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A world without statistics

A reporter asked me for a quote regarding the importance of statistics. But, after thinking about it for a moment, I decided that statistics isn’t so important at all. A world without statistics wouldn’t be much different from the world we have now. What would be missing, in a world without statistics? Science would be […]

Battle of the cozy comedians: What’s Alan Bennett’s problem with Stewart Lee?

When in London awhile ago I picked up the book, “How I Escaped My Certain Fate: The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian,” by Stewart Lee. I’d never heard of the guy but the book was sitting there, it had good blurbs, and from a quick flip-through it looked interesting. Now that I’ve read […]

Skepticism about a published claim regarding income inequality and happiness

Frank de Libero writes: I read your Chance article (disproving that no one reads Chance!) re communicating about flawed psychological research. And I know from your other writings of your continuing good fight against misleading quantitative work. I think you and your students might be interested on my recent critique of a 2011 paper published […]

On deck this week

Mon: Skepticism about a published claim regarding income inequality and happiness Tues: Battle of the cozy comedians: What’s Alan Bennett’s problem with Stewart Lee? Wed: A world without statistics Thurs: NFL players keep getting bigger and bigger Fri: “An Experience with a Registered Replication Project” Sat, Sun: As Chris Hedges would say: Don’t worry, baby

On deck for the rest of the summer

Skepticism about a published claim regarding income inequality and happiness Battle of the cozy comedians: What’s Alan Bennett’s problem with Stewart Lee? A world without statistics NFL players keep getting bigger and bigger “An Experience with a Registered Replication Project” A linguist has a question about sampling when the goal is causal inference from observational […]

Differences between econometrics and statistics: From varying treatment effects to utilities, economists seem to like models that are fixed in stone, while statisticians tend to be more comfortable with variation

I had an interesting discussion with Peter Dorman (whose work on assessing the value of a life we discussed in this space a few years ago). The conversation started when Peter wrote me about his recent success using hierarchical modeling for risk analysis. He wrote, “Where have they [hierarchical models] been all my life? In […]

Ethics and statistics

I spoke (remotely) recently at the University of Wisconsin, on the topic of ethics and statistics. Afterward, I received the following question from Fabrizzio Sanchez: As hard as it is to do, I thought it was good to try and define what exactly makes for an ethical violation. Your third point noted that it needed […]

“The Europeans and Australians were too eager to believe in renal denervation”

As you can see, I’m having a competition with myself for the most boring title ever. The story, though, is not boring. Paul Alper writes: I just came across this in the NYT. Here is the NEJM article itself: And here is the editorial in the NEJM: The gist is that on the basis of […]

Stan World Cup update

The other day I fit a simple model to estimate team abilities from World Cup outcomes. I fit the model to the signed square roots of the score differentials, using the square root on the theory that when the game is less close, it becomes more variable. 0. Background As you might recall, the estimated […]

“Building on theories used to describe magnets, scientists have put together a model that captures something very different . . .”

There’s a story that (some) physicists and science reporters seem to like, which is the idea that some clever mathematician or physicist can derive universal laws of social behavior. It’s time to tell you all: Hari Seldon never existed. Here’s what I think of these stories of physicists who discover the laws of society. I […]