Author: Andrew

What are some common but easily avoidable graphical mistakes?

John Kastellec writes: I was thinking about writing a short paper aimed at getting political scientists to not make some common but easily avoidable graphical mistakes. I’ve come up with the following list of such mistakes. I was just wondering if any others immediately came to mind? – Label lines directly – Make labels big […]

Neural nets vs. regression models

Eliot Johnson writes: I have a question concerning papers comparing two broad domains of modeling: neural nets and statistical models. Both terms are catch-alls, within each of which there are, quite obviously, multiple subdomains. For instance, NNs could include ML, DL, AI, and so on. While statistical models should include panel data, time series, hierarchical […]

Alternatives and reality

I saw this cartoon from Randall Munroe, and it reminded me of something I wrote awhile ago. The quick story is that I don’t think the alternative histories within alternative histories are completely arbitrary. It seems to me that there’s a common theme in the best alternative history stories, a recognition that our world is […]

My talks at the University of Chicago this Thursday and Friday

Political Economy Workshop (12:30pm, Thurs 23 May 2019, Room 1022 of Harris Public Policy (Keller Center) 1307 E 60th Street): Political Science and the Replication Crisis We’ve heard a lot about the replication crisis in science (silly studies about ESP, evolutionary psychology, miraculous life hacks, etc.), how it happened (p-values, forking paths), and proposed remedies […]

Hey, people are doing the multiverse!

Elio Campitelli writes: I’ve just saw this image in a paper discussing the weight of evidence for a “hiatus” in the global warming signal and immediately thought of the garden of forking paths. From the paper: Tree representation of choices to represent and test pause-periods. The ‘pause’ is defined as either no-trend or a slow-trend. […]

Data quality is a thing.

I just happened to come across this story, where a journalist took some garbled data and spun a false tale which then got spread without question. It’s a problem. First, it’s a problem that people will repeat unjustified claims, also a problem that when data are attached, you can get complete credulity, even for claims […]

“Did Jon Stewart elect Donald Trump?”

I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and scheduled it for October, but then I learned from a reporter that the research article under discussion was retracted, so it seemed to make sense to post this right away while it was still newsworthy. My original post is below, followed by a post script regarding […]

“In 1997 Latanya Sweeney dramatically demonstrated that supposedly anonymized data was not anonymous,” but “Over 20 journals turned down her paper . . . and nobody wanted to fund privacy research that might reach uncomfortable conclusions.”

Tom Daula writes: I think this story from John Cook is a different perspective on replication and how scientists respond to errors. In particular the final paragraph: There’s a perennial debate over whether it is best to make security and privacy flaws public or to suppress them. The consensus, as much as there is a […]

Scandal! Mister P appears in British tabloid.

Tim Morris points us to this news article: And here’s the kicker: Mister P. Not quite as cool as the time I was mentioned in Private Eye, but it’s still pretty satisfying. My next goal: Getting a mention in Sports Illustrated. (More on this soon.) In all seriousness, it’s so cool when methods that my […]

Horse-and-buggy era officially ends for survey research

Peter Enns writes: Given the various comments on your blog about evolving survey methods (e.g., Of buggy whips and moral hazards; or, Sympathy for the Aapor), I thought you might be interested that the Roper Center has updated its acquisitions policy and is now accepting non-probability samples and other methods. This is an exciting move […]

When we had fascism in the United States

I was reading this horrifying and hilarious story by Colson Whitehead, along with an excellent article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker (I posted a nitpick on it a couple days ago) on the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction era in the United States, and I was suddenly reminded of something. In one of the political […]

Name this fallacy!

It’s the fallacy of thinking that, just cos you’re good at something, that everyone should be good at it, and if they’re not, they’re just being stubborn and doing it badly on purpose. I thought about this when reading this line from Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker: [Henry Louis] Gates is one of the […]

Did blind orchestra auditions really benefit women?

You’re blind! And you can’t see You need to wear some glasses Like D.M.C. Someone pointed me to this post, “Orchestrating false beliefs about gender discrimination,” by Jonatan Pallesen criticizing a famous paper from 2000, “Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of ‘Blind’ Auditions on Female Musicians,” by Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse. We’ve all heard the […]

Maintenance cost is quadratic in the number of features

Bob Carpenter shares this story illustrating the challenges of software maintenance. Here’s Bob: This started with the maintenance of upgrading to the new Boost version 1.69, which is this pull request: for this issue: The issue happens first, then the pull request, then the fun of debugging starts. Today’s story starts an issue […]

Gremlin time: “distant future, faraway lands, and remote probabilities”

Chris Wilson writes: It appears that Richard Tol is still publishing these data, only now fitting a piecewise linear function to the same data-points. Also still looks like counting 0 as positive, “Moreover, the 11 estimates for warming of 2.5°C indicate that researchers disagree on the sign of the net impact: 3 estimates are […]

The Arkansas paradox

Palko writes: I had a recent conversation with a friend back in Arkansas who gives me regular updates of the state and local news. A few days ago he told me about a poll that was getting a fair amount of coverage. (See also here, for example.) The poll showed that a number of progressive […]