Posts Tagged ‘ Behavior ’

Reading Everything is Obvious by Duncan Watts

February 15, 2017
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Reading Everything is Obvious by Duncan Watts

In his book, Everything is Obvious (Once You Know the Answer): Why Common Sense Fails, Duncan Watts, a professor of sociology at Columbia, imparts urgent lessons that are as relevant to his students as to self-proclaimed data scientists. It takes only nominal effort to generate narrative structures that retrace the past, Watts contends, but developing lasting theory that produces valid predictions requires much more effort than common sense. Watts’s is…

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Pre-processing data is not just about correcting errors

January 30, 2017
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Pre-processing data is not just about correcting errors

Exploration of IMDB rating data, by Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep

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What do these items have in common?

December 19, 2016
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What do these items have in common?

What do the following items have in common? A. Motion-detection light switch in your office that shuts off while you're typing at your computer B. Automatic flush that turns on while you're seated C. Voice-recognition system that picks up ambient noise and asks you to repeat something you didn't say D. Auto-correct software that flips a correct spelling to the wrong one you didn't anti-auto-correct the last time E. Fuzzy-logic…

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Why are GMAT scores going up?

October 11, 2016
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In Chapter 1 of Numbersense (link), I went through an extensive list of shenanigans that can be used to trick the rankings of colleges and graduate schools. One of them is to allow students to submit the maximum of repeated sittings of GREs, LSATs, GMATs, etc. This tactic is unabashedly headlined in a recent Wall Street Journal article, "Test Redos Give GMAT Scores a Lift." (link) In the print edition,…

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Thank you Buzzfeed for noticing us humans

August 31, 2016
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My friend John R. sent me this excellent Buzzfeed feature on music playlists. Here are some choice quotes to whet your appetite: In 2014, when Tim Cook explained Apple’s stunning $3 billion purchase of Beats by repeatedly invoking its “very rare and hard to find” team of music experts, he was talking about these guys. And their efforts since, which have pointed toward curated playlists (specifically, an industrial-scale trove of…

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GMO labeling is good science

August 18, 2016
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A GMO labeling law has arrived in the US, albeit one that has no teeth (link). For those who don't want to click on the link, the law is passed in haste to pre-empt a more stringent Vermont law. The federal law defines GMO narrowly, businesses do not need to put word labels on packages (they can, for example, provide an 800-number), and violaters will not be punished. One of…

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Statistical thinking on my subway commute

August 16, 2016
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So I recently moved and needed to find the optimal subway ride up to Columbia. I have been go back and forth between my two choices to collect some data to help make up my mind. Both routes require two train exchanges but only the first leg differs. In other words: Route 1 : A -> B -> C Route 2 : X -> B -> C Here, the "nodes"…

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Know your data 19: don’t tell me you are 2 blocks away when you are 20 blocks away

August 11, 2016
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Well, it didn't take long but private investigators have found the next big thing: Big Data. Bloomberg reported on a company called IDI, who sells our data to private investigators. (link) Unfortunately, this article is short on details and long on sensationalized catchphrases ("Every move you make. Every click you take...") The CEO of IDI boasted that "We have data on that 21-year-old who’s living at home with mom and…

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Your emails are being read (though I also think this is a hoax)

June 20, 2016
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CNBC reports that Goldman Sachs flags employee emails based on a long list of "offending" phrases. If an employee types a profanity, apparently a window pops up to confirm that the person really truly wants to say that word. The other objective given is to detect fraudulent behavior. The list they published apparently came from 2008, so very aged, but I think it is a hoax. Many of the terms…

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Tip of the day: don’t be Theranosed

May 23, 2016
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Theranos (v): to spin stories that appeal to data while not presenting any data To be Theranosed is to fall for scammers who tell stories appealing to data but do not present any actual data. This is worse than story time, in which the storyteller starts out with real data but veers off mid-stream into unsubstantiated froth, hoping you and I got carried away by the narrative flow. Theranos (n):…

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