Category: Statistics

In which I demonstrate my ignorance of world literature

Fred Buchanan, a student at Saint Anselm’s Abbey School, writes: I’m writing a paper on the influence of Jorge Luis Borges in academia, in particular his work “The Garden of Forking Paths”. I noticed that a large number of papers from a wide array of academic fields include references to this work. Your paper, “The […]

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StanCon 2018 Helsinki talk slides, notebooks and code online

StanCon 2018 Helsinki talk slides, notebooks and code have been sometime available in StanCon talks repository, but it seems we forgot to announce this. The StanCon 2018 Helsinki talk list includes also links to videos. StanCon’s version of conference proceedings is a collection of contributed talks based on interactive notebooks. Every submission is peer reviewed […]

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Visualizing data breaches

The image below is a static screen shot of an interactive visualization of the world’s biggest data breaches. The site lets you filter the data by industry and type of breach. See the site for credits and the raw data.

Topping out

There’s an ancient tradition of construction workers putting a Christmas tree on top of a building when it reaches its full height. I happened to drive by a recently topped out building this morning.

“James Watson in his own words”

Here are some thoughts from the noted biologist and writer, collected by Lior Pachter.
I’d seen a few of these Watson quotes before, but it’s kinda stunning to see them all in one place. Apparently he recommends never adopting an Irish kid…

Where Are Fisher, Neyman, Pearson in 1919? Opening of Excursion 3

Excursion 3 Statistical Tests and Scientific Inference Tour I Ingenious and Severe Tests [T]he impressive thing about [the 1919 tests of Einstein’s theory of gravity] is the risk involved in a prediction of this kind. If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted.The theory is incompatible with […]

Complex exponentials

Here’s something that comes up occasionally, a case where I have to tell someone “It doesn’t work that way.” I’ll write it up here so next time I can just send them a link instead of retyping my explanation. Rules for exponents The rules for manipulating expressions with real numbers carry over to complex numbers […]

Stephen Wolfram explains neural nets

It’s easy to laugh at Stephen Wolfram, and I don’t like some of his business practices, but he’s an excellent writer and is full of interesting ideas. This long introduction to neural network prediction algorithms is an example. I have no idea if Wolfram wrote this book chapter himself or if he hired one of […]

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Sine sum

Sam Walters posted something interesting on Twitter yesterday I hadn’t seem before: The sines of the positive integers have just the right balance of pluses and minuses to keep their sum in a fixed interval. (Not hard to show.) #math pic.twitter.com/RxeoWg6bhn — Sam Walters ☕️ (@SamuelGWalters) November 29, 2018 If for some reason your browser […]

“And when you did you weren’t much use, you didn’t even know what a peptide was”

Last year we discussed the story of an article, “Variation in the β-endorphin, oxytocin, and dopamine receptor genes is associated with different dimensions of human sociality,” published in PNAS that, notoriously, misidentified what a peptide was, among other problems. Recently I learned of a letter published in PNAS by Patrick Jern, Karin Verweij, Fiona Barlow, […]

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My Twitter graveyard

I ran into The Google Cemetery the other day, a site that lists Google products that have come and gone. Google receives a lot of criticism when they discontinue a product, which is odd for a couple reasons. First, the products are free, so no one is entitled to them. Second, it’s great for a […]

Poetic description of privacy-preserving analysis

Erlingsson et al give a poetic description of privacy-preserving analysis in their RAPPOR paper [1]. They say that the goal is to … allow the forest of client data to be studied, without permitting the possibility of looking at individual trees. Related posts What is differential privacy? Data privacy consulting [1] Úlfar Erlingsson, Vasyl Pihur, and […]

Multilevel models for multiple comparisons! Varying treatment effects!

Mark White writes: I have a question regarding using multilevel models for multiple comparisons, per your 2012 paper and many blog posts. I am in a situation where I do randomized experiments, and I have a lot of additional demographic information about people, as well. For the moment, let us just assume that all of […]

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Searching for Mersenne primes

The nth Mersenne number is Mn = 2n – 1. A Mersenne prime is a Mersenne number which is also prime. So far 50 51 have been found [1]. A necessary condition for Mn to be prime is that n is prime, so searches for Mersenne numbers only test prime values of n. It’s not sufficient for n to be prime […]

Another Stan related job in baseball

This quick post is for any Stan users out there who are interested in working in baseball. The Los Angeles Angels are looking to hire a Director of Quantitative Analysis and they are particularly interested in candidates with experience fitting models …

Searching for Fermat primes

Fermat numbers have the form Fermat numbers are prime if n = 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4. Nobody has confirmed that any other Fermat numbers are prime. Maybe there are only five Fermat primes and we’ve found all of them. But there might be infinitely many Fermat primes. Nobody knows. There’s a specialized test for […]

Geometry of an oblate spheroid

We all live on an oblate spheroid [1], so it could be handy to know a little about oblate spheroids. Eccentricity Conventional notation uses a for the equatorial radius and c for the polar radius. Oblate means a > c. The eccentricity e is defined by For a perfect sphere, a = c and so e = 0. The eccentricity for earth is […]