OK, sometimes the concept of “false positive” makes sense.

November 28, 2016
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OK, sometimes the concept of “false positive” makes sense.

Paul Alper writes: I know by searching your blog that you hold the position, “I’m negative on the expression ‘false positives.'” Nevertheless, I came across this. In the medical/police/judicial world, false positive is a very serious issue: $2 Cost of a typical roadside drug test kit used by police departments. Namely, is that white powder […] The post OK, sometimes the concept of “false positive” makes sense. appeared first on…

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Gary Gorton, Harald Uhlig, and the Great Crisis

November 28, 2016
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Gary Gorton has made clear that the financial crisis of 2007 was in essence a traditional banking panic, not unlike those of the ninetheeth century.  A key corollary is that the root cause of the Panic of 2007 can't be something relatively new, li...

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Goodness-of-fit tests: A cautionary tale for large and small samples

November 28, 2016
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Goodness-of-fit tests: A cautionary tale for large and small samples

In the classic textbook by Johnson and Wichern (Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis, Third Edition, 1992, p. 164), it says: All measures of goodness-of-fit suffer the same serious drawback. When the sample size is small, only the most aberrant behaviors will be identified as lack of fit. On the other hand, […] The post Goodness-of-fit tests: A cautionary tale for large and small samples appeared first on The DO Loop.

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Votes Populaires et Grands Électeurs

November 28, 2016
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Votes Populaires et Grands Électeurs

La semaine dernière, j’avais mis un billet en ligne où je m’interrogeais sur la pertinence de faire commencer l’axe des ordonnées en 0, quand on regardait les élections américaines, en représentant le nombre de votes obtenus. Mon point était que 0 n’avait pas vraiment de sens, quand on regardait républicains et démocrates (en 2016 en tous cas) car ces deux parties obtiendront toujours plusieurs dizaines de millions de voix, quoi…

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Invited sessions at the International Symposium on Forecasting

November 28, 2016
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Invited sessions at the International Symposium on Forecasting

We are currently calling for invited session proposals for the ISF to be held in Cairns, Australia, in June 2017. An invited session consists of 3 or 4 talks around a specific forecasting theme. You are allowed to be one of the speakers in a session you organize (although it is not necessary). So if […]

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The Problem with Vis Taxonomies

November 28, 2016
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The Problem with Vis Taxonomies

Most taxonomies in visualization and HCI are useless. They carve up the space, but they don’t provide new insights or make predictions. Designing a useful taxonomy is a difficult problem, but that's no excuse for publishing lots of mediocre ones. A Taxonomy of Taxonomies Taxonomies organize the world. They’re best known from biology, where animals and […]

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An election just happened and I can’t stop talking about it

November 27, 2016
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An election just happened and I can’t stop talking about it

Some things I’ve posted elsewhere: The Electoral College magnifies the power of white voters (with Pierre-Antoine Kremp) I’m not impressed by this claim of vote rigging And, in case you missed it: Explanations for that shocking 2% shift Coming soon: What theories in political science got supported or shot down by the 2016 election? (with […] The post An election just happened and I can’t stop talking about it appeared…

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Mathematics activities using Lego bricks

November 27, 2016
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Mathematics activities using Lego bricks

I love Lego. And I love making up mathematics and statistics activities for people of all levels of attainment. So it makes sense that I would make up maths discussion activities using Lego. Whenever I have posted my ideas on … Continue reading →

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The Effective Number of Parties in the Electorate by Year and Region

November 27, 2016
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The Effective Number of Parties in the Electorate by Year and Region

Tasks: Compute the Effective Number of Parties by year and region Using the American National Election Studies, compute the Effective Number of Parties in the electorate across regions and years/waves. The data The data come from The American National Election Studies (ANES). The ANES is a survey that covers voting behavior, public opinion, and political participation. Many other countries have their own version of this survey, for instance see here.…

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Reminder: Instead of “confidence interval,” let’s say “uncertainty interval”

November 26, 2016
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Reminder:  Instead of “confidence interval,” let’s say “uncertainty interval”

We had a vigorous discussion the other day on confusions involving the term “confidence interval,” what does it mean to have “95% confidence,” etc. This is as good a time as any for me to remind you that I prefer the term “uncertainty interval”. The uncertainty interval tells you how much uncertainty you have. That […] The post Reminder: Instead of “confidence interval,” let’s say “uncertainty interval” appeared first on…

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Happiness formulas

November 26, 2016
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Happiness formulas

Jazi Zilber writes: Have you heard of “the happiness formula”? Lyubomirsky at al. 2005. Happiness = 0.5 genetic, 0.1 circumstances, 0.4 “intentional activity” They took the 0.4 unexplained variance and argued it is “intentional activity” Cited hundreds of times by everybody. The absurd is, to you even explaining it is unneeded. For others, I do […] The post Happiness formulas appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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Discussion on overfitting in cluster analysis

November 25, 2016
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Discussion on overfitting in cluster analysis

Ben Bolker wrote: It would be fantastic if you could suggest one or two starting points for the idea that/explanation why BIC should naturally fail to identify the number of clusters correctly in the cluster-analysis context. Bob Carpenter elaborated: Ben is finding that using BIC to select number of mixture components is selecting too many […] The post Discussion on overfitting in cluster analysis appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal…

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sampling by exhaustion

November 24, 2016
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sampling by exhaustion

The riddle set by The Riddler of last week sums up as follows: Within a population of size N, each individual in the population independently selects another individual. All individuals selected at least once are removed and the process iterates until one or zero individual is left. What is the probability that there is zero […]

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Les gens bien élevés font commencer les barres en zéro

November 24, 2016
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Les gens bien élevés font commencer les barres en zéro

Il y a quelques jours, je mentionnais sur twitter un graphique mis en ligne sur imgur.com, au sujet des trois dernières élections présidentielles américaines, Le premier point est que le graphique a été fait alors que les dépouillements n’étaient pas encore finis. 72 heures après la clôture des bureaux de votes, plusieurs millions de bulletins n’avaient pas été dépouillés, comme me l’ont fait noté François Gourio et Tom Roud. Comme…

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“Breakfast skipping, extreme commutes, and the sex composition at birth”

November 24, 2016
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“Breakfast skipping, extreme commutes, and the sex composition at birth”

Bhash Mazumder sends along a paper (coauthored with Zachary Seeskin) which begins: A growing body of literature has shown that environmental exposures in the period around conception can affect the sex ratio at birth through selective attrition that favors the survival of female conceptuses. Glucose availability is considered a key indicator of the fetal environment, […] The post “Breakfast skipping, extreme commutes, and the sex composition at birth” appeared first…

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Come & play with us!

November 23, 2016
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We're starting to build up the promotional material for our new MSc in Health Economics and Decision Science. Here's the first of a few videos we've filmed!

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Political winds and hair styling

November 23, 2016
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Political winds and hair styling

Washington Post (link) and New York Times (link) published dueling charts last week, showing the swing-swang of the political winds in the U.S. Of course, you know that the pendulum has shifted riotously rightward towards Republican red in this election....

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Abraham Lincoln and confidence intervals

November 23, 2016
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Abraham Lincoln and confidence intervals

Our recent discussion with mathematician Russ Lyons on confidence intervals reminded me of a famous logic paradox, in which equality is not as simple as it seems. The classic example goes as follows: Abraham Lincoln is the 16th president of the United States, but this does not mean that one can substitute the two expressions […] The post Abraham Lincoln and confidence intervals appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference,…

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Sampling variation in small random samples

November 23, 2016
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Sampling variation in small random samples

Somewhere in my past I encountered a panel of histograms for small random samples of normal data. I can't remember the source, but it might have been from John Tukey or William Cleveland. The point of the panel was to emphasize that (because of sampling variation) a small random sample […] The post Sampling variation in small random samples appeared first on The DO Loop.

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I’m only adding new posts when they’re important . . . and this one’s really important.

November 23, 2016
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I’m only adding new posts when they’re important . . . and this one’s really important.

Durf Humphries writes: I’m a fact-checker and digital researcher in Atlanta. Your blog has been quite useful to me this week. Your statistics and explanations are impressive, but the decision to ornament your articles with such handsome cats? That’s divine genius and it’s apparent that these are not random cats, but carefully curated critters that […] The post I’m only adding new posts when they’re important . . . and…

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Monty Python generator

November 22, 2016
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Monty Python generator

By some piece of luck I came across a paper by the late George Marsaglia, genial contributor to the field of simulation, and Wai Wan Tang, entitled The Monty Python method for generating random variables. As shown by the below illustration, the concept is to flip the piece H outside the rectangle back inside the […]

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Problematic presentation of probabilistic predictions

November 22, 2016
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Problematic presentation of probabilistic predictions

Theoretically, people should not be surprised by the results of the 2016 election; several credible forecasters predicted that it would be a close race.  But a lot of people were surprised anyway.  In my previous article I explained one reaso...

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How best to partition data into test and holdout samples?

November 22, 2016
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How best to partition data into test and holdout samples?

Bill Harris writes: In “Type M error can explain Weisburd’s Paradox,” you reference Button et al. 2013. While reading that article, I noticed figure 1 and the associated text describing the 50% probability of failing to detect a significant result with a replication of the same size as the original test that was just significant. […] The post How best to partition data into test and holdout samples? appeared first…

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