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Black Box Challenge

Georgy Cheremovskiy writes: I’m one of the organizers of an unusual reinforcement learning competition named Black Box Challenge. The conception is simple — one need to program an agent that can play a game with unknown rules. At each time step agent is given an environment state vector and has a few possible actions. Show More Summary

Behind The Numbers: Researching Hailstorms

Hailstorm data help meteorologists improve forecasts, insurers assess damages and businesses and citizens minimize exposure.

John Yoo blogging

Jonathan Falk sends along this gem: Judicial Torture as a Screening Device Kong-Pin Chen / Tsung-Sheng Tsai Judicial torture to extract information or to elicit a confession was a common practice in pre-modern societies, both in the east and the west. Show More Summary

Gay persuasion update

Hey, did you hear about that study last year, where some researchers claimed to find that a 20-minute doorstep conversation with skeptical voters could change views on same-sex marriage? It was published in the tabloids and featuredShow More Summary

Selection bias, or, some things are better off left unsaid

I got two of these in the same day! 1. A colleague emails me that a colleague emailed him regarding a study on women in the workplace. The headline conclusion is: “Corporate America is not on a path to gender equality.” My colleague’s...Show More Summary

Postdoc in Alabama on obesity-related research using statistics

David Allison writes: UAB’s Office of Energetics ( seeks a post-doctoral fellow with statistical training for a fellowship in obesity-related research as part of a highly interactive collaborative interdisciplinary team. Show More Summary

These celebrity photos are incredible: Type S errors in use!

Kaveh sends along this, from a recent talk at Berkeley by Katherine Casey: It’s so gratifying to see this sort of thing in common use, only 15 years after Francis and I introduced the idea (and see also this more recent paper with Carlin). The...Show More Summary

Best Disclaimer Ever

Paul Alper sends this in, from the article, “Ovarian cancer screening and mortality in the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS): a randomised controlled trial,” by Ian J Jacobs, Usha Menon, Andy Ryan, Aleksandra...Show More Summary

Somebody’s reading our research.

See footnote 10 on page 5 of this GAO report. (The above graphs are just for age 45-54, which demonstrates an important thing about statistical graphics: They should be as self-contained as possible. Otherwise when the graph is separated...Show More Summary

“A strong anvil need not fear the hammer”

Wagenmakers et al. write: A single experiment cannot overturn a large body of work.... An empirical debate is best organized around a series of preregistered replications, and perhaps the authors whose work we did not replicate will feel inspired to conduct their own preregistered studies. Show More Summary

4/4/16: Square Root Day

Today, apparently, is Square Root Day. And it's rarer than Pi Day, which occurs once a year--or more if you celebrate on Pi Approximation Day.

On deck this week

Mon: “A strong anvil need not fear the hammer” Tues: Best Disclaimer Ever Wed: These celebrity photos are incredible: Type S errors in use! Thurs: Selection bias, or, some things are better off left unsaid Fri: John Yoo blogging Sat:...Show More Summary

A question about software for an online survey

Michael Smith writes: I have a research challenge and I was hoping you could spare a minute of your time. I hope it isn’t a bother—I first came across you when I saw your post on how psychology researchers can learn from statisticians. Show More Summary

For Opening Day

From John Lardner: A young ex-paratrooper visited Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, one day, and address some language, as ball fans will, to Mr. Leo Durocher, the Brooklyn manager, himself the most polite and clean-tongued gentleman in the national pastime when his mouth is shut, which is a hypothetical situation. Show More Summary

Himmicanes and hurricanes update

Stuart Buck points us to this new paper by Gary Smith that eviscerates the notorious himmicanes and hurricanes paper. Here’s how Smith’s paper begins: Abstract It has been argued that female-named hurricanes are deadlier because people do not take them seriously. Show More Summary

Behind ‘The’ Numbers: Small Words With Big Meaning

?How do I love “the”? If you ask James W. Pennebaker, the author of “The Secret Life of Pronouns,” the answer is a lot. Mr. Pennebaker is a pioneer in computerized textual analysis who specializes in plucking meaning from the unlikeliest of words: articles (such as “the”), pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs, negations and selected adverbs.

In the biggest advance in applied mathematics since the most recent theorem that Stephen Wolfram paid for . . .

Seth Green writes: I thought you might enjoy this update from the STATA team:... suppose we wish to know the effect on employment status of a job training program. Further suppose that motivation affects employment status and motivation affects participation. Show More Summary

Foundations of Mathematics

Different people have very different attitudes to "foundations", and until we discuss those, we'll be talking past each other.

Gresham’s Law of experimental methods

A cognitive scientist writes: You’ll be interested to see a comment from one of my students, who’s trying to follow all your advice: It’s hard to see all this bullshit in top journals, while I see that if I do things right, it takesShow More Summary

Numbers too good to be true? Or: Thanks, Obama!?

The “Affordable Care Act” a.k.a. “Obamacare” was passed in 2010, with its various pieces coming into play over the following few years. One of those pieces is penalties for hospitals that see high readmission rates. The theory here,Show More Summary

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