Forming a hyper-precise numerical summary during a research crisis can improve an article’s chance of achieving its publication goals.

Speaking of measurement and numeracy . . . Kevin Lewis pointed me to this published article with the following abstract that starts out just fine but kinda spirals out of control: Forming a military coalition during an international crisis can improve a state’s chances of achieving its political goals. We argue that the involvement of […]

the (forty-)seven samurai (赤穂浪士)

During my vacations in Japan, I read the massive (1096p) book by Osaragi Jiro on the  Akō incident, with occidental title the 47 rōnins. Which I had bought in Paris before leaving. This is a romancized version of an historical event that took part in 1701 in the Genroku era. Where 47 rōnin (leaderless samurai) […]

More on why Cass Sunstein should be thanking, not smearing, people who ask for replications

Recently we discussed law professor and policy intellectual Cass Sunstein’s statement that people who ask for social science findings to be replicated are like the former East German secret police. In that discussion I alluded to a few issues: 1. The replication movement is fueled in large part by high-profile work, lauded by Sunstein and […]

Yes, you can include prior information on quantities of interest, not just on parameters in your model

Nick Kavanagh writes: I studied economics in college and never heard more than a passing reference to Bayesian stats. I started to encounter Bayesian concepts in the workplace and decided to teach myself on the side. I was hoping to get your advice on a problem that I recently encountered. It has to do with […]

Mickey Mouse, Batman, and conformal mapping

A conformal map between two regions in the plane preserves angles [1]. If two curves meet at a given angle in the domain, their images will meet at the same angle in the range. Two subsets of the plane are conformally equivalent if there is a conformal map between them. The Riemann mapping theorem says […]

Eliminating Tail Calls in Python Using Exceptions

I was working through Kyle Miller‘s excellent note: “Tail call recursion in Python”, and decided to experiment with variations of the techniques. The idea is: one may want to eliminate use of the Python language call-stack in the case of a “tail calls” (a function call where the result is not used by the calling … Continue reading Eliminating Tail Calls in Python Using Exceptions

Hyppocratic oath for maths?

On a free day in Nachi-Taksuura, I came across this call for a professional oath for mathematicians (and computer engineers and scientists in related fields) . By UCL mathematician Hannah Fry. The theme is the same as with Weapons of math destruction, namely that algorithms have a potentially huge impact on everyone’s life and that […]

Star-crossed lovers

A story in The New Yorker quotes the following explanation from Arthur Eddington regarding the speed of light. Suppose that you are in love with a lady on Neptune and that she returns the sentiment. It will be some consolation for the melancholy separation if you can say to yourself at some—possibly prearranged—moment, “She is […]

Coney Island

Inspired by this story (“Good news! Researchers respond to a correction by acknowledging it and not trying to dodge its implications”): Coming down from Psych Science Stopping off at PNAS Out all day datagathering And the craic was good Stopped off at the old lab Early in the morning Drove through Harvard taking pictures And […]

Contributing to open source projects

David Heinemeier Hansson presents a very gracious view of open source software in his keynote address at RailsConf 2019. And by gracious, I mean gracious in the theological sense. He says at one point “If I were a Christian …” implying that he is not, but his philosophy of software echos the Christian idea of […]

Stone-Weierstrass on a disk

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a sort of paradox, that Weierstrass’ approximation theorem could seem to contradict Morera’s theorem. Weierstrass says that the uniform limit of polynomials can be an arbitrary continuous function, and so may have sharp creases. But Morera’s theorem says that the uniform limit of polynomials is analytic and thus […]

Distribution of zip code population

There are three schools of thought regarding power laws: the naive, the enthusiasts, and the skeptics. Of course there are more than three schools of thought, but there are three I want to talk about. The naive haven’t heard of power laws or don’t know much about them. They probably tend to expect things to […]