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Guys, we need to talk. (Houston, we have a problem).

This post is by Phil Price. I’m posting it on Andrew’s blog without knowing exactly where he stands on this so it’s especially important for readers to note that this post is NOT BY ANDREW! Last week a prominent scientist, representing his entire team of researchers, appeared in widely distributed television interviews wearing a shirt […]

Statistical distribution of incomes in different countries, and a great plot

This post is by Phil Price. This article in the New York Times is pretty good, and the graphics are excellent…especially the interactive graphic halfway down, entitled “American Incomes Are Losing Their Edge, Except at the Top” (try mousing over the gray lines and see what happens). The plot attempts to display the statistical distribution […]

Shamer shaming

This post is by Phil Price. I can’t recall when I first saw “shaming” used in its currently popular sense. I remember noting “slut shaming” and “fat shaming” but did they first become popular two years ago? Three? At any rate, “shaming” is now everywhere…and evidently it’s a very bad thing. When I first saw […]

One of the worst infographics ever, but people don’t care?

This post is by Phil Price. Perhaps prompted by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, this infographic has been making the rounds: I think this is one of the worst I have ever seen. I don’t know where it came from, so I can’t give credit/blame where it’s due. Let’s put aside the numbers themselves – […]

As if we needed another example of lying with statistics and not issuing a correction: bike-share injuries

This post is by Phil Price A Washington Post article says “In the first study of its kind, researchers from Washington State University and elsewhere found  a 14 percent greater risk of head injuries to cyclists associated with cities that have bike share programs. In fact, when they compared raw head injury data for cyclists […]

If you have a 45% chance of winning, is it “yours to lose”?

Nate Silver gives Brazil a 45% chance of winning the World Cup, with only Argentina and Germany having more than a 10% chance. My gut feeling is that that’s a bit high, but I’m no expert. What I find striking, though, is that the headline says it’s “Brazil’s to lose.” Huh? If we take Silver’s […]

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

This post is by Phil, and I’m writing about the slow pace of change in 21st-century America. [Note added later: at the time that I wrote this, I was unaware that a year-and-a-half ago Andrew had written a similar post on the theme. I suspect I, and perhaps most of this blog’s readers, missed it […]

Everything I need to know about Bayesian statistics, I learned in eight schools.

This post is by Phil. I’m aware that there are some people who use a Bayesian approach largely because it allows them to provide a highly informative prior distribution based subjective judgment, but that is not the appeal of Bayesian methods for a lot of us practitioners. It’s disappointing and surprising, twenty years after my initial experiences, […]

You heard it here first: Intense exercise can suppress appetite

This post is by Phil Price. The New York Times recently ran an article entitled “How Exercise Can Help Us Eat Less,” which begins with this: “Strenuous exercise seems to dull the urge to eat afterward better than gentler workouts, several new studies show, adding to a growing body of science suggesting that intense exercise […]

There are no fat sprinters

This post is by Phil. A little over three years ago I wrote a post about exercise and weight loss in which I described losing a fair amount of weight due to (I believe) an exercise regime, with no effort to change my diet; this contradicted the prediction of studies that had recently been released. […]

The Great Race

This post is by Phil. Last summer my wife and I took a 3.5-month vacation that included a wide range of activities. When I got back, people would ask “what were the highlights or your trip?”, and I was somewhat at a loss: we had done so many things that were so different, many of […]

Data problems, coding errors…what can be done?

This post is by Phil A recent post on this blog discusses a prominent case of an Excel error leading to substantially wrong results from a statistical analysis. Excel is notorious for this because it is easy to add a row or column of data (or intermediate results) but forget to update equations so that […]

Subsidized driving

This post is by Phil. This DC Streets Blog post gives a concise summary of a report by “The Tax Foundation”. The money shot is here, a table that shows what fraction spending on roads in each state in the U.S. is covered by local, state, and federal gas taxes, tolls, registration fees, etc. (Click […]

When you SHARE poorly researched infographics…

Back when 50 miles was a long way

This post is by Phil. Michael Graham Richard has posted some great maps from the 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States; the maps show how long it took to get to various places in the U.S. from New York City in 1800, 1830, 1857, and 1930. (I wonder if the atlas […]

Write This Book

This post is by Phil Price. I’ve been preparing a review of a new statistics textbook aimed at students and practitioners in the “physical sciences,” as distinct from the social sciences and also distinct from people who intend to take more statistics courses. I figured that since it’s been years since I looked at an intro […]

How to Lie With Statistics example number 12,498,122

This post is by Phil Price. Bill Kristol notes that “Four presidents in the last century have won more than 51 percent of the vote twice: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan and Obama”. I’m not sure why Kristol, a conservative, is promoting the idea that Obama has a mandate, but that’s up to him. I’m more interested […]

We go to war with the data we have, not the data we want

This post is by Phil. Psychologists perform experiments on Canadian undergraduate psychology students and draws conclusions that (they believe) apply to humans in general; they publish in Science. A drug company decides to embark on additional trials that will cost tens of millions of dollars based on the results of a careful double-blind study….whose patients are […]

Help with this problem, win valuable prizes

                This post is by Phil. In the comments to an earlier post, I mentioned a problem I am struggling with right now. Several people mentioned having (and solving!) similar problems in the past, so this seems like a great way for me and a bunch of other […]

The more likely it is to be X, the more likely it is to be Not X?

This post is by Phil Price. A paper by Wood, Douglas, and Sutton looks at “Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories.”  Unfortunately the  subjects were 140 undergraduate psychology students, so one wonders how general the results are.  I found this sort of arresting: In Study 1 (n=137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her […]