Books to Read While the Algae Grows in Your Fur, October 2015

November 11, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: I have no taste. Anne M. Pillsworth, Fathomless Mind candy, sequel to Summoned (which I seem not to have blogged about), being the further education of a Lovecraftian sorcerer. Pillsworth tries very hard to maintain ...

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"Statistical Estimation with Random Forests" (This Week at the Statistics Seminar)

November 11, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: Only of interest if you (1) are interested in seeing machine learning methods turned (back) into ordinary inferential statistics, and (2) will be in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Leo Breiman's random forests have long been ...

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"Inference in the Presence of Network Dependence Due to Contagion" (Next Week at the Statistics Seminar)

November 11, 2015
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Attention conservation notice: Only of interest if you (1) care about statistical inference with network data, and (2) will be in Pittsburgh next week. A (perhaps) too-skeptical view of statistics is that we should always think we have $ n=1 $, becau...

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Prediction Markets for Science: What Problem Do They Solve?

November 11, 2015
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I've recently seen a bunch of press on this paper, which describes an experiment with developing a prediction market for scientific results. From FiveThirtyEight: Although replication is essential for verifying results, the current scientific culture does little to encourage it in most fields. That’s a problem because it means that misleading scientific results, like those from the

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Le Monde puzzle [#937]

November 10, 2015
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Le Monde puzzle [#937]

A combinatoric Le Monde mathematical puzzle that resembles many earlier ones: Given a pool of 30 interns allocated to three person night-shifts, is it possible to see 31 consecutive nights such that (a) all the shifts differ and (b) there are no pair of shifts with a single common intern? In fact, the constraint there […]

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Good value

November 10, 2015
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Earlier today we had our workshop on the Value of Information at the Ispor conference. I think it went well $-$ I counted about 80 people in the room, which was a big turnout, I think (I lost count three times, so I am not actually sure about the numbe...

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Interactive charts using htmlwidgets

November 10, 2015
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This was a deck used in my presentation to the Inland Northwest R user Group this past Friday (November 6, 2015). The introduction of htmlwidgetshas opened up a wide-range of options for R-users without having the need to pick-up on Java...

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Neyman does science, part 1

November 10, 2015
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On reading Neyman's statistical and scientific philosophy (e.g., Neyman, 1957), one of the things that strikes a scientist is its extreme rejection of post-data reasoning. Neyman adopts the view that once data is obtained statistical inference is ...

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Death rates have been increasing for middle-aged white women, decreasing for men

November 10, 2015
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Death rates have been increasing for middle-aged white women, decreasing for men

Here’s the deal (data from CDC Wonder, age-standardized to a uniform distribution in the age range): Hoo boy. Looky here, something interesting: From 1999 to 2013, the death rate for middle-aged white women steadily increased. The death rate for middle-aged white men increased through 2005, then decreased. Since 2005, the death rate has been rising […] The post Death rates have been increasing for middle-aged white women, decreasing for men…

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Researcher who pushed nudging wants companies to stop using nudges that annoy people

November 10, 2015
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Researcher who pushed nudging wants companies to stop using nudges that annoy people

I recommend Richard Thaler's article in the New York Times for a couple of reasons. It's a discussion of the so-called "nudge" strategy in which product/policy designers try to influence people's behavior through "small design changes". The more important reason is that Thaler is coming back to tell us not to over-do nudges. This is a researcher who recognizes the limits of his pet idea, and warns people to use…

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Hierarchical Loss Reserving with Stan

November 10, 2015
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Hierarchical Loss Reserving with Stan

I continue with the growth curve model for loss reserving from last week's post. Today, following the ideas of James Guszcza [2] I will add an hierarchical component to the model, by treating the ultimate loss cost of an accident year as a random effec...

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“Using prediction markets to estimate the reproducibility of scientific research”

November 9, 2015
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A reporter sent me this new paper by Anna Dreber, Thomas Pfeiffer, Johan Almenberg, Siri Isaksson, Brad Wilson, Yiling Chen, Brian Nosek, and Magnus Johannesson, which begins: Concerns about a lack of reproducibility of statistically significant results have recently been raised in many fields, and it has been argued that this lack comes at substantial […] The post “Using prediction markets to estimate the reproducibility of scientific research” appeared first…

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Upcoming Win-Vector Appearances

November 9, 2015
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We have two public appearances coming up in the next few weeks: Workshop at ODSC, San Francisco – November 14 Both of us will be giving a two-hour workshop called Preparing Data for Analysis using R: Basic through Advanced Techniques. We will cover key issues in this important but often neglected aspect of data science, … Continue reading Upcoming Win-Vector Appearances

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Pathological liars I have known

November 9, 2015
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Pathological liars I have known

There was this guy in college who just made stuff up. It was weird, then funny, then sad. He was clearly an intelligent guy and but for some reason felt the need to fabricate. One thing I remember was something about being a student of Carl Sagan at Cornell—at the same time as he was […] The post Pathological liars I have known appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference,…

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Recidivism and single-case probabilities

November 9, 2015
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Recidivism and single-case probabilities

I am collaborating with a criminologist who studies recidivism.  In the context of crime statistics, a recidivist is a convicted criminal who commits a new crime post conviction.  Statistical studies of recidivism are used in parole hearings ...

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Biostatistics: It’s not what you think it is

November 9, 2015
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My department recently sent me on a recruitment trip for our graduate program. I had the opportunity to chat with undergrads interested in pursuing a career related to data analysis. I found that several did not know about the existence of Departments of Biostatistics and most of the rest thought Biostatistics was the study of clinical trials. We have posted on the

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Choropleths, cartograms, tile maps and all those

November 9, 2015
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Choropleths, cartograms, tile maps and all those

I like this discussion by Richard Brath about the designer choices when it comes to creating maps. Richard systematically walks through each type of map and points out the strengths and weaknesses. He has some interesting ideas about improving tile...

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Know your data 16: what have you copied for pasting today

November 9, 2015
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The Daily Beast reports that Facebook knows what you just copied and pasted on your phone (link). Then, when the engineers try to explain what they are doing, it feels a bit more creepy, as usual. We all copy text and then paste it somewhere else. This can be a web link that we are transporting from one app to another, or from an email app to a browser, etc.…

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Point/Counterpoint: Symbolic versus mnemonic logical operators in SAS

November 9, 2015
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Point/Counterpoint: Symbolic versus mnemonic logical operators in SAS

In SAS, the DATA step and PROC SQL support mnemonic logical operators. The Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT are used for evaluating logical expressions. The comparison operators are EQ (equal), NE (not equal), GT (greater than), LT (less than), GE (greater than or equal), and LE (less than or […] The post Point/Counterpoint: Symbolic versus mnemonic logical operators in SAS appeared first on The DO Loop.

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Findings of the Office of Research Misconduct on the Duke U (Potti/Nevins) cancer trial fraud: No one is punished but the patients

November 9, 2015
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Findings of the Office of Research Misconduct on the Duke U (Potti/Nevins) cancer trial fraud: No one is punished but the patients

Findings of Research Misconduct A Notice by the Health and Human Services Dept on 11/09/2015 AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, HHS. ACTION: Notice. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has taken final action in the following case: Anil Potti, M.D., Duke University School of Medicine: Based on the […]

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Understanding Statistical Inference

November 9, 2015
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Understanding Statistical Inference

Inference is THE big idea of statistics. This is where people come unstuck. Most people can accept the use of summary descriptive statistics and graphs. They can understand why data is needed. They can see that the way a sample … Continue reading →

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Fast food, fast publication

November 8, 2015
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Fast food, fast publication

The following article is getting quite a lot of press right now: David Just and Brian Wansink (2015), “Fast Food, Soft Drink, and Candy Intake is Unrelated to Body Mass Index for 95% of American Adults”, Obesity Science & Practice, forthcoming (upcoming in a new pay for placement journal). Obviously it is a sensational contrary … Continue reading Fast food, fast publication

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Mutually Exclusive Clusters Are Boxes within Which Consumers No Longer Fit

November 8, 2015
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Mutually Exclusive Clusters Are Boxes within Which Consumers No Longer Fit

Sometimes we force our categories to be mutually exclusive and exhaustive even as the boundaries are blurring rapidly.Of course, I am speaking of cluster analysis and whether it makes sense to force everyone into one and only one of a set of discrete b...

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