Blog Archives

Quantitative literacy is tough! Or, I had no idea that, in 1958, 96% of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage!

November 27, 2014
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Quantitative literacy is tough!  Or, I had no idea that, in 1958, 96% of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage!

Mark Palko linked to this data-rich cartoon by Randall Munroe: And I was stunned, first by the data on interracial marriage and then, retrospectively, by my earlier ignorance of these data. Was approval of interracial marriage only 4% in 1958? I had no idea. I looked it up at the Gallup site and it seems […] The post Quantitative literacy is tough! Or, I had no idea that, in 1958,…

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Leif and Uri need to hang out with a better class of statisticians

November 26, 2014
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Noted psychology researchers and methods skeptics Leif Nelson and Uri Simonsohn write: A recent Psych Science (.pdf) paper found that sports teams can perform worse when they have too much talent. For example, in Study 3 they found that NBA teams with a higher percentage of talented players win more games, but that teams with […] The post Leif and Uri need to hang out with a better class of…

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I (almost and inadvertently) followed Dan Kahan’s principles in my class today, and that was a good thing (would’ve even been more of a good thing had I realized what I was doing and done it better, but I think I will do better in the future, which has already happened by the time you read this; remember, the blog is on a nearly 2-month lag)

November 25, 2014
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As you might recall, the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor says that to explain a concept to an unbeliever, explain it conditionally. For example, if you want to talk evolution with a religious fundamentalist, don’t try to convince him or her that evolution is true; instead preface each explanation with, “According to the theory of evolution […] The post I (almost and inadvertently) followed Dan Kahan’s principles in my class today,…

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The hype cycle starts again

November 24, 2014
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The hype cycle starts again

Completely uncritical press coverage of a speculative analysis. But, hey, it was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PPNAS)! What could possibly go wrong? Here’s what Erik Larsen writes: In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, People search for meaning when they approach a […] The post The hype cycle starts again appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference,…

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On deck this week

November 24, 2014
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Mon: The hype cycle starts again Tues: I (almost and inadvertently) followed Dan Kahan’s principles in my class today, and that was a good thing (would’ve even been more of a good thing had I realized what I was doing and done it better, but I think I will do better in the future, which […] The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and…

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What do Rick Santorum and Andrew Cuomo have in common?

November 24, 2014
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Besides family values, that is? Both these politicians seem to have a problem with the National Weather Service: The Senator: Santorum also accused the weather service’s National Hurricane Center of flubbing its forecasts for Hurricane Katrina’s initial landfall in Florida, despite the days of all-too-prescient warnings the agency had given that the storm would subsequently […] The post What do Rick Santorum and Andrew Cuomo have in common? appeared first…

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Princeton Abandons Grade Deflation Plan . . .

November 23, 2014
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Princeton Abandons Grade Deflation Plan . . .

. . . and Kaiser Fung is unhappy. In a post entitled, “Princeton’s loss of nerve,” Kaiser writes: This development is highly regrettable, and a failure of leadership. (The new policy leaves it to individual departments to do whatever they want.) The recent Alumni publication has two articles about this topic, one penned by President […] The post Princeton Abandons Grade Deflation Plan . . . appeared first on Statistical…

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Blogs > Twitter

November 22, 2014
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Blogs > Twitter

Tweeting has its virtues, I’m sure. But over and over I’m seeing these blog vs. twitter battles where the blogger wins. It goes like this: blogger gives tons and tons of evidence, tweeter responds with a content-free dismissal. The most recent example (as of this posting; remember we’re on an approx 2-month delay here; yes, […] The post Blogs > Twitter appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social…

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50 shades of gray goes pie-chart

November 22, 2014
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50 shades of gray goes pie-chart

Rogier Kievit sends in this under the heading, “Worst graph of the year . . . horribly unclear . . . Even the report doesn’t have a legend!”: My reply: It’s horrible but I still think the black-and-white Stroop test remains the worst visual display of all time: What’s particularly amusing about the Stroop image […] The post 50 shades of gray goes pie-chart appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal…

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“If you’re not using a proper, informative prior, you’re leaving money on the table.”

November 21, 2014
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Well put, Rob Weiss. This is not to say that one must always use an informative prior; oftentimes it can make sense to throw away some information for reasons of convenience. But it’s good to remember that, if you do use a noninformative prior, ...

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