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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

The Syrian p-value that I didn’t bother to calculate

I posted something on the sister blog about the fake vote totals from the Syrian election. We know the numbers are fake from the official report, which reads: Speaker of the People’s Assembly, Mohammad Jihad al-Laham announced Wednesday that Dr. Bashar Hafez al-Assad won the post of the Syrian Arab Republic’s President for a new […]

A whole fleet of gremlins: Looking more carefully at Richard Tol’s twice-corrected paper, “The Economic Effects of Climate Change”

We had a discussion the other day of a paper, “The Economic Effects of Climate Change,” by economist Richard Tol. The paper came to my attention after I saw a notice from Adam Marcus that it was recently revised because of data errors. But after looking at the paper more carefully, I see a bunch […]

Big Data needs Big Model

Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis wrote this useful news article on the promise and limitations of “big data.” And let me add this related point: Big data are typically not random samples, hence the need for “big model” to map from sample to population. Here’s an example (with Wei Wang, David Rothschild, and Sharad Goel):

Nicholas Wade and the paradox of racism

The paradox of racism is that at any given moment, the racism of the day seems reasonable and very possibly true, but the racism of the past always seems so ridiculous.

Cause he thinks he’s so-phisticated

This story (“Yale tells students to keep Kissinger talk secret . . . ‘Dr. Kissinger’s visit to campus will not be publicized, so we appreciate your confidentiality…’”) reminds me of two things: – In the 1980s, I once went to a public lecture at Harvard by Kissinger protogé Ted Koppel, who indeed has that deep […]

Seth Roberts

I met Seth back in the early 1990s when we were both professors at the University of California. He sometimes came to the statistics department seminar and we got to talking about various things; in particular we shared an interest in statistical graphics. Much of my work in this direction eventually went toward the use […]

“If you are primarily motivated to make money, you . . . certainly don’t want to let people know how confused you are by something, or how shallow your knowledge is in certain areas. You want to project an image of mastery and omniscience.”

A reader writes in: This op-ed made me think of one your recent posts. Money quote: If you are primarily motivated to make money, you just need to get as much information as you need to do your job. You don’t have time for deep dives into abstract matters. You certainly don’t want to let […]

As the boldest experiment in journalism history, you admit you made a mistake

The pre-NYT David Brooks liked to make fun of the NYT. Here’s one from 1997: I’m not sure I’d like to be one of the people featured on the New York Times wedding page, but I know I’d like to be the father of one of them. Imagine how happy Stanley J. Kogan must have […]

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 […]

Is a steal really worth 9 points?

Theodore Vasiloudis writes: I’d like to bring your attention to this article by Benjamin Morris discussing the value of steals for the NBA. The author argues that a steal should be a highly sought after statistic as it equates to higher chances of victory and is very hard to replace when a player is injured. […]