Blog Archives

The many faces of the placebo response

April 17, 2015
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The many faces of the placebo response

This week, a study was published that claimed that the placebo response is mediated by genetics. Though I need to dig a little deeper and figure out exactly what this article is saying, I do think we need to take a step back and remember what can const...

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Helicopter parenting because your mind is "terrible at statistics" (or, rather, you are unaware of the denominator)

April 14, 2015
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Helicopter parenting because your mind is "terrible at statistics" (or, rather, you are unaware of the denominator)

In Megan McArdle's Seven Reasons We Hate Free-Range Parenting - Bloomberg View:, she states that because of the news cycle, and because our minds are terrible at statistics, we think the world is a much less safe place than 30 years ago. It's true...

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Lying with statistics, CAM version

March 19, 2015
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Lying with statistics, CAM version

Full disclosure here: at one time I wanted to be a complementary and alternative (CAM) researcher. Or integrative, or whatever the cool kids call it these days. I thought that CAM research would yield positive fruit if they could just tighten up their ...

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Lying with statistics, anti-vax edition 2015

March 16, 2015
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Lying with statistics, anti-vax edition 2015

Sometimes Facebook’s suggestions of things to read lead to some seriously funny material. After clicking on a link about vaccines, Facebook recommended I read an article about health outcomes in unvaccinated children. Reading this rubbish made me as...

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Algorithmic cruelty

December 31, 2014
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Algorithmic cruelty

By now, most of us know about Facebook’s algorithmic retrospectives, and, of course, how some people thought it could be cruel. Indeed, posts about some sorts of issues, such as divorces or deaths, can get a lot of “likes” (where the “like” b...

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No, a study did not link genetically engineered crops to 22 diseases

December 9, 2014
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No, a study did not link genetically engineered crops to 22 diseases

In my Facebook feed, a friend posted a very scary-looking study that links genetically engineered (GE) crops to the rise in 22 diseases. These are pretty fearsome diseases, too, like bile duct cancer and pelvis cancer. For instance1: There are a few wa...

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Joint statistical meetings 2013

August 7, 2013
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Joint statistical meetings 2013

Every year, the first week of August, we statisticians meet to get our statistics, networking, dancing, and beer on. With thousands in attendance, it's exhausting. I wonder about the quality of statistical work the second week of August. Each conferenc...

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Joint statistical meetings 2013

August 7, 2013
By
Joint statistical meetings 2013

Every year, the first week of August, we statisticians meet to get our statistics, networking, dancing, and beer on. With thousands in attendance, it's exhausting. I wonder about the quality of statistical work the second week of August.Each conference...

Read more »

Wasserman on noninformative priors

July 15, 2013
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Wasserman on noninformative priors

Larry Wasserman calls the use of noninformative priors a “lost cause.” I agree for the reasons he stated, and the fact that there are always better alternatives anyway. At the very least, there are the heavy-tailed “weakly informative priors” t...

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MOOCs–a low-risk way to explore outside your field

April 29, 2013
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MOOCs–a low-risk way to explore outside your field

One of the things I'm realizing from Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) -- those online free classes from universities that have seem to sprung up from almost nowhere in the last year and a half -- is that they offer a perfect opportunity to explore...

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