## Number of feet in a mile

Here are a couple amusing things I’ve run across recently regarding the number of feet in a mile. Both are frivolous, but also have a more serious side. Mnemonic First, you can use “five tomatoes” as a mnemonic for remembering that there are 5280 feet in a mile. “Five tomatoes” is a mnemonic for the […]

## Update on keeping Mechanical Turk responses trustworthy

This topic has come up before . . . Now there’s a new paper by Douglas Ahler, Carolyn Roush, and Gaurav Sood, who write: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has rejuvenated the social sciences, dramatically reducing the cost and inconvenience of collecting original data. Recently, however, researchers have raised concerns about the presence of “non-respondents” (bots) or […]

## a chance (?) encounter

As I was cycling to Paris Dauphine, a few days ago, I spotted someone sitting on a bench and working on a laptop who suspiciously looked like… Andrew Gelman! As I knew Andrew was in Paris that week, and as we were reasonably close to Dauphine, this did not sound like a zero probability event. […]

## Nature snapshots

In this 6 June issue of Nature, which I read on my way to O’Bayes, an editorial on the scary move by the WHO to incorporate traditional Chinese medicine remedies in its classification as this includes drugs made from protected and endangered species and as such remedies have not been evidence tested. A news brief […]

## Voter turnout and vote choice of evangelical Christians

Mark Palko writes, “Have you seen this?”, referring to this link to this graph: I responded: Just one of those things, I think. Palko replied: Just to be clear, I am more than willing to believe the central point about the share of the population dropping while the share of the electorate holds relatively steady, […]

## Is Scholarly Use of R Use Beating SPSS Already?

by Bob Muenchen & Sean Mackinnon One of us (Muenchen) has been tracking The Popularity of Data Science Software using a variety of different approaches. One approach is to use Google Scholar to count the number of scholarly articles found … Continue reading →

## Endless citations to already-retracted articles

Ken Cor and Gaurav Sood write: Many claims in a scientific article rest on research done by others. But when the claims are based on flawed research, scientific articles potentially spread misinformation. To shed light on how often scientists base their claims on problematic research, we exploit data on cases where problems with research are […]

## noise contrastive estimation

As I was attending Lionel Riou-Durand’s PhD thesis defence in ENSAE-CREST last week, I had a look at his papers (!). The 2018 noice contrastive paper is written with Nicolas Chopin (both authors share the CREST affiliation with me). Which compares Charlie Geyer’s 1994 bypassing the intractable normalising constant problem by virtue of an artificial […]

## Discriminant of a cubic

The discriminant of a quadratic equation ax² + bx + c = 0 is Δ = b² – 4ac. If the discriminant Δ is zero, the equation has a double root, i.e. there is a unique x that makes the equation zero, and it counts twice as a root. If the discriminant is not zero, […]

## Some Details on Running xgboost

While reading Dr. Nina Zumel’s excellent note on bias in common ensemble methods, I ran the examples to see the effects she described (and I think it is very important that she is establishing the issue, prior to discussing mitigation). In doing that I ran into one more avoidable but strange issue in using xgboost: when … Continue reading Some Details on Running xgboost

## Gigerenzer: “The Bias Bias in Behavioral Economics,” including discussion of political implications

Gerd Gigerenzer writes: Behavioral economics began with the intention of eliminating the psychological blind spot in rational choice theory and ended up portraying psychology as the study of irrationality. In its portrayal, people have systematic cognitive biases that are not only as persistent as visual illusions but also costly in real life—meaning that governmental paternalism […]

## The Long, Cruel History of the Anti-Abortion Crusade [reposted]

[Excerpts from an editorial in the NYT of John Irving, American author of the Cider House Rules novel we enjoyed reading 30 years ago] “(…) I respect your personal reasons not to have an abortion — no one is forcing you to have one. I respect your choice. I’m pro-choice — often called pro-abortion by […]

## Healthier kids: Using Stan to get more information out of pediatric respiratory data

Robert Mahar, John Carlin, Sarath Ranganathan, Anne-Louise Ponsonby, Peter Vuillermin, and Damjan Vukcevic write: Paediatric respiratory researchers have widely adopted the multiple-breath washout (MBW) test because it allows assessment of lung function in unsedated infants and is well suited to longitudinal studies of lung development and disease. However, a substantial proportion of MBW tests in […]

## natural LaTeX

Nature must have been out of inspiration in the past weeks for running a two-page article on LaTeX [as the toolbox column] and how it compares with… Word! Which is not so obvious since most articles in Nature are not involving equations (much) and are from fields where Word prevails. Besides the long-running whine that […]

## B. Haig: The ASA’s 2019 update on P-values and significance (ASA II)(Guest Post)

Brian Haig, Professor Emeritus Department of Psychology University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand The American Statistical Association’s (ASA) recent effort to advise the statistical and scientific communities on how they should think about statistics in research is ambitious in scope. It is concerned with an initial attempt to depict what empirical research might look like in “a […]

## Leonard Shecter’s coauthor has passed away.

I don’t really have anything to add here except to agree with Phil that Ball Four is one of the best nonfiction books ever. (And, no, I don’t consider Charlie Brown to be nonfiction.)

## They’re looking to hire someone with good working knowledge of Bayesian inference algorithms development for multilevel statistical models and mathematical modeling of physiological systems.

Frederic Bois writes: We have an immediate opening for a highly motivated research / senior scientist with good working knowledge of Bayesian inference algorithms development for multilevel statistical models and mathematical modelling of physiological systems. The successful candidate will assist with the development of deterministic or stochastic methods and algorithms applicable to systems pharmacology/biology models […]

## Calibrating patterns in structured data: No easy answers here.

“No easy answers” . . . Hey, that’s a title that’s pure anti-clickbait, a veritable kryptonite for social media . . . Anyway, here’s the story. Adam Przedniczek writes: I am trying to devise new or tune up already existing statistical tests assessing rate of occurrences of some bigger compound structures, but the most tricky […]

## Distribution of quadratic residues

Let p be an odd prime number. If the equation x² = n mod p has a solution then n is a square mod p, or in classical terminology, n is a quadratic residue mod p. Half of the numbers between 0 and p are quadratic residues and half are not. The residues are distributed […]