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George Carlin (2) vs. John Waters (1); Updike advances

The bard of the suburbs wins yesterday‘s bout with another fine turn of phrase, this time brought to us in comments by Ethan: “Drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.” Updike, from “My Father’s Tears.” I want to hear from someone who can write like that about things […]

How is ethics like logistic regression?

Ethics decisions, like statistical inferences, are informative only if they’re not too easy or too hard. For the full story, read the whole thing.

Friedrich Nietzsche (4) vs. John Updike; Austen advances

I chose yesterday‘s winner based on the oddest comment we’ve received so far in the competition, from AC: I’d love to see what Jane Austen (Austen’s early Regency dress style: http://sensibility.com/vintageimages/1800s/images/lacedress.jpg) thought of late Regency dresses (http://www.kittyprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/EveningDresses.jpg), which were basically the exact opposite sensibility. It’s an astonishingly quick reversal, from narrow and prim to a […]

Regression: What’s it all about? [Bayesian and otherwise]

Regression: What’s it all about? Regression plays three different roles in applied statistics: 1. A specification of the conditional expectation of y given x; 2. A generative model of the world; 3. A method for adjusting data to generalize from sample to population, or to perform causal inferences. We could also include prediction, but I […]

Stewart Lee vs. Jane Austen; Dick advances

Yesterday‘s deciding arguments came from Horselover himself. As quoted by Dalton: Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost . . . perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that precious little fragment as well. And: We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and […]

The publication of one of my pet ideas: Simulation-efficient shortest probability intervals

In a paper to appear in Statistics and Computing, Ying Liu, Tian Zheng, and I write: Bayesian highest posterior density (HPD) intervals can be estimated directly from simulations via empirical shortest intervals. Unfortunately, these can be noisy (that is, have a high Monte Carlo error). We derive an optimal weighting strategy using bootstrap and quadratic […]

Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Philip K. Dick (2); Hobbes advances

All of yesterday‘s best comments were in favor of the political philosopher. Adam writes: With Hobbes, the seminar would be “nasty, brutish, and short.” And it would degenerate into a “war of all against all.” In other words, the perfect academic seminar. And Jonathan writes: Chris Rock would definitely be more entertaining. But the chance […]

Imagining p<.05 triggers increased publication

We’ve all had that experience of going purposefully from one hypothesis to another, only to get there and forget why we made the journey. Four years ago, researcher Daryl Bem and his colleagues stripped this effect down, showing that the simple act of obtaining a statistically significant comparison induces publication in a top journal. Now […]

Chris Rock (3) vs. Thomas Hobbes; Wood advances

In yesterday‘s contest, there’s no doubt in my mind that Levi-Strauss would give a better and more interesting talk than Wood, whose lecture would presumably feature non-sequiturs, solecisms, continuity violations, and the like. But the funniest comment was from Jonathan: Ed Wood on Forecasting: “We are all interested in the future for that is where […]

Another disgraced primatologist . . . this time featuring “sympathetic dentists”

Shravan Vasishth points us to this news item from Luke Harding, “History of modern man unravels as German scholar is exposed as fraud”: Other details of the professor’s life also appeared to crumble under scrutiny. Before he disappeared from the university’s campus last year, Prof Protsch told his students he had examined Hitler’s and Eva […]