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Hey, people are doing the multiverse!

Elio Campitelli writes: I’ve just saw this image in a paper discussing the weight of evidence for a “hiatus” in the global warming signal and immediately thought of the garden of forking paths. From the paper: Tree representation of choices to represent and test pause-periods. The ‘pause’ is defined as either no-trend or a slow-trend. […]

Data quality is a thing.

I just happened to come across this story, where a journalist took some garbled data and spun a false tale which then got spread without question. It’s a problem. First, it’s a problem that people will repeat unjustified claims, also a problem that when data are attached, you can get complete credulity, even for claims […]

“Did Jon Stewart elect Donald Trump?”

I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and scheduled it for October, but then I learned from a reporter that the research article under discussion was retracted, so it seemed to make sense to post this right away while it was still newsworthy. My original post is below, followed by a post script regarding […]

“In 1997 Latanya Sweeney dramatically demonstrated that supposedly anonymized data was not anonymous,” but “Over 20 journals turned down her paper . . . and nobody wanted to fund privacy research that might reach uncomfortable conclusions.”

Tom Daula writes: I think this story from John Cook is a different perspective on replication and how scientists respond to errors. In particular the final paragraph: There’s a perennial debate over whether it is best to make security and privacy flaws public or to suppress them. The consensus, as much as there is a […]

“MRP is the Carmelo Anthony of election forecasting methods”? So we’re doing trash talking now??

What’s the deal with Nate Silver calling MRP “the Carmelo Anthony of forecasting methods”? Someone sent this to me: and I was like, wtf? I don’t say wtf very often—at least, not on the blog—but this just seemed weird. For one thing, Nate and I did a project together once using MRP: this was our […]

Scandal! Mister P appears in British tabloid.

Tim Morris points us to this news article: And here’s the kicker: Mister P. Not quite as cool as the time I was mentioned in Private Eye, but it’s still pretty satisfying. My next goal: Getting a mention in Sports Illustrated. (More on this soon.) In all seriousness, it’s so cool when methods that my […]

Horse-and-buggy era officially ends for survey research

Peter Enns writes: Given the various comments on your blog about evolving survey methods (e.g., Of buggy whips and moral hazards; or, Sympathy for the Aapor), I thought you might be interested that the Roper Center has updated its acquisitions policy and is now accepting non-probability samples and other methods. This is an exciting move […]

When we had fascism in the United States

I was reading this horrifying and hilarious story by Colson Whitehead, along with an excellent article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker (I posted a nitpick on it a couple days ago) on the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction era in the United States, and I was suddenly reminded of something. In one of the political […]

Name this fallacy!

It’s the fallacy of thinking that, just cos you’re good at something, that everyone should be good at it, and if they’re not, they’re just being stubborn and doing it badly on purpose. I thought about this when reading this line from Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker: [Henry Louis] Gates is one of the […]

Did blind orchestra auditions really benefit women?

You’re blind! And you can’t see You need to wear some glasses Like D.M.C. Someone pointed me to this post, “Orchestrating false beliefs about gender discrimination,” by Jonatan Pallesen criticizing a famous paper from 2000, “Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of ‘Blind’ Auditions on Female Musicians,” by Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse. We’ve all heard the […]

Maintenance cost is quadratic in the number of features

Bob Carpenter shares this story illustrating the challenges of software maintenance. Here’s Bob: This started with the maintenance of upgrading to the new Boost version 1.69, which is this pull request: https://github.com/stan-dev/math/pull/1082 for this issue: https://github.com/stan-dev/math/issues/1081 The issue happens first, then the pull request, then the fun of debugging starts. Today’s story starts an issue […]

That illusion where you think the other side is united and your side is diverse

Lots of people have written about this illusion of perspective: The people close to you look to be filled with individuality and diversity, while the people way over there in the other corner of the room all look kind of alike. But widespread knowledge of this illusion does not stop people from succumbing from it. […]

Gremlin time: “distant future, faraway lands, and remote probabilities”

Chris Wilson writes: It appears that Richard Tol is still publishing these data, only now fitting a piecewise linear function to the same data-points. https://academic.oup.com/reep/article/12/1/4/4804315#110883819 Also still looks like counting 0 as positive, “Moreover, the 11 estimates for warming of 2.5°C indicate that researchers disagree on the sign of the net impact: 3 estimates are […]

The Arkansas paradox

Palko writes: I had a recent conversation with a friend back in Arkansas who gives me regular updates of the state and local news. A few days ago he told me about a poll that was getting a fair amount of coverage. (See also here, for example.) The poll showed that a number of progressive […]

Difference-in-difference estimators are a special case of lagged regression

Fan Li and Peng Ding write: Difference-in-differences is a widely-used evaluation strategy that draws causal inference from observational panel data. Its causal identification relies on the assumption of parallel trend, which is scale dependent and may be questionable in some applications. A common alternative method is a regression model that adjusts for the lagged dependent […]

Do regression structures affect research capital? The case of pronoun drop. (also an opportunity to quote Bertrand Russell: This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.)

A linguist pointed me with incredulity to this article by Horst Feldmann, “Do Linguistic Structures Affect Human Capital? The Case of Pronoun Drop,” which begins: This paper empirically studies the human capital effects of grammatical rules that permit speakers to drop a personal pronoun when used as a subject of a sentence. By de‐emphasizing the […]

Post-Hoc Power PubPeer Dumpster Fire

We’ve discussed this one before (original, polite response here; later response, after months of frustration, here), but it keeps on coming. Latest version is this disaster of a paper which got shredded by a zillion commenters on PubPeer. There’s lots of incompetent stuff out there in the literature—that’s the way things go; statistics is hard—but, […]

13 Reasons not to trust that claim that 13 Reasons Why increased youth suicide rates

A journalist writes: My eye was caught by this very popular story that broke yesterday — about a study that purported to find a 30 percent (!) increase in suicides, in kids 10-17, in the MONTH after a controversial show about suicide aired. And that increase apparently persisted for the rest of the year. It’s […]

Olivia Goldhill and Jesse Singal report on the Implicit Association Test

A psychology researcher whom I don’t know writes: In case you aren’t already aware of it, here is a rather lengthy article pointing out challenges to the Implicit Association Test. What I found disturbing was this paragraph: Greenwald explicitly discouraged me from writing this article. ‘Debates about scientific interpretation belong in scientific journals, not popular […]

A thought on Bayesian workflow: calculating a likelihood ratio for data compared to peak likelihood.

Daniel Lakeland writes: Ok, so it’s really deep into the comments and I’m guessing there’s a chance you will miss it so I wanted to point at my comments here and here. In particular, the second one, which suggests something that it might be useful to recommend for Bayesian workflows: calculating a likelihood ratio for […]