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“Fudged statistics on the Iraq War death toll are still circulating today”

Mike Spagat shares this story entitled, “Fudged statistics on the Iraq War death toll are still circulating today,” which discusses problems with a paper published in a scientific journal in 2006, and errors that a reporter inadvertently included in a recent news article. Spagat writes: The Lancet could argue that if [Washington Post reporter Philip] […]

“Ivy League Football Saw Large Reduction in Concussions After New Kickoff Rules”

I noticed this article in the newspaper today: A simple rule change in Ivy League football games has led to a significant drop in concussions, a study released this week found. After the Ivy League changed its kickoff rules in 2016, adjusting the kickoff and touchback lines by just five yards, the rate of concussions […]

Strategic choice of where to vote in November

Darcy Kelley sends along a link to this site, Make My Vote Matter, in which you can enter two different addresses where you might vote, and it will tell you in which (if any) of these addresses has elections that are predicted to be close. The site is aimed at students; according to the site, […]

“Six Signs of Scientism”: where I disagree with Haack

I came across this article, “Six Signs of Scientism,” by philosopher Susan Haack from 2009. I think I’m in general agreement with Haack’s views—science has made amazing progress over the centuries but “like all human enterprises, science is ineradicably is fallible and imperfect. At best its progress is ragged, uneven, and unpredictable; moreover, much scientific […]

David Weakliem points out that both economic and cultural issues can be more or less “moralized.”

David Weakliem writes: Thomas Edsall has a piece in which he cites a variety of work saying that Democratic and Republican voters are increasingly divided by values. He’s particularly concerned with “authoritarianism,” which is an interesting issue, but one I’ll save for another post. What I want to talk about here is the idea that […]

“Moral cowardice requires choice and action.”

Commenter Chris G pointed out this quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates: Moral cowardice requires choice and action. It demands that its adherents repeatedly look away, that they favor the fanciful over the plain, myth over history, the dream over the real. Coates was writing about the defenders of the Confederate flag. Coates points to this quotation […]

Cool postdoc position in Arizona on forestry forecasting using tree ring models!

Margaret Evans sends in this cool job ad: Two-Year Post Doctoral Fellowship in Forest Ecological Forecasting, Data Assimilation A post-doctoral fellowship is available in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (University of Arizona) to work on an NSF Macrosystems Biology-funded project assimilating together tree-ring and forest inventory data to analyze patterns and drivers of forest productivity […]

My talk tomorrow (Tues) 4pm in the Biomedical Informatics department (at 168th St)

The talk is 4-5pm in Room 200 on the 20th floor of the Presbyterian Hospital Building, Columbia University Medical Center. I’m not sure what I’m gonna talk about. It’ll depend on what people are interested in discussing. Here are some possible topics: – The failure of null hypothesis significance testing when studying incremental changes, and […]

Bob Erikson on the 2018 Midterms

A couple months ago I wrote about party balancing in the midterm elections and pointed to the work of Joe Bafumi, Bob Erikson, and Chris Wlezien. Erikson recently sent me this note on the upcoming midterm elections: Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency has sparked far more than the usual interest in the next midterm elections as […]

What do you do when someone says, “The quote is, this is the exact quote”—and then misquotes you?

Ezra Klein, editor of the news/opinion website Vox, reports on a recent debate that sits in the center of the Venn diagram of science, journalism, and politics: Sam Harris, host of the Waking Up podcast, and I [Klein] have been going back and forth over an interview Harris did with The Bell Curve author Charles […]

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science Regrets Its Decision to Hire Cannibal P-hacker as Writer-at-Large

It is not easy to admit our mistakes, particularly now, given the current media climate and general culture of intolerance on college campuses. Still, we feel that we owe our readers an apology. We should not have hired Cannibal P-hacker, an elegant scientist and thinker who, we have come to believe, after serious consideration, does […]

“Imaginary gardens with real data”

“Statistics” by Marianne Moore, almost I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle. Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in it after all, a place for the genuine. Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair that can rise if […]

(People are missing the point on Wansink, so) what’s the lesson we should be drawing from this story?

People pointed me to various recent news articles on the retirement from the Cornell University business school of eating-behavior researcher and retraction king Brian Wansink. I particularly liked this article by David Randall—not because he quoted me, but because he crisply laid out the key issues: The irreproducibility crisis cost Brian Wansink his job. Over […]

Using Stacking to Average Bayesian Predictive Distributions (with Discussion)

I’ve posted on this paper (by Yuling Yao, Aki Vehtari, Daniel Simpson, and myself) before, but now the final version has been published, along with a bunch of interesting discussions and our rejoinder. This has been an important project for me, as it answers a question that’s been bugging me for over 20 years (since […]

A potential big problem with placebo tests in econometrics: they’re subject to the “difference between significant and non-significant is not itself statistically significant” issue

In econometrics, or applied economics, a “placebo test” is not a comparison of a drug to a sugar pill. Rather, it’s a sort of conceptual placebo, in which you repeat your analysis using a different dataset, or a different part of your dataset, where no intervention occurred. For example, if you’re performing some analysis studying […]

Job opening at CDC: “The Statistician will play a central role in guiding the statistical methods of all major projects of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of the CDC Influenza Division, and aid in designing, analyzing, and interpreting research intended to understand the burden of influenza in the US and internationally and identify the best influenza vaccines and vaccine strategies.”

This sounds super interesting: Vacancy Information: Mathematical Statistician, GS-1529-14 Please apply at one of the following: · DE (External candidates to the US GOV) Announcement: HHS-CDC-D3-18-10312897 · MP (Internal candidates to the US GOV) Announcement: HHS-CDC-M3-18-10312898 Location: Atlanta, GA – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease – […]

You’ve got data on 35 countries, but it’s really just N=3 groups.

Jon Baron points to a recent article, “Societal inequalities amplify gender gaps in math,” by Thomas Breda, Elyès Jouini, and Clotilde Napp (supplementary materials here), and writes: A particular issue bothers me whenever I read studies like this, which use nations as the unit of analysis and then make some inference from correlations across nations. […]

Don’t calculate post-hoc power using observed estimate of effect size

Aleksi Reito writes: The statement below was included in a recent issue of Annals of Surgery: But, as 80% power is difficult to achieve in surgical studies, we argue that the CONSORT and STROBE guidelines should be modified to include the disclosure of power—even if less than 80%—with the given sample size and effect size […]

“Tweeking”: The big problem is not where you think it is.

In her recent article about pizzagate, Stephanie Lee included this hilarious email from Brian Wansink, the self-styled “world-renowned eating behavior expert for over 25 years”: OK, what grabs your attention is that last bit about “tweeking” the data to manipulate the p-value, where Wansink is proposing research misconduct (from NIH: “Falsification: Manipulating research materials, equipment, […]

Multilevel data collection and analysis for weight training (with R code)

[image of cat lifting weights] A graduate student who wishes to remain anonymous writes: I was wondering if you could answer an elementary question which came to mind after reading your article with Carlin on retrospective power analysis. Consider the field of exercise science, and in particular studies on people who lift weights. (I sometimes […]