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What’s the most important thing in statistics that’s not in the textbooks?

As I wrote a couple years ago: Statistics does not require randomness. The three essential elements of statistics are measurement, comparison, and variation. Randomness is one way to supply variation, and it’s one way to model variation, but it’s not necessary. Show More Summary

Identifying Anagrams

Two words are anagrams if they consist of the same letters, with the same number of occurrences, in a different order. For instance, DEPOSIT and DOPIEST are anagrams (aren’t you glad you know that), and OPTS, POTS, TOPS and STOP form an anagram class. Your task is to write a program that takes two strings […]

Prof. Venkatasubramanian goes to Washington

I'm at the CRA-organized Leadership in Science Policy Institute, otherwise known as LISPI. After a day of intense talks, I feel like day three of a conference: which is to say, totally drained and overwhelmed by the amount of information coming my way. Show More Summary

Reader Mailbag: Minding the GAAP

When financial sources report price per earnings ratios, do they use GAAP earnings?

Eccentric mathematician

I just read this charming article by Lee Wilkinson’s brother on a mathematician named Yitang Zhang. Zhang recently gained some fame after recently proving a difficult theorem, and he seems to be a quite unusual, but likable, guy. What...Show More Summary

On deck this week

Mon: Eccentric mathematician Tues: What’s the most important thing in statistics that’s not in the textbooks? Wed: Carl Morris: Man Out of Time [reflections on empirical Bayes] Thurs: “The general problem I have with noninformatively-derived...Show More Summary

This year’s Atlantic Causal Inference Conference: 20-21 May

Dylan Small writes: The conference will take place May 20-21 (with a short course on May 19th) and the web site for the conference is here. The deadline for submitting a poster title for the poster session is this Friday. Junior researchers...Show More Summary

Statistical analysis on a dataset that consists of a population

This is an oldie but a goodie. Donna Towns writes: I am wondering if you could help me solve an ongoing debate? My colleagues and I are discussing (disagreeing) on the ability of a researcher to analyze information on a population. My...Show More Summary

Train of Thought: C&Coincidence?

Spotting a C&C soda delivery truck--curious coincidence or semi-common occurrence?

Statistical significance, practical significance, and interactions

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: interaction is one of the key underrated topics in statistics. I thought about this today (OK, a couple months ago, what with our delay) when reading a post by Dan Kopf on the exaggeration of small truths. Show More Summary

Minimum Impossible Sum

We have today another from our inexhaustible list of interview questions: Given a list of positive integers, find the smallest number that cannot be calculated as the sum of the integers in the list. For instance, given the integers 4, 13, 2, 3 and 1, the smallest number that cannot be calculated as the sum […]

Number of the Day: 5056.06

The Nasdaq Composite Index, after closing at 5048.62 on March 10, 2000, reclaimed that and then some on Thursday.

Political Attitudes in Social Environments

Jose Duarte, Jarret Crawford, Charlotta Stern, Jonathan Haidt, Lee Jussim, and Philip Tetlock wrote an article, “Political Diversity Will Improve Social Psychological Science,” in which the argued that the field of social psychologyShow More Summary

A message from the vice chairman of surgery at Columbia University: “Garcinia Camboja. It may be the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.”

Should Columbia University fire this guy just cos he says things like this: “You may think magic is make believe but this little bean has scientists saying they’ve found the magic weight loss cure for every body type—it’s green coffee extract.” “I’ve got the No. Show More Summary

Instead of worrying about multiple hypothesis correction, just fit a hierarchical model.

Pejman Mohammadi writes: I’m concerned with a problem in multiple hypothesis correction and, despite having read your article [with Jennifer and Masanao] on not being concerned about it, I was hoping I could seek your advice. Specifically,...Show More Summary

Wilkinson on a priori error analysis

I’ve been reading a lot of NLA lately (e.g., a recent paper on communication-avoiding RRQR), and necessarily brushing up on some details I paid scant attention to in my NLA courses, like the details of the different types of pivoting. Which led me to this quote by a famous numerical analyst: There is still a […]

The feather, the bathroom scale, and the kangaroo

Here’s something I wrote in the context of one of those “power =.06? studies: My criticism of the ovulation-and-voting study is ultimately quantitative. Their effect size is tiny and their measurement error is huge. My best analogy is...Show More Summary

Ordered Cartesian Coordinates

Today’s exercise is a simple little interview question: Generate the pairs of cartesian coordinates within a square bounded by (1,1) and (n,n) ordered by their product in ascending order. For instance, when n is 3, the coordinates are (1,1), (1,2), (2,1), (1,3), (3,1), (2,2), (2,3), (3,2) and (3,3). Can you find a solution with time […]

Online predictions from ipredict

Following up on our post on PredictWise, Richard Barker points to this fun site of market-based predictions. It’s subtitled, “Buy and sell stocks in future political and economic events.” It’s based in New Zealand so you can bet on wacky...Show More Summary

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