Japan’s Kumano Kodo pilgrimage [book review]

When preparing our hiking trip to the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, I was extremely pleased to find a dedicated guidebook that covered precisely the region we wanted to explore and provided enough background material to make the walk sound feasible. However, once I found the Kumano Travel reservation website, run most efficiently by the Tanabe […]

A world of Wansinks in medical research: “So I guess what I’m trying to get at is I wonder how common it is for clinicians to rely on med students to do their data analysis for them, and how often this work then gets published”

In the context of a conversation regarding sloppy research practices, Jordan Anaya writes: It reminds me of my friends in residency. Basically, while they were med students for some reason clinicians decided to get them to analyze data in their spare time. I’m not saying my friends are stupid, but they have no stats or […]

Nature tidbits

Before returning a few older issues of Nature to the coffee room of the maths department, a quick look brought out the few following items of interests, besides the great cover above: France showing the biggest decline in overal output among the top 10 countries in the Nature Index Annual Tables. A tribune again the […]

It’s not just p=0.048 vs. p=0.052

Peter Dorman points to this post on statistical significance and p-values by Timothy Taylor, editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, a highly influential publication of the American Economic Association. I have some problems with what Taylor writes, but for now I’ll just take it as representing a certain view, the perspective of a thoughtful […]

How fast were dead languages spoken?

A new paper in Science suggests that all human languages carry about the same amount of information per unit time. In languages with fewer possible syllables, people speak faster. In languages with more syllables, people speak slower. Researchers quantified the information content per syllable in 17 different languages by calculating Shannon entropy. When you multiply […]

research position in Bristol

Christophe Andrieu is seeking a senior research associate (reference ACAD103715) at the University of Bristol to work on new approaches to Bayesian data science. The selected candidate would work with Prof. Christophe Andrieu (School of Mathematics) and Prof. Mark Beaumont (Life Science) on new approaches to tackle Bayesian inference in complex statistical models arising in […]

Calibration and sharpness?

I really liked this paper, and am curious what other people think before I base a grant application around applying Stan to this problem in a machine-learning context. Gneiting, T., Balabdaoui, F., & Raftery, A. E. (2007). Probabilistic forecasts, calibration and sharpness. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B (Statistical Methodology), 69(2), 243–268. Gneiting […]

My talk at the Metascience symposium Fri 6 Sep

The meeting is at Stanford, and here’s my talk: Embracing Variation and Accepting Uncertainty: Implications for Science and Metascience The world would be pretty horrible if your attitude on immigration could be affected by a subliminal smiley face, if elections were swung by shark attacks and college football games, if how you vote depended on […]

Advanced Data Reshaping in Python and R

This note is a simple data wrangling example worked using both the Python data_algebra package and the R cdata package. Both of these packages make data wrangling easy through he use of coordinatized data concepts (relying heavily on Codd’s “rule of access”). The advantages of data_algebra and cdata are: The user specifies their desired transform … Continue reading Advanced Data Reshaping in Python and R

Quiet mode

When you start a programming language like Python or R from the command line, you get a lot of initial text that you probably don’t read. For example, you might see something like this when you start Python. Python 2.7.6 (default, Nov 23 2017, 15:49:48) [GCC 4.8.4] on linux2 Type “help”, “copyright”, “credits” or “license” […]

More golf putting, leading to a discussion of how prior information can be important for an out-of-sample prediction or causal inference problem, even if it’s not needed to fit existing data

Steve Stigler writes: I saw a piece on your blog about putting. It suggests to me that you do not play golf, or you would not think this was a model – length is much more important than you indicate. I attach an old piece by a friend that is indeed the work of a […]

More bc weirdness

As I mentioned in a footnote to my previous post, I just discovered that variable names in the bc programming language cannot contain capital letters. I think I understand why: Capital letters are reserved for hexadecimal constants, though in a weird sort of way. At first variable names in bc could only be one letter […]

Asimov’s question about π

In 1977, Isaac Asimov [1] asked how many terms of the slowly converging series π = 4 – 4/3 + 4/5 – 4/7 + 4/9 – … would you have to sum before doing better than the approximation π ≈ 355/113. A couple years later Richard Johnsonbaugh [2] answered Asimov’s question in the course of […]