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“Null hypothesis” = “A specific random number generator”

In an otherwise pointless comment thread the other day, Dan Lakeland contributed the following gem: A p-value is the probability of seeing data as extreme or more extreme than the result, under the assumption that the result was produced by a specific random number generator (called the null hypothesis). Show More Summary

The time-reversal heuristic—a new way to think about a published finding that is followed up by a large, preregistered replication (in context of Amy Cuddy’s claims about power pose)

[Note to busy readers: If you’re sick of power pose, there’s still something of general interest in this post; scroll down to the section on the time-reversal heuristic. I really like that idea.] Someone pointed me to this discussion...Show More Summary

Higher-Order String Functions

Scheme provides the higher-order functions map, for-each and fold that operate on lists. In today’s exercise we will write versions of those functions that operate on strings: (string-map proc str) applies proc to each character in str, replacing the character with the output of proc. proc takes a single character and returns a single character. […]

Ted Versus Powerpose and the Moneygoround, Part One

So. I was reading the newspaper the other day and came across a credulous review of the recent book by Amy “Power Pose” Cuddy. The review, by Heather Havrilesky, expressed some overall wariness regarding the self-help genre, but I was disappointed to see no skepticism regarding Cuddy’s scientific claims. Show More Summary

On deck this week

Mon: Ted Versus Powerpose and the Moneygoround, Part One Tues: “Null hypothesis” = “A specific random number generator” Wed: “Why IT Fumbles Analytics Projects Thurs: Is a 60% risk reduction really no big deal? Fri: Placebo effect shocker: After reading this, you won’t know what to believe. Show More Summary

2 new reasons not to trust published p-values: You won’t believe what this rogue economist has to say.

Political scientist Anselm Rink points me to this paper by economist Alwyn Young which is entitled, “Channelling Fisher: Randomization Tests and the Statistical Insignificance of Seemingly Significant Experimental Results,” and begins, I [Young] follow R.A. Show More Summary

This graph is so ugly—and you’ll never guess where it appeared

Raghu Parthasarathy writes: I know you’re sick of seeing / being pointed to awful figures, but this one is an abomination of a sort I’ve never seen before: It’s a pie chart and a word cloud. In an actual research paper! Messy, illegible, and generally pointless. Show More Summary

Pious penal probability puzzle

Here is a fun problem, with a great story and a surprising answer. According to the Talmud, in order for the Sanhedrin to sentence a man to death, the majority of them must agree to it. However R. Kahana said: If the Sanhedrin unanimously find [the accused] guilty, he is acquitted. (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, […]

One quick tip for building trust in missing-data imputations?

Peter Liberman writes: I’m working on a paper that, in the absence of a single survey that measured the required combination of variables, analyzes data collected by separate, uncoordinated Knowledge Networks surveys in 2003. My co-author...Show More Summary


The Shannon entropy of a file is a measure of the information content in the file; higher entropy implies more information. Shannon entropy is computed as H = -1 sum(pi log2(pi)) where pi is the frequency of each symbol i in the input (frequency is the percentage of the total number of symbols). […]

Kéry and Schaub’s Bayesian Population Analysis Translated to Stan

Hiroki ITÔ (pictured) has done everyone a service in translating to Stan the example models from Marc Kéry and Michael Schaub (2012) Bayesian Population Analysis using WinBUGS: A Hierarchical Perspective. Academic Press. You can find...Show More Summary

If you’re using Stata and you want to do Bayes, you should be using StataStan

Robert Grant, Daniel Furr, Bob Carpenter, and I write: Stata users have access to two easy-to-use implementations of Bayesian inference: Stata’s native bayesmh function and StataStan, which calls the general Bayesian engine Stan. WeShow More Summary

Irritating pseudo-populism, backed up by false statistics and implausible speculations

I was preparing my lecture for tomorrow and happened to come across this post from five years ago. And now I’m irritated by Matt Ridley all over again! I wonder if he’s still bashing “rich whites” and driving that 1975 Gremlin? Grrrr… The...Show More Summary

Rogue sociologist can’t stop roguin’

Mark Palko points me to two posts by Paul Campos (here and here) on this fascinating train wreck of a story. What happens next? It was ok that George Orwell and A. J. Liebling and David Sedaris made stuff up because they’re such good writers. Show More Summary

Jim Albert’s Baseball Blog

Jim Albert has a baseball blog: Baseball with R I sent a link internally to people I knew were into baseball, to which Andrew replied, “I agree that it’s cool that he doesn’t just talk, he has code.” (No kidding—the latest post as of...Show More Summary

My talk Fri 1pm at the University of Chicago

It’s the Data Science and Public Policy colloquium, and they asked me to give my talk, Little Data: How Traditional Statistical Ideas Remain Relevant in a Big-Data World. Here’s the abstract: “Big Data” is more than a slogan; it is our...Show More Summary

On math in job talks

It's job talk season around the country, and this note from +Lance Fortnow popped up on my twitter feed. If you give a job talk to a general CS audience, every formula will count against you. — Lance Fortnow (@fortnow) January 18, 2016...Show More Summary

Stan Talk in NYC: Macroeconomic Forecasting using Analogy Weighting

This post is by Eric. The next Stan meetup is coming up in February. It will be hosted by the New York Bayesian Data Analysis Meetup group and International Securities Exchange. The BDA group was formerly called Stan Users – NYC. WeShow More Summary

Middle-aged white death trends update: It’s all about women in the south

Jonathan Auerbach and I wrote up some of the age-adjustment stuff we discussed on this blog a couple months ago. Here’s our article, a shorter version of which will appear as a letter in PPNAS. And here’s the new analysis we did: Wow!!...Show More Summary

RSA Encryption Backdoor

There has been much ado recently about a law-enforcement backdoor to encryption that would enable authorized access to private encrypted communications: FBI director James Comey and British Prime Minister David Cameron have both come out strongly in favor of an encryption backdoor as a tool in the fight against terrorists, while the EFF and cryptography […]

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