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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

There’s No Such Thing As Unbiased Estimation. And It’s a Good Thing, Too.

Following our recent post on econometricians’ traditional privileging of unbiased estimates, there were a bunch of comments echoing the challenge of teaching this topic, as students as well as practitioners often seem to want the comfort of an absolute standard such as best linear unbiased estimate or whatever. Commenters also discussed the tradeoff between bias […]

“The general problem I have with noninformatively-derived Bayesian probabilities is that they tend to be too strong.”

We interrupt our usual programming of mockery of buffoons to discuss a bit of statistical theory . . . Continuing from yesterday‘s quotation of my 2012 article in Epidemiology: Like many Bayesians, I have often represented classical confidence intervals as posterior probability intervals and interpreted one-sided p-values as the posterior probability of a positive effect. […]

The feather, the bathroom scale, and the kangaroo

Here’s something I wrote in the context of one of those “power = .06″ studies: My criticism of the ovulation-and-voting study is ultimately quantitative. Their effect size is tiny and their measurement error is huge. My best analogy is that they are trying to use a bathroom scale to weigh a feather—and the feather is […]

Diederik Stapel in the news, again

Bikes . . . have “become the most common mode of transportation for criminals.” OK, that’s just ethnic profiling of Dutch people. I think they’re just gonna put the whole country on lockdown.

How do data and experiments fit into a scientific research program?

I was talking with someone today about various “dead on arrival” research programs we’ve been discussing here for the past few years: I’m talking about topics such beauty and sex ratios of children, or ovulation and voting, or ESP—all of which possibly represent real phenomena and could possibly be studied in a productive way, just […]

A silly little error, of the sort that I make every day

Ummmm, running Stan, testing out a new method we have that applies EP-like ideas to perform inference with aggregate data—it’s really cool, I’ll post more on it once we’ve tried everything out and have a paper that’s in better shape—anyway, I’m starting with a normal example, a varying-intercept, varying-slope model where the intercepts have population […]

Outside pissing in

Coral Davenport writes in the New York Times: Mr. Tribe, 73, has been retained to represent Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal company, in its legal quest to block an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants . . . Mr. Tribe likened the climate change […]

Round of 8 bracket; Ed Wood (3) vs. Thomas Hobbes; Philip K. Dick (2) vs. Jane Austen

Paul Davidson sends along the updated bracket, along with the comment that the writers seem to be doing very well. True! The 8 remaining contestants include 5 writers (along with one comedian, one philosopher, and one cult figure). Yesterday we had no competition because I was afraid that people would not take it seriously on […]

There are 5 ways to get fired from Caesars: (1) theft, (2) sexual harassment, (3) running an experiment without a control group, (4) keeping a gambling addict away from the casino, and (5) chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings

We first encountered the famous casino operator in February, 2011, when Michael Schrage was hyping the data-driven philosophy of its CEO, Gary Loveman, in Technology Review. Here’s a typical bit from the article: Schrage: What do you like to tell your academic colleagues about the challenges of real-world experimentation and innovation? Loveman: Honestly, my only […]

Enough with the replication police

Can’t those shameless little bullies just let scientists do their research in peace? If a hypothesis test is statistically significant and a result is published in a real journal, that should be enough for any self-styled skeptic. Can you imagine what might happen if any published result could be questioned—by anybody? You’d have serious psychology […]