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LeBron James (3) vs. Eric Antoine; Ellen DeGeneres advances

Optimum quip Thursday was from Dzhaughn: Mainly, that woman’s tag has a lot of a most common typographical symbol in it, which would amount to a big difficulty back in days of non-digital signs on halls of drama and crowd-laughing. Should that fact boost or cut a probability appraisal of said woman writing an amazing […]

Fitting multilevel models when the number of groups is small

Matthew Poes writes: I have a question that I think you have answered for me before. There is an argument to be made that HLM should not be performed if a sample is too small (too small level 2 and too small level 1 units). Lot’s of papers written with guidelines on what those should […]

Ian McKellen (2) vs. Ellen DeGeneres; Pierre-Simon Laplace advances

The arguments yesterday in favor of Laplace were valid, earnest, and boring. Dalton reinforced the contrast with this comment: Belushi’s demons are a whole lot more interesting than Laplace’s demon. With the latter, you always know what you’re gonna get forever and ever evermore. The former offers heaps of exciting uncertainty, and if you remember […]

Wanted: Statistics-related research projects for high school students

So. I sometimes get contacted by high school students who want to work on research projects involving statistics or social science. I’ve supervised several such students, and what works best is when they have their own idea, and I can read what they’ve written and give comments. I’m more of a sounding board than anything […]

Pierre-Simon Laplace (2) vs. John Belushi; Pele advances

For yesterday I was leaning toward Penn and Teller based on Bobbie’s reasoning: Penn & Teller not only create interesting, often politically-relevant, magic. They are also visible skeptics who critique the over-claiming of magicians/mystics/paranormal advocates and they use empirical arguments/demonstrations when they speak to debunk pseudoscience. For those of us who care about such things […]

The Stan Core Roadmap

Here’s the plan for Stan core development that Bob presented at Stancon last week (that is, back at the end of August, 2018): Part I. Rear-View Mirror Stan 2.18 Released Multi-core Processing has Landed! Multi-Process Parallelism Map Function New Built-in Functions Manuals to HTML Improved Effective Sample Size Foreach Loops Data-qualified Arguments Bug Fixes and […]

Facial feedback is back

Fritz Strack points us to this new paper, A multi-semester classroom demonstration yields evidence in support of the facial feedback effect, by Abigail Marsh, Shawn Rhoads, and Rebecca Ryan, which begins with some background: The facial feedback effect refers to the influence of unobtrusive manipulations of facial behavior on emotional outcomes. That manipulations inducing or […]

Penn and Teller (3) vs. Pele; Alan Turing advances

Sorry, but did Turing ever have a chance of losing to David Blaine?? Forget about it. This contest is supposed to be Turing complete, no? Best argument in favor of the showman was from Jonathan: OK. Here’s a Blaine seminar. He delivers the entire lecture locked inside a trunk with 40 minutes of air. He […]

New estimates of the effects of public preschool

Tom Daula writes: You blogged about Heckman and the two 1970s preschool studies a year ago here and here. Apparently there are two papers on a long-term study of Tennessee’s preschool program. In case you had an independent interest in the topic, a summary of the most recent paper is here, and the paywalled paper […]

“The algorithm is named after Hamiltonian dynamics, a model of physics that is used to construct the steps of the computation, and Monte Carlo, the town in Monaco that is associated with casinos and random algorithms more generally.”

I love writing textbooks; you get to explain the things that otherwise never get spelled out.

Alan Turing (4) vs. David Blaine; Oprah Winfrey advances

Yesterday, Martin Gardner seemed like he’d be sailing in on a gentle wave of nostalgia, but then Dzhaughn brought us back to reality: I cannot believe we are having this conversation. Self-made multi-billionaire philanthropist African American warrior saint v. nerd game writer. Let. me. think. Copies of O per copies of Sci Am? I am […]

If you want to measure differences between groups, measure differences between groups.

Les Carter points to the article, Coming apart? Cultural distances in the United States over time, by Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica, which states: There is a perception that cultural distances are growing, with a particular emphasis on increasing political polarization. . . . Carter writes: I am troubled by the inferences in the paper. […]

Oprah Winfrey (1) vs. Martin Gardner; Nora Ephron advances

For yesterday’s contest, Steve writes: I’m going with Gauss. Ephron would show up in his office, and say, “I’ve got this great idea for a screenplay”; she’d really lay on the charm and work on her sales pitch. After she’d finish, Gauss would go back to his filing cabinet, aimlessly rifle through his least interesting […]

Of multiple comparisons and multilevel models

Kleber Neves writes: I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog, eventually becoming more involved with the “replication crisis” and such (currently, I work with the Brazilian Reproducibility Initiative). Anyway, as I’m now going deeper into statistics, I feel like I still lack some foundational intuitions (I was trained as a half computer scientist/half experimental […]

Carl Friedrich Gauss (1) vs. Nora Ephron; Voltaire advances

Yesterday I was all set to go with fractal-man, following Zbicyclist’s comment: Why go with a guy whose most famous for something he didn’t say? Let’s go with a guy who can give a short, pithy lecture that can blossom into a whole structure of knowledge as we repeat it! But then I was persuaded […]

Stan This Month

So much is going on with Stan that it can be hard to keep track, so we (the Stan project) are starting a monthly update and newsletter.  If you want to be included in the monthly mailing list, just type in your email here. Charles Margossian is the editor of Stan This Month and indeed […]

Voltaire (4) vs. Benoit Mandelbrot; Veronica Geng advances

Yesterday‘s contest was surprisingly tough. I thought of Santa-man and the inventor of the Monte Carlo method as both being strong candidates—but the best comments on both were negative. Phil argued convincingly that there’s no point in inviting Sedaris to speak at Columbia as there are lots of other opportunities to hear the guy, and […]

Principal Stratification on a Latent Variable (fitting a multilevel model using Stan)

Adam Sales points to this article with John Pane on principal stratification on a latent variable, and writes: Besides the fact that the paper uses Stan, and it’s about principal stratification, which you just blogged about, I thought you might like it because of its central methodological contribution. We had been trying to use computer […]

David Sedaris (3) vs. Stanislaw Ulam; George H. W. Bush advances

Best comment yesterday came from J Storrs Hall: I have eaten the money that was in the piggybank which you were probably saving for retirement Forgive me it was delicious so sweet read my lips But it’s not clear if this is an endorsement of Bush, for his economic policies, or Williams, for his poetry. […]

Autodiff! (for the C++ jockeys in the audience)

Here’s a cool thread from Bob Carpenter on the Stan forums, “A new continuation-based autodiff by refactoring,” on the inner workings of Stan. Enjoy. P.S. Just for laffs, see this post from 2010 which is the earliest mention of autodiff I could find on the blog.