Following up on yesterday’s post on mortality trends, I wanted to share with you a research note by actuary Gary Venter, “A Quick Look at Cohort Effects in US Male Mortality.” Venter produces this graph: And he writes: Cohort effects in mortality tend to be difficult to explain. Often strings of coincidences are invoked – […]

**Miscellaneous Statistics**category.

## If Yogi Berra could see this one, he’d spin in his grave: Regression modeling using a convenience sample

Kelvin Leshabari writes: We are currently planning to publish some few manuscripts on the outcome of treatment of some selected cancers occuring in children. The current dataset was derived from the natural admission process of those children with cancer found at a selected tertiary cancer centre. To the best of our understanding, our data are […]

## “Cancer Research Is Broken”

Michael Oakes pointed me to this excellent news article by Daniel Engber, subtitled, “There’s a replication crisis in biomedicine—and no one even knows how deep it runs.” Engber suggests that the replication problem in biomedical research is worse than the much-publicized replication problem in psychology. One reason, which I didn’t see Engber discussing, is financial […]

## “if you add a few more variables, you can do a better job at predictions”

Ethan Bolker points me to this news article by Neil Irwin: Robert J. Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University, has his own version that he argues explains inflation levels throughout recent decades. But it is hardly simple. Its prediction for inflation relies not just on joblessness but also on measures of productivity growth, six shifts […]

## Black Box Challenge

Georgy Cheremovskiy writes: I’m one of the organizers of an unusual reinforcement learning competition named Black Box Challenge. The conception is simple — one need to program an agent that can play a game with unknown rules. At each time step agent is given an environment state vector and has a few possible actions. The […]

## Best Disclaimer Ever

Paul Alper sends this in, from the article, “Ovarian cancer screening and mortality in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS): a randomised controlled trial,” by Ian J Jacobs, Usha Menon, Andy Ryan, Aleksandra Gentry-Maharaj, Matthew Burnell, Jatinderpal K Kalsi, Nazar N Amso, Sophia Apostolidou, Elizabeth Benjamin, Derek Cruickshank, Danielle N Crump, Susan […]

## A question about software for an online survey

Michael Smith writes: I have a research challenge and I was hoping you could spare a minute of your time. I hope it isn’t a bother—I first came across you when I saw your post on how psychology researchers can learn from statisticians. I figure even if you don’t know the answer to this question, […]

## He does mathematical modeling and is asking for career advice: wants to move from biology to social science

Rick Desper writes: I face some tough career choices. I have a background in mathematical modeling (got my Ph.D. in math from Rutgers back in the late ’90s) and spent several years working in the field of bioinformatics/computational biology (its name varies from place to place). I’ve worked on problems in modeling cancer progression and […]

*Stan Case Studies* Launches

There’s a new section of the Stan web site, with case studies meant to illustrate statistical methodologies, classes of models, application areas, statistical computation, and Stan programming. Stan Case Studies The first ten or so are up, including a grab bag of education models from Daniel Furr at U.C. Berkeley: Hierarchical Two-Parameter Logistic Item Response […]

## Swimsuit special: “A pure Bayesian or pure non-Bayesian is not forever doomed to use out-of-date methods, but at any given time the purist will be missing some of the most effective current techniques.”

Joshua Vogelstein points me to this paper by Gerd Gigerenzer and Julian Marewski, who write: The idol of a universal method for scientific inference has been worshipped since the “inference revolution” of the 1950s. Because no such method has ever been found, surrogates have been created, most notably the quest for significant p values. This […]

## Statistics is like basketball, or knitting

I had a recent exchange with a news reporter regarding one of those silly psychology studies. I took a look at the article in question—this time it wasn’t published in Psychological Science or PPNAS so it didn’t get saturation publicity—and indeed it was bad, laughably bad. They didn’t just have the garden of forking paths, […]

## Good advice can do you bad

Here are some examples of good, solid, reasonable statistical advice which can lead people astray. Example 1 Good advice: Statistical significance is not the same as practical significance. How it can mislead: People get the impression that a statistically significant result is more impressive if it’s larger in magnitude. Why it’s misleading: See this classic […]

## Le Menu Dit : a translation app

This post is by Phil Price. “Le Menu Dit” is an iPhone app that some friends and I wrote, which translates restaurant menus from English into French. (The name is French for “The Menu Says.”) The friends are Nathan Addy and another excellent programmer who would like to remain nameless for now. Here’s how the […]

## Bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt. I was ungeneralizable to myself.

One more rep. The new thing you just have to read, if you’re following the recent back-and-forth on replication in psychology, is this post at Retraction Watch in which Nosek et al. respond to criticisms from Gilbert et al. regarding the famous replication project. Gilbert et al. claimed that many of the replications in the […]

## No, this post is not 30 days early: *Psychological Science* backs away from null hypothesis significance testing

A few people pointed me to this editorial by D. Stephen Lindsay, the new editor of Psychological Science, a journal that in recent years has been notorious for publishing (and, even more notoriously, promoting) click-bait unreplicable dead-on-arrival noise-mining tea-leaf-reading research papers. It was getting so bad for awhile that they’d be publishing multiple such studies […]

## Fundamental difficulty of inference for a ratio when the denominator could be positive or negative

I happened to come across this post from 2011, which in turn is based on thoughts of mine from about 1993. It’s important and most of you probably haven’t seen it, so here it is again: Ratio estimates are common in statistics. In survey sampling, the ratio estimate is when you use y/x to estimate […]

## In general, hypothesis testing is overrated and hypothesis generation is underrated, so it’s fine for these data to be collected with exploration in mind.

In preparation for writing this news article, Kelly Servick asked me what I thought about the Kavli HUMAN Project (see here and here). Here’s what I wrote: The general idea of gathering comprehensive data seems reasonable to me. I’ve often made the point that careful data collection and measurement are important. Data analysis is the […]