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Are supercentenarians mostly superfrauds?

Ethan Steinberg points to a new article by Saul Justin Newman with the wonderfully descriptive title, “Supercentenarians and the oldest-old are concentrated into regions with no birth certificates and short lifespans,” which begins: The observation of individuals attaining remarkable ages, and their concentration into geographic sub-regions or ‘blue zones’, has generated considerable scientific interest. Proposed […]

Holes in Bayesian Philosophy: My talk for the philosophy of statistics conference this Wed.

4pm Wed 7 Aug 2019 at Virginia Tech (via videolink): Holes in Bayesian Philosophy Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University Every philosophy has holes, and it is the responsibility of proponents of a philosophy to point out these problems. Here are a few holes in Bayesian data analysis: (1) […]

A weird new form of email scam

OK, we all know that spam we get—sometimes spoofed as if from our own email address!—telling us to click on some link. Scene 1 The other day I got a new sort of spam. It was from a colleague, the subject line was “Are you available in campus,” and the email went like this: On […]

Allowing intercepts and slopes to vary in a logistic regression: how does this change the ROC curve?

Jonathan Hughes writes: I am an engineering doctoral student. As part of my dissertation I’m proposing a mode of adaptation for a predictive system to individual subgroup specific streams of data which come each from a specific subgroup of a mixture population distribution. As part of the proposal presentation someone referenced your work and believed […]

Causal inference workshop at NeurIPS 2019 looking for submissions

Nathan Kallus writes: I wanted to share an announcement for a causal inference workshop we are organizing at NeurIPS 2019. I think the readers of your blog would be very interested, and we would be eager to have them interact/attend/submit. And here it is: The NeurIPS 2019 Workshop on “Do the right thing”: machine learning […]

This one goes in the Zombies category, for sure.

Paul Alper writes: I was in my local library and I came across this in Saturday’s WSJ: The Math Behind Successful Relationships Nearly 30 years ago, a mathematician and a psychologist teamed up to explore one of life’s enduring mysteries: What makes some marriages happy and some miserable? The psychologist, John Gottman, wanted to craft […]

Causal Inference and Generalizing from Your Data to the Real World (my talk tomorrow, Sat., 6pm in Berlin)

For the Berlin Bayesians meetup, organized by Eren Elçi: Causal Inference and Generalizing from Your Data to the Real World Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University Learning from data involves three stages of extrapolation: from sample to population, from treatment group to control group, and from measurement to the […]

The garden of forking paths

Bert Gunter points us to this editorial: So, researchers using these data to answer questions about the effects of technology [screen time on adolescents] need to make several decisions. Depending on the complexity of the data set, variables can be statistically analysed in trillions of ways. This makes almost any pattern of results possible. As […]

“This is a case where frequentist methods are simple and mostly work well, and the Bayesian analogs look unpleasant, requiring inference on lots of nuisance parameters that frequentists can bypass.”

Nick Patterson writes: I am a scientist/data analyst, still working, who has been using Bayesian methods since 1972 (getting on for 50 years), I was initially trained at the British code-breaking establishment GCHQ, by intellectual heirs of Alan Turing. I’ve been accused of being a Bayesian fanatic, but in fact a good deal of my […]

Just forget the Type 1 error thing.

John Christie writes: I was reading this paper by Habibnezhad, Lawrence, & Klein (2018) and came across the following footnote: In a research program seeking to apply null-hypothesis testing to achieve one-off decisions with regard to the presence/absence of an effect, a flexible stopping-rule would induce inflation of the Type I error rate. Although our […]

Concerned about demand effects in psychology experiments? Incorporate them into the design.

Johannes Haushofer sends along this article with Jonathan de Quidt and Christopher Roth, “Measuring and Bounding Experimenter Demand,” which begins: We propose a technique for assessing robustness to demand effects of findings from experiments and surveys. The core idea is that by deliberately inducing demand in a structured way we can bound its influence. We […]

Swimming upstream? Monitoring escaped statistical inferences in wild populations.

Anders Lamberg writes: In my mails to you [a few years ago], I told you about the Norwegian practice of monitoring proportion of escaped farmed salmon in wild populations. This practice results in a yearly updated list of the situation in each Norwegian salmon river (we have a total of 450 salmon rivers, but not […]

The Economist does Mister P

Elliott Morris points us to this magazine article, “If everyone had voted, Hillary Clinton would probably be president,” which reports: Close observers of America know that the rules of its democracy often favour Republicans. But the party’s biggest advantage may be one that is rarely discussed: turnout is just 60%, low for a rich country. […]

From deviance, DIC, AIC, etc., to leave-one-out cross-validation

Maren Vranckx writes: I am writing in connection with a post on your blog on 22 June 2011 about “Deviance, DIC, AIC, cross-validation, etc”. In this post, you mentioned that you and a student worked about DIC convergence. Can you specify how you did the research? Did you discover a reason for slow convergence of […]


Tom Scocca discusses some plagiarism that was done by a former New York Times editor: There was no ambiguity about it; Abramson clearly and obviously committed textbook plagiarism. Her text lifted whole sentences from other sources word for word, or with light revisions, presenting the same facts laid out in the same order as in […]

“Developing Digital Privacy: Children’s Moral Judgments Concerning Mobile GPS Devices”

Recently in the sister blog: New technology poses new moral problems for children to consider. We examined whether children deem object tracking with a mobile GPS device to be a property right. In three experiments, 329 children (4-10 years) and adults were asked whether it is acceptable to track the location of either one’s own […]

New Data Science Health Innovation Fellowship at the University of California

Emma Huang writes: I’m one of the Program Co-Directors for a new Data Science Health Innovation Fellowship organized by UCSF, UC Berkeley, and Janssen R&D. We are currently recruiting the first cohort of candidates and are trying to publicize this initiative as broadly as possible among relevant communities. Below is a call for applications. As […]

Discussion with Nassim Taleb about sexism and racism in the Declaration of Independence

Nassim Taleb points to this post from congressmember Ayanna Pressley linking to an opinion piece by Matthew Rozsa. Rozsa’s article has the title, “Fourth of July’s ugly truth exposed: The Declaration of Independence is sexist, racist, prejudiced,” with subttile, “How we can embrace the underlying spirit of the Declaration of Independence — and also learn […]

“Guarantee” is another word for “assumption”

I always think it’s funny when people go around saying their statistical methods have some sort of “guaranteed” performance. I mean, sure, guarantees are fine—but a guarantee comes from an assumption. If you want to say that your method has a guarantee but my method doesn’t, what you’re really saying is that you’re making an […]

Alison Mattek on physics and psychology, philosophy, models, explanations, and formalization

Alison Mattek writes: I saw your recent blog post on falsifiable claims. For the past couple of years I have been developing a theoretical framework that highlights the importance of unfalsifiable claims in science. I try to also make a few unfalsifiable claims regarding psychological variables. Here is Mattek’s paper, “Expanding psychological theory using system […]