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P-value of 10^-74 disappears

Nick Matzke writes: Given the recent discussion of p-values, you or colleagues might find this interesting: Population Genetics: Why structure matters Nick Barton, Joachim Hermisson, Magnus Nordborg One possibility is to compare the population estimates with estimates taken from sibling data, which should be relatively unbiased by environmental differences. In one of many examples of […]

Jeff Leek: “Data science education as an economic and public health intervention – how statisticians can lead change in the world”

Jeff Leek from Johns Hopkins University is speaking in our statistics department seminar next week: Data science education as an economic and public health intervention – how statisticians can lead change in the world Time: 4:10pm Monday, October 7 Location: 903 School of Social Work Abstract: The data science revolution has led to massive new […]

Schoolmarms and lightning bolts: Data faker meets Edge foundation in an unintentional reveal of problems with the Great Man model of science

Hey—I happened to run across an article by Virginia Heffernan on the now-notorious Edge foundation, and it contained a link to all sorts of people . . . including Marc Hauser, the disgraced primatologist who we’ve discussed in this space from time to time. Here’s an Edge article by Hauser in 2002—almost a decade before […]

“Less Wow and More How in Social Psychology”

Fritz Strack sends along this article from 2012 which has an interesting perspective. Strack’s article begins: But, he continues, things changed in 2011 with the scandals of Diederik Stapel (a career built upon fake data), Daryl Bem (joke science getting published in a real journal), and a seemingly unending series of prominent studies that failed […]

That study about the health risks of red meat: An excellent news report

A couple different people pointed me to this excellent news article by Gina Kolata (with Brad Plumer), who writes: Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills. But on Monday, in […]

Many perspectives on Deborah Mayo’s “Statistical Inference as Severe Testing: How to Get Beyond the Statistics Wars”

This is not new—these reviews appeared in slightly rawer form several months ago on the blog. After that, I reorganized the material slightly and sent to Harvard Data Science Review (motto: “A Microscopic, Telescopic, and Kaleidoscopic View of Data Science”) but unfortunately reached a reviewer who (a) didn’t like Mayo’s book, and (b) felt that […]

“Troubling Trends in Machine Learning Scholarship”

Garuav Sood writes: You had expressed slight frustration with some ML/CS papers that read more like advertisements than anything else. The attached paper by Zachary Lipton and Jacob Steinhardt flags four reasonable concerns in modern ML papers: Recent progress in machine learning comes despite frequent departures from these ideals. In this paper, we focus on […]

Convergence diagnostics for Markov chain simulation

Pierre Jacob writes regarding convergence diagnostics for Markov chain simulation: I’ve implemented an example of TV upper bounds for (vanilla) HMC on a model written in Stan, see here and here for a self-contained R script. Basically, this creates a stan fit object to obtain a target’s pdf and gradient, and then implements a pure […]

Here’s a supercool controversy for ya

Raghu Parthasarathy writes: You might like this very good article by Ashley Smart on a recent fight about the statistical mechanics of water, and a feud that was made worse by a lack of sharing code Condensed matter theory! That’s what I worked on, back when I was a physicist. We did an experiment that […]

Controversies in the theory of measurement in mathematical psychology

We begin with this email from Guenter Trendler: On your blog you wrote: The replication crisis in social psychology (and science more generally) will not be solved by better statistics or by preregistered replications. It can only be solved by better measurement. Check this out: Measurement Theory, Psychology and the Revolution That Cannot Happen (pdf […]

Columbia statistics department hiring teachers and researchers

Details here. Here are the four positions: 1. The Department of Statistics invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position to begin July 1, 2020. A Ph.D. in statistics or a related field is required. Candidates will be expected to sustain an active research and publication agenda and to teach in the departmental undergraduate and […]

Econ corner: A rational reason (beyond the usual “risk aversion” or concave utility function) for wanting to minimize future uncertainty in a decision-making setting

Eric Rasmusen sends along a paper, Option Learning as a Reason for Firms to Be Averse to Idiosyncratic Risk, and writes: It tries to distinguish between two kinds of risk. The distinction is between uncertainty that the firm will learn about, and uncertainty that will be bumping the profit process around forever. It’s not the […]

Glenn Shafer tells us about the origins of “statistical significance”

Shafer writes: It turns out that Francis Edgeworth, who introduced “significant” in statistics, and Karl Pearson, who popularized it in statistics, used it differently than we do. For Edgeworth and Pearson, “being significant” meant “signifying”. An observed difference was significant if it signified a real difference, and you needed a very small p-value to be […]

Junk science and fake news: Similarities and differences

Jingyi Kenneth Tay writes: As I read your recent post, “How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” . . . and still stays around even after it’s been retracted, I realized that there are many similarities between this and fake news: how it is much easier to put fake news out […]

Chow and Greenland: “Unconditional Interpretations of Statistics”

Zad Chow writes: I think your readers might find this paper [“To Aid Statistical Inference, Emphasize Unconditional Descriptions of Statistics,” by Greenland and Chow] interesting. It’s a relatively short paper that focuses on how conventional statistical modeling is based on assumptions that are often in the background and dubious, such as the presence of some […]

“Persistent metabolic youth in the aging female brain”??

A psychology researcher writes: I want to bring your attention to a new PNAS paper [Persistent metabolic youth in the aging female brain, by Manu Goyal, Tyler Blazey, Yi Su, Lars Couture, Tony Durbin, Randall Bateman, Tammie Benzinger, John Morris, Marcus Raichle, and Andrei Vlassenko] that’s all over the news. Can one do a regression […]

Funny citation-year thing

So, I’m going through the final draft of Regression and Other Stories, adding index entries, cleaning up references, etc., and I noticed this: Yes, I cite myself a lot—sometimes people call it “self-citation” and act like it’s a bad thing—but I think it’s helpful to point people to my earlier writings on various topics. Anyway, […]

They misreport their experiments and don’t fess up when they’ve been caught.

Javier Benitez points us to this paper, “COMPare: Qualitative analysis of researchers’ responses to critical correspondence on a cohort of 58 misreported trials,” by Ben Goldacre, Henry Drysdale, Cicely Marston, Kamal Mahtani, Aaron Dale, Ioan Milosevic, Eirion Slade, Philip Hartley and Carl Heneghan, who write: Discrepancies between pre-specified and reported outcomes are an important and […]

Bank Shot

Tom Clark writes: I came across this paper and thought of you. You might be aware of some papers that have been published about the effect of military surplus equipment aid that is given to police departments. Some economists have claimed to find that it reduces crime. My coauthors and I thought the papers were […]

The State of the Art

Jesse Singal writes: This was presented, in Jennifer Eberhardt’s book Biased, as evidence to support the idea that even positive portrayals of black characters could be spreading and exacerbating unconscious antiblack bias. I did not see evidence to support that idea. I replied: I don’t understand what you’re saying here. I clicked thru and the […]