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More Tornadoes Recorded Doesn’t Mean More Tornadoes Occurring

The number of tornadoes recorded by the National Climatic Data Center has increased in recent years, but that doesn’t mean there have been more twisters.

Talking to Your Phone, Dining Out and Slower Runs (Statshot)

American teens don’t use smartphone voice-recognition technology much more than adults do overall, but they use it in different ways. Homemade meals make up almost 20% less of our calorie intake than they did 35 years ago. The jump in marathon participation has brought with it a sharp increase in average finishing time.

Solution to the helicopter design problem

See yesterday’s post for background. Here’s the question: In the helicopter activity, pairs of students design paper ”helicopters” and compete to create the copter that takes longest to reach the ground when dropped from a fixed height. Show More Summary

No, Michael Jordan didn’t say that!

The names are changed, but the song remains the same. First verse. There’s an article by a journalist, The odds, continually updated, by F.D. Flam in the NY Times to which Andrew responded in blog form, No, I didn’t say that, by Andrew Gelman, on this blog. Show More Summary

Some questions from our Ph.D. statistics qualifying exam

In the in-class applied statistics qualifying exam, students had 4 hours to do 6 problems. Here were the 3 problems I submitted: In the helicopter activity, pairs of students design paper ”helicopters” and compete to create the copter that takes longest to reach the ground when dropped from a fixed height. Show More Summary

Stan 2.5, now with MATLAB, Julia, and ODEs

As usual, you can find everything on the Stan Home Page. Drop us a line on the stan-users group if you have problems with installs or questions about Stan or coding particular models. New Interfaces We’d like to welcome two new interfaces: MatlabStan by Brian Lau, and  Stan.jl (for Julia) by Rob Goedman. Show More Summary

Sailing between the Scylla of hyping of sexy research and the Charybdis of reflexive skepticism

Recently I had a disagreement with Larry Bartels which I think is worth sharing with you. Larry and I took opposite positions on the hot topic of science criticism. To put things in a positive way, Larry was writing about some interesting recent research which I then constructively criticized. Show More Summary

Try a spaghetti plot

Joe Simmons writes: I asked MTurk NFL fans to consider an NFL game in which the favorite was expected to beat the underdog by 7 points in a full-length game. I elicited their beliefs about sample size in a few different ways (materials.pdf; data.xls). Show More Summary

Three ways to present a probability forecast, and I only like one of them

To the nearest 10%: To the nearest 1%: To the nearest 0.1%: I think the National Weather Service knows what they’re doing on this one. The post Three ways to present a probability forecast, and I only like one of them appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

On deck this week

Mon: Three ways to present a probability forecast, and I only like one of them Tues: Try a spaghetti plot Wed: I ain’t got no watch and you keep asking me what time it is Thurs: Some questions from our Ph.D. statistics qualifying exam...Show More Summary

“Your Paper Makes SSRN Top Ten List”

I received the following email from the Social Science Research Network, which is a (legitimate) preprint server for research papers: Dear Andrew Gelman: Your paper, “WHY HIGH-ORDER POLYNOMIALS SHOULD NOT BE USED IN REGRESSION DISCONTINUITY...Show More Summary

Statistical Communication and Graphics Manifesto

Statistical communication includes graphing data and fitted models, programming, writing for specialized and general audiences, lecturing, working with students, and combining words and pictures in different ways. The common theme of all these interactions is that we need to consider our statistical tools in the context of our goals. Show More Summary

Three Farmers

Today’s exercise is a math puzzle from Terence Tao: Three farmers were selling chickens at the local market. One farmer had 10 chickens to sell, another had 16 chickens to sell, and the last had 26 chickens to sell. In order not to compete with each other, they agreed to all sell their chickens at […]

Two-Base Palindromes

I wanted to do this exercise as a follow-up to the earlier exercise on generating palindromes, but didn’t get around to it until now. Your task is to write a program that generates a list of numbers that are palindromes in base 10 and base 8; for instance 149694110 = 55535558. When you are finished, […]


Blackjack is a casino game of chance, played by a player and a dealer. Both player and dealer are initially dealt two cards from a standard 52-card deck. If the player’s initial hand consists of an ace and a ten or face card, the player wins, unless the dealer also has an ace and a […]

Using Air Traffic Data to Predict Ebola’s Spread

While a number of researchers are modeling the spread of Ebola in West African countries, a group at Boston’s Northeastern University has used air traffic connections to explore how the disease might spread to the rest of the world.

Leaving Puerto Rico, Counting Calories and a New No. 1 (Statshot)

Far more Puerto Ricans now live off the island than on it, many fast food chains have started serving slightly lighter fare, and Mississippi State took over first place in the AP football poll this week for the first time in its history.

Quiz: How Do Politics Relate to Shopping Habits?

People's political beliefs extend into a number of areas of their lives. According to data from a market research company, these belief systems also relate to how and what people buy.

Remember Pens and Pencils? They’re Doing Just Fine

Remember pens and pencils? They're not only still around, but they're selling well. That has to do not just with surviving technology, but learning to work with it.

Americans Hate Congress, but Like Their Own Representatives

For Americans, their own Congress member is the devil they know. Voters have more favorable views of their own Congress members than they do of Congress in general, according to a Gallup poll released today.

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