A menagerie of messed up data analyses and how to avoid them

February 1, 2016
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A menagerie of messed up data analyses and how to avoid them

Update: I realize this may seem like I'm picking on people. I really don't mean to, I have for sure made all of these mistakes and many more. I can give many examples, but the one I always remember is the time Rafa saved me from "I got a big one here" when I made

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When does peer review make no damn sense?

February 1, 2016
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When does peer review make no damn sense?

Disclaimer: This post is not peer reviewed in the traditional sense of being vetted for publication by three people with backgrounds similar to mine. Instead, thousands of commenters, many of whom are not my peers—in the useful sense that, not being my peers, your perspectives are different from mine, and you might catch big conceptual […] The post When does peer review make no damn sense? appeared first on Statistical…

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On deck this week

February 1, 2016
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Mon: When does peer review make no damn sense? Tues: Stunning breakthrough: Using Stan to map cancer screening! Wed: Where the fat people at? Thurs: The Notorious N.H.S.T. presents: Mo P-values Mo Problems Fri: What’s the difference between randomness and uncertainty? Sat: You’ll never guess what I say when I have nothing to say Sun: […] The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and…

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As First Lady, Popularity of Babies Named "Hillary" Dropped by an Unprecedented 90%

February 1, 2016
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As First Lady, Popularity of Babies Named "Hillary" Dropped by an Unprecedented 90%

In this article I examine the dramatic drop in the popularity of naming babies "Hillary" beginning at the start of President Bill Clinton's term. In order to understand the context of that drop, I look at the popularity of the first names of other Firs...

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Reproducible randomized controlled trials

February 1, 2016
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Reproducible randomized controlled trials

“Reproducible” and “randomized” don’t seem to go together. If something was unpredictable the first time, shouldn’t it be unpredictable if you start over and run it again? As is often the case, we want incompatible things. But the combination of reproducible and random can be reconciled. Why would we want a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to […]

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Group processing in SAS: The NOTSORTED option

February 1, 2016
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Group processing in SAS: The NOTSORTED option

Novice SAS programmers quickly learn the advantages of using PROC SORT to sort data, followed by a BY-group analysis of the sorted data. A typical example is to analyze demographic data by state or by ZIP code. A BY statement enables you to produce multiple analyses from a single procedure […] The post Group processing in SAS: The NOTSORTED option appeared first on The DO Loop.

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Ted Cruz angling for a position in the Stanford poli sci department

January 31, 2016
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Ted Cruz angling for a position in the Stanford poli sci department

In an amusing alignment of political and academic scandals, presidential candidate Ted Cruz was blasted for sending prospective voters in the Iowa Caucus this misleading mailer: Which reminds me of the uproar two years ago when a couple of Stanford political science professors sent prospective Montana voters this misleading mailer: I don’t know which is […] The post Ted Cruz angling for a position in the Stanford poli sci department…

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Postdoc opportunity with Sophia Rabe-Hesketh and me in Berkeley!

January 31, 2016
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Sophia writes: Mark Wilson, Zach Pardos and I are looking for a postdoc to work with us on a range of projects related to educational assessment and statistical modeling, such as Bayesian modeling in Stan (joint with Andrew Gelman). See here for more details. We will accept applications until February 26. The position is for […] The post Postdoc opportunity with Sophia Rabe-Hesketh and me in Berkeley! appeared first on…

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Shrinking VAR’s Toward Theory: Supplanting the Minnesota Prior?

January 31, 2016
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A recent post, On Bayesian DSGE Modeling with Hard and Soft Restrictions, ended with: "A related issue is whether 'theory priors' will supplant others, like the 'Minnesota prior'. I'll save that for a later post." This is that later post. Its title ref...

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Empirical violation of Arrow’s theorem!

January 31, 2016
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Empirical violation of Arrow’s theorem!

Regular blog readers know about Arrow’s theorem, which is that any result can be published no more than five times. Well . . . I happened to be checking out Retraction Watch the other day and came across this: “Exactly the same clinical study” published six times Here’s the retraction notice in the journal Inflammation: […] The post Empirical violation of Arrow’s theorem! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference,…

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Hillary Clinton’s Biggest 2016 Rival: Herself

January 31, 2016
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Hillary Clinton’s Biggest 2016 Rival: Herself

In a recent post I noted that despite Bernie Sanders doing better in many important indicators, Obama 2008 received 3x more media coverage than Sanders 2016.Reasonably, a reader of my blog noted that not all coverage was equal, that a presidential hope...

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TOP SECRET: Newly declassified documents on evaluating models based on predictive accuracy

January 30, 2016
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We recently had an email discussion among the Stan team regarding the use of predictive accuracy in evaluating computing algorithms. I thought this could be of general interest so I’m sharing it here. It started when Bob said he’d been at a meting on probabilistic programming where there was confusion on evaluation. In particular, some […] The post TOP SECRET: Newly declassified documents on evaluating models based on predictive accuracy…

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3 YEARS AGO (JANUARY 2013): MEMORY LANE

January 29, 2016
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3 YEARS AGO (JANUARY 2013): MEMORY LANE

MONTHLY MEMORY LANE: 3 years ago: January 2013. I mark in red three posts that seem most apt for general background on key issues in this blog [1].  Posts that are part of a “unit” or a group of “U-Phils”(you [readers] philosophize) count as one. It was tough to pick just 3 this month. I’m putting the 2 “U-Phils” in […]

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The remains of R. A. Fisher are visited by Bayesians again

January 29, 2016
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The remains of R. A. Fisher are visited by Bayesians again

Thanks to Phillip Alday, the second edition of Doing Bayesian Data Analysis has visited the remains of R. A. Fisher at St. Peter's Cathedral in Adelaide. Here is a photo that Phillip snapped: In a previous post, the first edition visited Fisher's ...

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2016 Prior Exposure Bayesian Data Analysis workshops for social scientists

January 29, 2016
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2016 Prior Exposure Bayesian Data Analysis workshops for social scientists

Mark Andrews and I launched our Prior Exposure Bayesian Data Analysis workshop series last year and are pleased to announce that bookings for year the 2016 workshops 1 and 2 are now open. This is part of the ESRC Advanced Training Initia...

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Random number generator seed mistakes

January 29, 2016
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Random number generator seed mistakes

Long run or broken software? I got a call one time to take a look at randomization software that wasn’t randomizing. My first thought was that the software was working as designed, and that the users were just seeing a long run. Long sequences of the same assignment are more likely than you think. You […]

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Placebo effect shocker: After reading this, you won’t know what to believe.

January 29, 2016
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Martha Smith writes: Yesterday’ BBC News Magazine featured an article by William Kremer entitled, “”Why are placebos getting more effective?”, which looks like a possibility for a blog post discussing how people treat surprising effects. The article asserts that the placebo effect has been decreasing, especially in the U.S. The author asks, “Why? What could […] The post Placebo effect shocker: After reading this, you won’t know what to believe.…

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One thing I like about hierarchical modeling is that is not just about criticism. It’s a way to improve inferences, not just a way to adjust p-values.

January 29, 2016
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In an email exchange regarding the difficulty many researchers have in engaging with statistical criticism (see here for a recent example), a colleague of mine opined: Nowadays, promotion requires more publications, and in an academic environment, researchers are asked to do more than they can. So many researchers just work like workers in a product […] The post One thing I like about hierarchical modeling is that is not just…

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Obama 2008 received 3x more media coverage than Sanders 2016

January 28, 2016
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Obama 2008 received 3x more media coverage than Sanders 2016

Many supporters of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders have claimed that there is a media blackout in which Bernie Sanders has been for whatever reason blocked from communicating his campaign message. Combined with a dramatically cut democratic debate ...

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Is a 60% risk reduction really no big deal?

January 28, 2016
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Paul Alper writes: Here’s something really important. Notice how meaningless the numbers can be. Referring to a 60% risk reduction in flu due to the flu vaccine: As for the magical “60?” Dr. Tom Jefferson didn’t mince words: “Sorry I have no idea where the 60% comes from – it’s either pure propaganda or bandied […] The post Is a 60% risk reduction really no big deal? appeared first on…

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Link: Tamara Munzner Has A Blog!

January 28, 2016
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Link: Tamara Munzner Has A Blog!

Late last year, Tamara Munzner started a blog, called Vis & More. So far, she mostly writes in response to Stephen Few’s postings late last year about some recent visualization papers. Her style is quite academic (most of her posting titles start with “On”…), but very readable and she has lots of interesting things to say. Just … Continue reading Link: Tamara Munzner Has A Blog!

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"Application of High-dimensional Linear Regression with Gaussian Design to Communication" (Next Week at the Statistics Seminar)

January 28, 2016
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Attention conservation notice: Only of interest if (1) you care about the intersection of high-dimensional statistics with information theory, and (2) will be in Pittsburgh next Wednesday. It is, perhaps, only appropriate that the first statistics se...

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love-hate Metropolis algorithm

January 27, 2016
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love-hate Metropolis algorithm

Hyungsuk Tak, Xiao-Li Meng and David van Dyk just arXived a paper on a multiple choice proposal in Metropolis-Hastings algorithms towards dealing with multimodal targets. Called “A repulsive-attractive Metropolis algorithm for multimodality” [although I wonder why XXL did not jump at the opportunity to use the “love-hate” denomination!]. The proposal distribution includes a [forced] downward […]

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