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Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

Weggy update: it just gets sadder and sadder

Uh oh, lots on research misconduct lately. Newest news is that noted Wikipedia-lifter Ed Wegman sued John Mashey, one of his critics, for $2 million dollars. Then he backed down and decided not to sue after all. Best quote from Mashey’s write-up: None of this made any sense to me, but then I am no […]

“I mean, what exact buttons do I have to hit?”

While looking for something else, I happened to come across this: Unfortunately there’s the expectation that if you start with a scientific hypothesis and do a randomized experiment, there should be a high probability of learning an enduring truth. And if the subject area is exciting, there should consequently be a high probability of publication […]

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 […]

Another disgraced primatologist . . . this time featuring “sympathetic dentists”

Shravan Vasishth points us to this news item from Luke Harding, “History of modern man unravels as German scholar is exposed as fraud”: Other details of the professor’s life also appeared to crumble under scrutiny. Before he disappeared from the university’s campus last year, Prof Protsch told his students he had examined Hitler’s and Eva […]

“In general I think these literatures have too much focus on data analysis and not enough on data collection.”

Mike Zyphur pointed me to an article appearing in Psychological Bulletin with a meta-analysis of ovulatory cycle effects: Title: Do Women’s Mate Preferences Change Across the Ovulatory Cycle? A Meta-Analytic Review Authors: Gildersleeve, K; Haselton, MG; Fales, MR Source: PSYCHOLOGICAL BULLETIN , 140 (5):1205-1259; SEP 2014 Abstract: Scientific interest in whether women experience changes across […]

“Academics should be made accountable for exaggerations in press releases about their own work”

Fernando Martel Garcia points me to this news article by Ben Goldacre: For anyone with medical training, mainstream media coverage of science can be an uncomfortable read. It is common to find correlational findings misrepresented as denoting causation, for example, or findings in animal studies confidently exaggerated to make claims about treatment for humans. But […]

In search of the elusive loop of plagiarism

OK, here’s a research project for you. From this recent blog comment, I learned about Mustapha Marrouchi, a professor of literature who has plagiarized from various writers, including the noted academic entertainer Slavoj Zizek. Amusing, given that Zizek himself has been caught plagiarizing. Zizek copied from Stanley Hornbeck. Did Hornbeck plagiarize from anyone else? Probably […]

Why I keep talking about “generalizing from sample to population”

Someone publishes some claim, some statistical comparison with “p less than .05” attached to it. My response is: OK, you see this pattern in the sample. Do you think it holds in the population? Why do I ask this? Why don’t I ask the more standard question: Do you really think this result is statistically […]

The plagiarist next door

In a comment on this chess-related post, Matt Gaffney pointed me to this wonderful page full of chess curiosities by Tim Krabbé. My nederlands is not what it used to be, but Krabbé has posted lots of material in English so that’s no problem. I started reading his “Open chess diary” (i.e., blog), it’s updated […]

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 […]