Posts Tagged ‘ Current Affairs ’

Political winds and hair styling

November 23, 2016
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Political winds and hair styling

Washington Post (link) and New York Times (link) published dueling charts last week, showing the swing-swang of the political winds in the U.S. Of course, you know that the pendulum has shifted riotously rightward towards Republican red in this election....

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Mapping the two Americas

November 17, 2016
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Mapping the two Americas

If you type "two Americas map" into Google image search, you get the following top results: Designers overwhelmingly pick the choropleth map as the way to depitct the two nations. Now, look at these maps from the New York Times...

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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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How will the Times show election results next week? Will they give us a cliffhanger?

November 4, 2016
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How will the Times show election results next week? Will they give us a cliffhanger?

I don't know for sure how the New York Times will present election results next week; it's going to be as hard to predict as the outcome of the election! The Times just published a wonderful article describing all the...

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An example of focusing the chart on a message

November 1, 2016
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An example of focusing the chart on a message

Via Jimmy Atkinson on Twitter, I am alerted to this chart from the Wall Street Journal. The title of the article is "Fiscal Constraints Await the Next President." The key message is that "the next president looks to inherit a...

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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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Reader’s guide to the power pose controversy 2

October 21, 2016
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Yesterday, I started a series of posts covering the "power pose" research controversy. The plan is as follows: Key Idea 1: Peer Review, Manuscripts, Pop Science and TED Talks Key Idea 2: P < 0.05, P-hacking, Replication Studies, Pre-registration Key Idea 3: Negative Studies, and the File Drawer (Today) Key Idea 4: Degrees of Freedom, and the Garden of Forking Paths Key Idea 5: Sample Size Here is a quick…

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Reader’s guide to the power pose controversy 1

October 20, 2016
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I recently covered the power pose research controversy, ignited by an inflammatory letter by Susan Fiske (link). Dana Carney, one of the coauthors of the original power pose study, courageously came forward to disown the research, and explained the reasons why she no longer trusts the result. Here is her mea culpa. Her co-author, Amy Cuddy, then went to New York Magazine to publish her own corrective, claiming that the…

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If Clinton and Trump go to dinner, do they sit face to face, or side by side?

October 18, 2016
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If Clinton and Trump go to dinner, do they sit face to face, or side by side?

One of my students tipped me to an August article in the Economist, published when last the media proclaimed Donald Trump's campaign in deep water. The headline said "Donald Trump's Media Advantage Falters." Who would have known, judging from the...

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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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