Posts Tagged ‘ science ’

How to read survey results: chocolate milk edition

June 19, 2017
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Apparently, the Washington Post decided to assist the dairy industry in its latest advertising campaign by publishing a weird survey result, which claims that some adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. (link) Just start by thinking about the survey design. In order for people to express this opinion, the survey had to contain a choice of "brown cows." If they had done an open-ended survey, the result…

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Book review: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

May 15, 2017
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Book review: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Kaiser Fung, founder of Principal Analytics Prep, discusses Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's new book, Everybody Lies

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A pretty good chart ruined by some naive analysis

May 10, 2017
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A pretty good chart ruined by some naive analysis

The following chart showing wage gaps by gender among U.S. physicians was sent to me via Twitter: The original chart was published by the Stat News website (link). I am most curious about the source of the data. It apparently...

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Pints, water, fishes, pond

May 2, 2017
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Pints, water, fishes, pond

@apollo_0 on twitter asks me to comment on this, by Scientific Britain: Here's my comment:

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Dispute over analysis of school quality and home prices shows social science is hard

April 24, 2017
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Dispute over analysis of school quality and home prices shows social science is hard

Most of my friends with families fret over school quality when deciding where to buy their homes. It's well known that good school districts are also associated with expensive houses. A feedback cycle is at work here: home prices surge where there are good schools; only richer people can afford to buy such homes; wealth brings other advantages, and so the schools tend to have better students, which leads to…

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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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