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Ptolemaic inference

OK, we’ve been seeing this a lot recently. A psychology study gets published, with a key idea that at first seems wacky but, upon closer reflection, could very well be true! Examples: – That “dentist named Dennis” paper suggesting that people pick where they live and what job to take based on their names. Show More Summary

Conclusions based on PISA results deserve further attention

(National Research University Higher School of Economics) The tests results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which often informs the development of academic policies in various countries, often receive rather simplified interpretations. Show More Summary

Another problem about power series

By an odd coincidence, I stumbled upon a second question in as many weeks about power series, and once again the only way I know how to prove the result is by complex methods; once again, I am leaving it here as a challenge to any interested readers, and I would be particularly interested in […]


Yesterday all the past. The language of effect size Spreading to Psychology along the sub-fields; the diffusion Of the counting-frame and the quincunx; Yesterday the shadow-reckoning in the ivy climates. Yesterday the assessment of hypotheses...Show More Summary

Where’s Bourbaki’s tomb?

Today, we’ll try our hands on the next one: where was Bourbaki buried? The death announcement gives this fairly opaque clue: “The burial will take place in the cemetery for Random Functions (metro stations Markov and Gödel) on Saturday, November 23, 1968 at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.” Bourbaki died on November 11th, 1968 (exactly... Continue reading ?

“How One Study Produced a Bunch of Untrue Headlines About Tattoos Strengthening Your Immune System”

Jeff points to this excellently skeptical news article by Caroline Weinberg, who writes: A recent study published in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests that people with previous tattoo experience may have a better immune response to new tattoos than those being inked for the first time. Show More Summary

Another failed replication of power pose

Someone sent me this recent article, “Embodying Power: A Preregistered Replication and Extension of the Power Pose Effect,” by Katie Garrison, David Tang, and Brandon Schmeichel. Unsurprisingly (given that the experiment was preregistered), the authors found no evidence for any effect of power pose. Show More Summary

Meet the Metallic Means

The golden ratio is familiar to many math enthusiasts—what about the silver ratio? Bronze? Aluminum? -- Read more on

Practical Bayesian model evaluation in Stan and rstanarm using leave-one-out cross-validation

Our (Aki, Andrew and Jonah) paper Practical Bayesian model evaluation using leave-one-out cross-validation and WAIC was recently published in Statistics and Computing. In the paper we show why it’s better to use LOO instead of WAIC for...Show More Summary

Authors of AJPS paper find that the signs on their coefficients were reversed. But they don’t care: in their words, “None of our papers actually give a damn about whether it’s plus or minus.” All right, then!

Avi Adler writes: I hit you up on twitter, and you probably saw this already, but you may enjoy this. I’m not actually on twitter but I do read email, so I followed the link and read this post by Steven Hayward: EPIC CORRECTION OF THE...Show More Summary

Science sheds light on 250-year-old literary controversy

(Coventry University) The social networks behind one of the most famous literary controversies of all time have been uncovered using modern networks science.

Modeling thorny problems.

Today, I got into a nice twitter discussion with former colleague and NLPer extraordinaire (even when he hates on algorithms) Hal Daumé. Here's what he said: one consistent msg I heard re ethics/policy today is that even though no one...Show More Summary


A journalist sent me a bunch of questions regarding problems with polls. Here was my reply: In answer to your question, no, the polls in Brexit did not fail. They were pretty good. See here and here. The polls also successfully estimated Donald Trump’s success in the Republican primary election. Show More Summary

Modeling shifting beliefs in a complex social environment

(American Association for the Advancement of Science) A new model is allowing scientists to explore how changing an individual's certainty in the belief on the truth of one statement leads to changes in their beliefs on the truth of others.

Prey-foraging: The collective search or lone-wolf approach?

(PLOS) Many predators either hunt alone keeping the spoils to themselves or in packs sharing the bounty with others. Deciding whether to tell fellow predators about some tasty prey involves weighing up many pros and cons. In a new paper...Show More Summary

We have a ways to go in communicating the replication crisis

I happened to come across this old post today with this amazing, amazing quote from a Harvard University public relations writer: The replication rate in psychology is quite high—indeed, it is statistically indistinguishable from 100%. Show More Summary

Engineers, mathematicians and doctors unite to develop new breast cancer-detection option

(Trinity College Dublin) A technique used to detect damage on structures under the sea was successfully repurposed to identify cancerous nuclei in breast cell images. Breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer for women worldwide, but current techniques for its automated detection are limited.

International prize in statistics awarded to Sir David Cox for survival analysis model

(American Statistical Association) Prominent British statistician Sir David Cox has been named the inaugural recipient of the International Prize in Statistics. Like the acclaimed Fields Medal, Abel Prize, Turing Award and Nobel Prize, the International Prize in Statistics is considered the highest honor in its field. Show More Summary

Mathematica, now with Stan

Vincent Picaud developed a Mathematica interface to Stan: MathematicaStan You can find everything you need to get started by following the link above. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please let us know through the Stan user’s group or the GitHub issue tracker. Show More Summary

NYU researchers discover clues for identifying Yik Yak users on college campuses

(NYU Tandon School of Engineering) Experiments by researchers at NYU Tandon and NYU Shanghai have successfully cracked the veil of anonymity in Yik Yak, an ostensibly anonymous social media application. Keith Ross, his students, andShow More Summary

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