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Stanford prison experiment

Mark Palko points us to a review by Alison Abbott of a book by Susannah Cahalan telling a disturbing story of a psychology professor at a prestigious university who had stunning academic and popular success based on research that he seems to have incorrectly and misleadingly reported. Disturbing—but not surprising, given we now have a […]

“Men Appear Twice as Often as Women in News Photos on Facebook”

Onyi Lam, Stefan Wojcik, Adam Hughes, and Brian Broderick write: A new study of the images accompanying news stories posted publicly on Facebook by prominent American news media outlets finds that men appear twice as often as women do in news images, with a majority of photos showing exclusively men. . . . Researchers chose […]

Should we judge pundits based on their demonstrated willingness to learn from their mistakes?

Palko writes: Track records matter. Like it or not, unless you’re actually working with the numbers, you have to rely to some degree on the credibility of the analysts you’re reading. Three of the best ways to build credibility are: 1. Be right a lot. 2. When you’re wrong, admit it and seriously examine where […]

What is the relevance of “bad science” to our understanding of “good science”?

We spend some time talking about junk science, or possible junk science, most recently that book about sleep, but we have lots of other examples such as himmicanes, air rage, ages ending in 9, pizzagate, weggy, the disgraced primatologist, regression discontinuity disasters, beauty and sex ratio, the critical positivity ratio, slaves and serfs, gremlins, and […]

Postdoc in precision medicine at Johns Hopkins using Bayesian methods

Aki Nishimura writes: My colleague Scott Zeger and I have a postdoc position for our precision medicine initiative at Johns Hopkins and we are looking for expertise in Bayesian methods, statistical computation, or software development. Expertise in Stan would be a plus!

Rapid prepublication peer review

The following came in the email last week from Gordon Shotwell: You posted about an earlier pilot trial of calcifidiol, so I wanted to send you this larger study. The randomization is a bit funky and if you were interested it would be great to hear what sorts of inferences we can make about this […]

Luc Sante reviews books by Nick Hornby and Geoffrey O’Brien on pop music

From 2004. Worth a read, if you like this sort of thing, which I do, but I guess most of you don’t.

Statisticians don’t use statistical evidence to decide what statistical methods to use. Also, The Way of the Physicist.

David Bailey, a physicist at the University of Toronto, writes: I thought you’d be pleased to hear that a student in our Advanced Physics Lab spontaneously used Stan to analyze data with significant uncertainties in both x and y. We’d normally expect students to use python and orthogonal distance regression, and STAN is never mentioned […]

Is sqrt(2) a normal number?

In a paper from 2018, Pierpaolo Uberti writes: In this paper we study the property of normality of a number in base 2. A simple rule that associates a vector to a number is presented and the property of normality is stated for the vector associated to the number. The problem of testing a number […]

Simulated-data experimentation: Why does it work so well?

Someone sent me a long question about a complicated social science problem involving intermediate outcomes, errors in predictors, latent class analysis, path analysis, and unobserved confounders. I got the gist of the question but it didn’t quite seem worth chasing down all the details involving certain conclusions to be made if certain affects disappeared in […]

Postdoc in Paris for Bayesian models in genetics . . . differential equation models in Stan

Julie Bertrand writes: The BIPID team in the IAME UMR1137 INSERM Université de Paris is opening a one-year postdoctoral position to develop Bayesian approaches to high throughput genetic analyses using nonlinear mixed effect models. The candidate will analyse longitudinal phenotype data using differential equation models on clinical trial data with Stan and perform simulation studies […]

“Smell the Data”

Mike Maltz writes the following on ethnography and statistics: I got interested in ethnographic studies because of a concern for people analyzing data without an understanding of its origins and the way it was collected. An ethnographer collects stories, and too many statisticians disparage them, calling them “anecdotes” instead of real data. But stories are […]

Is the right brain hemisphere more analog and Bayesian?

Oliver Schultheiss writes: I recently commented one of your posts (I forgot which one) with a reference to evidence suggesting that the right brain hemisphere may be in a better position to handle numbers and probabilistic predictions. Yesterday I came across the attached paper by Filipowicz, Anderson, & Danckert (2016) that may be of some […]

Who are the culture heroes of today?

When I was a kid, the culture heroes were Hollywood and TV actors, pop musicians, athletes and coaches, historical political and military figures, then I guess you could go down the list of fame and consider authors, artists, scientists and inventors . . . . that’s about it, I think. Nowadays, we still have actors, […]

Creatures of their time: Shirley Jackson and John Campbell

I recently read two excellent biographies of literary figures: “Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life,” by Ruth Franklin, “Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction,” by Alec Nevala-Lee. Franklin’s is a traditional literary biography, going through Jackson’s life in fine detail and focusing […]

“Our underpowered trial provides no indication that X has a positive or negative effect on Y”

It’s rare to see researchers say flat-out that an experimental result leaves them uncertain. There seems to be such a temptation to either declare victory with statistical significance (setting the significance level to 0.1 if necessary to clear the bar) or to claim that weak and noisy results are “suggestive” or, conversely, to declare non-significance […]

What’s your “Mathematical Comfort Food”?

Darren Glass, editor of the book review section of the American Mathematical Monthly, writes, For this month’s column, I [Glass] thought that, rather than provide an in-depth review of a new monograph, I would ask a number of members of our community about some of the “mathematical comfort food” that they have turned to or […]

Lakatos was a Stalinist

Apparently this is well known, it’s just new to me. [Actually, not so new, as this blog post has been sent to the end of the queue twice now, so it’s appearing about a year after I wrote it. — ed.] Alan Musgrave and Charles Pigden write: After a brilliant school career, during which he […]

Reflections on Lakatos’s “Proofs and Refutations”

I wrote this for the book review section of the American Mathematical Monthly. I’ll discuss the other books reviewed in tomorrow’s post, but here I wanted to share what I wrote about Lakatos’s book. And, yeah, yeah, I know from the last time this came up that many of you disagree with me on the […]

Scaling regression inputs by dividing by two standard deviations

I just had reason to reread this article from 2009, and I think it holds up just fine! Just to emphasize, I’m not saying you have to scale predictors by dividing by two standard deviations, nor am I even saying that you should do this scaling. I’m just saying that this scaling is a useful […]

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