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The Night Riders

Gilbert Chin writes: After reading this piece [“How one 19-year-old Illinois man Is distorting national polling averages,” by Nate Cohn] and this Nature news story [“Seeing deadly mutations in an new light,” by Erika Hayden], I wonder if you might consider blogging about how this appears to be the same issue in two different disciplines. […]

Yes, you can do statistical inference from nonrandom samples. Which is a good thing, considering that nonrandom samples are pretty much all we’ve got.

Luiz Caseiro writes: 1. P-values and Confidence Intervals are used to draw inferences about a population from a sample. Is that right? 2. As far as I researched, standard statistical softwares usually compute confidence intervals (CI) and p-values assuming that we have a simple random sample. Is that right? 3. If we have another kind […]

Two steps forward, one step back

Alex Gamma writes in with what he describes as “an amusing little story” from two years ago: When Deaton & Case published their study, and after your re-analysis had uncovered the missing age-correction, I’ve pointed out this issue to several news blogs that reported on the study, but were not aware of the problem (only […]

Workflow, baby, workflow

Bob Carpenter writes: Here’s what we do and what we recommend everyone else do: 1. code the model as straightforwardly as possible 2. generate fake data 3. make sure the program properly codes the model 4. run the program on real data 5. *If* the model is too slow, optimize *one step at a time* […]

A reporter sent me a Jama paper and asked me what I thought . . .

My reply: Thanks for sending. I can’t be sure about everything they’re doing but the paper looks reasonable to me. I expect there are various ways that the analysis could be improved, but on a quick look I don’t see anything obviously wrong with it, and the authors seem to know what they are doing. […]

Ed Jaynes outta control!

A commmenter points to a chapter of E. T. Jaynes’s book on probability and inference that contains the following amazing bit: The information we get from the TV evening news is not that a certain event actually happened in a certain way it is that some news reporter has claimed that it did. Even seeing […]

“How to Assess Internet Cures Without Falling for Dangerous Pseudoscience”

Science writer Julie Rehmeyer discusses her own story: Five years ago, against practically anyone’s better judgment, I knowingly abandoned any semblance of medical evidence to follow the bizarre-sounding health advice of strangers on the internet. The treatment was extreme, expensive, and potentially dangerous. If that sounds like a terrible idea to you, imagine how it […]

Offline

I’m getting my computer repaired and so will be offline for a few days, won’t be reading or sending email or reading blog comments. The blog will auto-post, though, one per day, with already-scheduled material: “How to Assess Internet Cures Without Falling for Dangerous Pseudoscience” Ed Jaynes outta control! A reporter sent me a Jama […]

Bin Yu and Karl Kumbier: “Artificial Intelligence and Statistics”

Yu and Kumbier write: Artificial intelligence (AI) is intrinsically data-driven. It calls for the application of statistical concepts through human-machine collaboration during generation of data, development of algo- rithms, and evaluation of results. This paper discusses how such human-machine collaboration can be approached through the statistical concepts of population, question of interest, representativeness of training […]

Loss of confidence

This fascinating post by David Weakliem documents declining confidence in political institutions: and the news media: and some other institutions: As Weakliem writes: So far, confidence in everything has declined. You could offer specific explanations for each one, but the fact that it’s so widespread suggests that the declines reflect a general mood of dissatisfaction. […]

“There was this prevalent, incestuous, backslapping research culture. The idea that their work should be criticized at all was anathema to them. Let alone that some punk should do it.”

[image of a cat reading a comic book] How did the outsiders upend social psychology? CATRON: We used basic reporting techniques. We’d call up somebody and ask them about thus-and-so, and they’d mention so-and-so, so we’d call so-and-so, and ask about thus-and-so. I’d say, “OK, you’re saying this but the first guy said this other […]

“Little Data” etc.: My talk at NYU this Friday, 8 Dec 2017

I’ll be talking at the NYU business school, in the department of information, operations, and management sciences, this Fri, 8 Dec 2017, at 12:30, in room KMC 4-90 (wherever that is): Little Data: How Traditional Statistical Ideas Remain Relevant in a Big-Data World; or, The Statistical Crisis in Science; or, Open Problems in Bayesian Data […]

The four missing books of Lawrence Otis Graham

We keep some books in the bathroom that are good for reading in small bits. The other day I was flipping through The Best American Essays 1993 and came across the following passage that had originally appeared in New York Magazine: I’m a thirty-year-old corporate lawyer at a midtown Manhattan firm, and I make $105,000 […]

The “80% power” lie

OK, so this is nothing new. Greg Francis said it, and Uri Simonsohn said it, Ulrich Schimmack said it, lots of people have said it. But it’s worth saying again. To get NIH funding, you need to demonstrate (that is, convincingly claim) that your study has 80% power. I hate the term “power” as it’s […]

Popular expert explains why communists can’t win chess championships!

[cat picture] We haven’t run any Ray Keene material for awhile but this is just too good to pass up: Yup, those communists have real trouble pushing to the top when it comes to chess, huh? P.S. to Chrissy: If you happen to be reading this, my advice to you is to not take stuff […]

Orphan drugs and forking paths: I’d prefer a multilevel model but to be honest I’ve never fit such a model for this sort of problem

Amos Elberg writes: I’m writing to let you know about a drug trial you may find interesting from a statistical perspective. As you may know, the relatively recent “orphan drug” laws allow (basically) companies that can prove an off-patent drug treats an otherwise untreatable illness, to obtain intellectual property protection for otherwise generic or dead […]

A new definition of the nerd?

Jonathan Falk points to this book excerpt by Michael Lewis, who writes: A lot of what people did and said when they “predicted” things, Morey now realized, was phony: pretending to know things rather than actually knowing things. There were a great many interesting questions in the world to which the only honest answer was, […]

Trouble Ahead

Here’s the abstract: Guo, Li, Wang, Cai and Duncan (2015) recently claimed to have provided evidence for a general theory of gene-environment interaction. The theory holds that those who are labelled as having high or low genetic propensity to alcoholuse will be unresponsive to environmental factors that predict binge-drinking among those of moderate propensity. They […]

Oooh, I hate all talk of false positive, false negative, false discovery, etc.

A correspondent writes: I think this short post on p value, bayes, and false discovery rate contains some misinterpretations. My reply: Oooh, I hate all talk of false positive, false negative, false discovery, etc. I posted this not because I care about someone, somewhere, being “wrong on the internet.” Rather, I just think there’s so […]

How to improve this visualization of voting in the U.S. Congress?

Richie Lionell points us to this interactive visualization of votes of U.S. Senators. It’s attractive. My big problem is that nothing is conveyed by the positions of the points along the circles. Thus, that cute image of the points moving around is a bit misleading. Maybe someone has a suggestion of how to do this […]