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I (almost and inadvertently) followed Dan Kahan’s principles in my class today, and that was a good thing (would’ve even been more of a good thing had I realized what I was doing and done it better, but I think I will do better in the future, which has already happened by the time you read this; remember, the blog is on a nearly 2-month lag)

As you might recall, the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor says that to explain a concept to an unbeliever, explain it conditionally. For example, if you want to talk evolution with a religious fundamentalist, don’t try to convince him or her that evolution is true; instead preface each explanation with, “According to the theory of evolution […]

The hype cycle starts again

Completely uncritical press coverage of a speculative analysis. But, hey, it was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PPNAS)! What could possibly go wrong? Here’s what Erik Larsen writes: In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, People search for meaning when they approach a […]

On deck this week

Mon: The hype cycle starts again Tues: I (almost and inadvertently) followed Dan Kahan’s principles in my class today, and that was a good thing (would’ve even been more of a good thing had I realized what I was doing and done it better, but I think I will do better in the future, which […]

What do Rick Santorum and Andrew Cuomo have in common?

Besides family values, that is? Both these politicians seem to have a problem with the National Weather Service: The Senator: Santorum also accused the weather service’s National Hurricane Center of flubbing its forecasts for Hurricane Katrina’s initial landfall in Florida, despite the days of all-too-prescient warnings the agency had given that the storm would subsequently […]

Princeton Abandons Grade Deflation Plan . . .

. . . and Kaiser Fung is unhappy. In a post entitled, “Princeton’s loss of nerve,” Kaiser writes: This development is highly regrettable, and a failure of leadership. (The new policy leaves it to individual departments to do whatever they want.) The recent Alumni publication has two articles about this topic, one penned by President […]

Blogs > Twitter

Tweeting has its virtues, I’m sure. But over and over I’m seeing these blog vs. twitter battles where the blogger wins. It goes like this: blogger gives tons and tons of evidence, tweeter responds with a content-free dismissal. The most recent example (as of this posting; remember we’re on an approx 2-month delay here; yes, […]

50 shades of gray goes pie-chart

Rogier Kievit sends in this under the heading, “Worst graph of the year . . . horribly unclear . . . Even the report doesn’t have a legend!”: My reply: It’s horrible but I still think the black-and-white Stroop test remains the worst visual display of all time: What’s particularly amusing about the Stroop image […]

“If you’re not using a proper, informative prior, you’re leaving money on the table.”

Well put, Rob Weiss. This is not to say that one must always use an informative prior; oftentimes it can make sense to throw away some information for reasons of convenience. But it’s good to remember that, if you do use a noninformative prior, that you’re doing less than you could.

Retrospective clinical trials?

Kelvin Leshabari writes: I am a young medical doctor in Africa who wondered if it is possible to have a retrospective designed randomised clinical trial and yet be sound valid in statistical sense. This is because to the best of my knowledge, the assumptions underlying RCT methodology include that data is obtained in a prospective […]

Replication controversies

I don’t know what ATR is but I’m glad somebody is on the job of prohibiting replication catastrophe: Seriously, though, I’m on a list regarding a reproducibility project, and someone forwarded along this blog by psychology researcher Simone Schnall, whose attitudes we discussed several months ago in the context of some controversies about attempted replications […]