Blog Archives

Gelman speed read

April 23, 2015
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For those who have found it tough to keep up with Andrew Gelman's prolificacy, here are some brief summaries of several recent posts: On people obsessed with proving the statistical significance of tiny effects: "they are trying to use a bathroom scale to weigh a feather—and the feather is resting loosely in the pouch of a kangaroo that is vigorously jumping up and down." (link) [I left a comment. In…

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What if the Washington Post did not display all the data

April 23, 2015
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What if the Washington Post did not display all the data

Thanks to reader Charles Chris P., I was able to get the police staffing data to play around with. Recall from the previous post that the Washington Post made the following scatter plot, comparing the proportion of whites among police...

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Nice analysis of racial composition of police forces

April 21, 2015
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Nice analysis of racial composition of police forces

The Washington Post has a good idea. Using Census data, they computed the proportion of police force who are white and the corresponding proportion of citizens who are white, in different cities. In the following scatter plot, they singled out...

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More on the AA paper

April 21, 2015
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More on the AA paper

This is a supplement to the previous post about a new research paper on the effect of Alcoholics Anonymous, and an NY Times exposition that I commented on. A misreading of that article led me to complain about per-protocol analysis, which wasn't the methodology behind the Humphrey et. al. research. I will explain their methodology in this post (known as instrumental variables analysis). *** In the last post, I showed…

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NYT likes new AA study. Why I am not convinced.

April 20, 2015
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NYT likes new AA study. Why I am not convinced.

[After communicating with Frakt, Humphrey and Dean Eckles, I realize that I was confused about Frakt's description of the Humphrey paper, which does not perform PP analysis. So when reading this post, consider it a discussion of ITT versus PP analysis. I will post about Humphrey's methodology separately.] The New York Times plugged a study of the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) (link). The author (Austin Frakt) used this occasion…

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Hello to St. Louis readers

April 15, 2015
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Hello to St. Louis readers

I'll be hosting a Data Visualization workshop at the Digital Media Marketing Conference in St. Louis, Missouri on Thursday. Here is the link to their website. The workshop is arranged from three themes: Appreciating, Conceptualizing, and Improving. There will be...

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Planned redundancy

April 7, 2015
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Planned redundancy

The following Wall Street Journal caught my eye the other day: (Link to article) Looking closely, I realize that the four charts are identical, except for the call-outs. This is a kind of small-multiples in which the same data reside...

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What popular baby names teach us about data analytics

April 6, 2015
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In my latest piece for Harvard Business Review (link), I tackle this common problem in the interactions between data scientists and business managers: A typical big data analysis goes like this: First, a data scientist finds some obscure data accumulating in a server. Next, he or she spends days or weeks slicing and dicing the numbers, eventually stumbling upon some unusual insights. Then, a meeting is organized to present the…

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Surveymonkey’s unipolarity and I

April 3, 2015
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Surveymonkey’s unipolarity and I

I was creating an online survey using Surveymonkey earlier this week. They asked me to try their new design, and so I did. There appeared to be a bug in one of the features. It kept preventing me from displaying the questions in a certain way. I tried a bunch of tricks but after ten minutes, decided to switch back to the old design. I clicked on their Feedback link…

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Graphical forms impose assumptions on the data

April 2, 2015
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Graphical forms impose assumptions on the data

In a comment to my previous post, reader Chris P. pointed me to the following set of maps, also from the New York Times crew, on the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. (link) (For those who did not...

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