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STOC 2015 Call for Workshops and Tutorials

I've had two week from hell with proposal deadlines, paper deadlines, faculty candidates and ever-more demanding hungry cries of the baby chickadees meetings with my students.Thankfully, all that is now in the past and I can sally forth to the next deadline. Show More Summary

Vincent van Gogh (3) vs. Grandma Moses

In yesterday‘s battle of the religions, the strongest argument against Mother Teresa was given by Paul, who related that she was friends with all sorts of nasty politicians and that she’s been accused of spending money that came from questionable sources. Show More Summary

Bayes and doomsday

Ben O’Neill writes: I am a fellow Bayesian statistician at the University of New South Wales (Australia).  I have enjoyed reading your various books and articles, and enjoyed reading your recent article on The Perceived Absurdity ofShow More Summary

The bracket so far

Thanks to the Excel stylings of Paul Davidson: Our competition is (approximately) 1/4 done! And I’ve been thinking about possible categories for next year’s tourney: New Jersey politicians Articulate athletes Plagiarists People named Greg or Gregg Vladimir Nabokov and people connected to him... Show More Summary

Oscar Odds: Best Bet for Best Picture?

If The Numbers were a betting blog, we'd pick a movie that starts with "B" to take best-picture honors in Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony. Right now, the race for best picture seems to have come down to two players -- "Birdman" and "Boyhood". Show More Summary

Behind The Numbers: Factoring Cost of Living Into Poverty Thresholds

As the president and others have been grappling with how to define wealth and the middle class, the discussion has ignored the fact that across the country, there are vast regional differences in the cost of living. However, in the past, the U.S. Show More Summary

Mother Teresa (4) vs. Sun Myung Moon

For yesterday, I’ll have to go with Gandhi, the original badass of nonviolence. Zbicyclist found this quote, “He propagated that... we should take only that which is required, in minimum quantity. We should not eat to appease our taste...Show More Summary

Statistical Significance – Significant Problem?

John Carlin, who’s collaborated on some of my recent work on Type S and Type M errors, prepared this presentation for a clinical audience. It might be of interest to some of you. The ideas and some of the examples should be familiarShow More Summary

Morris Counting

We have today an algorithm from the early days of computing that is still relevant today: counting a large number of events using only a small amount of memory. The technique was invented by Robert Morris (early unix researcher and NSA cryptographer, father of the RTM of “internet worm” fame) and described in his 1978 […]

Number of the Day: $14.5 Million

Today's number, $14.5 million, represents the amount of advance ticket sales so far for Larry David's nearly-sold-out "Fish in the Dark." That extends the advance-sales record for a non-musical play and it's one that hits particularly close to home. Literally. It's being staged right outside The Numbers HQ in New York at the Cort Theatre.

Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Stanley Kubrick

Yesterday‘s competition is a toughie. If it were up to me, I think I’d have to go with Jesus. Here’s why: I’d come into the seminar with lots of resistance, like, c’mon, Jesus, I totally don’t believe the hype. As Hernan put it in comments: Jesus spoke in parables to avoid committing to a specific […] The post Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Show More Summary

Another example of why centering predictors can be good idea

Andrew Dolman writes: Just in case you need another example of why it is important to consider what the intercepts in a model represent, here is a short comment I just got published correcting a misinterpretation of a simple linear model,...Show More Summary

Quantum Physics and Logic at Oxford

The 12th International Workshop on Quantum Physics and Logic is being held in Oxford from July 13th to 17th, 2015.

Number of the Day: 11.4 Million

Late Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that 11.4 million consumers selected health insurance through HealthCare.gov or state-based insurance marketplaces during the second year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. But that number is short on key details, namely: How many are newly ensured and how many are just re-enrollees?

Jesus (1) vs. Leo Tolstoy

For yesterday we’ll have to go with Hobbes. As Zbicyclist put it: “A seminar that promises to be nasty, brutish — and short!” Jonathan put the anti-David argument well: “If there were ever someone who would try to bullshit his way through a seminar, it’s Larry David. Show More Summary

VB-Stan: Black-box black-box variational Bayes

Alp Kucukelbir, Rajesh Ranganath, Dave Blei, and I write: We describe an automatic variational inference method for approximating the posterior of differentiable probability models. Automatic means that the statistician only needs to...Show More Summary

Reader Mailbag: Little Love for the Drake

On Saturday, The Numbers described how several young men adapted the Drake Equation to estimate how many people met their list of criteria for romance, but several readers detected a potential problem with the estimates. A better approach...Show More Summary

Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes

Yesterday‘s winner is Chris Rock. “There’s math. And then everything else is debatable.” And now, for today, we have a misanthropists’ version of yesterday’s contest: the grumpy comedian battling it out with the consummate realist political philosopher. Show More Summary

Number of the Day: 6,689,502,913,449,135,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0

Today's number -- 6,689,502,913,449,135 followed by 183 zeros ?-- comes courtesy of WSJ colleagues Steven Rosenbush and Laura Stevens in this mind-bending story on the number of alternatives for the ordering the average UPS driver's 120 daily stops. This is just the kind of story that makes you appreciate the human imagination and spirit. And capitalism.

Bayesian survival analysis with horseshoe priors—in Stan!

Tomi Peltola, Aki Havulinna, Veikko Salomaa, and Aki Vehtari write: This paper describes an application of Bayesian linear survival regression... We compare the Gaussian, Laplace and horseshoe shrinkage priors, and find that the last has the best predictive performance and shrinks strong predictors less than the others.... Show More Summary

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