Continuous Values and Baselines

April 29, 2013
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Continuous Values and Baselines

One of the most common mistakes people make when creating charts is to cut off the vertical axis. But why is that a problem? And what can you do when you need to show data where the amount of change is small compared to the absolute values? When we think of continuous data, we almost always think of values that have a meaningful zero. There is no question what an…

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Using the Golden Section Search Method to Minimize the Sum of Absolute Deviations

Using the Golden Section Search Method to Minimize the Sum of Absolute Deviations

Introduction Recently, I introduced the golden search method – a special way to save computation time by modifying the bisection method with the golden ratio – and I illustrated how to minimize a cusped function with this script.  I also wrote an R function to implement this method and an R script to apply this method […]

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MOOCs–a low-risk way to explore outside your field

April 29, 2013
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MOOCs–a low-risk way to explore outside your field

One of the things I'm realizing from Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) -- those online free classes from universities that have seem to sprung up from almost nowhere in the last year and a half -- is that they offer a perfect opportunity to explore...

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Sunday data/statistics link roundup (4/28/2013)

April 29, 2013
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What it feels like to be bad at math. My personal experience like this culminated in some difficulties with Green's functions back in my early days at USU. I think almost everybody who does enough math eventually runs into a … Continue reading →

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The median outclasses the mean

April 28, 2013
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The median outclasses the mean

The median suffers from poor marketing. All my time at school the “average” was always calculated as the arithmetic mean, by adding up all the scores and then dividing by the number of scores. When we were taught about the … Continue reading →

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Books from the Washing Machine

April 28, 2013
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Books from the Washing Machine

Where statistics and the passion for human development meet: In a classic presentation from Hans Rosling. Who else could do this …Continue reading »

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Plain old everyday Bayesianism!

April 28, 2013
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Sam Behseta writes: There is a report by Martin Tingley and Peter Huybers in Nature on the unprecedented high temperatures at northern latitudes (Russia, Greenland, etc). What is more interesting is the authors are have used a straightforward hierarchical Bayes model, and for the first time (as far as I can remember) the results are [...]The post Plain old everyday Bayesianism! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social…

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The Perils of Hypothesis Testing … Again

April 28, 2013
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The Perils of Hypothesis Testing … Again

A few months ago I posted about John Ioannidis’ article called “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” Ioannidis is once again making news by publishing a similar article aimed at neuroscientists. This paper is called “Power failure: why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience.” The paper is written by Button, Ioannidis, Mokrysz, […]

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Bayesian estimation of log-normal parameters

April 28, 2013
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Bayesian estimation of log-normal parameters

Using the log-normal density can be confusing because it's parameterized in terms of the mean and precision of the log-scale data, not the original-scale data. Thus, if your data, y, are nicely described by a log-normal distribution, the estimated mean...

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Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences

April 27, 2013
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James Druckman and Jeremy Freese write: We are pleased to announce that Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) was renewed for another round of funding by NSF starting last Fall. TESS allows researchers to submit proposals for experiments to be conducted on a nationally-representative, probability-based Internet platform, and successful proposals are fielded at no [...]The post Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference,…

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Getting Credit (or blame) for Something You Didn’t Do (BP oil spill, comedy hour)

April 27, 2013
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Getting Credit (or blame) for Something You Didn’t Do (BP oil spill, comedy hour)

Three years ago, many of us were glued to the “spill cam” showing, in real time, the gushing oil from the April 20, 2010 explosion sinking the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11, and spewing oil until July 15. Trials have been taking place this month, as people try to meet the 3 year deadline to […]

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The most cited and most butchered statistical law

April 27, 2013
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The past week, you are unable to avoid, if you read the business news, mention of the "law of large numbers". We are led to believe that tech giants like Apple and Amazon are suffering from this statistical law. For example: Apple: Newest Victim of the Law of Large Numbers (CNet) New York Times Paywall Growth Slows (Columbia Journalism Review): "Much of this is due to the law of large…

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Continued fractions!!

April 27, 2013
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Upon reading this note by John Cook on continued fractions, I wrote: If you like continued fractions, I recommend you read the relevant parts of the classic Numerical Methods That Work. The details are probably obsolete but it’s fun reading (at least, if you think that sort of thing is fun to read). I then [...]The post Continued fractions!! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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Posteriors vs predictives

April 26, 2013
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Karl Saliba writes with some queries about our football paper, which I have already discussed on the blog here. He says:Thanks to the code in the appendix I could easily replicate (by using WinBUGS) a similar analysis on any football league of my ...

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Machine Learning – week 1 & 2

April 26, 2013
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This week marked the start of Coursera's highly popular Machine Learning course, taught by Coursera founder and one of Time's 2013 100 most influential people, Andrew Ng. I'm super excited to be taking this course after reading about all the cool pres...

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Mindlessly normalizing genomics data is bad – but ignoring unwanted variability can be worse

April 26, 2013
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Mindlessly normalizing genomics data is bad – but ignoring unwanted variability can be worse

Yesterday, and bleeding over into today, quantile normalization (QN) was being discussed on Twitter. This is the tweet that started the whole thing off. The conversation went a bunch of different directions and then this happened: well, this happens all over … Continue reading →

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“A Vast Graveyard of Undead Theories: Publication Bias and Psychological Science’s Aversion to the Null”

April 26, 2013
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Erin Jonaitis points us to this article by Christopher Ferguson and Moritz Heene, who write: Publication bias remains a controversial issue in psychological science. . . . that the field often constructs arguments to block the publication and interpretation of null results and that null results may be further extinguished through questionable researcher practices. Given [...]The post “A Vast Graveyard of Undead Theories: Publication Bias and Psychological Science’s Aversion to…

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Connected China: Explaining the Players and Networks within China

April 26, 2013
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Connected China: Explaining the Players and Networks within China

The beautifully crafted app Connected China [reuters.com], designed by Fathom Information Design, tracks and visualizes the people, institutions and relationships that form China's elite power structure. The application was specifically designed for ...

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Chesapeake Bay Grasses: Tracking Underwater Vegetation over Time

April 26, 2013
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Chesapeake Bay Grasses: Tracking Underwater Vegetation over Time

Chesapeake Bay Grasses [chesapeakebay.net], designed by Stamen Design is an interactive map that tracks a quite exotic subject: the changes of the underwater grasses at Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. Accordingly, the map ...

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Learning to code in R

April 26, 2013
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Learning to code in R

It used to be that the one of the first decisions to make when learning to program was between compiled (e.g. C or FORTRAN) and interpreted (e.g. Python) languages. In my opinion these days one would have to be a masochist to learn with a compiled language: the extra compilation time and obscure errors are […]

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Blog Contents 2013 (March)

April 26, 2013
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Blog Contents 2013 (March)

Error Statistics Philosophy Blog: March 2013* (Frequentists in Exile-the blog)**: (3/1) capitalizing on chance (3/4) Big Data or Pig Data? (3/7) Stephen Senn: Casting Stones (3/10) Blog Contents 2013 (Jan & Feb) (3/11) S. Stanley Young: Scientific Integrity and Transparency (3/13) Risk-Based Security: Knives and Axes (3/15) Normal Deviate: Double Misunderstandings About p-values (3/17) Update on […]

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Discovering Causal Structure from Observations (Advanced Data Analysis from an Elementary Point of View)

April 25, 2013
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How do we get our causal graph? Comparing rival DAGs by testing selected conditional independence relations (or dependencies). Equivalence classes of graphs. Causal arrows never go away no matter what you condition on ("no causation without associa...

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The new book on my desk

April 25, 2013
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The new book on my desk

In my constant effort to keep pace with Chris Hemedinger, I am pleased to announce the availability of my new book, Simulating Data with SAS. Chris started a tradition for SAS Press authors to post a photo of themselves with their new book. Thanks to everyone who helped with the [...]

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