Richard Barker points us to an update on ipredict, the New Zealand political prediction market. From the news article by Hamish Rutherford: The site, run by Victoria University of Wellington’s commercialisation arm, VicLink, issued a statement to its website and on Twitter on Thursday. According to the iPredict statement, Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges refused […]

## Boston Stan meetup 1 Dec

Here’s the announcement: Using Stan for variational inference, plus a couple lightning talks Dustin Tran will give a talk on using Stan for variational inference, then we’ll have a couple lightening (5 minute-ish) talks on projects. David Sparks will talk, I will talk about some of my work and we’re looking for 1-2 more volunteers. […]

## Gary McClelland agrees with me that dichotomizing continuous variables is a bad idea. He also thinks my suggestion of dividing a variable into 3 parts is also a mistake.

In response to some of the discussion that inspired yesterday’s post, Gary McClelland writes: I remain convinced that discretizing a continuous variable, especially for multiple regression, is the road to perdition. Here I explain my concerns. First, I don’t buy the motivation that discretized analyses are easier to explain to lay citizens and the press. […]

## Beyond the median split: Splitting a predictor into 3 parts

Carol Nickerson pointed me to a series of papers in the journal Consumer Psychology, first one by Dawn Iacobucci et al. arguing in favor of the “median split” (replacing a continuous variable by a 0/1 variable split at the median) “to facilitate analytic ease and communication clarity,” then a response by Gary McClelland et al. […]

## I already know who will be president in 2016 but I’m not telling

Nadia Hassan writes: One debate in political science right now concerns how the economy influences voters. Larry Bartels argues that Q14 and Q15 impact election outcomes the most. Doug Hibbs argues that all 4 years matter, with later growth being more important. Chris Wlezien claims that the first two years don’t influence elections but the […]

## Top 9 questions to ask a statistician

Someone writes in:

## If a study is worth a mention, it’s worth a link

Gur Huberman points to this op-ed entitled “Are Good Doctors Bad for Your Health?” and writes: Can’t the NYT provide a link or an explicit reference to the JAMA Internal Medicine article underlying this OpEd? A reader could then access the original piece and judge its credibility for himself I replied: Yes, very tacky of […]

## Flatten your abs with this new statistical approach to quadrature

Philipp Hennig, Michael Osborne, and Mark Girolami write: We deliver a call to arms for probabilistic numerical methods: algorithms for numerical tasks, including linear algebra, integration, optimization and solving differential equations, that return uncertainties in their calculations. . . . We describe how several seminal classic numerical methods can be interpreted naturally as probabilistic inference. […]

## Benford lays down the Law

A few months ago I received in the mail a book called An Introduction to Benford’s Law by Arno Berger and Theodore Hill. I eagerly opened it but I lost interest once I realized it was essentially a pure math book. Not that there’s anything wrong with math, it just wasn’t what I wanted to […]

## 4 California faculty positions in Design-Based Statistical Inference in the Social Sciences

This is really cool. The announcement comes from Joe Cummins: The University of California at Riverside is hiring 4 open rank positions in Design-Based Statistical Inference in the Social Sciences. I [Cummins] think this is a really exciting opportunity for researchers doing all kinds of applied social science statistical work, especially work that cuts across […]

## Tip o’ the iceberg to ya

Paul Alper writes: The Washington Post ran this article by Fred Barbas with an interesting quotation: “Every day, on average, a scientific paper is retracted because of misconduct,” Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, who run Retraction Watch, wrote in a New York Times op-ed in May. But, can that possibly be true, just for misconduct […]

## I like the Monkey Cage

The sister blog is a good place to reach a wider audience, also our co-bloggers and guests have interesting posts on important topics, but what I really like about our blog at the Washington Post is its seriousness and its political science perspective. For better or worse, political science does not have a high profile […]

## First, second, and third order bias corrections (also, my ugly R code for the mortality-rate graphs!)

As an applied statistician, I don’t do a lot of heavy math. I did prove a true theorem once (with the help of some collaborators), but that was nearly twenty years ago. Most of the time I walk along pretty familiar paths, just hoping that other people will do the mathematical work necessary for me […]

## “David Brooks And Jeremy Paxman To Judge The Golden Giraffes”

I don’t think I have much of a chance here, not because of the judging—I’d trust Brooks and Paxman to recognize good writing—but because the competition includes some heavy hitters, including Dan Davies with a meta-blog-post called The Verjus Manifesto, Sara Paretsky on The Detective As Speech, and Charles Pierce with . . . well, […]

## Just Filling in the Bubbles

Collin Hitt writes: I study wrong answers, per your blog post today. My research focuses mostly on surveys of schoolchildren. I study the kids who appear to be just filling in the bubbles, who by accident actually reveal something of use for education researchers. Here’s his most recent paper, “Just Filling in the Bubbles: Using […]

## Is 8+4 less than 3? 11% of respondents say Yes!

Shane Frederick shares some observations regarding junk survey responses: Obviously, some people respond randomly. For open ended questions, it is pretty easy to determine the fraction who do so. In some research I did with online surveys, “asdf” was the most common and “your mama” was 9th. This fraction is small (maybe 1-2%). But the […]

## Asking the question is the most important step

In statistics, the glamour often comes to those who perform a challenging data analysis that extracts signal from noise, as in Aki Vehtari’s decomposition of the famous birthday data which led to the stunning graphs on the cover of BDA3. But, from a social-science point of view, the biggest credit has to go to whoever […]

## Why is it so hard for them to acknowledge a correction?

Anne Case (as quoted by Jesse Singal): We spent a year working on this paper, sweating out every number, sweating out over what we were doing, and then to see people blogging about it in real time — that’s not the way science really gets done. . . . And so it’s a little hard […]

## “Should Prison Sentences Be Based On Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed Yet?”

Andrea Panizza asks me what I think of this post by Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Ben Castleman, and Dana Goldstein, “Should Prison Sentences Be Based On Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed Yet?” The post begins as follows: Criminal sentencing has long been based on the present crime and, sometimes, the defendant’s past criminal record. In Pennsylvania, […]

## Inference from an intervention with many outcomes, not using “statistical significance”

Kate Casey writes: I have been reading your papers “Type S error rates for classical…” and “Why We (Usually) Don’t Have to Worry…” with great interest and would be grateful for your views on the appropriateness of a potentially related application. I have a non-hierarchical dataset of 28 individuals who participated in a randomized control […]