Posts Tagged ‘ science ’

My pre-existing United boycott, and some musing on randomness and fairness

April 12, 2017
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You probably already saw the video - if not, do yourself a favor, and search for "man forcibly removed from overbooked United flight." Other than the video evidence, which is damning, we don't have many facts, other than assertions made by various parties, repeated endlessly on social media and mainline media. Some facts, such as the United CEO claiming the passenger was "belligerent," is an assault on the meaning of…

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What is Mr. Pruitt saying?

April 3, 2017
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In his latest provocation, the EPA Chief, Scott Pruitt, aborted an on-going process by his agency to ban a widely-used but potentially harmful pesticide known as chlorpyrifos (link to New York Times article). In my previous blog on his climate-change statement, I pointed out that people who attack data-driven conclusions for its "imprecision" will ignore any uncertainty if they want something to happen: However, when it comes to such decisions…

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Freudian hypothesis testing

March 23, 2017
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Freudian hypothesis testing

In his paper Mindless statistics, Gerd Gigerenzer uses a Freudian analogy to describe the mental conflict researchers experience over statistical hypothesis testing. He says that the “statistical ritual” of NHST (null hypothesis significance testing) “is a form of conflict resolution, like compulsive hand washing.” In Gigerenzer’s analogy, the id represents Bayesian analysis. Deep down, a […]

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Visualizing citation impact

March 23, 2017
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Visualizing citation impact

Michael Bales and his associates at Cornell are working on a new visual tool for citations data. This is an area that is ripe for some innovation. There is a lot of data available but it seems difficult to gain...

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One statement employing two resistance tactics to fend off the data

March 10, 2017
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I want to parse this statement by new EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, as quoted in this New York Times article: I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. I'm not going to talk about…

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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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Pre-processing data is not just about correcting errors

January 30, 2017
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Pre-processing data is not just about correcting errors

Exploration of IMDB rating data, by Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep

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Apparently Hollywood does not recycle action-movie plots. The data said so, so it must be right

January 25, 2017
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Apparently Hollywood does not recycle action-movie plots. The data said so, so it must be right

Today I continue to explore the movie dataset, found on Kaggle. To catch up with previous work, see the blog posts 1 and 2. One of the students came up with an interesting problem. Among the genre of action movies, are there particular plot elements that are correlated with box office? This problem is solvable because the dataset contains a variable called "plot keywords" lifted from IMDB. Plot keywords are…

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Good models + Bad data = Bad analysis

January 18, 2017
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Good models + Bad data = Bad analysis

Example showing how to diagnose bad data in data science models

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Chopped legs, and abridged analyses

December 27, 2016
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Chopped legs, and abridged analyses

Reader Glenn T. was not impressed by the graphical talent on display in the following column chart (and others) in a Monkey Cage post in the Washington Post: Not starting column charts at zero is like having one's legs chopped...

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