Posts Tagged ‘ ethics ’

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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Numbersense and government accountability in the new political reality

January 24, 2017
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You've heard me say often, numbersense is the most important quality for good data analysts; little did I know that numbersense would become the new requirement for healthy American democracy. From the first day in office, the new President is at war with numbers (over attendance figures at his inauguration). But I believe that getting to the bottom of data-driven claims is a bi-partisan issue: while it is obvious that…

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Post Post-Truth

December 29, 2016
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Post Post-Truth

postfaktisch ‘Fake-news’ and ‘post-truth’ (postfaktisch) are the words dominating today many discussions about truth in communication. ' ... in post-truth [post] has a meaning more like ‘belonging to a time in which the specified concept [truth] has become unimportant or irrelevant’' (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/press/news/2016/11/15/WOTY-16). False information or even lies are not new in the information business. And therefore many, … Continue reading Post Post-Truth

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Trump and Clinton Supporters Agree on Relative Morality … Mostly

November 8, 2016
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When looking at the endless scandals swirling around the heads of the two rival candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it can seem like the two candidates are equally tainted. Many people throw up their hands pleading for some other option.How can we evaluate the alleged actions of these two candidates?Is there some kind of objective way to do so?And how does the decision to support a candidate affect the…

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Reader’s Guide to the Power Pose Controversy 3

November 2, 2016
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This is the third and final post about the controversy over statistical analysis used in peer-reviewed published scholarly research. Most of the new stuff are covered in post #2 (link). Today's post covers statistical issues related to sample size, which is nothing new, but it was mentioned in Amy Cuddy's response to her critics and thus I also discuss it here. In post #2 (link), I offer the following mental…

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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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Data is the next frontier of equal rights

October 3, 2016
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When I rented my first apartment in the U.S., there were two things about American society that left an impression. It was super easy to get credit. My parents had the foresight of making sure we build up a credit history while in college, which helped. But, from setting up cable TV to signing a rental lease, these businesses showed a lot of trust to someone who was earning a…

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If you are practicing your power pose, stop now

September 29, 2016
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Andrew and I warned you about "power poses" in Slate some time ago (link). Breaking news is that Dana Carney, a co-author of the paper that claimed the benefits of the power pose, has now confirmed that she no longer believes in the power pose. She is actively discouraging researchers from this "waste of time and resources." Here is her statement (PDF link), which is well worth reading in full.…

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