Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Philip K. Dick (2); Hobbes advances

March 27, 2015
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All of yesterday‘s best comments were in favor of the political philosopher. Adam writes: With Hobbes, the seminar would be “nasty, brutish, and short.” And it would degenerate into a “war of all against all.” In other words, the perfect academic seminar. And Jonathan writes: Chris Rock would definitely be more entertaining. But the chance […] The post Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Philip K. Dick (2); Hobbes advances appeared first…

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Imagining p

March 27, 2015
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We’ve all had that experience of going purposefully from one hypothesis to another, only to get there and forget why we made the journey. Four years ago, researcher Daryl Bem and his colleagues stripped this effect down, showing that the simple act of obtaining a statistically significant comparison induces publication in a top journal. Now […] The post Imagining p<.05…

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Google Scholar Finds Far More SPSS Articles; Analytics Forecast Updated

March 26, 2015
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Google Scholar Finds Far More SPSS Articles; Analytics Forecast Updated

Only last August I wrote that among scholars, the use of R had probably exceeded that of SPSS to become their most widely used software for analytics. That forecast was based on Google Scholar searches focused on one year at a … Continue reading →

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Replace data with measurements

March 26, 2015
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To tell whether a statement about data is over-hyped, see whether it retains its meaning if you replace data with measurements. So a request like “Please send me the data from your experiment” becomes “Please send me the measurements from your experiment.” Same thing. But rousing statements about the power of data become banal or even […]

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Chris Rock (3) vs. Thomas Hobbes; Wood advances

March 26, 2015
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In yesterday‘s contest, there’s no doubt in my mind that Levi-Strauss would give a better and more interesting talk than Wood, whose lecture would presumably feature non-sequiturs, solecisms, continuity violations, and the like. But the funniest comment was from Jonathan: Ed Wood on Forecasting: “We are all interested in the future for that is where […] The post Chris Rock…

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Teaser trailer for the Genomic Data Science Specialization on Coursera

March 26, 2015
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  We have been hard at work in the studio putting together our next specialization to launch on Coursera. It will be called the "Genomic Data Science Specialization" and includes a spectacular line up of instructors: Steven Salzberg, Ela Pertea, James Taylor, Liliana Florea, Kasper Hansen, and me. The specialization will cover command line tools, statistics,

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

March 26, 2015
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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 […] The post Another disgraced…

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Claude Levi-Strauss (4) vs. Ed Wood (3); Cervantes wins

March 25, 2015
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For yesterday we have a tough call, having to decide between two much-loved philosophical writers, as Jonathan put it in comments: Camus on ramdomness; how make a model when there is no signal — only noise. Cervantes on making the world fit the model through self-delusion. Two fascinating statistics lectures with the same underlying theme […] The post Claude Levi-Strauss…

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Link: Data Journalism in the 19th Century

March 25, 2015
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Scott Klein of ProPublica has written a great story about an early use of data in journalism, and Horace Greeley, the colorful journalist behind it. Greeley found an issue and then gathered the data to show the extent of the problem. This is not unlike today. In Greeley’s case, the issue was how much money members of … Continue reading Link: Data…

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Le Monde puzzle [#904.5]

March 25, 2015
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Le Monde puzzle [#904.5]

About this #904 arithmetics Le Monde mathematical puzzle: Find all plural integers, namely positive integers such that (a) none of their digits is zero and (b) removing their leftmost digit produces a dividing plural integer (with the convention that one digit integers are all plural). a slight modification in the R code allows for a […]

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Define first, prove later

March 25, 2015
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This post by John Cook features a quote form a book “Calculus on Manifolds,” by Michael Spivak which I think was the textbook for a course I took in college where we learned how to prove Stokes’s theorem, which is something in multivariable calculus involving the divergence and that thing that you get where you […] The post Define first,…

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Bayesian survival analysis for "Game of Thrones"

March 25, 2015
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Bayesian survival analysis for "Game of Thrones"

Last fall I taught an introduction to Bayesian statistics at Olin College.  My students worked on some excellent projects, and I invited them to write up their results as guest articles for this blog.One of the teams applied Bayesian survival anal...

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Designers fuss over little details and so should you

March 25, 2015
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Designers fuss over little details and so should you

Those who attended my dataviz talks have seen a version of the following chart that showed up yesterday on New York Times (link): This chart shows the fluctuation in Arctic sea ice volume over time. The dataset is a simple...

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On the number of permutations supported in SAS software

March 25, 2015
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On the number of permutations supported in SAS software

There's "big," and then there is "factorial big." If you have k items, the number of permutations is "k factorial," which is written as k!. The factorial function gets big fast. For example, the value of k! for several values of k is shown in the following table. You can […] The post On the number of permutations supported in…

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A Speed Comparison Between Flexible Linear Regression Alternatives in R

March 25, 2015
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A Speed Comparison Between Flexible Linear Regression Alternatives in R

Everybody loves speed comparisons! Is R faster than Python? Is dplyr faster than data.table? Is STAN faster than JAGS? It has been said that speed comparisons are utterly meaningless, and in general I agree, especially when you are comparing apples a...

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What to cite?

March 25, 2015
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What to cite?

This question comes from a comment on another post: I’ve seen authors citing as many references as possible to try to please potential referees. Many of those references are low quality papers though. Any general guidance about a typical length for the reference section? It depends on the subject and style of the paper. I’ve […]

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Miguel de Cervantes (2) vs. Albert Camus (1); Twain wins

March 24, 2015
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Yesterday‘s winner is Mark Twain because, as Anonymous demonstrated in the comments, Twain on Eddy is more interesting than Eddy on Eddy. Today’s third-round match pits an eternal classic vs. the coolest of the cool. P.S. As always, here&#...

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Introduction to Bioconductor HarvardX MOOC starts this Monday March 30

March 24, 2015
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Bioconductor is one of the most widely used open source toolkits for biological high-throughput data. In this four week course, co-taught with Vince Carey and Mike Love, we will introduce you to Bioconductor's general infrastructure and then focus on two specific technologies: next generation sequencing and microarrays. The lectures and assessments will be annotated in

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Fitting a triangular distribution

March 24, 2015
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Sometimes you only need a rough fit to some data and a triangular distribution will do. As the name implies, this is a distribution whose density function graph is a triangle. The triangle is determined by its base, running between points a and b, and a point c somewhere in between where the altitude intersects the base. […]

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Adiabatic as I wanna be: Or, how is a chess rating like classical economics?

March 24, 2015
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Adiabatic as I wanna be:  Or, how is a chess rating like classical economics?

Chess ratings are all about change. Did your rating go up, did it go down, have you reached 2000, who’s hot, who’s not, and so on. If nobody’s abilities were changing, chess ratings would be boring, they’d be nothing but a noisy measure, and watching your rating change would be as exciting as watching a […] The post Adiabatic as…

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ChainLadder 0.2.0 adds Solvency II CDR functions

March 24, 2015
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ChainLadder 0.2.0 adds Solvency II CDR functions

ChainLadder is an R package that provides statistical methods and models for claims reserving in general insurance.With version 0.2.0 we added new functions to estimate the claims development result (CDR) as required under Solvency II. Special thanks t...

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New job opportunities at Monash

March 24, 2015
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New job opportunities at Monash

We are now advertising for various positions in applied statistics, operations research and applied mathematics. Click here for details These jobs are with MAXIMA (the Monash Academy for Cross & Interdisciplinary Mathematical Applications). Please do not send any questions to me (I won’t answer). Click above and fol­low the instructions.

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Factor Evaluation in Quantitative Portfolio Management

March 23, 2015
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Factor Evaluation in Quantitative Portfolio Management

When it comes to managing a portfolio of stocks versus a benchmark the problem is very different from defining an absolute return strategy. In the former one has to hold more stocks than in the later where no stocks at all can be held  if there is not good enough opportunity.  The reason for that is the tracking error. This […]

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