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What up with red state blue state?

Jordan Ellenberg writes: I learned from your book that Democrats doing better in richer counties and Republicans doing better in poorer counties did not imply that richer people were more likely to vote for Democrats and that in fact, the opposite is true. I do wonder, though, to what extent that’s changing with the current […]

What’s the American Statistical Association gonna say in their Task Force on Statistical Significance and Replicability?

Blake McShane and Valentin Amrhein point us to an announcement (see page 7 of this newsletter) from Karen Kafadar, president of the American Statistical Association, which states: Task Force on Statistical Significance and Replicability Created At the November 2019 ASA Board meeting, members of the board approved the following motion: An ASA Task Force on […]

An article in a statistics or medical journal, “Using Simulations to Convince People of the Importance of Random Variation When Interpreting Statistics.”

Andy Stein writes: On one of my projects, I had a plot like the one above of drug concentration vs response, where we divided the patients into 4 groups. I look at the data below and think “wow, these are some wide confidence intervals and random looking data, let’s not spend too much time more […]

This study could be just fine, or not. Maybe I’ll believe it if there’s an independent preregistered replication.

David Allison sent along this article, Sexually arousing ads induce sex-specific financial decisions in hungry individuals, by Tobias Otterbringa and Yael Sela, and asked whether I buy it. I replied that maybe I’ll believe it if there’s an independent preregistered replication. I’ve just seen too many of these sort of things to ever believe them […]

Is it really true that candidates who are perceived as ideologically extreme do even worse if “they actually pose as more radical than they really are”?

Most of Kruggy’s column today is about macroeconomics, a topic I’m pretty much ignorant of. But I noticed one political science claim: It’s easy to make the political case that Democrats should nominate a centrist, rather than someone from the party’s left wing. Candidates who are perceived as ideologically extreme usually pay an electoral penalty; […]

How many patients do doctors kill by accident?

Paul Kedrosky writes: There is a longstanding debate in the medical community about how many patients they kill by accident. There are many estimates, all fairly harrowing, but little overall agreement. It’s coming to a boil again, and I’m wondering if you’ve ever looked at the underlying claims and statistical data here. The most recent […]

Researcher offers ridiculous reasons for refusing to reassess work in light of serious criticism

Jordan Anaya writes: This response from Barbara Fredrickson to one of Nick’s articles got posted the other day. Alex Holcombe has a screenshot of the article on Twitter. The issue that I have with the response is that she says she stands by the peer review process that led to her article getting published. But […]

Making differential equation models in Stan more computationally efficient via some analytic integration

We were having a conversation about differential equation models in pharmacometrics, in particular how to do efficient computation when fitting models for dosing, and Sebastian Weber pointed to this Stancon presentation that included a single-dose model. Sebastian wrote: Multiple doses lead to a quick explosion of the Stan codes – so things get a bit […]

“Sometimes research just has to start somewhere, and subject itself to criticism and potential improvement.”

Pointing to this careful news article by Monica Beyer, “Controversial study links pollution with bipolar, depression,” Mark Tuttle writes: Sometimes potentially important things are hard, or even very hard. Sometimes research just has to start somewhere, and subject itself to criticism and potential improvement. I think this kind of thing supports our desire for high […]

Coronavirus “hits all the hot buttons” for promoting the scientist-as-hero narrative (cognitive psychology edition)

The New York Times continues to push the cognitive-illusion angle on coronavirus fear. Earlier this week we discussed an op-ed by social psychologist David DeSteno; today there’s a news article by that dude from Rushmore: There remains deep uncertainty about the new coronavirus’ mortality rate, with the high-end estimate that it is up to 20 […]

“Repeating the experiment” as general advice on data collection

Izzy Kates points to the above excerpt from Introductory Statistics, by Neil Weiss, 9th edition, and points out: Nowhere is repeating the experiment mentioned. This isn’t the only time this mistake is made. Good point! We don’t mention replication as a statistical method in our books either! Even when we talk about the replication crisis, […]

Intended consequences are the worst

I saw this news story by Jesse Drucker and Eric Lipton, headlined, “Meant to Lift Poor Areas, Tax Break is Boon to Rich.” The news article is informative, and the story it tells is horrifying. Beyond all that, I’m bothered by the headline, as it seems that the scamtastic aspect of this tax benefit was […]

Summer training in statistical sampling at University of Michigan

Yajuan points us to this summer program: The 53rd Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians will be offered by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research from June 3 to July 31, 2020. Founded by Professor Leslie Kish in 1961, the Sampling Program is devoted to training statisticians in sound […]

Expert writes op-ed in NYT recommending that we trust the experts

Asher Meir points us to this op-ed by social psychologist David DeSteno entitled, “How Fear Distorts Our Thinking About the Coronavirus: The solution isn’t to try to think more carefully. It’s to trust the experts.” DeSteno writes: When it comes to making decisions that involve risks, we humans can be irrational in quite systematic ways […]

“It just happens to be in the nature of knowledge that it cannot be conserved if it does not grow.”

Well put.

The 100-day writing challenge

I was looking up Margaret Echelbarger’s email and ended up on her webpage. Margaret has broad interests and I suppose that in the old days she would’ve had a blog, but people don’t do blogs anymore . . . What she does have, though, is a 100-day writing challenge. This seems pretty cool. Is a […]

Evidence-based medicine eats itself

There are three commonly stated principles of evidence-based research: 1. Reliance when possible on statistically significant results from randomized trials; 2. Balancing of costs, benefits, and uncertainties in decision making; 3. Treatments targeted to individuals or subsets of the population. Unfortunately and paradoxically, the use of statistics for hypothesis testing can get in the way […]

A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia

I happened to come across this excellent Paul Dickson-like compilation from Jeff Miller, a teacher at Gulf High School in New Port Richey, Florida. I’m also reminded of Tim Krabbé’s chess records page.

The hot hand fallacy fallacy rears its ugly ugly head

Funny how repeating the word “fallacy” reverses the meaning, but repeating the word “ugly” just intensifies it . . . Anyway, Josh Miller points us to this article by what must be the last person on the planet to write uncritically about the so-called “hot hand fallacy.” It’s in the blog of the Society for […]

Putting Megan Higgs and Thomas Basbøll in the room together

OK, the’re both on the blogroll so maybe they already know about each other. But, just in case . . . here are two recent posts: Higgs, Fact detector? It is not.: Let’s assume that most people see science as the process of collecting more and more facts (where facts are taken as evidence of […]