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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

What’s the point of the margin of error?

So . . . the scheduled debate on using margin of error with non-probability panels never happened. We got it started but there was some problem with the webinar software and nobody put the participants could hear anything. The 5 minutes of conversation we did have was pretty good, though. I was impressed. The webinar […]

“Surely our first response to the disproof of a shocking-but-surprising claim should be to be un-shocked and un-surprised, not to try to explain away the refutation”

I came across the above quote the other day in an old post of mine, when searching for a Schrodinger’s cat image. The quote came up in the context of a statistical claim made by a political activist which was widely promoted and discussed but which turned out to be false. As I wrote at […]

When a study fails to replicate: let’s be fair and open-minded

In a recent discussion of replication in science (particularly psychology experiments), the question came up of how to interpret things when a preregistered replication reaches a conclusion different from the original study. Typically the original, published result is large and statistically significant, and the estimate from the replication is small and not statistically significant. One […]

Artist needed!

We have some great ideas but none of us can draw. We need your help with designs and art for any or all of these projects: 1. “Gone Fishing” T-shirt A person is standing in a boat, fishing. The lake is full, not of fish but of little numbers: “.14″, “.31″, “.08″, etc etc. And […]

A completely reasonable-sounding statement with which I strongly disagree

In the context of a listserv discussion about replication in psychology experiments, someone wrote: The current best estimate of the effect size is somewhere in between the original study and the replication’s reported value. This conciliatory, split-the-difference statement sounds reasonable, and it might well represent good politics in the context of a war over replications—but […]

Relaxed plagiarism standards as a way to keep the tuition dollars flowing from foreign students

Interesting comment thread at Basbøll’s blog regarding the difficult position of college writing instructors when confronted with blatant student plagiarism. Randall Westgren writes: I believe the easiest part of the patchwriting [plagiarism] phenomenon to understand is why writing instructors are leading the charge. Professor Howard is caught between a herd of high-value (i.e. full-tuition and […]

Stethoscope as weapon of mass distraction

Macartan Humphreys sent me a Shiny app demonstrating you can get statistical significance from just about any pattern of random numbers. I posted it, and, in response, commenter Rahul wrote: It sure is a cute demo but it’s a bit like insinuating a doctor’s stethoscope is useless by demonstrating ten ways in which it can […]

What to think about in 2015: How can the principles of statistical quality control be applied to statistics education

Happy new year! A few years ago, Eric Loken and I wrote, Statisticians: When we teach, we don’t practice what we preach: As statisticians, we give firm guidance in our consulting and research on the virtues of random sampling, randomized treatment assignments, valid and reliable measurements, and clear specification of the statistical procedures that will […]

It’s not just the confidence and drive to act. It’s having engraved inner criteria to guide action.

To slightly paraphrase the words of a New York Times columnist: I once read about a guy whose childhood was a steady calamity. He was afraid, unable to control his mind and self. But he became a writer and discovered he was magnificent at it. Through the act of writing, he could investigate his fears […]

Common sense and statistics

John Cook writes: Some physicists say that you should always have an order-of-magnitude idea of what a result will be before you calculate it. This implies a belief that such estimates are usually possible, and that they provide a sanity check for calculations. And that’s true in physics, at least in mechanics. In probability, however, […]