a square meter.
  • You can fit 9 grownups into a square meter.

Given all this, 10 per square meter is totes reasonable, as is the assumption that the whole world would fit in the borders of New York City.

Image credit:http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/03/7-3-billion-people-one-building.html, which is also the site that figured this all out in the first place.

March 31, 2015

Third Annual Workshop on Crowdsourcing and Online Behavioral Experiments (COBE 2015)

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COBE 2015. CALL FOR PAPERS. SUBMISSION DEADLINE APRIL 30, 2015

ec15

Official COBE website

Overview

The World Wide Web has resulted in new and unanticipated avenues for conducting large-scale behavioral experiments. Crowdsourcing sites like Amazon Mechanical Turk, and oDesk have given researchers access to a large participant pool that operates around the world and around the clock. As a result, behavioral researchers in academia have turned to crowdsourcing sites in large numbers. Moreover, websites like eBay, Yelp and Reddit have become places where researchers can conduct field experiments. Companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Yahoo! conduct hundreds of randomized experiments on a daily basis. We may be reaching a point where most behavioral experiments will be done online.

The main purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers conducting behavioral experiments online to share new results, methods and best practices.

Basic Information

  • Submission Deadline: April 30, 2015
  • Notification Date: May 15, 2015
  • Workshop Date: June 16, 2015. 9 AM – 11:15 AM.
  • Cocktails: At the Bar
  • Location: Portland, OR. A workshop before the 16th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce: http://www.sigecom.org/ec15/ which takes place June 15-19, 2015. The COBE workshop is the 16th.

Topics of Interest

Topics of interest for the workshop include but are not limited to:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Online behavioral experiments
  • Online field experiments
  • Online natural or quasi-experiments
  • Online surveys
  • Human Computation

Paper Submission

Submit papers electronically by visiting https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=cobe2015, logging in or creating an account, and clicking New Submission at the top left.

Submissions are non-archival, meaning contributors are free to publish their results subsequently in archival journals or conferences. There will be no published proceedings. Submissions should be 1-2 pages including references. Accepted papers will be presented as talks of 18 minutes in length.

Organizing Committee

Program Committee

  • Andrew Mao, Harvard University
  • Andrew Stephen, University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business
  • Akitaka Matsuo, Oxford University
  • David Reiley, Pandora
  • Eric Johnson, Columbia University Graduate School of  Business
  • Edith Law, Harvard University
  • Gabriele Paolacci, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Jenn Wortman Vaughan, Microsoft Research
  • Lydia Chilton, University of Washington
  • Sam Gosling, University of Texas, Austin
  • Sean Taylor, Facebook
  • Sven Seuken, University of Zurich
  • Tara Mcallister Byun, New York University
  • Ulf-Dietrich Reips, University of Konstanz

March 25, 2015

Society for Medical Decision Making conference: Oct 18-21, 2015, St. Louis

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ABSTRACT DEADLINE MAY 22, 2015

stl

What: 37th Annual North American Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making
Where: St. Louis, MO
Hotel: Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch
When: Oct 18-21, 2015
Abstract Submission Deadline: May 22, 2015
Conference Website
Abstract Submission

The Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) is accepting abstracts for its 37th Annual North American Meeting: Implementation. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define Implementation Science as “the study of methods to promote the integration of research findings and evidence into healthcare policy and practice.” SMDM is uniquely positioned to bring experts from a broad range of health science disciplines together to explore implementation and exchange ideas on how to improve the translation of research findings into better bedside care and health care utilization.

SMDM is interested in a broad approach to the study of medical decision making, including (but not limited to) psychology and behavioral economics. Research on healthcare implementation is particularly encouraged, but not required. The meeting will be held October 18-21 in St. Louis Missouri. The deadline for abstract submission is Friday, May 22nd, 2015.

March 18, 2015

White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team seeking Fellows and Associates

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DO BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE IN THE US GOVERNMENT

sbst

We received this from our friends at the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team
- Your DSN Editor

We are excited to announce that the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) is currently seeking exceptionally qualified individuals to serve as Fellows and Associates.

SBST works across the federal government to apply findings and methods from the social and behavioral sciences to help the policies, programs, and operations of government better serve the nation. SBST has partnered with federal agencies to design and test the impact of behaviorally-informed interventions within programs and policies using rapid, rigorous, and low-cost methods.

See below for further details on the team (also here for blog about our work), responsibilities and qualifications of Associates and Fellows, and details on how to apply for this unique opportunity. The deadline to submit an application is 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 12, 2015.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to sbst@gsa.gov with any questions.

ANNOUNCEMENT

Agency: General Services Administration (GSA)
Office: Office of Evaluation Sciences
Deadline: 11:59 PM Sunday, April 12 2015

Overview:
The White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) is seeking Fellows and Associates beginning in September 2015. Fellows and Associates translate insights from the social and behavioral sciences into concrete recommendations for how to improve federal programs, policies, and operations, and work closely with agency partners to structure and implement rigorous experimental trials capable of testing the relative efficiency and efficacy of proposed interventions. Fellows are typically researchers with a PhD in a social or behavioral science field (e.g., economics, psychology, political science, statistics, sociology, public policy, etc…) on leave from positions at universities, government agencies, or other research organizations. Associates are generally pursuing a PhD in asocial and behavioral sciences field or have a Master’s Degree plus two or more years of relevant experience.

Job Summary:
SBST works across the federal government to apply findings and methods from the social and behavioral sciences to help the policies, programs, and operations of government better serve the nation. In its opening year, SBST has partnered with over a dozen federal agencies to design and test the impact of behaviorally-informed interventions within programs and policies using rapid, rigorous, and low-cost methods. Fellows and Associates must possess a unique set of technical and professional skills. This includes knowledge of at least one field within the social and behavioral sciences, the ability to creatively apply research knowledge within the federal government setting, the ability to manage the day-to-day operations of a field trial, and exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. The sought Fellow is an emerging or leading expert on leave from a university or other research appointment; the Associate is an exceptionally promising graduate student or researcher at a more junior stage of his or her career. All team members serve as federal employees, with a central division based at the General Services Administration (GSA). This is a one-year position beginning in early September 2015, with the possibility of renewal. The team is based in the GSA building at 1800F Street N.W. in D.C. The GSA has been repeatedly rated as one of the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” by the Partnership for Public Service . Compensation for Fellows and Associates is determined based on qualifications and experience.

Application Instructions:
Email C.V., two references, and a relevant writing sample to sbst@gsa.gov, with “SBST [Fellow / Associate] Application” in the subject line. Please include a 1-page cover letter introducing yourself and explaining your interest in being a Fellow or Associate.

The deadline to submit is 11:59 PM Sunday, April 12, although applications may be reviewed on a rolling basis. Finalists will be invited to an interview process that will include a writing exercise and up to two stages of interviews.

The following duties and qualifications apply to both Fellow and Associate roles; the next page provides profiles distinguishing the two roles.

Primary duties of Fellows and Associates :

  • Creatively translate insights from the social and behavioral sciences into concrete recommendations for how to improve federal programs, policies and operations
  • Work closely with agency partners to structure and implement rigorous experimental trials capable of testing the relative efficiency and efficacy of proposed interventions
  • Communicate regularly with agency partners and any outside collaborators in order to: ensure the rationale behind intervention ideas and trial design are clearly understood and meet agency goals; ensure that field experiments are implemented as planned; share updates on trial status; and discuss the implications of results
  • Perform data analyses and interpretation
  • Translate findings into project reports and policy memos for academic, agency, and public audiences
  • Assist, as needed, on additional projects being managed by other SBST members
  • Attend weekly SBST meetings, provide updates on project status and be generally available to collaborate on and contribute to internal tasks
  • Attend and potentially present at conferences and workshops

Required qualifications of Fellows and Associates:

  • General knowledge of applied behavioral sciences and specialized knowledge of at least one domain of a study within the social and behavioral sciences
  • Ability to think creatively about how insights from the social and behavioral sciences can be translated into concrete interventions that are practically feasible within specific federal programs, policies or organizations
  • Statistical competency in at least one programming language (e.g., R, Stata, Matlab, SAS, etc…)
  • Ability to effectively explain technical concepts to a broad range of audiences, orally and in writing
  • Strong writing skills, including under tight deadlines
  • Excellent management and organizational skills
  • Flexibility, self-motivation, and the ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently as a team player
  • Curiosity and willingness to learn about federal agencies and the unique practical and regulatory constraints

Preferred qualifications include:

  • Experience conducting randomized controlled trials in field settings
  • Experience working with the federal, municipal, state, or city governments
  • Advanced statistical skills, including experience handling large administrative data sets

Details for Fellow Applicants:
Fellows are typically researchers with a PhD on leave from positions at universities, government agencies, or research organizations. Fellows will be a lead investigator on complex experimental trials and responsible for the identification, design, execution and ongoing management of studies.

Additional qualifications:

  • PhD in related field, plus one or more years relevant work experience, or a Master’s Degree plus five or more years of relevant experience
  • Two or more years of experience designing, implementing and analyzing experiments (and preferably four or more years specifically conducting randomized controlled trials in field settings)

Additional duties:

  • Take an active role in identifying opportunities for the team to support agencies of government
  • Drive the team’s project efforts from initial conversations through experiment design, field testing, data analysis, evaluation and communication of results
  • Ultimately accountable for the operations of select field experiments
  • Represent the team in a more formal capacity at conferences, events and meetings

Details for Associate Applicants:
Associates have a Master’s Degree plus two or more years of relevant experience, or are at mid to final stages of a PhD program in a relevant course of study. these team members play a supportive role to Fellow, providing technical contributions and expertise to studies and operational oversight to projects and components of studies.

Additional qualifications:

  • Graduate coursework in pursuit of a PhD, or a Master’s Degree plus two or more years of relevant experience
  • Experience designing, implementing and analyzing experiments (and preferably conducting randomized controlled trials in field settings)

Additional duties:

  • Assist in the management and operations of select field experiments
  • Assist with data analyses and interpretation
  • Assist in the organization of workshops and events

March 13, 2015

The SJDM Newsletter is ready for download

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SOCIETY FOR JUDGMENT AND DECISION MAKING NEWSLETTER

 

The quarterly Society for Judgment and Decision Making newsletter can be downloaded from the SJDM site:

http://sjdm.org/newsletters/

It features jobs, conferences, announcements, and more.

Enjoy!
Decision Science News / SJDM Newsletter Editor

March 6, 2015

Save the date: SJDM, November 20-23, 2015, Chicago

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SOCIETY FOR JUDGMENT AND DECISION MAKING ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2015

co

This year’s (2015) SJDM annual conference will be in Chicago, Illinois, November 20-23, 2015. Late registration and welcome reception will take place the evening of Friday, November 20.

Paul Slovic picture Before the reception, 3-5 PM Friday, there will be a tribute to Paul Slovic. Confirmed speakers include Daniel Kahneman, Baruch Fischhoff, Howard Kunreuther, John Payne, and others. Organizers are Ellen Peters (Chair), John Payne, Craig Fox, and Melissa Finucane.

Photo credit:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2004-07-14_2600x1500_chicago_lake_skyline.jpg

February 26, 2015

Don’t be that person who mixes up opt-in and opt-out

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OPT-IN VS OPT-OUT POLICIES

lv

We talk a lot about default policies, in particular opt-in policies and opt-out policies (e.g., opt-in vs. opt-out policies for membership in organ donor pools).

When we speak about this stuff, people asking us questions often use the terms backwards or incorrectly. They say opt-in when they mean opt-out and they say opt-out when they mean opt-in. Or they use either when talking about forced choice. Here’s an example from the Chief Technical Officer of Lenovo making the mistake when talking about the Lenovo adware fiasco.

Q. What kind of quality assurance process would even allow for installing this kind of adware on Lenovo machines?

A. At a high level, the team that defines what is in these products will encounter stuff in the market, then they will say, “Here is something we want to do,” and they will engage an engineering team. Then we will go through this thing and make sure it adheres to our policies and practices. We make sure it doesn’t know who the individual is. We make sure it’s opt-in. But what was completely missed in this was the security exposure caused by the design of the certificate authority they used.

Q. There was nothing about this experience that was opt-in.

A. When you buy a Lenovo machine and turn it on, this was one of the programs that was presented to you. At that point, you could click a button that says, “I don’t want to use this.”

Q. I have to press you on that. What did the opt-in prose look like? Nobody recalls anything about this being opt-in.

A. I don’t have it in front of me, but I will get it to you. We want to make this right going forward. Part of this is what we are doing to fix the problem and what are we doing to make this right going forward. To that end, we’re trying to present – in much more plain English — a view of what these programs do.

If the program activated the adware for those who didn’t click “I don’t want to use this”, it was opt-out, not opt-in.

If the program made you answer before activating your computer, it was forced choice (or mandated choice), not opt-in.

HOW TO KEEP IT STRAIGHT

Opt-in means users are out by default and can choose (i.e., opt) to be in.

Opt-out means users are in by default and can choose (i.e., opt) to be out.

Forced choice means people are deprived of the product or service unless they choose to be in or out.

For many policies, forced choice is not an option. For instance, for organ donation, they can make you choose in order to get a driver’s license; they can deprive you of the license. But if you decide you don’t want a driver’s license, the default of the country applies to you. You can’t make being an organ donor a forced choice.

February 20, 2015

Put the size of countries in perspective by comparing them to US states

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THE BENEFITS OF FAMILIAR UNITS

mp
This Mercator projection is famous for distorting land areas

Like Jake Hofman, we at Decision Science News love putting things in perspective. Watch this space for a paper we are writing on the topic. We recently thought:

  • Wouldn’t it be cool for US readers to see how big foreign countries are by comparing them to presumably familiar US states?
  • Wouldn’t it be cool for non-US readers to see how big US states are by comparing them to presumably familiar countries?
  • Wouldn’t it be fun to group countries by area?

To keep things simple, we only consider the area of each state, twice the area of each state, and the area of the entire USA as units. We only bother with twice states’ area thing for big countries (larger than 2,500,000 sq km). For compactness, we do not provide the reverse mapping from countries to US states. R code available upon request.

Here you are. A list of US states along with countries and dependencies that are roughly as large as them:
Smaller than Rhode Island (4,002 sq km):

Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Comoros, Cook Islands, Dominica, Gaza Strip, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guernsey, Holy See (Vatican City), Hong Kong, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius,  Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tonga, Tuvalu

 

As big as Rhode Island (4,002 sq km):

Cape Verde, French Polynesia

 

As big as Delaware (5,061 sq km):

Brunei, Cyprus, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, West Bank

 

As big as Connecticut (14,359 sq km):

Bahamas, East Timor, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Gambia (The), Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Qatar, Swaziland, Vanuatu

 

As big as New Jersey (22,590 sq km):

Belize, Djibouti, El Salvador, Israel, Slovenia

 

As big as Vermont (24,903 sq km):

Republic of Macedonia

 

As big as Massachusetts (27,337 sq km):

Haiti

 

As big as Hawaii (28,314 sq km):

Albania, Armenia, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Solomon Islands

 

As big as Maryland (32,134 sq km):

Belgium, Bhutan, Denmark, Estonia, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Moldova, Netherlands, Republic of China (Taiwan), Switzerland

 

As big as West Virginia (62,758 sq km):

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Togo

 

As big as South Carolina (82,898 sq km):

Austria, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Panama, United Arab Emirates

 

As big as Maine (91,652 sq km):

French Guiana, Jordan, Portugal

 

As big as Indiana (94,327 sq km):

Hungary, South Korea

 

As big as Kentucky (104,664 sq km):

Iceland, Serbia and Montenegro

 

As big as Tennessee (109,158 sq km):

Guatemala

 

As big as Virginia (110,771 sq km):

Benin, Bulgaria, Cuba, Honduras, Liberia

 

As big as Pennsylvania (119,290 sq km):

Eritrea, Malawi, North Korea

 

As big as Mississippi (125,443 sq km):

Nicaragua

 

As big as Louisiana (134,273 sq km):

Greece

 

As big as New York (141,090 sq km):

Nepal, Tajikistan

 

As big as Iowa (145,754 sq km):

Bangladesh

 

As big as Wisconsin (169,652 sq km):

Suriname, Tunisia

 

As big as Missouri (180,545 sq km):

Uruguay

 

As big as Oklahoma (181,048 sq km):

Cambodia

 

As big as Washington (184,674 sq km):

Syria

 

As big as South Dakota (199,742 sq km):

Kyrgyzstan, Senegal

 

As big as Kansas (213,109 sq km):

Belarus

 

As big as Idaho (216,456 sq km):

Guyana

 

As big as Minnesota (225,181 sq km):

Laos, Romania, Uganda

 

As big as Michigan (250,737 sq km):

Ghana, Guinea, United Kingdom

 

As big as Colorado (269,618 sq km):

Burkina Faso, Gabon, New Zealand, Western Sahara

 

As big as Nevada (286,367 sq km):

Ecuador

 

As big as Arizona (295,274 sq km):

Italy, Philippines

 

As big as New Mexico (314,924 sq km):

Congo (Republic of the), Côte d’Ivoire, Finland, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Poland, Vietnam

 

As big as Montana (380,847 sq km):

Germany, Japan, Zimbabwe

 

As big as California (423,999 sq km):

Cameroon, France, Iraq, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen

 

As big as Texas (695,673 sq km):

Afghanistan, Bolivia, Botswana, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Zambia

 

As big as Alaska (1,700,133 sq km):

Algeria, Angola, Chad, Congo (Democratic Republic of the), Greenland, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Niger, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan

 

Twice as big as Alaska (3,400,266 sq km):

Argentina, India, Kazakhstan

 

As big as the United States (9,826,630 sq km):

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China

 

Twice as big as the United States (19,653,260 sq km):

Russia

 

Map credit:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections#mediaviewer/File:Miller_projection_SW.jpg

Country Areas: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_area

February 11, 2015

How to get a no-nonsense weather forecast

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WEATHER FOR THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND GRAPHS AND PROBABILITIES

nwfo
Click to visit

People ask us, “You folks at Decision Science News, how do you get your US weather forecasts?”

Because we like graphs and probabilities, we go to a page by US National Weather Service puts out that tells us for every hour in the next few days, the predicted temperature, the chance of precipitation, the predicted amount of rain, the predicted amount of snow, and that’s it.

Here’s how to get graphs for your location (Feb 2015)

1. Go to weather.gov
2. Enter your location code where it says “Local forecast by ‘City, St’ or ZIP code” at the top left.
3. On the resulting page, scroll all the way to the bottom and look for the link “Hourly Weather Graph” under “Additional Forecasts and Information” (or click the colorful “Hourly Weather Graph” at right).
4. On the resulting page, there will be a graph, but it will be a hot mess full of stuff you don’t care about. Stuff like dew point and wind direction. Bad defaults. Uncheck everything except:

  • Predicted temperature
  • Precipitation potential
  • Rain
  • Snow

5. Season to taste.
6. Save the resulting URL. Add it to your bookmarks toolbar. Make it your homepage. We have.

The link we use here in New York City is:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?w0=t&w5=pop&w7=rain&w9=snow&AheadHour=0&Submit=Submit&&FcstType=graphical&textField1=40.77664&textField2=-73.95215&site=all

Or, as a link: http://1.usa.gov/1ELoek6

Note that you can just steal our link and replace “40.77664” with your latitude and “-73.95215″ with your longitude, and it should just work inside the US.

If you don’t know your latitude or longitude, just go to Google or Bing and type “Los Angeles, CA latitude longitude” (or whatever) and it will show it to you. Note that “100 West” would be written as “-100″ in the URL.

Enjoy your no nonsense, accurate, short term, localized weather forecast.