Posts Tagged ‘ Health ’

Round-up of coverage of the Big Miss of Big Data

April 9, 2014
By

There is now some serious soul-searching in the mainstream media about their (previously) breath-taking coverage of the Big Data revolution. I am collecting some useful links here for those interested in learning more. Here's my Harvard Business Review article in which I discussed the Science paper disclosing that Google Flu Trends, that key exhibit of the Big Data lobby, has systematically over-estimated flu activity for 100 out of the last…

Read more »

Numbersense Pros: An interview with David Spiegelhalter

April 1, 2014
By
Numbersense Pros: An interview with David Spiegelhalter

I am excited to chat with Professor David Spiegelhalter, who is no strangers to our UK audience, and our statistics colleagues. Perhaps his most well-known contribution is the DIC criterion for model selection, introduced by a paper by him and collaborators. He holds the impressive title of Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge (link). He also writes a blog called Understanding Uncertainty (link),…

Read more »

Toward a more useful definition of Big Data

March 17, 2014
By
Toward a more useful definition of Big Data

The article (link) in Science about the failure of Google Flu Trends is important for many reasons. One is the inexplicable silence in the Big Data community about this little big problem: it's not as if this is breaking news -- it was known as early as 2009 that Flu Trends completely missed the swine flu pandemic (link), underestimating it by 50%, and then in 2013, Nature reported that Flu…

Read more »

Good guys in sports need a dose of reality

February 26, 2014
By

I will be speaking at the Agilone Data Driven Marketing Summit (link) in San Francisco on Thursday. I will be talking about hiring for numbersense. Drop by if you are in the area. Future events are listed on the right column of the blog >>> *** I feel bad piling on the "good guys" in the sports doping spectacle but sometimes, you need someone to point you to the mirror.…

Read more »

Introducing the statistical parable

January 27, 2014
By

Last week, Andrew Gelman (link) and I were kindred spirits: we both did a "numbersensing" exercise on two different data analyses. I was reading the MailChimp study on the effect of Google siphoning off "marketing" emails into a separate tab, and a noise buzzed my head when I saw that the aggregate click-to-open ratio was reported at an inconceivable 85%. (See Part 1 of my reaction here.) In the meantime,…

Read more »

Imprecise machines mess with history

December 24, 2013
By
Imprecise machines mess with history

The mass media continues to gloss over the imprecision of machines/algorithms. Here is another example I came across the other day. In conversation, the name Martin Van Buren popped up. I was curious about this eighth President of the United States. What caught my eye in the following Google search result (right panel) is his height: Mr. Van Buren was very short, only 5 feet tall. I was about to…

Read more »

Story time on aspirin

December 4, 2013
By

USA Today, who brought us a dubious early signaling system for sudden cardiac arrest in a prior post, also gave us “Story Time!” on aspirin on the same day (link). The article started with the conclusion: “Taking an aspirin before bed may reduce the chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the morning”. What is the data used to support this cause—effect statement? *** The researchers looked at…

Read more »

More confusing statements of probability due to no controls

November 30, 2013
By

A recent article in USA Today is titled “Many with sudden cardiac arrest had early signs” (link). The signs include shortness of breath, faintness, chest pain, etc. Hold on to the headline because it’s the only thing believable in the entire article. The words “early signs” imply to readers that were the men to heed these warnings, they could have prevented the cardiac arrests. Think about the following two statements:…

Read more »

For a change, the FDA earned my trust

November 26, 2013
By

I'm very excited to learn that the FDA has ordered 23andme to stop selling "personal genetic testing" to unsuspecting consumers. This is the company founded by the ex of Google's Sergei Brin (recent news here). So for a change, the FDA is doing something right for consumers, without waiting 10 or 15 years. Here is a report on this action in San Jose Mercury (link). These tests have never been…

Read more »


Subscribe

Email:

  Subscribe