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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

They know my email but they don’t know me

This came (unsolicited) in the inbox today (actually, two months ago; we’re on a delay, as you’re probably aware), subject line “From PWC – animations of CEO opinions for 2014″: Good afternoon, I wanted to see if the data my colleague David sent to you was of any interest. I have attached here additional animated […]

More bad news for the buggy-whip manufacturers

In a news article regarding difficulties in using panel surveys to measure the unemployment rate, David Leonhardt writes: The main factor is technology. It’s a major cause of today’s response-rate problems – but it’s also the solution. For decades, survey research has revolved around the telephone, and it’s worked very well. But Americans’ relationship with […]

He just ordered a translation from Diederik Stapel

Fernando Martel Garcia writes: So I am applying for a DC driver’s license and needed a translation of my Spanish license to show to the DMV. I go to and as I prepare to pay I see a familiar face in the bottom banner: It appears Stapel is one of their “over 15,000 dedicated […]

“It’s as if you went into a bathroom in a bar and saw a guy pissing on his shoes, and instead of thinking he has some problem with his aim, you suppose he has a positive utility for getting his shoes wet”

The notion of a geocentric universe has come under criticism from Copernican astronomy. . . . A couple months ago in a discussion of differences between econometrics and statistics, I alluded to the well-known fact that everyday uncertainty aversion can’t be explained by a declining marginal utility of money. What really bothers me—it’s been bothering […]

How Many Mic’s Do We Rip

Yakir Reshef writes: Our technical comment on Kinney and Atwal’s paper on MIC and equitability has come out in PNAS along with their response. Similarly to Ben Murrell, who also wrote you a note when he published a technical comment on the same work, we feel that they “somewhat missed the point.” Specifically: one statistic […]

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: