Following up on this post by Noah Smith on economics in science fiction, Mark Palko writes on economics in crime fiction. Just as almost all science fiction is ultimately about politics, one could say that just about all crime fiction is about economics. But if I had to pick one crime novelist with an economics [...]
I encourage you to check out our linked blogs. Here’s what they’re all about: Cognitive and Behavioral Science BPS Research Digest: I haven’t been following this one recently, but it has lots of good links, I should probably check it more often. There are a couple things that bother me, though. The blog is sponsored [...]
Upon reading this note by John Cook on continued fractions, I wrote: If you like continued fractions, I recommend you read the relevant parts of the classic Numerical Methods That Work. The details are probably obsolete but it’s fun reading (at least, if you think that sort of thing is fun to read). I then [...]
Anna Lena Phillips writes: I. Many people will not, of their own accord, look at a poem. II. Millions of people will, of their own accord, spend lots and lots of time looking at photographs of cats. III. Therefore, earlier this year, I concluded that the best strategy for increasing the number of viewers for [...]
. . . sounded exactly like a David Mamet character. I mean, exactly. Or like Eric Bogosian doing a David Mamet character. I only wish I had a good ear for dialogue and could get it down for you. OK, we don’t use the word fuck on this blog but I could substitute something like [...]
Now that you have some free time again, you’ll have to check out these books and tell us if they’re worth reading. Claire Kirch reports: Lizzie Skurnick Books launches in September with the release of Debutante Hill by Lois Duncan. The novel, which was originally published by Dodd, Mead, in 1958, has been out of [...]
Someone told me he ran into someone who said his goal was to be Tyler Cowen. OK, fine, it’s a worthy goal, but I don’t think it’s so easy.
Eric Novik does some open-source planning: My co-author, Jacki Buros, and I [Novik] have just signed a contract with Apress to write a book tentatively entitled “Predictive Analytics with R”, which will cover programming best practices, data munging, data exploration, and single and multi-level models with case studies in social media, healthcare, politics, marketing, and [...]
I was reading a book of Alfred Kazin’s letters—I don’t know if they’d be so interesting to someone who hadn’t already read a bunch of his stuff, but I found them pretty interesting—and came across this amazing bit, dated August 11, 1957: No, really, Al. Tell us what you really feel. This was in his [...]
The second best thing about this story (from Tom Scocca) is that Anderson spells “Tweets” with a capital T. But the best thing is that Scocca is numerate—he compares numbers on the logarithmic scale: Reminding Lake that he only had 169 Twitter followers was the saddest gambit of all. Jon Lee Anderson has 17,866 followers. [...]
This, from Jeremy Duns (previously encountered here), resonates with me: When I asked Thayer why he hadn’t cited Zeigler, he told me very forcefully that he had cited everything, and accused me of libelling him: this means, presumably, that he accused me of libel without checking his article and seeing the ‘citations’ weren’t there. And [...]
Watership Down, thick description, applied statistics, immutability of stories, and playing tennis with a net
For the past several months I’ve been circling around and around some questions related to the issue of how we build trust in statistical methods and statistical results. There are lots of examples but let me start with my own career. My most cited publications are my books and my methods papers, but I think [...]
“‘The distortion of a text,’ says Freud in Moses and Monotheism, ‘is not unlike a murder. The difficulty lies not in the execution of the deed but in doing away with the traces.’” — James Wood, in The Fun Stuff (2012).
This was a comment I made in response to a post from mathematician and science writer Jordan Ellenberg: In many ways, science is science communication. Our first audience is ourselves. It’s no joke that “writing it down” is often a key step in understanding. And anyone who’s tried to write a textbook or expository article [...]
The American Statistical Association has a blog called the Statistics Forum that I edit but haven’t been doing much with. Originally I thought we’d get a bunch of bloggers and have a topic each week or each month and get discussions from lots of perspectives. But it was hard to get people to keep contributing, [...]
Basbøll writes: I [Basbøll] have got to come up with forty things to say [in the next few months]. . . . What would you like me to write about?
New Year’s Day is an excellent time to look back at changes, not just in the past year, but in the past half-century. Mark Palko has an interesting post on the pace of changes in everyday life. We’ve been hearing a lot in the past few decades about how things are changing faster and faster. [...]
Johnny Carson had this great trick where, after a joke bombed, he’d do such a good double-take that he’d end up getting a huge laugh. This gimmick could never have worked as his sole shtick—at some point, Johnny had to tell some good jokes—but it was a reliable way to limit the downside. For the [...]
People keep asking me what I think of Nate’s book, and I keep replying that, as a blogger, I’m spoiled. I’m so used to getting books for free that I wouldn’t go out and buy a book just for the purpose of reviewing it. (That reminds me that I should post reviews of some of [...]
A tall thin young man came to my office today to talk about one of my current pet topics: stories and social science. I brought up Tom Wolfe and his goal of compressing an entire city into a single novel, and how this reminded me of the psychologists Kahneman and Tversky’s concept of “the law [...]
“A small group of mathematicians” Jenny Davidson points to this article by Krugman on Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. Given the silliness of the topic, Krugman’s piece is disappointingly serious (“Maybe the first thing to say about Foundation is that it’s not exactly science fiction – not really. Yes, it’s set in the future, there’s interstellar travel, [...]
I read the following under the headline, Behind a Flop, a Play(wright) Within a Play”: A stroll down West 45th Street in the theater district is all it takes to understand the contradictory fortunes facing David Mamet, for years the heavyweight of bare-knuckled American playwrights, as well as the producers who believe that loyalty to [...]
Basbøll: My aim is Socratic. I don’t want to help you become more knowledgeable. I want to help you better distinguish what you know from what you don’t know. Excellent point. Indeed, laying out what I do know and tracing the boundary of my ignorance, that’s what writing is all about for me.
“Ethics and Statistics” is descriptive but boring. It sounds like the textbook for a course which, unfortunately, nobody will take. “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics” is too unoriginal. “How to Lie, Cheat, and Steal With Statistics” is kind of ok, maybe? “Statistical Dilemmas”: maybe a bit too boring as well. “Knaves and Frauds of Statistics, [...]
Part 1. The ideal policy Basbøll, as always, gets right to the point: Andrew Gelman is not the plagiarism police because there is no such thing as the plagiarism police. But, he continues: There is, at any self-respecting university and any self-respecting academic journal, a plagiarism policy, and there sure as hell is a “morality” [...]