## Stats can’t make modeling decisions

May 3, 2016
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Here's a question that appeared recently on the Reddit statistics forum:If effect sizes of coefficient are really small, can you interpret as no relationship?  Coefficients are very significant, which is expected with my large dataset. But coeffic...

## Journalists are suckers for anything that looks like science. And selection bias makes it even worse. But I was unfair to NPR.

May 3, 2016
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Journalists are suckers. Marks. Vics. Boobs. Rubes. You get the picture. Where are the classically street-trained reporters, the descendants of Ring Lardner and Joe Liebling, the hard-bitten journos who would laugh in the face of a press release? Today, nowhere in evidence. I’m speaking, of course, about the reaction in the press to the latest […] The post Journalists are…

## Numerical pitfalls in computing variance

May 3, 2016
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One of the most common tasks in statistical computing is computation of sample variance. This would seem to be straightforward; there are a number of algebraically equivalent ways of representing the sum of squares $$S$$, such as \[ S = \sum_{k=1}^n (...

## Ahhhh, PPNAS!

May 3, 2016
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To busy readers: Skip to the tl;dr summary at the end of this post. A psychology researcher sent me an email with subject line, “There’s a hell of a paper coming out in PPNAS today.” He sent me a copy of the paper, “Physical and situational inequality on airplanes predicts air rage,” by Katherine DeCelles […] The post Ahhhh, PPNAS!…

## R in Insurance 2016 Programme

May 3, 2016
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We are delighted to announce that the programme for the 4th R in Insurance conference at Cass Business School in London, 11 July 2016, have been finalised. Register by the end of May to get the early bird booking fee.The organisers gratefully acknowled...

## 3D Bar Charts Considered Not That Harmful

May 3, 2016
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We’ve turned the understanding of charts into formulas instead of encouraging people to think and ask questions. That doesn’t produce better charts, it just gives people ways of feeling superior by parroting something about chart junk or 3D being bad. There is little to no research to back these things up. The Trivapro 3D Bar Chart This 3D … Continue reading 3D Bar…

## Macassar

May 3, 2016
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Some of the discussion of yesterday’s post reminded me of a wonderful bit from Life on the Mississippi: When I was a boy, there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village on the west bank of the Mississippi River. That was, to be a steamboatman. We had transient ambitions of other […] The post Macassar appeared…

## The surprising impact of mixing chart forms

May 3, 2016
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At first glance, this Wall Street Journal chart seems unlikely to impress as it breaks a number of "rules of thumb" frequently espoused by dataviz experts. The inconsistency of mixing a line chart and a dot plot. The overplotting of...

## Are you pro or anti-biotics?

May 2, 2016
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Paul Alper points to this news article by Susan Perry: Probiotics have been overhyped and rely on ‘shaky’ science, reporter finds Although some of these studies’ results may be promising, they aren’t strong enough to support the long list of claims currently being made by the manufacturers of probiotic products. . . . Perry links […] The post Are you…

## On deck this week

May 2, 2016
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Mon: Are you pro or anti-biotics? Tues: “Null hypothesis” = “A specific random number generator” Wed: No guarantee Thurs: The Puzzle of Paul Meehl: An intellectual history of research criticism in psychology Fri: Redemption Sat: Doing dat...

## How much do New Yorkers tip taxi drivers?

May 2, 2016
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When I read Robert Allison's article about the cost of a taxi ride in New York City, I was struck by the scatter plot (shown at right; click to enlarge) that plots the tip amount against the total bill for 12 million taxi rides. The graph clearly reveals diagonal and […] The post How much do New Yorkers tip taxi…

## New features in imager 0.20

May 2, 2016
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imager, an R package for image processing, has been updated to v0.20 on CRAN. It’s a major upgrade with a lot of new features, better documentation and a more consistent API. imager now has 130 functions, and I myself keep forgetting all that’s in there. I’ve added a tutorial vignette that should help you get […]

## On Forecasting Variation and Covariation

May 2, 2016
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One hallmark of a great idea is that it's "obvious" (ex post). Fantastic recent work by Bollerslev, Patton, and Quaedvlieg (BPQ) certainly passes that test. BPQ build on the classic Barndorff-Nielsen and Shephard result that the precision with which r...

## No Retractions, Only Corrections: A manifesto.

May 1, 2016
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Under the heading, “Why that Evolution paper should never have been retracted: A reviewer speaks out,” biologist Ben Ashby writes: The problems of post-publication peer review have already been highlighted elsewhere, and it certainly isn’t rare for a paper to be retracted due to an honest mistake (although most retractions are due to misconduct). Moreover, […] The post No Retractions,…

## Controlling for variation in the weather in a regression analysis: Joe and Uri should learn about multilevel models and then they could give even better advice

May 1, 2016
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Joe Simmons and Uri Simonsohn have an interesting post here. Unfortunately their blog doesn’t have a comment section so I’m commenting here. They write this at the end of their post: Another is to use daily dummies. This option can easily be worse. It can lower statistical power by throwing away data. First, one can […] The post Controlling for…

## SoFiE 2016 Hong Kong

April 30, 2016
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Still not too late to register!  I hope to see you there.REGISTRATION_9th Annual SoFiE Conference_June 14-17, 2016, Hong KongREGISTRATION9th Annual Society for Financial Econometrics (SoFiE) Conference June 15-17, 2016 and Pre-Confe...

## Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood

April 30, 2016
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Saw a couple of plays, both excellent. Fun Home. Compared to what I remembered of the book (which I also thought was excellent), the play seemed to be more about her family and less about Bechdel herself. But that worked for me. Bechdel’s story won’t be shared by everybody, but we all have families. The […] The post Some folks…

## Gary Venter’s age-period-cohort decomposition of US male mortality trends

April 29, 2016
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Following up on yesterday’s post on mortality trends, I wanted to share with you a research note by actuary Gary Venter, “A Quick Look at Cohort Effects in US Male Mortality.” Venter produces this graph: And he writes: Cohort effects in mortality tend to be difficult to explain. Often strings of coincidences are invoked – […] The post Gary Venter’s…

## Lots of buzz regarding this postdoc position in London

April 29, 2016
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Tom Churcher writes: We are currently advertising for an infectious disease modeller to investigate the impact of insecticide resistance on malaria control in Africa. The position is for 3 years in the first instance and is funded by the Wellcome Trust. No previous malaria or mosi experience required. Please circulate to anyone who might be […] The post Lots of…

## gap frequencies [& e]

April 28, 2016
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A riddle from The Riddler where brute-force simulation does not pay: For a given integer N, pick at random without replacement integers between 1 and N by prohibiting consecutive integers until all possible entries are exhausted. What is the frequency of selected integers as N grows to infinity? A simple implementation of the random experiment […]

## Matlab version of BEST

April 28, 2016
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Nils Winter has created a Matlab interface to BEST (Bayesian estimation for two groups of metric-scale data). You can read about it at his GitHub README.

## Integrating graphs into your workflow

April 28, 2016
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Discussion of statistical graphics typically focuses on individual graphs (for example here). But the real gain in your research comes from integrating graphs into your workflow. You want to be able to make the graphs you want, when you want them. At the same time, the graph have to be good enough that you can […] The post Integrating graphs…

## “Kasparov To Face Caruana, Nakamura, So In Ultimate Blitz Challenge”

April 28, 2016
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E. J. pointed me to this announcement: For the first time since his retirement in 2005 Garry Kasparov will play chess against some of the best players on the planet. The 13th world champion agreed to meet the top three finishers of the 2016 U.S. Championship in a blitz tournament. That turned out to be […] The post “Kasparov To…