Posts Tagged ‘ Cause-effect ’

Time to dust off my digital marketing talks

September 14, 2017
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Time to dust off my digital marketing talks

Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep, discusses effectiveness of branded keywords on Google. How accountable is digital advertising? Not as much as you think

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Naive analysis is naive: debate about college admissions

August 24, 2017
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Naive analysis is naive: debate about college admissions

Kaiser Fung, author of Numbers Rule Your World and founder of Principal Analytics Prep, discusses why naive analysis of data hurts the debate over affirmative action.

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Book review: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

May 15, 2017
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Book review: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep, discusses Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's new book, Everybody Lies

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Ramp metering magic

May 1, 2017
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Here is a recent article giving some history on the invention of ramp meters, used on highways to mitigate congestion. I discuss this subject in Numbers Rule Your World (link). There is an interesting stochastic phenomenon underlying highway congestion. Ramp meters help by regulating the inflow of vehicles onto the highway, and prolonging the period of time by which the highway runs at full capacity. The key insight is that…

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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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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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Inspired by water leaks

December 19, 2016
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Inspired by water leaks

For me, 2016 is a year of water leaks. I was forced to move apartments during the summer. (Blame my old landlord for the lower frequency of posts this year!) That old apartment was overrun by water issues. In the past four years, there were two big leaks in addition to annual visible "seepage" in the ceiling. The first big leak ruined my first night back from Hurricane Sandy-induced evacuation.…

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Two quick hits: how bad data analysis harms our discourse

October 6, 2016
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I am traveling so have to make this brief. I will likely come back to these stories in the future to give a longer version of these comments. I want to react to two news items that came out in the past couple of days. First, Ben Stiller said that prostate cancer screening (the infamous PSA test) "saved his life". (link) So he is out there singing the praises of…

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Sitting still against the myth that sitting kills

March 23, 2016
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The fad of standing while working may die hard but science is catching up to it. The idea that standing at work will make one healthier has always been a tough one to believe. It requires a series of premises: Using a standing desk increases the amount of standing Standing longer improves one's health The health improvement is measurable using a well-defined metric The incremental standing is of sufficient amount…

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Statbusters: standing may or may not stand a chance

December 7, 2015
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In our latest Statbusters column for the Daily Beast, we read the research behind the claim that "standing reduces odds of obesity". Especially at younger companies, it is trendy to work at standing desks because of findings like this. We find a variety of statistical issues calling for better studies. For example, the observational dataset used provides no clue as to whether sitting causes obesity or obesity leads to more…

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