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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

The “scientific surprise” two-step

During the past year or so, we’ve been discussing a bunch of “Psychological Science”-style papers in which dramatic claims are made based on somewhat open-ended analysis of small samples with noisy measurements. One thing that comes up in some of these discussions is that the people performing the studies say that they did not fish […]

If it was good enough for Martin Luther King and Laurence Tribe . . .

People keep pointing me to this. P.S. I miss the old days when people would point me to bad graphs.

“Building on theories used to describe magnets, scientists have put together a model that captures something very different . . .”

There’s a story that (some) physicists and science reporters seem to like, which is the idea that some clever mathematician or physicist can derive universal laws of social behavior. It’s time to tell you all: Hari Seldon never existed. Here’s what I think of these stories of physicists who discover the laws of society. I […]

D&D 5e: Probabilities for Advantage and Disadvantage

The new rules for D&D 5e (formerly known as D&D Next) are finally here: Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition: Basic Rules D&D 5e introduces a new game mechanic, advantage and disadvantage. Basic d20 Rules Usually, players roll a 20-sided die (d20) to resolve everyting from attempts at diplomacy to hitting someone with a sword. Each […]

Hey—this is a new kind of spam!

Ya think they’ll never come up with something new, and then this comes along:

Just wondering

It would be bad news if a student in the class of Laurence Tribe or Alan Dershowitz or Ian Ayres or Edward Wegman or Matthew Whitaker or Karl Weick or Frank Fischer were to hand in an assignment that is obviously plagiarized copied from another source without attribution. Would the prof have the chutzpah to […]

Scott Adams blogging

Some of my commenters (you know who you are) demand more Scott-Adams-related content. So I went over to the Dilbert blog and found two interesting recent items: The Pivot: I’m not particularly interested in the topic (rich guys getting richer) but Adams usefully deploys statistical thinking in this one (“Success simply can’t be predicted to […]

Kristof/Brooks update: NYT columnists correct their mistakes!

Who will issue a correction first? Nicholas Kristof, who uncritically cited the hurricane/himmicane paper which appeared in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences but then was debunked in a stunning round of post-publication review? David Brooks, who botched some historical economic statistics and, in an unrelated incident, uncritically cited some education statistics […]

“Statistical chemotherapy”: Jeremy Freese adds a new item to the lexicon!

In the context of reporting the latest on hurricanes/himmicanes, Freese comes up with a new one for the lexicon. Considering the latest manipulations performed by the hurricanes/himmicanes people, the sociologist writes: Like statistical chemotherapy, even though it slightly poisons their key result, it still leaves it alive just below the conventional statistical cutoff (p = […]

Hurricanes/himmicanes extra: Again with the problematic nature of the scientific publication process

Jeremy Freese has the story. To me, the sad thing is not that people who don’t understand statistics are doing research. After all, statistics is hard, and to require statistical understanding of all quantitative researchers would be impossible to enforce in any case. Indeed, if anything, one of the goals of the statistical profession is […]