Going meta on Niall Ferguson

July 1, 2013
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Going meta on Niall Ferguson

Ashok Rao shreds the latest book from Niall Ferguson, who we’ve encountered most recently as the source of homophobic slurs but who used to be a serious scholar. Or maybe still is. Remember Linda, that character from the Kahneman and Tversky vignette who was deemed likely to be “a bank teller who is active in [...]The post Going meta on Niall Ferguson appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and…

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Know your data 11: Facebook and you

July 1, 2013
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TechCrunch has a great piece on how Facebook tracks you even if you don't give them data. (link; be careful, opening this link drags my browser to a crawl.) Here's my take on the issue: I have always been disturbed by the complicity of invading other people's privacy, forced upon us when we use a service like Facebook (or Google or you name it). For those of you who allow…

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Duplicate values in random numbers: Tossing dice and sharing birthdays

July 1, 2013
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Duplicate values in random numbers: Tossing dice and sharing birthdays

Tossing dice is a simple and familiar process, yet it can illustrate deep and counterintuitive aspects of random numbers. For example, if you toss four identical six-sided dice, what is the probability that the faces are all distinct, as shown to the left? Many people would guess that the probability [...]

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Exploratory Data Analysis – Kernel Density Estimation and Rug Plots in R on Ozone Data in New York and Ozonopolis

Exploratory Data Analysis – Kernel Density Estimation and Rug Plots in R on Ozone Data in New York and Ozonopolis

Update on July 15, 2013: Thanks to Harlan Nelson for noting on AnalyticBridge that the ozone concentrations for both New York and Ozonopolis are non-negative quantities, so their kernel density plot should have non-negative support sets.  This has been corrected in this post by - defining new variables called max.ozone and max.ozone2 - using the […]

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Intractable likelihoods, unbiased estimators and sign problem

July 1, 2013
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Intractable likelihoods, unbiased estimators and sign problem

Hey all, We’re at the Big Data era blablabla, but the advanced computational methods usually don’t scale well enough to match the increasing sizes of datasets. For instance, even in a simple case of i.i.d. data and an associated likelihood function , the cost of evaluating the likelihood function at any parameter is typically growing […]

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Why learning objectives are so important

June 30, 2013
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Why learning objectives are so important

The most useful thing I learned in my teacher training at Auckland College of Education in 1985 was to write learning objectives. Not many years, and two babies later, I began lecturing at the University of Canterbury in Management Science/Operations … Continue reading →

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Blog Contents: mid-year

June 30, 2013
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Blog Contents: mid-year

Error Statistics Philosophy BLOG: Table of Contents 2013 (January-June)* January 2013 (1/2) Severity as a ‘Metastatistical’ Assessment (1/4) Severity Calculator (1/6) Guest post: Bad Pharma? (S. Senn) (1/9) RCTs, skeptics, and evidence-based policy (1/10) James M. Buchanan (1/11) Aris Spanos: James M. Buchanan: a scholar, teacher and friend (1/12) Error Statistics Blog: Table of Contents (1/15) Ontology & Methodology: Second call for Abstracts, Papers […]

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Faster calculation

June 30, 2013
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Last week I decided to speed up my distribution fitting functions of two weeks ago. These were bold words. My try of Rcpp was a failure. Just plain optimization helped a bit better. Using the compiler package added a bit. (the compiler package does not...

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River Filigree

June 30, 2013
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River Filigree

[Briefly] Take a look at these images created by Nelson Minar and found on Wired - they not only do a great job of representing the rivers (and, by complement, additional features like mountain ranges) but also of what can...

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River Filigree

June 30, 2013
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River Filigree

[Briefly] Take a look at these images created by Nelson Minar and found on Wired - they not only do a great job of representing the rivers (and, by complement, additional features like mountain ranges) but also of what can...

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“Non-statistical” statistics tools

June 30, 2013
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Ulrich Atz writes: I regard myself fairly familiar with modern “big data” tools and models such as random forests, SVM etc. However, HyperCube is something I haven’t come across yet (met the marketing guy last week) and they advertise it as “disruptive”, “unique”, “best performing data analysis tool available”. Have you seen it in action? [...]The post “Non-statistical” statistics tools appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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LOST CAUSES IN STATISTICS I: Finite Additivity

June 30, 2013
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LOST CAUSES IN STATISTICS I: Finite Additivity

LOST CAUSES IN STATISTICS I: Finite Additivity I decided that I’ll write an occasional post about lost causes in statistics. (The title is motivated by Streater (2007).) Today’s post is about finitely additive probability (FAP). Recall how we usually define probability. We start with a sample space and a -algebra of events . A real-valued … … Continue reading →

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R sucks

June 29, 2013
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I was trying to make some new graphs using 5-year-old R code and I got all these problems because I was reading in files with variable names such as “co.fipsid” and now R is automatically changing them to “co_fipsid”. Or maybe the names had underbars all along, and the old R had changed them into [...]The post R sucks appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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Going negative

June 29, 2013
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Troels Ring writes: I have measured total phosphorus, TP, on a number of dialysis patients, and also measured conventional phosphate, Pi. Now P is exchanged with the environment as Pi, so in principle a correlation between TP and Pi could perhaps be expected. I’m really most interested in the fraction of TP which is not [...]The post Going negative appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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End of Google Reader

June 29, 2013
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End of Google Reader

If you are reading this in Google Reader, or you are reading in an RSS reader that uses Google Reader as a back-end, then you probably need this reminder. Everyone else can stop reading now. Google Reader will cease to be available on 1 July and you wi...

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Descending Text in Righthand Margin of R Graphics à la mtext

June 29, 2013
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Descending Text in Righthand Margin of R Graphics à la mtext

There was an R-help thread in January regarding text in the righthand margin of an R graphic, where the text should be rendered in reading order from top to bottom. The base R function mtext is used to plot text in the margin. But, mtext is only able to render text from left to right […]

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Econ coauthorship update

June 28, 2013
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The other day I posted some remarks on Stan Liebowitz’s analysis of coauthorship in economics. Liebowitz followed up with some more thoughts: I [Liebowitz] am not arguing for an increase or decrease in coauthorship, per se. I would prefer an efficient amount of coauthorship, whatever that is, and certainly it will vary by paper and [...]The post Econ coauthorship update appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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Testing function arguments in GNU R

June 28, 2013
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Recently I have read a nice post on ensuring that proper arguments are passed to a function using GNU R class system. However, I often need a more lightweight solution to repetitive function argument testing.The alternative idea is to test function arg...

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The weirdest thing about the AJPH story

June 27, 2013
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The weirdest thing about the AJPH story

Earlier today I posted a weird email that began with “You are receiving this notice because you have published a paper with the American Journal of Public Health within the last few years” and continued with a sleazy attempt to squeeze $1000 out of me so that an article that I sent them for free [...]The post The weirdest thing about the AJPH story appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal…

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What is the Best Way to Analyze Data?

June 27, 2013
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One topic I've been thinking about recently is extent to which data analysis is an art versus a science. In my thinking about art and science, I rely on Don Knuth's distinction, from his 1974 lecture "Computer Programming as an … Continue reading →

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Huh?

June 27, 2013
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I received the following bizarre email: Apr 26, 2013 Dear Andrew Gelman You are receiving this notice because you have published a paper with the American Journal of Public Health within the last few years. Currently, content on the Journal is closed access for the first 2 years after publication, and then freely accessible thereafter. [...]The post Huh? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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When a chart does nothing for the story

June 27, 2013
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When a chart does nothing for the story

There is some banter on Twitter about a chart that appeared in The Atlantic on "Pixar's Sad Decline--in One Chart". (@thewhyaxis, @jschwabish, @tealtan). Link to article *** It's a bit horrible but not the worst chart ever. The most offensive...

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R Package Versioning

June 27, 2013
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R Package Versioning

This should be what it feels like to bump the major version of your software: For me, the main reason for package versioning is to indicate the (slight or significant) differences among different versions of the same package, otherwise we can keep o...

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