Blog Profile / Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

Filed Under:Academics / Mathematics
Posts on Regator:3905
Posts / Week:10.5
Archived Since:October 26, 2010

Blog Post Archive

Ready Money

Richard Reeves writes: Most of the people on the highest rung [which he elsewhere defines as the highest fifth of the income distribution] in America are in denial about their privilege. The American myth of meritocracy allows them to attribute their position to their brilliance and diligence, rather than to luck or a rigged system. Show More Summary

Burn-in for MCMC, why we prefer the term warm-up

Here’s what we say on p.282 of BDA3: In the simulation literature (including earlier editions of this book), the warm-up period is called burn-in, a term we now avoid because we feel it draws a misleading analogy to industrial processes in which products are stressed in order to reveal defects. Show More Summary

The piranha problem in social psychology / behavioral economics: The “take a pill” model of science eats itself

[cat picture] A fundamental tenet of social psychology, behavioral economics, at least how it is presented in the news media, and taught and practiced in many business schools, is that small “nudges,” often the sorts of things that we might not think would affect us at all, can have big effects on behavior. Show More Summary

We need to stop sacrificing women on the altar of deeply mediocre men (ISBA edition)

(This is not Andrew. I would ask you not to speculate in the comments who S is, this is not a great venue for that.) Kristian Lum just published an essay about her experiences being sexually assaulted at statistics conferences.  You should read the whole thing because it’s important, but there’s a sample paragraph. Show More Summary

The Night Riders

Gilbert Chin writes: After reading this piece [“How one 19-year-old Illinois man Is distorting national polling averages,” by Nate Cohn] and this Nature news story [“Seeing deadly mutations in an new light,” by Erika Hayden], I wonder if you might consider blogging about how this appears to be the same issue in two different disciplines. Show More Summary

Is it possible to paint an overly bleak picture of university based clinical research?

Recently I was reminiscing with an old colleague about  how our publications from almost 30 years ago that tried to encourage better conduct and reporting of clinical research seemed to have had so little impact. This one for instance. Show More Summary

Yes, you can do statistical inference from nonrandom samples. Which is a good thing, considering that nonrandom samples are pretty much all we’ve got.

Luiz Caseiro writes: 1. P-values and Confidence Intervals are used to draw inferences about a population from a sample. Is that right? 2. As far as I researched, standard statistical softwares usually compute confidence intervals (CI) and p-values assuming that we have a simple random sample. Show More Summary

Two steps forward, one step back

Alex Gamma writes in with what he describes as “an amusing little story” from two years ago: When Deaton & Case published their study, and after your re-analysis had uncovered the missing age-correction, I’ve pointed out this issue to...Show More Summary

Workflow, baby, workflow

Bob Carpenter writes: Here’s what we do and what we recommend everyone else do: 1. code the model as straightforwardly as possible 2. generate fake data 3. make sure the program properly codes the model 4. run the program on real data 5. Show More Summary

A reporter sent me a Jama paper and asked me what I thought . . .

My reply: Thanks for sending. I can’t be sure about everything they’re doing but the paper looks reasonable to me. I expect there are various ways that the analysis could be improved, but on a quick look I don’t see anything obviously wrong with it, and the authors seem to know what they are doing. Show More Summary

StanCon2018: one month to go, schedule finalized, over 20 talks, 6 tutorials… and flights are cheap

StanCon2018 is shaping up nicely as a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in all things Stan, meet Stan developers and fellow users. Registration is still open, but spots are filling up fast. We’re at 130 registrants and counting! The draft schedule is now up. Show More Summary

Interactive visualizations of sampling and GP regression

You really don’t want to miss Chi Feng‘s absolutely wonderful interactive demos. (1) Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling I believe this is exactly what Andrew was asking for a few Stan meetings ago: Chi Feng’s Interactive MCMC Sampling...Show More Summary

Ed Jaynes outta control!

A commmenter points to a chapter of E. T. Jaynes’s book on probability and inference that contains the following amazing bit: The information we get from the TV evening news is not that a certain event actually happened in a certain way it is that some news reporter has claimed that it did. Show More Summary

Always crashing in the same car

“Hey, remember me?  I’ve been busy working like crazy” – Fever Ray I’m at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) for the week, which is basically a Canadian version of Disneyland where during coffee breaks a Canadian woman with a rake politely walks around telling elk to “shoo”. Show More Summary

“How to Assess Internet Cures Without Falling for Dangerous Pseudoscience”

Science writer Julie Rehmeyer discusses her own story: Five years ago, against practically anyone’s better judgment, I knowingly abandoned any semblance of medical evidence to follow the bizarre-sounding health advice of strangers on the internet. Show More Summary


I’m getting my computer repaired and so will be offline for a few days, won’t be reading or sending email or reading blog comments. The blog will auto-post, though, one per day, with already-scheduled material: “How to Assess Internet...Show More Summary

Bin Yu and Karl Kumbier: “Artificial Intelligence and Statistics”

Yu and Kumbier write: Artificial intelligence (AI) is intrinsically data-driven. It calls for the application of statistical concepts through human-machine collaboration during generation of data, development of algo- rithms, and evaluation of results. Show More Summary

Loss of confidence

This fascinating post by David Weakliem documents declining confidence in political institutions: and the news media: and some other institutions: As Weakliem writes: So far, confidence in everything has declined. You could offer specific...Show More Summary

“There was this prevalent, incestuous, backslapping research culture. The idea that their work should be criticized at all was anathema to them. Let alone that some punk should do it.”

[image of a cat reading a comic book] How did the outsiders upend social psychology? CATRON: We used basic reporting techniques. We’d call up somebody and ask them about thus-and-so, and they’d mention so-and-so, so we’d call so-and-so, and ask about thus-and-so. Show More Summary

The four missing books of Lawrence Otis Graham

We keep some books in the bathroom that are good for reading in small bits. The other day I was flipping through The Best American Essays 1993 and came across the following passage that had originally appeared in New York Magazine: I’m...Show More Summary

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