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Causal inference data challenge!

Susan Gruber, Geneviève Lefebvre, Tibor Schuster, and Alexandre Piché write: The ACIC 2019 Data Challenge is Live! Datasets are available for download (no registration required) at https://sites.google.com/view/ACIC2019DataChallenge/data-challenge (bottom of the page). Check out the FAQ at https://sites.google.com/view/ACIC2019DataChallenge/faq The deadline for submitting results is April 15, 2019. The fourth Causal Inference Data Challenge is taking place […]

M. F. K. Fisher (1) vs. Serena Williams; Oscar Wilde advances

The best case yesterday was made by Manuel: Leave Joe Pesci at home alone. Wilde’s jokes may be very old, but he can use slides from The PowerPoint of Dorian Gray. As Martha put it, not great, but the best so far in this thread. On the other side, Jonathan wrote, “I’d definitely rather hear […]

Data partitioning as an essential element in evaluation of predictive properties of a statistical method

In a discussion of our stacking paper, the point came up that LOO (leave-one-out cross validation) requires a partitioning of data—you can only “leave one out” if you define what “one” is. It is sometimes said that LOO “relies on the data-exchangeability assumption,” but I don’t think that’s quite the right way to put it, […]

Oscar Wilde (1) vs. Joe Pesci; the Japanese dude who won the hot dog eating contest advances

Raghuveer gave a good argument yesterday: “The hot dog guy would eat all the pre-seminar cookies, so that’s a definite no.” But this was defeated by the best recommendation we’ve ever had in the history of the Greatest Seminar Speaker contest, from Jeff: Garbage In, Garbage Out: Mass Consumption and Its Aftermath Takeru Kobayashi Note: […]

Does Harvard discriminate against Asian Americans in college admissions?

Sharad Goel, Daniel Ho and I looked into the question, in response to a recent lawsuit. We wrote something for the Boston Review: What Statistics Can’t Tell Us in the Fight over Affirmative Action at Harvard Asian Americans and Academics “Distinguishing Excellences” Adjusting and Over-Adjusting for Differences The Evolving Meaning of Merit Character and Bias […]

Carol Burnett (4) vs. the Japanese dude who won the hot dog eating contest; Albert Brooks advances

Yesterday was a tough matchup, but ultimately John “von” Neumann was no match for a very witty Albert Einstein. The deciding argument, from Martha: I’d like to see Von Neumann given four parameters and making an elephant wiggle his trunk. And if he could do it, there would be the chance that Jim Thorpe could […]

Storytelling: What’s it good for?

A story can be an effective way to send a message. Anna Clemens explains: Why are stories so powerful? To answer this, we have to go back at least 100,000 years. This is when humans started to speak. For the following roughly 94,000 years, we could only use spoken words to communicate. Stories helped us […]

Coursera course on causal inference from Michael Sobel at Columbia

Here’s the description: This course offers a rigorous mathematical survey of causal inference at the Master’s level. Inferences about causation are of great importance in science, medicine, policy, and business. This course provides an introduction to the statistical literature on causal inference that has emerged in the last 35-40 years and that has revolutionized the […]

John van Neumann (3) vs. Albert Brooks; Paul Erdos advances

We had some good arguments on both sides yesterday. For Erdos, from Diana Senechal: From an environmental perspective, Erdos is the better choice; his surname is an adjectival form of the Hungarian erdő, “forest,” whereas “Carson” clearly means “son of a car.” Granted, the son of a car, being rebellious and all, might prove especially […]

How post-hoc power calculation is like a shit sandwich

Damn. This story makes me so frustrated I can’t even laugh. I can only cry. Here’s the background. A few months ago, Aleksi Reito (who sent me the adorable picture above) pointed me to a short article by Yanik Bababekov, Sahael Stapleton, Jessica Mueller, Zhi Fong, and David Chang in Annals of Surgery, “A Proposal […]

Johnny Carson (2) vs. Paul Erdos; Babe Didrikson Zaharias advances

OK, our last matchup wasn’t close. Adam Schiff (unseeded in the “people whose name ends in f” category) had the misfortune to go against the juggernaut that was Babe Didrikson Zaharias (seeded #2 in the GOATs category). Committee chair or not, the poor guy never had a chance. As Diana Senechal wrote, “From an existential […]

This is one offer I can refuse

OK, so this came in the email today: Dear Contributor, ADVANCES IN POLITICAL METHODOLOGY [978 1 78347 485 1] Regular price: $455.00 Special Contributor price: $113.75 (plus shipping) We are pleased to announce the publication of the above title. Due to the limited print run of this collection and the high number of contributing authors, […]

New blog hosting!

Hi all. We’ve been having some problems with the blog caching, so that people were seeing day-old versions of the posts and comments. We moved to a new host and a new address, https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu, and all should be better. Still a couple glitches, though. Right now it doesn’t seem to be possible to comment. We […]

Becker on Bohm on the important role of stories in science

Tyler Matta writes: During your talk last week, you spoke about the role of stories in scientific theory. On page 104 of What Is Real: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics, Adam Becker talks about stories and scientific theory in relation to alternative conceptions of quantum theory, particularly between Bohm’s pilot-wave interpretation […]

Babe Didrikson Zaharias (2) vs. Adam Schiff; Sid Caesar advances

And our noontime competition continues . . . We had some good arguments on both sides yesterday. Jonathan writes: In my experience, comedians are great when they’re on-stage and morose and unappealing off-stage. Sullivan, on the other hand, was morose and unappealing on-stage, and witty and charming off-stage, or so I’ve heard. This comes down, […]

MRP (multilevel regression and poststratification; Mister P): Clearing up misunderstandings about

Someone pointed me to this thread where I noticed some issues I’d like to clear up: David Shor: “MRP itself is like, a 2009-era methodology.” Nope. The first paper on MRP was from 1997. And, even then, the component pieces were not new: we were just basically combining two existing ideas from survey sampling: regression […]

Ed Sullivan (3) vs. Sid Caesar; DJ Jazzy Jeff advances

Yesterday’s battle (Philip Roth vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff) was pretty low-key. It seems that this blog isn’t packed with fans of ethnic literature or hip-hop. Nobody in comments even picked up on my use of the line, “Does anyone know these people? Do they exist or are they spooks?” Isaac gave a good argument in […]

Reproducibility and Stan

Aki prepared these slides which cover a series of topics, starting with notebooks, open code, and reproducibility of code in R and Stan; then simulation-based calibration of algorithms; then model averaging and prediction. Lots to think about here: there are many aspects to reproducible analysis and computation in statistics.

Philip Roth (4) vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff; Jim Thorpe advances

For yesterday’s battle (Jim Thorpe vs. John Oliver), I’ll have to go with Thorpe. We got a couple arguments in Oliver’s favor—we’d get to hear him say “Whot?”, and he’s English—but for Thorpe we heard a lot more, including his uniqueness as greatest athlete of all time, and that we could save money on the […]

“The Book of Why” by Pearl and Mackenzie

Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie sent me a copy of their new book, “The book of why: The new science of cause and effect.” There are some things I don’t like about their book, and I’ll get to that, but I want to start with a central point of theirs with which I agree strongly. […]