Category: Statistics

Twitter account for data privacy

I’ve started a new Twitter account for data privacy and related topics.
Twitter gave me the handle @data_tip even though that’s not what I typed in, and what I typed in is not being used. Apparently they don’t let you pick your handle…

Dose finding != dose escalation

You’ll often hear Phase I dose-finding trials referred to as dose escalation studies. This is because simple dose-finding methods can only explore in one direction: they can only escalate. Three-plus-three rule The most common dose finding method is the 3+3 rule. There are countless variations on this theme, but the basic idea is that you give […]

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 […]

Should he go to grad school in statistics or computer science?

Someone named Nathan writes: I am an undergraduate student in statistics and a reader of your blog. One thing that you’ve been on about over the past year is the difficulty of executing hypothesis testing correctly, and an apparent desire to see researchers move away from that paradigm. One thing I see you mention several […]

scalable Metropolis-Hastings

Among the flury of arXived papers of last week (414!), including a fair chunk of papers submitted to ICML 2019, I spotted one entry by Cornish et al. on scalable Metropolis-Hastings, which Arnaud Doucet had mentioned to me yesterday when in Oxford. The paper builds on the delayed acceptance paper we wrote with Marco Banterlé, […]

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 […]

RSA implementation flaws

Implementation flaws in RSA encryption make it less secure in practice than in theory. RSA encryption depends on 5 numbers: Large primes p and q The modulus n = pq Encryption key e Decryption key d The numbers p, q, and d are kept secret, and the numbers e and n are made public. The encryption method relies on the assumption that in practice one cannot […]

Global warming? Blame the Democrats.

An anonymous blog commenter sends the above graph and writes: I was looking at the global temperature record and noticed an odd correlation the other day. Basically, I calculated the temperature trend for each presidency and multiplied by the number of years to get a “total temperature change”. If there was more than one president […]

Fisher’s lost information

After a post on X validated and a good discussion at work, I came to the conclusion [after many years of sweeping the puzzle under the carpet] that the (a?) Fisher information obtained for the Uniform distribution U(0,θ) as θ⁻¹ is meaningless. Indeed, there are many arguments: The lack of derivability of the indicator function […]

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 […]

“Using 26,000 diary entries to show ovulatory changes in sexual desire and behavior”

Kevin Lewis points us to this research paper by Ruben Arslan, Katharina Schilling, Tanja Gerlach, and Lars Penke, which begins: Previous research reported ovulatory changes in women’s appearance, mate preferences, extra- and in-pair sexual desire, and behavior, but has been criticized for small sample sizes, inappropriate designs, and undisclosed flexibility in analyses. Examples of such […]

Fate & Fortune [book review]

After enjoying very much the first book, Hue & Cry, in the Hew Cullan series by Shirley McKay, I bought the following ones and read Fate & Fortune over the vacation break. If anything, I enjoyed this one even more, as it disclosed other aspects of 16th Century Scotland, still with the oppressive domination of […]

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 […]

Jeffreys priors for hypothesis testing [Bayesian reads #2]

A second (re)visit to a reference paper I gave to my OxWaSP students for the last round of this CDT joint program. Indeed, this may be my first complete read of Susie Bayarri and Gonzalo Garcia-Donato 2008 Series B paper, inspired by Jeffreys’, Zellner’s and Siow’s proposals in the Normal case. (Disclaimer: I was not […]

airport static

[An annoyingly loud businessman negotiating a deal for hours in Birmingham airport] …you are left with this money and you get the 60, we get 107 is the mathematics…if we discount 40% Werner still gets that, it’s not well-presented, you should get that minus that, do you mind if we do it from scratch, call […]

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 […]


Supercookies, also known as evercookies or zombie cookies, are like browser cookies in that they can be used to track you, but are much harder to remove. What is a supercookie? The way I first heard supercookies describe was as a cookie that you can appear to delete, but as soon as you do, software […]