Blog Archives

Bayes’s Theorem is not optional

September 26, 2016
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Bayes’s Theorem is not optional

Abstract: I present a probability puzzle, the Rain in Seattle Problem, and use it to explain differences between the Bayesian and frequentist interpretations of probability, and between Bayesian and frequentist statistical methods.  Since I am try...

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Blow it up and start again

September 16, 2016
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Blow it up and start again

The president of Olin College, Rick Miller, spoke recently at the Business Innovation Factory.  Here's the most-tweeted quote from the talk: "The only way to change education is to blow it up and start again."I agree, and I saw an example recently...

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Sleeping Beauty and the Red Dice

September 2, 2016
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Sleeping Beauty and the Red Dice

In response to my previous article on the Sleeping Beauty Problem, I got this comment from a reader:The late great philosopher David Lewis was a halfer. I'd be interested in any reactions to his paper on it: http://fitelson.org/probability/lewis_s...

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What is a distribution?

June 16, 2016
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What is a distribution?

This article uses object-oriented programming to explore of one of the most useful concepts in statistics, distributions.  The code is in a Jupyter notebook.You can read a static version of the notebook on nbviewer.ORYou can run the code in a brow...

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Bayesian Statistics for Undergrads

June 14, 2016
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Bayesian Statistics for Undergrads

Yesterday Sanjoy Mahajan and I led a workshop on teaching Bayesian statistics for undergraduates.  The participants were college teachers from around New England, including Norwich University in Vermont and Wesleyan University in Connecticut, as w...

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There is still only one test

June 7, 2016
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There is still only one test

In 2011 I wrote an article called "There is Only One Test", where I explained that all hypothesis tests are based on the same framework, which looks like this:Here are the elements of this framework:1) Given a dataset, you compute a test statistic that...

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Learning to Love Bayesian Statistics

May 18, 2016
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Learning to Love Bayesian Statistics

I did a webcast earlier today about Bayesian statistics.  Some time in the next week, the video should be available from O'Reilly.  In the meantime, you can see my slides here: And here's a transcript of what I said:Thanks everyone for joinin...

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Does Trivers-Willard apply to people?

May 17, 2016
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Does Trivers-Willard apply to people?

Today I am working on another "one-day paper", although this one is a bit of a cheat, since I'm a few hours past the deadline.  Nevertheless, the question of the day is whether the Trivers-Willard effect applies to people.According to Wikipedia, t...

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Probability is hard: part four

May 10, 2016
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Probability is hard: part four

This is the fourth part of a series of posts about conditional probability and Bayesian statistics.In the first article, I presented the Red Dice problem, which is a warm-up problem that might help us make sense of the other problems.In the s...

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Probability is hard: part three

May 9, 2016
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Probability is hard: part three

This is the third part of a series of posts about conditional probability and Bayesian statistics.In the first article, I presented the Red Dice problem, which is a warm-up problem that might help us make sense of the other problems.In the second ...

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