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Taking Data Journalism Seriously

This is a bit of a followup to our recent review of “Everybody Lies.” While writing the review I searched the blog for mentions of Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, and I came across this post from last year, concerning a claim made by author J. D. Vance that “the middle part of America is more religious than […]

What is needed to do good research (hint: it’s not just the avoidance of “too much weight given to small samples, a tendency to publish positive results and not negative results, and perhaps an unconscious bias from the researchers themselves”)

[cat picture] In a news article entitled, “No, Wearing Red Doesn’t Make You Hotter,” Dalmeet Singh Chawla recounts the story of yet another Psychological Science / PPNAS-style study (this one actually appeared back in 2008 in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the same prestigious journal which published Daryl Bem’s ESP study a couple years […]

Should computer programming be a prerequisite for learning statistics?

[cat picture] This came up in a recent discussion thread, I can’t remember exactly where. A commenter pointed out, correctly, that you shouldn’t require computer programming as a prerequisite for a statistics course: there’s lots in statistics that can be learned without knowing how to program. Sure, if you can program you can do a […]

Splines in Stan! (including priors that enforce smoothness)

Milad Kharratzadeh shares a new case study. This could be useful to a lot of people. And here’s the markdown file with every last bit of R and Stan code. Just for example, here’s the last section of the document, which shows how to simulate the data and fit the model graphed above: Location of […]


You gotta read this, including all the comments. It’s fascinating. (Link from Jkrideau.)

Accounting for variation and uncertainty

[cat picture] Yesterday I gave a list of the questions they’re asking me when I speak at the Journal of Accounting Research Conference. All kidding aside, I think that a conference of accountants is the perfect setting for a discussion of of research integrity, as accounting is all about setting up institutions to enable trust. […]

Reality meets the DeLilloverse

From 2009: “They thought ASU’s brand was too strong to compete with. Incarnate Word is now part of the Communiversity @ Surprise, a newly opened one-stop learning center for higher education in the northwest Valley.” I guess my statistics textbooks probably read like parodies of statistics textbooks, so from that perspective it makes sense that […]

Can you account for this?

I’m speaking (remotely) to a roomful of accountants tomorrow. Exciting, huh? Actually, I don’t know if they’re accountants. They’re “accounting researchers,” whatever that means. . . . The title they gave to my talk is “A statistician’s thoughts on registered reports.” There’s no abstract (and, of course, no slides) but they sent me this list […]

Mockery is the best medicine

[cat picture] I’m usually not such a fan of twitter, but Jeff sent me this, from Andy Hall, and it’s just hilarious: The background is here. But Hall is missing a few key determinants of elections and political attitudes: subliminal smiley faces, college football, fat arms, and, of course, That Time of the Month. You […]

How to interpret “p = .06” in situations where you really really want the treatment to work?

We’ve spent a lot of time during the past few years discussing the difficulty of interpreting “p less than .05” results from noisy studies. Standard practice is to just take the point estimate and confidence interval, but this is in general wrong in that it overestimates effect size (type M error) and can get the […]

“P-hacking” and the intention-to-cheat effect

I’m a big fan of the work of Uri Simonsohn and his collaborators, but I don’t like the term “p-hacking” because it can be taken to imply an intention to cheat. The image of p-hacking is of a researcher trying test after test on the data until reaching the magic “p less than .05.” But, […]

“Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz sent me his new book on learning from data. As is just about always the case for this sort of book, I’m a natural reviewer but I’m not really the intended audience. That’s why I gave Dan Ariely’s book to Juli Simon Thomas to review; I thought her perspective would be more relevant […]

Honesty and transparency are not enough

[cat picture] From a recent article, Honesty and transparency are not enough: This point . . . is important for two reasons. First, consider the practical consequences for a researcher who eagerly accepts the message of ethical and practical values of sharing and openness, but does not learn about the importance of data quality. He […]

“An anonymous tip”

[cat picture] I and a couple others received the following bizarre email: **’s research is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to expose more serious flaws, look at research by his co-authors – ** at ** and ** at **. I won’t be checking this disposable e-mail address again. People send me […]

Riddle me this

[cat picture] Paul Alper writes: From Susan Perry’s article based on Paul Hacker’s BMJ article: In 2015, the University of Colorado had to shut down its nonprofit Global Energy Balance Network after the organization was exposed as being essentially a “scientific” front for its funder, Coca-Cola. The University of Colorado School of Medicine returned […]

What’s the difference between the French and U.S. presidential elections? Political parties.

Consider a national election with the following four major candidates, from right to left: – Populist far-right nativist – Religious conservative – Center-left technocrat – Populist anti-corporate leftist In the first round of the 2017 French presidential election, these four candidates received 21%, 20%, 24%, and 20%, respectively. In the United States, these candidates were […]

Discussion with Lee Jussim and Simine Vazire on eminence, junk science, and blind reviewing

Lee Jussim pointed me to the recent article in Psychological Science by Joseph Simmons and Uri Simonsohn, expanding on their blog post on flaws in the notorious power pose article. Jussim then commented: I [Jussim] think that Cuddy/Fiske world is slowly shrinking. I think your “What Has Happened Here…” post was: 1. A bit premature […]

The Aristocrats!

[cat picture] I followed a link from Tyler Cowen to the book, “Inside Job: How Government Insiders Subvert the Public Interest,” by Mark Zupan (but not this Mark Zupan, I think). The link points to the book’s Amazon page, and here’s the very first blurb: ‘In the tradition of Parkinson’s Law, this fascinating and novel […]

A completely reasonable-sounding statement with which I strongly disagree

From a couple years ago: In the context of a listserv discussion about replication in psychology experiments, someone wrote: The current best estimate of the effect size is somewhere in between the original study and the replication’s reported value. This conciliatory, split-the-difference statement sounds reasonable, and it might well represent good politics in the context […]

7th graders trained to avoid Pizzagate-style data exploration—but is the training too rigid?

[cat picture] Laura Kapitula writes: I wanted to share a cute story that gave me a bit of hope. My daughter who is in 7th grade was doing her science project. She had designed an experiment comparing lemon batteries to potato batteries, a 2×4 design with lemons or potatoes as one factor and number of […]