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Archive of posts filed under the Uncategorized category.

Why is it so hard for them to acknowledge a correction?

Anne Case (as quoted by Jesse Singal): We spent a year working on this paper, sweating out every number, sweating out over what we were doing, and then to see people blogging about it in real time — that’s not the way science really gets done. . . . And so it’s a little hard […]

Don’t put your whiteboard behind your projection screen

Daniel, Andrew, and I are on our second day of teaching, and like many places, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has all their classrooms set up with a whiteboard placed directly behind a projection screen. This gives us a sliver of space to write on without pulling the screen up and down. If you have any say in […]

Evaluating the Millennium Villages Project

I’m a postdoc working with Andy and Jeff Sachs on the evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project, a ten-year economic development project operating in ten sub-Saharan African countries. Our evaluation protocol was recently accepted by The Lancet (full text here, and the accompanying technical paper here). We welcome your thoughts!

Are you ready to go fishing in the data lake?

While Andrew is trying to get someone to make a t-shirt design “Gone fishing”, someone else thinks fishing is one of the “big data trends in 2015”. This advertisement by some company keeps re-appearing in my twitter feed.

On deck this week

Mon: “Unbiasedness”: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. [My talk tomorrow in the Princeton economics department] Martin Luther King (2) vs. Sigmund Freud Tues: “A small but growing collection of studies suggest X” . . . huh? Aristotle (3) vs. Stewart Lee Wed: The axes […]

Philip K. Dick (2) vs. Jean Baudrillard

For yesterday, I was gonna go with Vincent, based on X’s comment: In addition to his unique painting style and very special life, van Gogh was highly literate, as shown through the 844 letters from him that are available today. X also made a missing-body-part joke, which I generally don’t think is so cool but, […]

Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes

Yesterday‘s winner is Chris Rock. “There’s math. And then everything else is debatable.” And now, for today, we have a misanthropists’ version of yesterday’s contest: the grumpy comedian battling it out with the consummate realist political philosopher. Nasty, brutish, and short, indeed. It’s a bit scary how appropriate this matchup is, considering they were all […]

On deck this week

Mon: James Watson sez: Cancer cure is coming in minus 14 years! Chris Rock (3) vs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Tues: Bayesian survival analysis with horseshoe priors—in Stan! Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes Wed: VB-Stan: Black-box black-box variational Bayes Jesus (1) vs. Leo Tolstoy Thurs: Another example of why centering predictors can be good idea Mohandas […]

What to graph, not just how to graph it

Robin Gong writes: While we’re on the topic of visualization, I’ve been puzzled by a more general question and I’m unsure where it fits in actually. There seem to be two parts to a good visualization practice, and in our class we’ve been focusing more on one of them, that is “how to get my […]

Statistical distribution of incomes in different countries, and a great plot

This post is by Phil Price. This article in the New York Times is pretty good, and the graphics are excellent…especially the interactive graphic halfway down, entitled “American Incomes Are Losing Their Edge, Except at the Top” (try mousing over the gray lines and see what happens). The plot attempts to display the statistical distribution […]

Shamer shaming

This post is by Phil Price. I can’t recall when I first saw “shaming” used in its currently popular sense. I remember noting “slut shaming” and “fat shaming” but did they first become popular two years ago? Three? At any rate, “shaming” is now everywhere…and evidently it’s a very bad thing. When I first saw […]

If you have a 45% chance of winning, is it “yours to lose”?

Nate Silver gives Brazil a 45% chance of winning the World Cup, with only Argentina and Germany having more than a 10% chance. My gut feeling is that that’s a bit high, but I’m no expert. What I find striking, though, is that the headline says it’s “Brazil’s to lose.” Huh? If we take Silver’s […]

I hate polynomials

A recent discussion with Mark Palko [scroll down to the comments at this link] reminds me that I think that polynomials are way way overrated, and I think a lot of damage has arisen from the old-time approach of introducing polynomial functions as a canonical example of linear regressions (for example). There are very few […]

Buzzfeed, Porn, Kansas…That Can’t Be Good

This post is by David K. Park and courtesy of Alex Palen Ellis… Thought you might find this funny: Buzzfeed set out to study porn consumption versus the red/blue political spectrum. And they failed miserably. An article form outlines six major fallacies Buzzfeed committed, the best of which resulted in the Kansas effect: “Pornhub’s writeup omitted […]

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

This post is by Phil, and I’m writing about the slow pace of change in 21st-century America. [Note added later: at the time that I wrote this, I was unaware that a year-and-a-half ago Andrew had written a similar post on the theme. I suspect I, and perhaps most of this blog’s readers, missed it […]

Thinking of doing a list experiment? Here’s a list of reasons why you should think again

Someone wrote in: We are about to conduct a voting list experiment. We came across your comment recommending that each item be removed from the list. Would greatly appreciate it if you take a few minutes to spell out your recommendation in a little more detail. In particular: (a) Why are you “uneasy” about list […]

Recently in the sister blog

This would make Jean Piaget very happy: CenturyLink Arena in Boise, also home to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA’s D-League, is facing a potential class-action lawsuit from four fans, alleging that the arena management company defrauded fans by offering taller-but-thinner large-size cups that hold the same 16 ounces as the shorter, wider small. “While […]

(R/Py/Cmd)Stan 2.1.0

We’re happy to announce the release of Stan C++, CmdStan, RStan, and PyStan 2.1.0.  This is a minor feature release, but it is also an important bug fix release.  As always, the place to start is the (all new) Stan web pages:   Major Bug in 2.0.0, 2.0.1 Stan 2.0.0 and Stan 2.0.1 introduced […]

You heard it here first: Intense exercise can suppress appetite

This post is by Phil Price. The New York Times recently ran an article entitled “How Exercise Can Help Us Eat Less,” which begins with this: “Strenuous exercise seems to dull the urge to eat afterward better than gentler workouts, several new studies show, adding to a growing body of science suggesting that intense exercise […]

Against optimism about social science

Social science research has been getting pretty bad press recently, what with the Excel buccaneers who didn’t know how to handle data with different numbers of observations per country, and the psychologist who published dozens of papers based on fabricated data, and the Evilicious guy who wouldn’t let people review his data tapes, etc etc. […]