Blog Archives

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

December 5, 2016
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Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Eric Loken writes: Do by any chance remember the bogus survey that Augusta National carried out in 2002 to deflect criticism about not having any female members? I even remember this survey being ridiculed by ESPN who said their polls showed much more support for a boycott and sympathy with Martha Burke. Anyway, sure that’s […] The post Mighty oaks from little acorns grow appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal…

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Frustration with published results that can’t be reproduced, and journals that don’t seem to care

December 4, 2016
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Frustration with published results that can’t be reproduced, and journals that don’t seem to care

Thomas Heister writes: Your recent post about Per Pettersson-Lidbom frustrations in reproducing study results reminded me of our own recent experience that we had in replicating a paper in PLOSone. We found numerous substantial errors but eventually gave up as, frustratingly, the time and effort didn’t seem to change anything and the journal’s editors quite […] The post Frustration with published results that can’t be reproduced, and journals that don’t…

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So little information to evaluate effects of dietary choices

December 3, 2016
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So little information to evaluate effects of dietary choices

Paul Alper points to this excellent news article by Aaron Carroll, who tells us how little information is available in studies of diet and public health. Here’s Carroll: Just a few weeks ago, a study was published in the Journal of Nutrition that many reports in the news media said proved that honey was no […] The post So little information to evaluate effects of dietary choices appeared first on…

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Some U.S. demographic data at zipcode level conveniently in R

December 2, 2016
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Ari Lamstein writes: I chuckled when I read your recent “R Sucks” post. Some of the comments were a bit … heated … so I thought to send you an email instead. I agree with your point that some of the datasets in R are not particularly relevant. The way that I’ve addressed that is […] The post Some U.S. demographic data at zipcode level conveniently in R appeared first…

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Survey weighting and that 2% swing

December 1, 2016
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Survey weighting and that 2% swing

Nate Silver agrees with me that much of that shocking 2% swing can be explained by systematic differences between sample and population: survey respondents included too many Clinton supporters, even after corrections from existing survey adjustments. In Nate’s words, “Pollsters Probably Didn’t Talk To Enough White Voters Without College Degrees.” Last time we looked carefully […] The post Survey weighting and that 2% swing appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal…

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How can you evaluate a research paper?

December 1, 2016
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How can you evaluate a research paper?

Shea Levy writes: You ended a post from last month [i.e., Feb.] with the injunction to not take the fact of a paper’s publication or citation status as meaning anything, and instead that we should “read each paper on its own.” Unfortunately, while I can usually follow e.g. the criticisms of a paper you might […] The post How can you evaluate a research paper? appeared first on Statistical Modeling,…

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An exciting new entry in the “clueless graphs from clueless rich guys” competition

November 30, 2016
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An exciting new entry in the “clueless graphs from clueless rich guys” competition

Jeff Lax points to this post from Matt Novak linking to a post by Matt Taibbi that shares the above graph from newspaper columnist / rich guy Thomas Friedman. I’m not one to spend precious blog space mocking bad graphs, so I’ll refer you to Novak and Taibbi for the details. One thing I do […] The post An exciting new entry in the “clueless graphs from clueless rich guys”…

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Interesting epi paper using Stan

November 30, 2016
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Jon Zelner writes: Just thought I’d send along this paper by Justin Lessler et al. Thought it was both clever & useful and a nice ad for using Stan for epidemiological work. Basically, what this paper is about is estimating the true prevalence and case fatality ratio of MERS-CoV [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection] […] The post Interesting epi paper using Stan appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference,…

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“A bug in fMRI software could invalidate 15 years of brain research”

November 29, 2016
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“A bug in fMRI software could invalidate 15 years of brain research”

About 50 people pointed me to this press release or the underlying PPNAS research article, “Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates,” by Anders Eklund, Thomas Nichols, and Hans Knutsson, who write: Functional MRI (fMRI) is 25 years old, yet surprisingly its most common statistical methods have not been validated […] The post “A bug in fMRI software could invalidate 15 years of brain research”…

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OK, sometimes the concept of “false positive” makes sense.

November 28, 2016
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OK, sometimes the concept of “false positive” makes sense.

Paul Alper writes: I know by searching your blog that you hold the position, “I’m negative on the expression ‘false positives.'” Nevertheless, I came across this. In the medical/police/judicial world, false positive is a very serious issue: $2 Cost of a typical roadside drug test kit used by police departments. Namely, is that white powder […] The post OK, sometimes the concept of “false positive” makes sense. appeared first on…

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