Category: Statistics

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 […]

revisiting marginalisation paradoxes [Bayesian reads #1]

As a reading suggestion for my (last) OxWaSP Bayesian course at Oxford, I included the classic 1973 Marginalisation paradoxes by Phil Dawid, Mervyn Stone [whom I met when visiting UCL in 1992 since he was sharing an office with my friend Costas Goutis], and Jim Zidek. Paper that also appears in my (recent) slides as […]

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 […]

Exploring the sum-product conjecture

Quanta Magazine posted an article yesterday about the sum-product problem of Paul Erdős and Endre Szemerédi. This problem starts with a finite set of real numbers A then considers the size of the sets A+A and A*A. That is, if we add every element of A to every other element of A, how many distinct sums are there? If we […]

Le Monde puzzle [#1083]

A Le Monde mathematical puzzle that seems hard to solve without the backup of a computer (and just simple enough to code on a flight to Montpellier): Given the number N=2,019, find a decomposition of N as a sum of non-trivial powers of integers such that (a) the number of integers in the sum is […]

PDSwR2: New Chapters!

We have two new chapters of Practical Data Science with R, Second Edition online and available for review! The newly available chapters cover: Data Engineering And Data Shaping – Explores how to use R to organize or wrangle data into a shape useful for analysis. The chapter covers applying data transforms, data manipulation packages, and … Continue reading PDSwR2: New Chapters!

information maximising neural networks summaries

After missing the blood moon eclipse last night, I had a meeting today at the Paris observatory (IAP), where we discussed an ABC proposal made by Tom Charnock, Guilhem Lavaux, and Benjamin Wandelt from this institute. “We introduce a simulation-based machine learning technique that trains artificial neural networks to find non-linear functionals of data that […]

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 […]