My talk at the University of Michigan today 4pm

March 27, 2013
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Causality and Statistical Learning Andrew Gelman, Statistics and Political Science, Columbia University Wed 27 Mar, 4pm, Betty Ford Auditorium, Ford School of Public Policy Causal inference is central to the social and biomedical sciences. There are unresolved debates about the meaning of causality and the methods that should be used to measure it. As a [...]

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Mix percent metaphors, add average confusion, and serve

March 27, 2013
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Mix percent metaphors, add average confusion, and serve

Sometimes, a chart just strains your mind. Such is the case with the following, a tip from Augustine F. (@acfou) There are just so many percentages on the chart it's really hard to figure out which is which. Under the...

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How to compute the distance between observations in SAS

March 27, 2013
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How to compute the distance between observations in SAS

In statistics, distances between observations are used to form clusters, to identify outliers, and to estimate distributions. Distances are used in spatial statistics and in other application areas. There are many ways to define the distance between observations. I have previously written an article that explains Mahalanobis distance, which is [...]

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Got Data from People? Take Dan Ariely’s Coursera course.

March 26, 2013
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Got Data from People? Take Dan Ariely’s Coursera course.

A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior started yesterday.  One might not immediately think that such a course would be relevant for statistical modeling.  Well, it is if your statistical modeling uses people as informants.  If the dat...

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An instructor’s thoughts on peer-review for data analysis in Coursera

March 26, 2013
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I used peer-review for the data analysis course I just finished. As I mentioned in the post-mortem podcast I knew in advance that it was likely to be the most controversial component of the class. So it wasn’t surprising that based … Continue reading →

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Non Linear Curve Fitting in Excel

March 26, 2013
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Hidden in the many functions of Excel is the rather useful Solver Add-in that can be used to solve many types of problems, including fitting non linear curves to data. To get access to it you need to go to the ‘Manage Add-ins’ section of th...

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Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship program

March 26, 2013
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Juan-Pablo Velez writes: I’m helping with a Data Science for Social Good summer fellowship program at the University of Chicago. The goal is to train data scientists that can tackle problems in education, healthcare, energy, transportation, and more. Working with full-time mentors from academia, industry, and the Obama campaign, fellows will build high-impact analytics projects using statistics, machine learning, data [...]

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Bayes 250

March 26, 2013
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Bayes 250

Of course, a Bayes 500 would be even better and more powerful (although more fuel-consuming...). But: the best we can afford (strictly for time constraints $-$ time since publication, that is) is a Bayes 250.This is what promises to be a very, ver...

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Getting inside my head

March 26, 2013
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Some interviews with me or snippets of such have surfaced recently. Here is a list: Kate Meersschaert interviewed me for New Learning Times (link; registration required). I talked about my teaching philosophy, and why I write books. Jay Ulfelder, a political scientist who keeps an interesting blog, recommends Numbers Rule Your World, and a few other books for political scientists (link). If you haven't heard already, 2013 is the International…

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Getting inside my head

March 26, 2013
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[This is a cross-post from the sister blog, Numbers Rule Your World] Some interviews with me or snippets of such have surfaced recently. Here is a list: Kate Meersschaert interviewed me for New Learning Times (link; registration required). I talked...

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Every Known Drone Attack in Pakistan

March 26, 2013
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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Every Known Drone Attack in Pakistan

The narrative infographic "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: A visualization of drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004" [pitchinteractive.com] by Pitch Interactive illustrates the frequency and human impact of the drone attacks in Pakistan. Once a year Pitch...

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Every Known Drone Attack in Pakistan

March 26, 2013
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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Every Known Drone Attack in Pakistan

The narrative infographic "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: A visualization of drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004" [pitchinteractive.com] by Pitch Interactive illustrates the frequency and human impact of the drone attacks in Pakistan. Once a year Pitch...

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ChainLadder 0.1.5-6 released on CRAN

March 26, 2013
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ChainLadder 0.1.5-6 released on CRAN

Last week we released version 0.1.5-6 of the ChainLadder package on CRAN. The ChainLadder package provides statistical models, which are typically used for the estimation of outstanding claims reserves in general insurance. The package vignette gives a...

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Large Scale Linear Mixed Model

March 26, 2013
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Large Scale Linear Mixed Model

Update at the end:****************************;Bob at r4stats.com claimed that a linear mixed model with over 5 million observations and 2 million levels of random effects was fit using lme4 package in R:I am always interested in large scale mixed mod...

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Significant P-Values and Overlapping Confidence Intervals

March 26, 2013
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Significant P-Values and Overlapping Confidence Intervals

There are all sorts of problems with p-values and confidence intervals and I have no intention (or the time) to cover all those problems right now.  However, a big problem is that most people have no idea what p-values really mean. Here is one example of a common problem with p-values and how it relates [...]

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The harm done by tests of significance

March 25, 2013
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After seeing this recent discussion, Ezra Hauer sent along an article of his from the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, describing three examples from accident research in which null hypothesis significance testing led researchers astray. Hauer writes: The problem is clear. Researchers obtain real data which, while noisy, time and again point in a certain [...]

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Ordinal data with JAGS

March 25, 2013
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Last week is had a look at the standard R routines for estimating models for ordinal data. This week, I want to have a look at JAGS for examining the same data. To be honest, most of it is taking an example (inhaler) and removing code. To my surpr...

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Podcast #6: Data Analysis MOOC Post-mortem

March 25, 2013
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Jeff and I talk about Jeff’s recently completed MOOC on Data Analysis.

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Free magazine, negative heights, and statistical methods

March 25, 2013
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There is a magazine that you should know about. It’s called Significance (link). With that name, it's hardly surprising that it has statistical content. Mathematical equations are kept to a minimum, and typically set off in boxes. I highly recommend it. The reason why I’m writing about it today is that for 2013, you can read it for free via their iPhone or Android app (information here). The magazine is…

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How to plot a discontinuous function

March 25, 2013
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How to plot a discontinuous function

It is easy to use the SGPLOT procedure in SAS to plot the graph of a well-behaved continuous function: just create a data set of the (x,y) values on some domain and use the SERIES statement to connect the points. However, to plot the graph of a discontinuous function correctly [...]

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Submit a talk for the first R in Insurance conference

March 25, 2013
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Submit a talk for the first R in Insurance conference

The registration for the first R in Insurance is open and there is still time to submit a talk / lightning talk. The conference will take place at Cass Business School in London on Monday, 15 July 2013. This is the Monday following the useR! 2013 ...

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Does It Make Sense to Segment Using Individual Estimates from a Hierarchical Bayes Choice Model?

March 25, 2013
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Does It Make Sense to Segment Using Individual Estimates from a Hierarchical Bayes Choice Model?

I raise this question because we see calls for running segmentation with individual estimates from hierarchical Bayes choice models without any mention of the possible complications that might accompany such an approach.  Actually, ...

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Does It Make Sense to Segment Using Individual Estimates from a Hierarchical Bayes Choice Model?

March 25, 2013
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Does It Make Sense to Segment Using Individual Estimates from a Hierarchical Bayes Choice Model?

I raise this question because we see calls for running segmentation with individual estimates from hierarchical Bayes choice models without any mention of the possible complications that might accompany such an approach.  Actually, ...

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