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Archive of posts filed under the Literature category.

Wikipedia is the best

“It is not readily apparent whether Boo-Boo is a juvenile bear with a precocious intellect or simply an adult bear who is short of stature.”

“History is the prediction of the present”

Ethan Bolker sent me an email with the above title and wrote: That’s the first sentence of a Louis Menand book review in the March 30 New Yorker. It touches on some ideas you play with. If you haven’t seen it, you might put it on your (long?) queue of things to read, maybe blog […]

What’s the worst joke you’ve ever heard?

When I say worst, I mean worst. A joke with no redeeming qualities. Here’s my contender, from the book “1000 Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids”: – Knock Knock. – Who’s there? – Ann – Ann who? – An apple fell on my head. There’s something beautiful about this one. It’s the clerihew of jokes. Zero cleverness. […]

Objects of the class “Foghorn Leghorn”

Reprinting a classic from 2010: The other day I saw some kids trying to tell knock-knock jokes, The only one they really knew was the one that goes: Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana? Banana who? Knock knock. Who’s there? Banana? Banana who? Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say […]

Bob Carpenter’s favorite books on GUI design and programming

Bob writes: I would highly recommend two books that changed the way I thought about GUI design (though I’ve read a lot of them): * Jeff Johnson. GUI Bloopers. I read the first edition in book form and the second in draft form (the editor contacted me based on my enthusiastic Amazon feedback, which was […]

Apology to George A. Romero

This came in the email one day last year: Good Afternoon Mr. Gelman, I am reaching out to you on behalf of Pearson Education who would like to license an excerpt of text from How Many Zombies Do You Know? for the following, upcoming textbook program: Title: Writing Today Author: Richard Johnson-Sheehan and Charles Paine […]

Eccentric mathematician

I just read this charming article by Lee Wilkinson’s brother on a mathematician named Yitang Zhang. Zhang recently gained some fame after recently proving a difficult theorem, and he seems to be a quite unusual, but likable, guy. What I liked about Wilkinson’s article is how it captured Zhang’s eccentricities with affection but without condescension. […]

Statistical significance, practical significance, and interactions

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: interaction is one of the key underrated topics in statistics. I thought about this today (OK, a couple months ago, what with our delay) when reading a post by Dan Kopf on the exaggeration of small truths. Or, to put it another way, statistically significant but […]

These are the statistics papers you just have to read

Here. And here. Just kidding. Here’s the real story. Susanna Makela writes: A few of us want to start a journal club for the statistics PhD students. The idea is to read important papers that we might not otherwise read, maybe because they’re not directly related to our area of research/we don’t have time/etc. What […]

In search of the elusive loop of plagiarism

OK, here’s a research project for you. From this recent blog comment, I learned about Mustapha Marrouchi, a professor of literature who has plagiarized from various writers, including the noted academic entertainer Slavoj Zizek. Amusing, given that Zizek himself has been caught plagiarizing. Zizek copied from Stanley Hornbeck. Did Hornbeck plagiarize from anyone else? Probably […]