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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

The myth of the myth of the myth of the hot hand

Phil pointed me to this paper so I thought I probably better repeat what I wrote a couple years ago: 1. The effects are certainly not zero. We are not machines, and anything that can affect our expectations (for example, our success in previous tries) should affect our performance. 2. The effects I’ve seen are […]

Hipmunk worked

In the past I’ve categorized Hipmunk as a really cool flight-finder that doesn’t actually work, as worse than Expedia, and as graphics without content. So, I thought it would be only fair to tell you that I bought a flight the other day using Hipmunk and it gave me the same flight as Expedia but […]

How much time (if any) should we spend criticizing research that’s fraudulent, crappy, or just plain pointless?

I had a brief email exchange with Jeff Leek regarding our recent discussions of replication, criticism, and the self-correcting process of science. Jeff writes: (1) I can see the problem with serious, evidence-based criticisms not being published in the same journal (and linked to) studies that are shown to be incorrect. I have been mostly […]

Plagiarism, Arizona style

Last month a history professor sent me a note regarding plagiarism at Arizona State University: Matthew Whitaker, who had received an expedited promotion to full professor and was made Director of a new Center for the Study of Race and Democracy by Provost Elizabeth Capaldi and President Michael Crow, was charged by most of the […]

“Edlin’s rule” for routinely scaling down published estimates

A few months ago I reacted (see further discussion in comments here) to a recent study on early childhood intervention, in which researchers Paul Gertler, James Heckman, Rodrigo Pinto, Arianna Zanolini, Christel Vermeerch, Susan Walker, Susan M. Chang, and Sally Grantham-McGregor estimated that a particular intervention on young children had raised incomes on young adults […]


I received a few emails today on bloggable topics. Rather than expanding each response into a full post, I thought I’d just handle them all quickly.

There’s no need for you to read this one

I had an email exchange with Patrick Steigler the other day that amused me, so I’ll share it with you. Steigler started with the subject line “Taleb and STDEV vs. MAD” and the message: I came across and was wondering what your thoughts on the issue might be. My reply: How come they never […]

One-way street fallacy again! in reporting of research on brothers and sisters

There’s something satisfying about seeing the same error being made by commentators on the left and the right. In this case, we’re talking about the one-way street fallacy, which is the implicit assumption of unidirectionality in a setting that actually has underlying symmetry. 1. A month or so ago we reported on an op-ed by […]

History is too important to be left to the history professors, Part 2

Completely non-gay historian Niall Ferguson, a man who we can be sure would never be caught at a ballet or a poetry reading, informs us that the British decision to enter the first world war on the side of France and Belgium was “the biggest error in modern history.” Ummm, here are a few bigger […]

“Disappointed with your results? Boost your scientific paper”

This, sent in by Ben Bolker, is just tooooo funny. Click on the above image to see more clearly. In addition to the quote I used in the above title, there’s also this: +10.000 correlations/min Sooner than later, your future discovery will pop up. and this: The most relevant conclusions in your scientific paper are […]