Skip to content
Archive of posts filed under the Zombies category.

Stethoscope as weapon of mass distraction

Macartan Humphreys sent me a Shiny app demonstrating you can get statistical significance from just about any pattern of random numbers. I posted it, and, in response, commenter Rahul wrote: It sure is a cute demo but it’s a bit like insinuating a doctor’s stethoscope is useless by demonstrating ten ways in which it can […]

What to think about in 2015: How can the principles of statistical quality control be applied to statistics education

Happy new year! A few years ago, Eric Loken and I wrote, Statisticians: When we teach, we don’t practice what we preach: As statisticians, we give firm guidance in our consulting and research on the virtues of random sampling, randomized treatment assignments, valid and reliable measurements, and clear specification of the statistical procedures that will […]

It’s not just the confidence and drive to act. It’s having engraved inner criteria to guide action.

To slightly paraphrase the words of a New York Times columnist: I once read about a guy whose childhood was a steady calamity. He was afraid, unable to control his mind and self. But he became a writer and discovered he was magnificent at it. Through the act of writing, he could investigate his fears […]

Common sense and statistics

John Cook writes: Some physicists say that you should always have an order-of-magnitude idea of what a result will be before you calculate it. This implies a belief that such estimates are usually possible, and that they provide a sanity check for calculations. And that’s true in physics, at least in mechanics. In probability, however, […]

Hey, I just wrote my April Fool’s post!

(scheduled to appear in a few months, of course). I think you’ll like it. Or hate it. Depending on who you are.

Wegman Frey Hauser Weick Fischer Dr. Anil Potti Stapel comes clean

Thomas Leeper points me to Diederik Stapel’s memoir, “Faking Science: A True Story of Academic Fraud,” translated by Nick Brown and available online for free download.

The Fallacy of Placing Confidence in Confidence Intervals

Richard Morey writes: On the tail of our previous paper about confidence intervals, showing that researchers tend to misunderstand the inferences one can draw from CIs, we [Morey, Rink Hoekstra, Jeffrey Rouder, Michael Lee, and EJ Wagenmakers] have another paper that we have just submitted which talks about the theory underlying inference by CIs. Our […]

The inclination to deny all variation

One thing we’ve been discussing a lot lately is the discomfort many people—many researchers—feel about uncertainty. This was particularly notable in the reaction of psychologists Jessica Tracy and Alec Beall to our “garden of forking paths” paper, but really we see it all over: people find some pattern in their data and they don’t even […]

Don’t believe everything you read in the (scientific) papers

A journalist writes in with a question: This study on [sexy topic] is getting a lot of attention, and I wanted to see if you had a few minutes to look it over for me . . . Basically, I am somewhat skeptical of [sexy subject area] explanations of complex behavior, and in this case […]

Buggy-whip update

On 12 Aug I sent the following message to Michael Link, president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.  (I could not find Link’s email on the AAPOR webpage but I did some googling and found an email address for him at nielsen.com.): Dear Dr. Link:A colleague pointed me to a statement released under your […]