Posts Tagged ‘ Current Affairs ’

Statbusters are back, taking on robots that hire people

July 27, 2015
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In our newest column, we take on the recent media obsession with companies who make robots that hire people. (link) As with most articles about data science, the journalists failed to dig up any evidence that these robots work, other than glowing quotes from the people who are selling these robots. We point out a number of challenges that such algorithms must overcome in order to generate proper predictions. We…

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Visualizing survey results excellently

July 3, 2015
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Visualizing survey results excellently

Surveys generate a lot of data. And, if you have used a survey vendor, you know they generate a ton of charts. I was in Germany to attend the Data Meets Viz workshop organized by Antony Unwin. Paul and Sascha...

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Taking care of a German pie chart while enjoying German kuchen

June 25, 2015
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Taking care of a German pie chart while enjoying German kuchen

I was enjoying this yummy piece of German cake the other day. I started flipping through the recent issue of Stern magazine, and came across this German pie chart that probably presents results from a poll. In particular, it draws...

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Forty-eight Hillarys in some order

June 4, 2015
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Forty-eight Hillarys in some order

Boston Globe has an eye-catching full-page poster about Hillary's current endorsements among 115 important New Hampshire people. (link) This is an excerpt of the poster: Each of the 115 people are represented by a circle, with their names, titles and...

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Some statistics about nutrition statistics

May 26, 2015
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I only read nutrition studies in the service of this blog but otherwise, I don't trust them or care. Nevertheless, the health beat of most media outlets is obsessed with printing the latest research on coffee or eggs or fats or alcohol or what have you. Now, the estimable John Ioannidis has published an editorial in BMJ titled "Implausible Results in Human Nutrition Research". John previously told us about the…

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Should I tell students that the maximum score in the class is 137?

May 22, 2015
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This op-ed by Richard Thaler caught my attention because I have a similar experience. In my statistics classes, I have noticed a pattern: if the mid-term exam is hard, with a lower average score (say 75-80%), the students look crestfallen and feel that they did not learn; eventually, when it comes to evaluating the instructor, I receive lower grades, with comments indicating that I have not taught them properly to…

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Shaking up expectations for pension benefits

May 20, 2015
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Shaking up expectations for pension benefits

Ted Ballachine wrote me about his website Pension360 pointing me to a recent attempt at visualizing pension benefits in various retirement systems in the state of Illinois. The link to the blog post is here. One of the things they...

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But or because more information

May 11, 2015
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But or because more information

Wall Street Journal uses this paired bar chart to show the favorable/unfavorable ratings of potential GOP candidates for the 2016 presidential elections. (link to original) This chart form is fine. From this chart, we can easily see which candidates have...

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Deflategate 3: nature of evidence

May 7, 2015
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Deflategate 3: nature of evidence

Last time we heard about Deflategate on this blog, Warren Sharp compiled some statistics on fumble rates, showing that the Patriots were unusually good at avoiding fumbles. (link, link) I thought the level of analysis was "above average" and remarked that statistical evidence of this type can only get you so far. The metric is indirect, and it does not speak to causation. The official investigators have now issued their…

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Putting a final touch on Bloomberg’s terrific chart of social movements

May 7, 2015
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Putting a final touch on Bloomberg’s terrific chart of social movements

My friend Rhonda D. wins a prize for submitting a good chart. This is Bloomberg's take on the current Supreme Court case on gay marriage (link). Their designer places this movement in the context of prior social movements such as...

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