Category: Decision Theory

Halftime! And Jim Thorpe (1) vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff

So. Here’s the bracket so far: Our first second-round match is the top-ranked GOAT—the greatest GOAT of all time, as it were—vs. an unseeded but appealing person whose name ends in f. Again here are the rules: We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the […]

Yakov Smirnoff advances, and Halftime!

Best argument yesterday came from Yuling: I want to learn more about missing data analysis from the seminar so I like Harry Houdini. But Yakov Smirnoff is indeed better for this topic — both Vodka and the Soviet are treatments that guarantee everyone to be Missing Completely at Random, and as statistican we definitely prefer […]

Harry Houdini (1) vs. Yakov Smirnoff; Meryl Streep advances

Best argument yesterday came from Jonathan: This one’s close. Meryl Streep and Alice Waters both have 5 letters in the first name and 6 in the last name. Tie. Both are adept at authentic accents. Tie. Meryl has played a international celebrity cook; Alice has never played an actress. Advantage Streep. Waters has taught many […]

Alice Waters (4) vs. Meryl Streep; LeBron James advances

It’s L’Bron. Only pitch for Mr. Magic was from DanC: guy actually is ultra-tall, plus grand than that non-Cav who had play’d for Miami. But Dalton brings it back for Bron: LeBron James getting to the NBA Final with J.R. Smith as his best supporting cast member is a more preposterous escape than anything David […]

Our hypotheses are not just falsifiable; they’re actually false.

Everybody’s talkin bout Popper, Lakatos, etc. I think they’re great. Falsificationist Bayes, all the way, man! But there’s something we need to be careful about. All the statistical hypotheses we ever make are false. That is, if a hypothesis becomes specific enough to make (probabilistic) predictions, we know that with enough data we will be […]

LeBron James (3) vs. Eric Antoine; Ellen DeGeneres advances

Optimum quip Thursday was from Dzhaughn: Mainly, that woman’s tag has a lot of a most common typographical symbol in it, which would amount to a big difficulty back in days of non-digital signs on halls of drama and crowd-laughing. Should that fact boost or cut a probability appraisal of said woman writing an amazing […]

Ian McKellen (2) vs. Ellen DeGeneres; Pierre-Simon Laplace advances

The arguments yesterday in favor of Laplace were valid, earnest, and boring. Dalton reinforced the contrast with this comment: Belushi’s demons are a whole lot more interesting than Laplace’s demon. With the latter, you always know what you’re gonna get forever and ever evermore. The former offers heaps of exciting uncertainty, and if you remember […]

Pierre-Simon Laplace (2) vs. John Belushi; Pele advances

For yesterday I was leaning toward Penn and Teller based on Bobbie’s reasoning: Penn & Teller not only create interesting, often politically-relevant, magic. They are also visible skeptics who critique the over-claiming of magicians/mystics/paranormal advocates and they use empirical arguments/demonstrations when they speak to debunk pseudoscience. For those of us who care about such things […]

Penn and Teller (3) vs. Pele; Alan Turing advances

Sorry, but did Turing ever have a chance of losing to David Blaine?? Forget about it. This contest is supposed to be Turing complete, no? Best argument in favor of the showman was from Jonathan: OK. Here’s a Blaine seminar. He delivers the entire lecture locked inside a trunk with 40 minutes of air. He […]

Alan Turing (4) vs. David Blaine; Oprah Winfrey advances

Yesterday, Martin Gardner seemed like he’d be sailing in on a gentle wave of nostalgia, but then Dzhaughn brought us back to reality: I cannot believe we are having this conversation. Self-made multi-billionaire philanthropist African American warrior saint v. nerd game writer. Let. me. think. Copies of O per copies of Sci Am? I am […]

Oprah Winfrey (1) vs. Martin Gardner; Nora Ephron advances

For yesterday’s contest, Steve writes: I’m going with Gauss. Ephron would show up in his office, and say, “I’ve got this great idea for a screenplay”; she’d really lay on the charm and work on her sales pitch. After she’d finish, Gauss would go back to his filing cabinet, aimlessly rifle through his least interesting […]

Of multiple comparisons and multilevel models

Kleber Neves writes: I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog, eventually becoming more involved with the “replication crisis” and such (currently, I work with the Brazilian Reproducibility Initiative). Anyway, as I’m now going deeper into statistics, I feel like I still lack some foundational intuitions (I was trained as a half computer scientist/half experimental […]

Carl Friedrich Gauss (1) vs. Nora Ephron; Voltaire advances

Yesterday I was all set to go with fractal-man, following Zbicyclist’s comment: Why go with a guy whose most famous for something he didn’t say? Let’s go with a guy who can give a short, pithy lecture that can blossom into a whole structure of knowledge as we repeat it! But then I was persuaded […]

Voltaire (4) vs. Benoit Mandelbrot; Veronica Geng advances

Yesterday‘s contest was surprisingly tough. I thought of Santa-man and the inventor of the Monte Carlo method as both being strong candidates—but the best comments on both were negative. Phil argued convincingly that there’s no point in inviting Sedaris to speak at Columbia as there are lots of other opportunities to hear the guy, and […]

George H. W. Bush (2) vs. William Carlos Willams; Mel Brooks advances

All of yesterday’s comments favored Mr. Blazing Saddles. Jeff had a good statistics-themed comment: Mel Brooks created Get Smart (along with Buck Henry), which suggests a number of seminar topics of interest to readers of this blog. “Missed It By That Much: Why Predictive Models Don’t Always Pick the Winner” “Sorry About That, Chief: Unconscious […]