Posts Tagged ‘ Current Affairs ’

General statistical education is an utter failure

July 23, 2014
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As if we need more evidence. The statistics community loves to think of our subject as highly practical and relevant to the general population. And this is true. The average person has a poor grasp of basic statistical thinking, even if he or she has taken one or more statistics courses. This is true, yet many in our community are in denial. Chapter 1 of Numbers Rule Your World deals…

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Revisiting the home run data

July 21, 2014
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Revisiting the home run data

Note to New York metro readers: I'm an invited speaker at NYU's "Art and Science of Brand Storytelling" summer course which starts tomorrow. I will be speaking on Thursday, 12-1 pm. You can still register here. *** The home run...

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A small step for interactivity

July 9, 2014
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A small step for interactivity

Alberto links to a nice Propublica chart on average annual spend per dialysis patient on ambulances by state. (link to chart and article) It's a nice small-multiples setup with two tabs, one showing the states in order of descending spend...

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The Facebook experiment controversy

July 1, 2014
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Facebook data scientists are being blasted for a social psychology experiment they ran in 2012 in which they varied the amount of positive/negative content exposed to users in newsfeeds and measured whether this affected the positive/negative content posted by those users. (link to WSJ report; link to paper) I'm perplexed by the reaction. Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow calls it "likely illegal", who links to James Grimmelmann, a law professor. Slate…

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The missing Brazil effect, and BYOC charts

July 1, 2014
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The missing Brazil effect, and BYOC charts

Announcement: I'm giving a free public lecture on telling and finding stories via data visualization at NYU on 7/15/2014. More information and registration here. *** The Economist states the obvious, that the current World Cup is atypically high-scoring (or poorly...

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Respect the reader’s time

June 25, 2014
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Respect the reader’s time

A graphic illustrating how Americans spend their time is a perfect foil to make the important case that the reader's time is a scarce resource. I wrote about this at the ASA forum in 2011 (link). In the same WSJ...

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What the DST researchers actually found

June 16, 2014
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What the DST researchers actually found

To add to my prior post, having now read the published paper on the effect of DST on heart attacks, I can confirm that I disagree with the way the publicist hired by the journal messaged the research conclusion. And some of the fault lies with the researchers themselves who appear to have encouraged the exaggerated claim. Here is the summary of the research as written up by the researchers…

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Another PR effort to scare you into clicking

June 11, 2014
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Another PR effort to scare you into clicking

From Andrew Gelman's blog, I learned about a paper that makes the claim that daylight savings time could kill you. (Andrew links to this abstract, which is from a poster presentation at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, and later published as a supplement in the ACC Journal; one of his readers found the published paper.) There is also a press release sponsored by the Journal with the…

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Know your data 15: the false promise of data correction

June 5, 2014
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It's a good thing that FTC is making some noise about regulating the snooping done by online services. (link) It's not a good thing that the measures described in the article ("tools to view, suppress and fix the information") do not solve the fundamental problem, and are likely counter-productive. What's the fundamental problem? Imagine a world in which you walk into your supermarket. When you check out, you are required…

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Missing data, mysterious order, reverse causation wipes out a simple theory

June 2, 2014
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Missing data, mysterious order, reverse causation wipes out a simple theory

New York Times columnist Floyd Norris published a set of charts purportedly to show that the housing market in the U.S. is on the mend. Not so quick Floyd. His theory - originating from an economist at Hanley Wood, a...

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