Posts Tagged ‘ science ’

It’s more important to know the source than the value of a number

July 12, 2016
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Here we go again. ABC News reported that Ricky Williams, former NFL star, proclaimed himself as holding "the world record for most times drug tested". (link) He said he was tested 500 times. During this 11-year career, Williams failed the test four times. So there is one thing we know - the drug testing regime is not much of a deterrent. Since the athlete knows when he is juicing or…

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Computational foreign language learning: a study in Spanish verbs usage

June 30, 2016
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Computational foreign language learning: a study in Spanish verbs usage

Abstract: I did some computer-y stuff to construct a personal Spanish text corpus and create a Spanish verb study guide specifically tailored to the linguistic variety of Spanish I intend to consume and produce. It worked fairly well. It also… Continue reading →

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Your emails are being read (though I also think this is a hoax)

June 20, 2016
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CNBC reports that Goldman Sachs flags employee emails based on a long list of "offending" phrases. If an employee types a profanity, apparently a window pops up to confirm that the person really truly wants to say that word. The other objective given is to detect fraudulent behavior. The list they published apparently came from 2008, so very aged, but I think it is a hoax. Many of the terms…

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Why is this chart so damn hard to read?

June 8, 2016
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Why is this chart so damn hard to read?

My summer course on analytical methods is already at the midway point. I was doing some research on recommendation systems the other day, and came across the following chart: Ouch. This is from the Park, et. al. (2012) survey of...

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Tip of the day: don’t be Theranosed

May 23, 2016
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Theranos (v): to spin stories that appeal to data while not presenting any data To be Theranosed is to fall for scammers who tell stories appealing to data but do not present any actual data. This is worse than story time, in which the storyteller starts out with real data but veers off mid-stream into unsubstantiated froth, hoping you and I got carried away by the narrative flow. Theranos (n):…

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How to train undergraduate psychologists to be post hoc BS generators

April 3, 2016
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How to train undergraduate psychologists to be post hoc BS generators

Teaching undergraduate psychology is difficult for a variety of reasons. Students come in with preconceived notions about what psychological research is and are sometimes disappointed with the mismatch between their preconceptions and reality. Much of ...

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How to check Likert scale summaries for plausibility

March 30, 2016
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Suppose you are reading a paper that uses Likert scale responses. The paper reports the mean, standard deviation, and number of responses. If we are -- for some reason -- suspicious of a paper, we might ask, "Are these summary statistics possible for t...

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Sitting still against the myth that sitting kills

March 23, 2016
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The fad of standing while working may die hard but science is catching up to it. The idea that standing at work will make one healthier has always been a tough one to believe. It requires a series of premises: Using a standing desk increases the amount of standing Standing longer improves one's health The health improvement is measurable using a well-defined metric The incremental standing is of sufficient amount…

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The state of the art of interactive graphics

March 10, 2016
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The state of the art of interactive graphics

Scott Klein's team at Propublica published a worthy news application, called "Hell and High Water" (link) I took some time taking in the experience. It's a project that needs room to breathe. The setting is Houston Texas, and the subject...

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Continuum between anecdote and data

March 4, 2016
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Continuum between anecdote and data

The difference between anecdotal evidence and data is overstated. People often have in mind this dividing line where observations on one side are worthless and observations on the other side are trustworthy. But there’s no such dividing line. Observations are data, but some observations are more valuable than others, and there’s a continuum of value. I believe […]

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