Category: Statistics

The bullshit asymmetry principle

Jordan Anaya writes, “We talk about this concept a lot, I didn’t realize there was a name for it.” From the wikipedia entry: Publicly formulated the first time in January 2013 by Alberto Brandolini, an Italian programmer, the bullshit asymmetry principle (also known as Brandolini’s law) states that: The amount of energy needed to refute […]

risk-adverse Bayes estimators

An interesting paper came out on arXiv in early December, written by Michael Brand from Monash. It is about risk-adverse Bayes estimators, which are defined as avoiding the use of loss functions (although why avoiding loss functions is not made very clear in the paper). Close to MAP estimates, they bypass the dependence of said […]

Bobby Fischer (4) vs. Lance Armstrong; Riad Sattouf advances

Our best argument from the last one comes from Bobbie: I used to believe that Euler could draw circles around anyone but after some investigation I now believe that Sattouf could draw anything around anyone (and write about it beautifully as well). And today we have a battle of two GOATs, with Fischer seeded fourth […]

Economics, power laws, and hacking

Increasing costs impact some players more than others. Those who know about power laws and know how to prioritize are impacted less than those who naively believe everything is equally important. This post will look at economics and power laws in the context of password cracking. Increasing the cost of verifying a password does not […]

Varsity versus junior varsity sports

Last night my wife and I watched our daughter’s junior varsity soccer game. Several statistical questions came to mind. Larger schools tend to have better sports teams. If the talent distributions of a large school and a small school are the same, the larger school will have a better team because its players are the […]

the adoration of the golden car

As the demonstrations by the “gilets jaunes” become a fixture of French Saturdays, the French government is gradually giving up on the reforms it had started and is in particular catering to the car [and motorbike] lobby that started the protests. The symbol itself comes from the yellow fluorescent jackets found in every car and […]

The most low-key newsletter

My monthly newsletter is one of the most low-key ones around. It’s almost a secret. You can find it via the navigation menu if you look for it. I won’t put a popup on my site cajoling you to subscribe, nor will I ask you to sign up before letting you read something I’ve written. […]

When doing regression (or matching, or weighting, or whatever), don’t say “control for,” say “adjust for”

This comes up from time to time. We were discussing a published statistical blunder, an innumerate overconfident claim arising from blind faith that a crude regression analysis would control for various differences between groups. Martha made the following useful comment: Another factor that I [Martha] believe tends to promote the kind of thing we’re talking […]