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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Science category.


Govind Manian writes: I wanted to pass along a fragment from Lichtenberg’s Waste Books — which I am finding to be great stone soup — that reminded me of God is in Every Leaf: To the wise man nothing is great and nothing small…I believe he could write treatises on keyholes that sounded as weighty […]

“What Can we Learn from the Many Labs Replication Project?”

Aki points us to this discussion from Rolf Zwaan: The first massive replication project in psychology has just reached completion (several others are to follow). . . . What can we learn from the ManyLabs project? The results here show the effect sizes for the replication efforts (in green and grey) as well as the […]

The Washington Post reprints university press releases without editing them

Somebody points me to this horrifying exposé by Paul Raeburn on a new series by the Washington Post where they reprint press releases as if they are actual news. And the gimmick is, the reason why it’s appearing on this blog, is that these are university press releases on science stories. What could possibly go […]

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Are we becoming more tolerant of nepotism? Republicans have a 54 percent chance of taking the Senate The denominator fallacy rears its ugly head How better educated whites are driving political polarization Controversial claims about marriage promotion break the statistical rules of evidence The importance of knowing a dodo is a bird

Discussion on preregistration of research studies

Chris Chambers and I had an enlightening discussion the other day at the blog of Rolf Zwaan, regarding the Garden of Forking Paths (go here and scroll down through the comments). Chris sent me the following note: I’m writing a book at the moment about reforming practices in psychological research (focusing on various bad practices […]

“Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field”

Two different people pointed me to this article by Vlastimil Hart et al. in the journal Frontiers in Zoology:


There’s lots of overlap but I put each paper into only one category.  Also, I’ve included work that has been published in 2013 as well as work that has been completed this year and might appear in 2014 or later.  So you can can think of this list as representing roughly two years’ work. Political […]

Using randomized incentives as an instrument for survey nonresponse?

I received the following question: Is there a classic paper on instrumenting for survey non-response? some colleagues in public health are going to carry out a survey and I wonder about suggesting that they build in a randomization of response-encouragement (e.g. offering additional $ to a subset of those who don’t respond initially). Can you […]

Replication backlash

Raghuveer Parthasarathy pointed me to an article in Nature by Mina Bissell, who writes, “The push to replicate findings could shelve promising research and unfairly damage the reputations of careful, meticulous scientists.” I can see where she’s coming from: if you work hard day after day in the lab, it’s gotta be a bit frustrating […]

Whither the “bet on sparsity principle” in a nonsparse world?

Rob Tibshirani writes: Hastie et al. (2001) coined the informal “Bet on Sparsity” principle. The l1 methods assume that the truth is sparse, in some basis. If the assumption holds true, then the parameters can be efficiently estimated using l1 penalties. If the assumption does not hold—so that the truth is dense—then no method will […]