Jordan Ellenberg writes: Lots of people sharing this today. Isn’t this exactly the kind of situation where they should have done some kind of shrinkage towards the national mean, as in that thing you wrote about kidney cancer rates by county? i.e. you see, just as you might expect, the extreme values of “proportion of [...]
A moviegoing colleague writes: I just watched the movie Zero Dark Thirty about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. What struck me about it was: (1) Bayes theorem underlies the whole movie; (2) CIA top brass do not know Bayes theorem (at least as portrayed in the movie). Obviously one does not need to know [...]
That claim that Harvard admissions discriminate in favor of Jews? After seeing the statistics, I don’t see it.
A few months ago we discussed Ron Unz’s claim that Jews are massively overrepresented in Ivy League college admissions, not just in comparison to the general population of college-age Americans, but even in comparison to other white kids with comparable academic ability and preparation. Most of Unz’s article concerns admissions of Asian-Americans, and he also [...]
On this blog I’ve occasionally written about the problems that arise when economists act as amateur psychologists. But the problem can go the other way, too. For example, consider this blog by Berit Brogaard and Kristian Marlow (link from Abbas Raza). Brogaard and Marlow give several amusing stories about ripoffs (a restaurant that scams customers [...]
A few years ago I watched a bunch of Speed Racer cartoons with Phil in a movie theater in the early 90s. These were low-budget Japanese cartoons from the 60s that we loved as kids. From my adult perspective, the best parts were during the characters’ long drives, where you could see Japanese industrial scenes [...]
I remarked that If you’re havin’ electoral problems I feel bad for you son, I got 538 problems but partisan bias ain’t one, and it got such a strong reaction it caused me to rethink my entire approach to political blogging, so I followed up with, What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. In [...]
Russ Lyons points us to a discussion in Statistics in Medicine of the famous claims by Christakis and Fowler on the contagion of obesity etc. James O’Malley and Christakis and Fowler present the positive case. Andrew Thomas and Tyler VanderWeele present constructive criticism. Christakis and Fowler reply. Coincidentally, a couple weeks ago an epidemiologist was [...]
Americans (including me) don’t know much about other countries. Jeff Lax sent me to this blog post by Myrddin pointing out that Belgium has a higher murder rate than the rest of Western Europe. I have no particular take on this, but it’s a good reminder that other countries differ from each other. Here in [...]
The traditional system of scientific and scholarly publishing is breaking down in two different directions. On one hand, we are moving away from relying on a small set of journals as gatekeepers: the number of papers and research projects is increasing, the number of publication outlets is increasing, and important manuscripts are being posted on [...]
That controversial claim that high genetic diversity, or low genetic diversity, is bad for the economy
Kyle Peyton writes: I’m passing you this recent news article by Ewen Callaway in the hope that you will make a comment about the methodology on your blog. It’s generated some back and forth between the economics and science communities. I [Peyton] am very sceptical of the reductive approach taken by the economics profession generally, [...]
1. Congress vs. Nickelback: The real action is in the cross tabs: Conservatives are mean, liberals are big babies, and, if supporting an STD is what it takes to be a political moderate, I don’t want to be one. 2. How 2012 stacks up: The worst graph on record?: OK, not actually worse than this [...]
1. I have the least stressful job in America (duh) 2. B-school prof in a parody of short-term thinking 3. The academic clock 4. I guessed wrong 5. 2012 Conceptual Development Lab Newsletter
In the interview we discussed a couple months ago, Steven Levitt said: I [Levitt] voted for Obama [in 2008] because I wanted to tell my grandchildren that I voted for Obama. And I thought that he would be the greatest president in history. This surprised me. I’d assumed Levitt was a McCain supporter! Why? Because [...]
Tutu forecast and religion and torture (from the sister blog). P.S. For partisan balance, don’t forget this projection from 1961.
Zach Shahn saw this and writes: I just heard a talk by Peter Bartlett about model selection in “unlimited” data situations that essentially addresses this curve. He talks about the problem of model selection given a computational budget (rather than given a sample size). You can either use your computational budget to get more data [...]
After I posted this recent comment on a blog of Steven Pinker (see also here), we had the following exchange. I’m reposting it here (with Pinker’s agreement) not because we achieved any deep insights but because I thought it useful to reveal to people that so-called experts such as us are not so clear on [...]
Reacting to my recent post on Steven Pinker’s too-broad (in my opinion) speculations on red and blue states, Dan “cultural cognition” Kahan writes: Pinker is clearly right to note that mass political opinions on seemingly diverse issues cohere, and Andrew, I think, is way too quick to challenge this I [Kahan] could cite to billions [...]
Steven Pinker is a psychologist who writes on politics. His theories are interesting but are framed too universally to be valid
Psychology is a universal science of human nature, whereas political science is centered on the study of particular historical events and trends. Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that when a psychologist looks at politics, he presents ideas that are thought-provoking but are too general to quite work. This is fine; political scientists can then take [...]
From the sister blog, some reasons why the political reaction might be different this time.
Why aren’t Asians Republicans? For one thing, more than half of them live in California, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii
Conservative data cruncher Charles Murray asks, “Why aren’t Asians Republicans?”:
Reading these news articles that slam more and more nails into the (perhaps unfairly) already-dead reputation of Hewlett Packard executive Meg Whitman, I keep thinking: what if she’d won her election a couple years ago and was now governor or senator or whatever she was running for? Then nobody would care that her company was [...]
Tyler Cowen points to this news article by Lauren Sandler: Stunningly, the postponement of marriage and parenting — the factors that shrink the birth rate — is the very best predictor of a person’s politics in the United States, over even income and education levels, a Belgian demographer named Ron Lesthaeghe [and coauthor Lisa Neidert] [...]
From Alexandr Grigoryev: “Америка: «красная», «синяя» и «пурпурная».” Apparently my name is Эндрю Гелман. I had no idea that the Voice of America even existed anymore!
1. Oh no . . . Obama is doooooomed!!!!!!!!!!! (Don’t worry, it’s just Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen talking) 2. Red-blue maps for different slices of the population 3. Picasso paintings, moon rocks, and hand-written Beatles lyrics
At the sister blog, Henry writes about poll averaging and election forecasts. Henry writes that “These models need to crunch lots of polls, at the state and national level, if they’re going to provide good predictions.” Actually, you can get reasonable predictions from national-level forecasting models plus previous state-level election results, then when the election [...]