Category: Statistics

Forming a hyper-precise numerical summary during a research crisis can improve an article’s chance of achieving its publication goals.

Speaking of measurement and numeracy . . . Kevin Lewis pointed me to this published article with the following abstract that starts out just fine but kinda spirals out of control: Forming a military coalition during an international crisis can improve a state’s chances of achieving its political goals. We argue that the involvement of […]

the (forty-)seven samurai (赤穂浪士)

During my vacations in Japan, I read the massive (1096p) book by Osaragi Jiro on the  Akō incident, with occidental title the 47 rōnins. Which I had bought in Paris before leaving. This is a romancized version of an historical event that took part in 1701 in the Genroku era. Where 47 rōnin (leaderless samurai) […]

Mickey Mouse, Batman, and conformal mapping

A conformal map between two regions in the plane preserves angles [1]. If two curves meet at a given angle in the domain, their images will meet at the same angle in the range. Two subsets of the plane are conformally equivalent if there is a conformal map between them. The Riemann mapping theorem says […]

Hyppocratic oath for maths?

On a free day in Nachi-Taksuura, I came across this call for a professional oath for mathematicians (and computer engineers and scientists in related fields) . By UCL mathematician Hannah Fry. The theme is the same as with Weapons of math destruction, namely that algorithms have a potentially huge impact on everyone’s life and that […]

Star-crossed lovers

A story in The New Yorker quotes the following explanation from Arthur Eddington regarding the speed of light. Suppose that you are in love with a lady on Neptune and that she returns the sentiment. It will be some consolation for the melancholy separation if you can say to yourself at some—possibly prearranged—moment, “She is […]

Coney Island

Inspired by this story (“Good news! Researchers respond to a correction by acknowledging it and not trying to dodge its implications”): Coming down from Psych Science Stopping off at PNAS Out all day datagathering And the craic was good Stopped off at the old lab Early in the morning Drove through Harvard taking pictures And […]

Contributing to open source projects

David Heinemeier Hansson presents a very gracious view of open source software in his keynote address at RailsConf 2019. And by gracious, I mean gracious in the theological sense. He says at one point “If I were a Christian …” implying that he is not, but his philosophy of software echos the Christian idea of […]

Stone-Weierstrass on a disk

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a sort of paradox, that Weierstrass’ approximation theorem could seem to contradict Morera’s theorem. Weierstrass says that the uniform limit of polynomials can be an arbitrary continuous function, and so may have sharp creases. But Morera’s theorem says that the uniform limit of polynomials is analytic and thus […]

Palavering about Palavering about P-values

Nathan Schachtman (who was a special invited speaker at our recent Summer Seminar in Phil Stat) put up a post on his law blog the other day (“Palavering About P-values”) on an article by a statistics professor at Stanford, Helena Kraemer. “Palavering” is an interesting word choice of Schachtman’s. Its range of meanings is relevant […]

You should (usually) log transform your positive data

The reason for log transforming your data is not to deal with skewness or to get closer to a normal distribution; that’s rarely what we care about. Validity, additivity, and linearity are typically much more important. The reason for log transformation is in many settings it should make additive and linear models make more sense. […]

Distribution of zip code population

There are three schools of thought regarding power laws: the naive, the enthusiasts, and the skeptics. Of course there are more than three schools of thought, but there are three I want to talk about. The naive haven’t heard of power laws or don’t know much about them. They probably tend to expect things to […]