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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Statistics category.

“Schools of statistical thoughts are sometimes jokingly likened to religions. This analogy is not perfect—unlike religions, statistical methods have no supernatural content and make essentially no demands on our personal lives. Looking at the comparison from the other direction, it is possible to be agnostic, atheistic, or simply live one’s life without religion, but it is not really possible to do statistics without some philosophy.”

This bit is perhaps worth saying again, especially given the occasional trolling on the internet by people who disparage their ideological opponents by calling them “religious” . . . So here it is: Sometimes the choice of statistical philosophy is decided by convention or convenience. . . . In many settings, however, we have freedom […]

The Notorious N.H.S.T. presents: Mo P-values Mo Problems

A recent discussion between commenters Question and Fernando captured one of the recurrent themes here from the past year. Question: The problem is simple, the researchers are disproving always false null hypotheses and taking this disproof as near proof that their theory is correct. Fernando: Whereas it is probably true that researchers misuse NHT, the […]

Am I too negative?

For background, you can start by reading my recent article, Is It Possible to Be an Ethicist Without Being Mean to People? and then a blog post, Quality over Quantity, by John Cook, who writes: At one point [Ed] Tufte spoke more generally and more personally about pursuing quality over quantity. He said most papers […]

The most-cited statistics papers ever

Robert Grant has a list. I’ll just give the ones with more than 10,000 Google Scholar cites: Cox (1972) Regression and life tables: 35,512 citations. Dempster, Laird, Rubin (1977) Maximum likelihood from incomplete data via the EM algorithm: 34,988 Bland & Altman (1986) Statistical methods for assessing agreement between two methods of clinical measurement: 27,181 […]

Creating a Lenin-style democracy

Mark Palko explains why a penalty for getting the wrong answer on a test (the SAT, which is used in college admissions and which is used in the famous 8 schools example) is not a “penalty for guessing.” Then the very next day he catches this from Todd Balf in the New York Times Magazine:

Beyond the Valley of the Trolls

In a further discussion of the discussion about the discussion of a paper in Administrative Science Quarterly, Thomas Basbøll writes: I [Basbøll] feel “entitled”, if that’s the right word (actually, I’d say I feel privileged), to express my opinions to anyone who wants to listen, and while I think it does say something about an […]

Random matrices in the news

From 2010: Mark Buchanan wrote a cover article for the New Scientist on random matrices, a heretofore obscure area of probability theory that his headline writer characterizes as “the deep law that shapes our reality.” It’s interesting stuff, and he gets into some statistical applications at the end, so I’ll give you my take on it. But […]

“I have no idea who Catalina Garcia is, but she makes a decent ruler”

Best blog comment ever, following up on our post, How tall is Jon Lee Anderson?: Based on this picture: he appears to be fairly tall. But the perspective makes it hard to judge. Based on this picture: he appears to be about 9-10 inches taller than Catalina Garcia. But how tall is Catalina […]

Problematic interpretations of confidence intervals

Rink Hoekstra writes: A couple of months ago, you were visiting the University of Groningen, and after the talk you gave there I spoke briefly with you about a study that I conducted with Richard Morey, Jeff Rouder and Eric-Jan Wagenmakers. In the study, we found that researchers’  knowledge of how to interpret a confidence interval […]

The maximal information coefficient

Justin Kinney writes: I wanted to let you know that the critique Mickey Atwal and I wrote regarding equitability and the maximal information coefficient has just been published. We discussed this paper last year, under the heading, Too many MC’s not enough MIC’s, or What principles should govern attempts to summarize bivariate associations in large […]