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Ramanujan notes

A new movie on Ramanujan is coming out; mathematician Peter Woit gives it a very positive review, while film critic Anthony Lane is not so impressed. Both these reactions make sense, I guess (or so I say without having actually seen the movie myself). I’ll take this as an occasion to plug my article on […]

All that really important statistics stuff that isn’t in the statistics textbooks

Kaiser writes: More on that work on age adjustment. I keep asking myself where is it in the Stats curriculum do we teach students this stuff? A class session focused on that analysis teaches students so much more about statistical thinking than anything we have in the textbooks. I’m not sure. This sort of analysis […]

On deck this week

Mon: All that really important statistics stuff that isn’t in the statistics textbooks Tues: Who marries whom? Wed: Gray graphs look pretty Thurs: Freak Punts on Leicester Bet Fri: Who falls for the education reform hype? Sat: Taking responsibility for your statistical conclusions: You must decide what variation to compare to. Sun: Researchers demonstrate new […]

Should he major in political science and minor in statistics or the other way around?

Andrew Wheeler writes: I will be a freshman at the University of Florida this upcoming fall and I am interested in becoming a political pollster. My original question was whether I should major in political science and minor in statistics or the other way around, but any other general advice would be appreciated. My reply: […]

The “power pose” of the 6th century B.C.

From Selected Topics in the History of Mathematics by Aaron Strauss (1973): Today Pythagoras is known predominantly as a mathematician. However, in his own day and age (which was also the day and age of Buddha, Lao-Tsa, and Confucious), he was looked upon as the personification of the highest divine wisdom by his followers to […]

Stan on the beach

This came in the email one day: We have used the great software Stan to estimate bycatch levels of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the Bay of Biscay from stranding data. We found that official estimates are underestimated by a full order of magnitude. We conducted both a prior and likelihood sensitivity analyses : the […]

When doing causal inference, define your treatment decision and then consider the consequences that flow from it

Danielle Fumia writes: I am a research at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, and I work on research estimating the effect of college attendance on earnings. Many studies that examine the effect of attending college on earnings control for college degree receipt and work experience. These models seem to violate the practice you […]

“99.60% for women and 99.58% for men, P < 0.05.”

Gur Huberman pointed me to this paper by Tamar Kricheli-Katz and Tali Regev, “How many cents on the dollar? Women and men in product markets.” It appeared in something called ScienceAdvances, which seems to be some extension of the Science brand, i.e., it’s in the tabloids! I’ll leave the critical analysis of this paper to […]

The difference between “significant” and “not significant” is not itself statistically significant: Education edition

In a news article entitled “Why smart kids shouldn’t use laptops in class,” Jeff Guo writes: For the past 15 years, educators have debated, exhaustively, the perils of laptops in the lecture hall. . . . Now there is an answer, thanks to a big, new experiment from economists at West Point, who randomly banned […]

Annals of really pitiful spammers

Here it is: On May 18, 2016, at 8:38 AM, ** wrote: Dr. Gelman, I hope all is well. I looked at your paper on [COMPANY] and would be very interested in talking about having a short followup or a review article about this published in the next issue of the Medical Research Archives. It […]

Here’s something I know nothing about

Paul Campos writes: Does it seem at all plausible that, as per the CDC, rates of smoking among people with GED certificates are double those among high school dropouts and high school graduates? My reply: It does seem a bit odd, but I don’t know who gets GED’s. There could be correlations with age and […]

Albedo-boy is back!

New story here. Background here and here.

“Lots of hype around pea milk, with little actual scrutiny”

Paul Alper writes: Had no idea that “Pea Milk” existed, let alone controversial. Learn something new every day. Indeed, I’d never heard of it either. I guess “milk” is now a generic word for any white sugary drink? Sort of like “tea” is a generic word for any drink made from a powder steeped in […]

Splitsville for Thiel and Kasparov?

The tech zillionaire and the chess champion were always a bit of an odd couple, and I’ve felt for awhile that it was just as well that they never finished that book they were talking about. But given that each of them has taken a second career in political activism, I can’t imagine that they’re […]

On deck this week

Mon: Splitsville for Thiel and Kasparov? Tues: Here’s something I know nothing about Wed: The “power pose” of the 6th century B.C. Thurs: “99.60% for women and 99.58% for men, P < 0.05.” Fri: Stan on the beach Sat: Michael Lacour vs John Bargh and Amy Cuddy Sun: Should he major in political science and […]

Now that’s what I call a power pose!

John writes: See below for your humour file or blogging on a quiet day. . . . Perhaps you could start a competition for the wackiest real-life mangling of statistical concepts (restricted to a genuine academic setting?). On 15 Feb 2016, at 5:25 PM, [****] wrote: Pick of the bunch from tomorrow’s pile of applications […]

“Stop the Polling Insanity”

Norman Ornstein and Alan Abramowitz warn against over-interpreting poll fluctuations: In this highly charged election, it’s no surprise that the news media see every poll like an addict sees a new fix. That is especially true of polls that show large and unexpected changes. Those polls get intense coverage and analysis, adding to their presumed […]

Nick and Nate and Mark on Leicester and Trump

Just following up on our post the other day on retrospective evaluations of probabilistic predictions: For more on Leicester City, see Nick Goff on Why did bookmakers lose on Leicester? and What price SHOULD Leicester have been? (forwarded to me by commenter Iggy). For more on Trump, see Nate Silver on How I Acted Like […]

Will transparency damage science?

Jonathan Sterne sent me this opinion piece by Stephan Lewandowsky and Dorothy Bishop, two psychology researchers who express concern that the movement for science and data transparency has been abused. It would be easy for me to dismiss them and take a hard-line pro-transparency position—and I do take a hard-line pro-transparency position—but, as they remind […]

Bias against women in academia

I’m not the best one to write about this: to the extent that there’s bias in favor of men, I’ve been a beneficiary. Also I’m not familiar with the research on the topic. I know there are some statistical difficulties in setting up these causal questions, comparable to the difficulties arising in using “hedonic regression” […]