Posts Tagged ‘ Bias ’

Dispute over analysis of school quality and home prices shows social science is hard

April 24, 2017
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Dispute over analysis of school quality and home prices shows social science is hard

Most of my friends with families fret over school quality when deciding where to buy their homes. It's well known that good school districts are also associated with expensive houses. A feedback cycle is at work here: home prices surge where there are good schools; only richer people can afford to buy such homes; wealth brings other advantages, and so the schools tend to have better students, which leads to…

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My pre-existing United boycott, and some musing on randomness and fairness

April 12, 2017
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You probably already saw the video - if not, do yourself a favor, and search for "man forcibly removed from overbooked United flight." Other than the video evidence, which is damning, we don't have many facts, other than assertions made by various parties, repeated endlessly on social media and mainline media. Some facts, such as the United CEO claiming the passenger was "belligerent," is an assault on the meaning of…

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The get-rich-quick scheme of the English

March 31, 2017
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The get-rich-quick scheme of the English

The World Economic Forum published this chart: The "EF EPI Score" is a measure of English proficiency. So the evidence is clear as day: "Better English and Income Go Hand in Hand," as their headline blares. Last time I was in the New York subway, the panhandler spoke good English. What's a blogger to do? I pulled out the EPI scores from the EPI report, and downloaded the Gross National…

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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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Deep thinking about your data

February 3, 2017
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Deep thinking about your data

In the on-going series of posts about the IMDB dataset, from Kaggle, I have so far looked at several of the scraped variables, including the number of faces on movie posters (1, 2), plot keywords (3), and movie rating by title year (4). In this post, I tackle the variables resulting from a data merge between IMDB and Facebook. These columns have names like "Director Facebook Likes", "Actor 1 Facebook…

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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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Apparently Hollywood does not recycle action-movie plots. The data said so, so it must be right

January 25, 2017
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Apparently Hollywood does not recycle action-movie plots. The data said so, so it must be right

Today I continue to explore the movie dataset, found on Kaggle. To catch up with previous work, see the blog posts 1 and 2. One of the students came up with an interesting problem. Among the genre of action movies, are there particular plot elements that are correlated with box office? This problem is solvable because the dataset contains a variable called "plot keywords" lifted from IMDB. Plot keywords are…

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ASA President meets OCCAM data

December 27, 2016
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Just leaving this quote from ASA President Jessica Utts here (Source: Amstat News Dec 2016): A few days ago, I was in Vietnam and took a four-hour bus ride from Ha Long Bay to Hanoi. When I arrived, my fitness tracker had given me credit for taking 9,124 steps and climbing 81 flights of stairs during those four hours, even though I only left my seat once during a short…

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This election forecasting business

November 15, 2016
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This election forecasting business

If you live in the States, and particularly a blue state, in the last year or two, it has been drilled into your head that Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite to win the Presidential election. On the day before the election, when all the major media outlets finalized their "election forecasting models," they unanimously pronounced Clinton the clear winner, with a probability of winning of 70% to 99%. One…

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The idol worship of objective data is damaging our discipline

October 28, 2016
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In class last week, I discussed this New York Times article with the students. One of the claims in the article is that the U.S. News ranking of colleges is under threat by newcomers whose rankings are more relevant because they more directly measure outcomes such as earnings of graduates. This specific claim in the article makes me head hurt: "If nothing else, earnings are objective and, as the database…

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