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Of Manhattan Projects and Moonshots

Palko writes: I think we have reversed the symbolic meaning of a Manhattan project and a moonshot. He explains: The former has come to mean a large, focus, and dedicated commitment to rapidly addressing a challenging but solvable problem. The second has come to mean trying to do something so fantastic it seems impossible. But, […]

Linear or logistic regression with binary outcomes

Gio Circo writes: There is a paper currently floating around which suggests that when estimating causal effects in OLS is better than any kind of generalized linear model (i.e. binomial). The author draws a sharp distinction between causal inference and prediction. Having gotten most of my statistical learning using Bayesian methods, I find this distinction […]

Exciting postdoc opening in spatial statistics at Michigan: Coccidioides is coming, and only you can stop it!

Jon Zelner is an collaborator who does great work on epidemiology using Bayesian methods, Stan, Mister P, etc. He’s hiring a postdoc, and it looks like a great opportunity: Epidemiological, ecological and environmental approaches to understand and predict Coccidioides emergence in California. One postdoctoral fellow is sought in the research group of Dr. Jon Zelner […]

No, I don’t think that this study offers good evidence that installing air filters in classrooms has surprisingly large educational benefits.

In a news article on Vox, entitled “Installing air filters in classrooms has surprisingly large educational benefits,” Matthew Yglesias writes: An emergency situation that turned out to be mostly a false alarm led a lot of schools in Los Angeles to install air filters, and something strange happened: Test scores went up. By a lot. […]

The Generalizer

I just saw Beth Tipton speak at the Institute of Education Sciences meeting on The Generalizer, a tool that she and her colleagues developed for designing education studies with the goal of getting inferences for the population. It’s basically MRP, but what is innovative here is the application of these ideas at the design stage. […]

How to “cut” using Stan, if you must

Frederic Bois writes: We had talked at some point about cutting inference in Stan (that is, for example, calibrating PK parameters in a PK/PD [pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic] model with PK data, then calibrating the PD parameters, with fixed, non updated, distributions for the PK parameters). Has that been implemented? (PK is pharmacokinetic and PD is pharmacodynamic.) I […]

This graduate student wants to learn statistics to be a better policy analyst

Someone writes: I’m getting a doctoral degree in social science. I previously worked for a data analytics and research organization where I supported policy analysis and strategic planning. I have skills in post-data visualization analysis but am not able to go into an organization, take raw data, and turn it into something usable. I’m planning […]

Of book reviews and selection bias

Publishers send me books to review. I guess I’m on the list of potential reviewers, which is cool because I often enjoy reading books. And, even if I don’t get much out of a book myself, I can give it to students. A book is a great incentive/reward for class participation. For any book, if […]

Votes vs. $

Carlos Cruz writes:

Open forensic science, and some general comments on the problems of legalistic thinking when discussing open science

Jason Chin, Gianni Ribeiro, and Alicia Rairden write: The mainstream sciences are experiencing a revolution of methodology. This revolution was inspired, in part, by the realization that a surprising number of findings in the bioscientific literature could not be replicated or reproduced by independent laboratories. In response, scientific norms and practices are rapidly moving towards […]

Smoothness, or lack thereof, in MRP estimates over time

Matthew Loop writes: I’m taking my first crack at MRP. We are estimating the probability of an event over 30 years, adjusting for sampling stratum using a multilevel model with varying intercepts for stratum. When we fit the model, the marginal predicted probability vs. year is a smooth function, since the mean of the varying […]

Why I Rant

Someone pointed me to an over-the-top social science paper that is scheduled to be published soon. I then wasted 2 hours writing some combination of statistical commentary and rant. I expect that, once the paper is published, there will be major controversy, as its empirical findings, such as they are, are yoked to political opinions […]

On deck for the first half of 2020

Here goes: Smoothness, or lack thereof, in MRP estimates over time Open forensic science, and some general comments on the problems of legalistic thinking when discussing open science Votes vs. $ Of book reviews and selection bias This graduate student wants to learn statistics to be a better policy analyst How to “cut” using Stan, […]

Progress in the past decade

It’s been a busy decade for our research. Before going on, I’d like to thank hundreds of collaborators, including students; funders from government, nonprofits, and private industry; blog commenters and people who have pointed us to inspiring research, outrages, beautiful and ugly graphs, cat pictures, and all the rest; all those of you who have […]

It happens all the time

Under the subject line, “Here is another one for your archive,” someone points me to a news article and writes: What would have happened had the guy not discovered his coding error? Or what if he had, but the results were essentially unchanged? My guess if that nothing would happen until someone got the data […]

Criminologists be (allegedly) crimin’ . . . and a statistical New Year’s toast for you.

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous points us to this video, writing: It has to do with Stewart at FSU, in criminology. Couldn’t produce a survey that was the basis for 5 papers, all retracted. FSU though still failed to do complete investigation. The preliminary investigation had a 3 person panel, 2 of whom were […]


They’re playing My Morning Jacket on the radio. I think Off the Record sounds just like the Ramones, but nobody agrees with me. Please tell me I’m not insane.

DAGS in Stan

Macartan Humphries writes: As part of a project with Alan Jacobs we have put together a package that makes it easy to define, update, and query DAG-type causal models over binary nodes. We have a draft guide and illustrations here. Now I know that you don’t care much for the DAG approach BUT this is […]

Knives Out

Since I just ran a post without the 6-month delay, I might as well do another, this time to recommend Knives Out to you. We saw it a few days before Christmas, and it was our most enjoyable time at the movies since . . . actually, I can’t remember the last time we had […]

Do we still recommend average predictive comparisons? Click here to find the surprising answer!

Usually these posts are on 6-month delay but this one’s so quick I thought I’d just post it now . . . Daniel Habermann writes: Do you still like/recommend average predictive comparisons as described in your paper with Iain Pardoe? I [Habermann] find them particularly useful for summarizing logistic regression models. My reply: Yes, I […]