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Mmore from Ppnas

Kevin Lewis asks for my take on two new papers: Study 1: Honesty plays a key role in social and economic interactions and is crucial for societal functioning. However, breaches of honesty are pervasive and cause significant societal and economic problems that can affect entire nations. Despite its importance, remarkably little is known about the […]

Molyneux expresses skepticism on hot hand

Guy Molyneux writes: I saw your latest post on the hot hand too late to contribute to the discussion there. While I don’t disagree with your critique of Gilovich and his reluctance to acknowledge past errors, I do think you underestimate the power of the evidence against a meaningful hot hand effect in sports. I […]

Combining independent evidence using a Bayesian approach but without standard Bayesian updating?

Nic Lewis writes: I have made some progress with my work on combining independent evidence using a Bayesian approach but eschewing standard Bayesian updating. I found a neat analytical way of doing this, to a very good approximation, in cases where each estimate of a parameter corresponds to the ratio of two variables each determined […]

Cross Purposes

A correspondent writes: I thought you might enjoy this… I’m refereeing a paper which basically looks at whether survey responses on a particular topic vary when the question is asked in two different ways. In the main results table they split the sample along several relevant dimensions (education; marital status; religion; etc). I give them […]


Jochen Weber writes: As I follow your blog (albeit loosely), I figured I’d point out an “early release” paper from PNAS I consider to be “garbage” (at least by title, and probably by content). The short version is, the authors claim to have found the neural correlate of a person being “cognizant of” the outcome […]

Dear Cornell University Public Relations Office

I received the following email, which was not addressed to me personally: From: ** Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 9:42 AM To: “” Cc: ** Subject: Information regarding research by Professor Brian Wansink I know you have been following this issue, and I thought you might be interested in new information posted today on […]

Tech company wants to hire Stan programmers!

Ittai Kan writes: I started life as an academic mathematician (chaos theory) but have long since moved into industry. I am currently Chief Scientist at Afiniti, a contact center routing technology company that connects agent and callers on the basis of various factors in order to globally optimize the contact center performance. We have 17 […]

It’s not so hard to move away from hypothesis testing and toward a Bayesian approach of “embracing variation and accepting uncertainty.”

There’s been a lot of discussion, here and elsewhere, of the problems with null hypothesis significance testing, p-values, deterministic decisions, type 1 error rates, and all the rest. And I’ve recommended that people switch to a Bayesian approach, “embracing variation and accepting uncertainty,” as demonstrated (I hope) in my published applied work. But we recently […]

Annals of Spam

I’ve recently been getting a ton of spam—something like 200 messages a day in my inbox! The Columbia people tell me that soon we’ll be switching to a new mail server that will catch most of these, but for now I have to spend a couple minutes every day just going thru and flagging them […]

“Scalable Bayesian Inference with Hamiltonian Monte Carlo” (Michael Betancourt’s talk this Thurs at Columbia)

Scalable Bayesian Inference with Hamiltonian Monte Carlo Despite the promise of big data, inferences are often limited not by sample size but rather by systematic effects. Only by carefully modeling these effects can we take full advantage of the data—big data must be complemented with big models and the algorithms that can fit them. One […]

“Study showing that humans have some psychic powers caps Daryl Bem’s career”

On the webpage of Russ Roberts’s interview with me, I happened to come across this article from the Cornell Chronicle, Dec. 6, 2010: Study showing that humans have some psychic powers caps Daryl Bem’s career By George Lowery It took eight years and nine experiments with more 1,000 participants, but the results offer evidence that […]

Life imitates art

I hate to interrupt our discussion of traffic deaths, but this is important. . . . Someone pointed me to this news article, “A Retiree Discovers an Elusive Math Proof,” and I noticed this sentence: Not knowing LaTeX, the word processer of choice in mathematics, he typed up his calculations in Microsoft Word . . […]

No evidence that providing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants in California decreases traffic safety

So. A reporter asked me what I thought of this article, “Providing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants in California improves traffic safety,” by Hans Lueders, Jens Hainmueller, and Duncan Lawrence. It’s embargoed! so I’m not supposed to post anything on it until now. From the abstract: We examine the short-term effects of . . . […]

My interview on EconTalk, and some other podcasts and videos

Russ Roberts recently interviewed me for his EconTalk podcast. We talked about social science and the garden of forking paths. Roberts was also going to talk with me about Case and Deaton, but we ran out of time. Whenever I announce a talk, people ask in comments if it will be streamed or recorded. Most […]

Gilovich doubles down on hot hand denial

A correspondent pointed me to this Freaknomics radio interview with Thomas Gilovich, one of the authors of that famous “hot hand” paper from 1985, “Misperception of Chance Processes in Basketball.” Here’s the key bit from the Freakonomics interview: DUBNER: Right. The “hot-hand notion” or maybe the “hot-hand fallacy.” GILOVICH: Well, everyone who’s ever played the […]

Move along, nothing to see here

I don’t really want to go into details on this one as our paper is under review at a journal, but the short story is that my colleagues and I have conducted replications of a high-profile psychology study. Not all our replications had results that made sense, and so from a perfectly reasonable Bayesian perspective […]

Running Stan with external C++ code

Ben writes: Starting with the 2.13 release, it is much easier to use external C++ code in a Stan program. This vignette briefly illustrates how to do so.

Prediction model for fleet management

Chang writes: I am working on a fleet management system these days: basically, I am trying to predict the usage ‘y’ of our fleet in a zip code in the future. We have some factors ‘X’, such as number of active users, number of active merchants etc. If I can fix the time horizon, the […]

Aggregate age-adjusted trends in death rates for non-Hispanic whites and minorities in the U.S.

Following up on our recent Slate article, Jonathan Auerbach made some graphs of mortality rate trends by sex, ethnicity, and age group, aggregating over the entire country. Earlier we’d graphed the trends within each state but there was so much going on there, it was hard to see the big picture. All our graphs are […]


I got this email from a journalist: This seems . . . irresponsible to me. Particularly: For the first 100 years that meteorologists kept weather records at Central Park, from 1869 through 1996, they recorded just two snowstorms that dumped 20 inches or more. But since 1996, counting this week’s storm, there have been six. […]