Why Does "Pi" Appear in the Normal Density

January 16, 2016
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Why Does "Pi" Appear in the Normal Density

Every now and then a student will ask me why the formula for the density of a Normal random variable includes the constant, π, or more correctly (2π)-½.The answer is that this term ensures that the density function is "proper" - that is, the integra...

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Scientists Not Behaving Badly

January 16, 2016
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Scientists Not Behaving Badly

Andrea Panizza writes: I just read about psychologist Uri Simonson debunking a research by colleagues Raphael Silberzahn & Eric Uhlmann on the positive effects of noble-sounding German surnames on people’s careers (!!!). Here the fact is mentioned. I think that the interesting part (apart, of course, from the general weirdness of Silberzahn & Uhlmann’s research […] The post Scientists Not Behaving Badly appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and…

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Turkopticon: Defender of Amazon’s Anonymous Workforce

January 16, 2016
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Turkopticon: Defender of Amazon’s Anonymous Workforce

Labor crowdsourcing is the system by which large crowds or workers contribute to a project allowing for complex and tedious tasks to be rapidly and efficiently completed. The largest labor crowdsourcing platform in the world, Amazon Mechancial TURK (Mt...

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Crowdsourcing research

January 16, 2016
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Crowdsourcing research

Last evening, Anthony Goldbloom, the founder of Kaggle.com, gave a very nice talk at a joint Statistical Programming DC/Data Science DC event about the Kaggle experience and what can be learned from the results of their competitions. One of the take away messages was that crowdsourcing data problems to a diligent and motivated group of entrepreneurial data […]

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McElreath’s Statistical Rethinking: A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan

January 15, 2016
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McElreath’s Statistical Rethinking: A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan

We’re not even halfway through with January, but the new year’s already rung in a new book with lots of Stan content: Richard McElreath (2016) Statistical Rethinking: A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press. This one got a thumbs up from the Stan team members who’ve read it, and […] The post McElreath’s Statistical Rethinking: A Bayesian Course with Examples in R and Stan…

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Using Excel versus using R

January 15, 2016
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Here is a video I made showing how R should not be considered “scarier” than Excel to analysts. One of the takeaway points: it is easier to email R procedures than Excel procedures. Win-Vector’s John Mount shows a simple analysis both in Excel and in R. A save of the “email” linking to all code … Continue reading Using Excel versus using R

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Artificial Intelligence: Solving the Chinese Room Argument

January 15, 2016
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Artificial Intelligence: Solving the Chinese Room Argument

Yesterday, the very best AI (artificial intelligence) had trouble beating a novice human chess player. Today, the very best human player has enormous difficulty beating the best AI. Tomorrow, the very best human player will never beat any AI. However, ...

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Artificial Intelligence: Solving the Chinese Room Argument

January 15, 2016
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Artificial Intelligence: Solving the Chinese Room Argument

Yesterday, the very best AI (artificial intelligence) had trouble beating a novice human chess player. Today, the very best human player has enormous difficulty beating the best AI. Tomorrow, the very best human player will never beat any AI. However, ...

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Unz Ivy Stats Flashback

January 15, 2016
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Unz Ivy Stats Flashback

This news story reminded me of some threads from a few years ago about Ron Unz, the political activist who wrote a statistics-filled article a few years ago claiming that Harvard and other Ivy League colleges discriminate against Asian-Americans and in favor of Jews in undergraduate admissions. It turned out that some of his numbers […] The post Unz Ivy Stats Flashback appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and…

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When Excel goes bad

January 15, 2016
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As we know Excel is very powerful and very flexible, which is why it gets used for all sorts of data, but the myriad of functions and tools available means we can do all sorts of clever things with our worksheets, from drop down lists to dynamic charts...

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Profile of Hilary Parker

January 15, 2016
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If you've ever wanted to know more about my Not So Standard Deviations co-host (and Johns Hopkins graduate) Hilary Parker, you can go check out the great profile of her on the American Statistical Association's This Is Statistics web site. What advice would you give to high school students thinking about majoring in statistics? It’s

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MTA sucks

January 14, 2016
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MTA sucks

They had a sign on the wall promoting this Easy Pay express metrocard that would auto-refill and I was like, cool, so when I got to the ofc I looked it up, found the sign-up page, gave my information and chose the EasyPayXpress PayPerRide Plan, clicked on lu et endendu or whatever they call it, […] The post MTA sucks appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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Talk to Upstate Data Science Group on Caret

January 14, 2016
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Talk to Upstate Data Science Group on Caret

Last night I gave an introduction and demo of the caret R package to the Upstate Data Science group, meeting at Furman University. It was fairly well attended (around 20 people), and well received.It was great to get out of my own comfort zone a b...

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rstanarm and more!

January 14, 2016
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rstanarm and more!

Ben Goodrich writes: The rstanarm R package, which has been mentioned several times on stan-users, is now available in binary form on CRAN mirrors (unless you are using an old version of R and / or an old version of OSX). It is an R package that comes with a few precompiled Stan models — […] The post rstanarm and more! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social…

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"Secret Data" and Differential Privacy

January 14, 2016
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See Cochrane's original post and followup.  The followup mentions the idea of differential privacy as a "technology" that may provide a potential solution when there are issues of data confidentiality.   Actually differential privacy is ...

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Collectionner les Figurines Lego avec ses Ami(e)s

January 14, 2016
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Collectionner les Figurines Lego avec ses Ami(e)s

Dans mon précédant billet, je regardais combien de figurines Lego je devais acheter pour avoir toute la série, avec ma fille. Pour la série de 16, il fallait, en moyenne, acheter 54 sachets, à 3 euros pièces. Dans les commentaires, @Guillaume et @Gaelle me faisaient noter que les échanges, ça pouvait aider. Bon, tout d’abord j’aime pas qu’on donne des conseils à mes filles pour avoir raison contre moi !…

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precision in MCMC

January 13, 2016
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precision in MCMC

While browsing Images des Mathématiques, I came across this article [in French] that studies the impact of round-off errors on number representations in a dynamical system and checked how much this was the case for MCMC algorithms like the slice sampler (recycling some R code from Monte Carlo Statistical Methods). By simply adding a few […]

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Pro-PACE, anti-PACE

January 13, 2016
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Pro Simon Wessely, a psychiatrist who has done research on chronic fatigue syndrome, pointed me to an overview of the PACE trial written by its organizers, Peter White, Trudie Chalder, and Michael Sharpe, and also to this post of his from November, coming to the defense of the much-maligned PACE study: Nothing as complex as […] The post Pro-PACE, anti-PACE appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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Compute the centroid of a polygon in SAS

January 13, 2016
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Compute the centroid of a polygon in SAS

Recently I blogged about how to compute a weighted mean and showed that you can use a weighted mean to compute the center of mass for a system of N point masses in the plane. That led me to think about a related problem: computing the center of mass (called […] The post Compute the centroid of a polygon in SAS appeared first on The DO Loop.

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Cancer statistics: WTF?

January 13, 2016
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This post is by Phil. I know someone who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and is trying to decide whether to get chemo or just let it run its course. What does she have to go on? A bunch of statistics that are barely useful. For example, its easy to find the average survival […] The post Cancer statistics: WTF? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social…

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Stan 2.9 is Here!

January 12, 2016
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Stan 2.9 is Here!

We’re happy to announce that Stan 2.9.0 is fully available(1) for CmdStan, RStan, and PyStan — it should also work for Stan.jl (Julia), MatlabStan, and StataStan. As usual, you can find everything you need on the Stan Home Page. The main new features are: R/MATLAB-like slicing of matrices. There’s a new chapter in the user’s […] The post Stan 2.9 is Here! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and…

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Paxil: What went wrong?

January 12, 2016
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Paxil:  What went wrong?

Dale Lehman points us to this news article by Paul Basken on a study by Joanna Le Noury, John Nardo, David Healy, Jon Jureidin, Melissa Raven, Catalin Tufanaru, and Elia Abi-Jaoude that investigated what went wrong in the notorious study by Martin Keller et al. of the GlaxoSmithKline drug Paxil. Lots of ethical issues here, […] The post Paxil: What went wrong? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and…

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Not So Standard Deviations Episode 7 – Statistical Royalty

January 12, 2016
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The latest episode of Not So Standard Deviations is out, and boy does Hilary have a story to tell. We also talk about Theranos and the pitfalls of diagnostic testing, Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist generation algorithm (and the need for human product managers), and of course, a little Star Wars. Also, Hilary and I start a

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