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George H. W. Bush (2) vs. William Carlos Willams; Mel Brooks advances

All of yesterday’s comments favored Mr. Blazing Saddles. Jeff had a good statistics-themed comment: Mel Brooks created Get Smart (along with Buck Henry), which suggests a number of seminar topics of interest to readers of this blog. “Missed It By That Much: Why Predictive Models Don’t Always Pick the Winner” “Sorry About That, Chief: Unconscious […]

“Objective: Generate evidence for the comparative effectiveness for each pairwise comparison of depression treatments for a set of outcomes of interest.”

Mark Tuttle points us to this project by Martijn Schuemie and Patrick Ryan: Large-Scale Population-Level Evidence Generation Objective: Generate evidence for the comparative effectiveness for each pairwise comparison of depression treatments for a set of outcomes of interest. Rationale: In current practice, most comparative effectiveness questions are answered individually in a study per question. This […]

Chris Christie (2) vs. Mel Brooks; Boris Karloff advances

We had some good arguments in favor of Karloff. If I had to choose just one, it would be from J Storrs Hall, who writes: Well, the main problem with Anastasia is … she’s dead. However, we can be relatively certain that 31 or so pretenders would show up in her place. One of them […]

The bullshit asymmetry principle

Jordan Anaya writes, “We talk about this concept a lot, I didn’t realize there was a name for it.” From the wikipedia entry: Publicly formulated the first time in January 2013 by Alberto Brandolini, an Italian programmer, the bullshit asymmetry principle (also known as Brandolini’s law) states that: The amount of energy needed to refute […]

Boris Karloff (3) vs. Anastasia Romanoff; Lance Armstrong advances

I’m still feeling bad about my ruling the other day. . . . I mean, sure, Robin Williams doing Elmer Fudd doing Bruce Springsteen was amazing, but Veronica Geng—she was one of a kind. Anyway, yesterday’s winner is another dark horse. There’s little doubt in my mind that Bobby Fischer, if in a good mood, […]

What should JPSP have done with Bem’s ESP paper, back in 2010? Click to find the surprisingly simple answer!

OK, you all remember the story, arguably the single event that sent the replication crisis into high gear: the decision of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology to publish a paper on extra-sensory perception (ESP) by Cornell professor Daryl Bem and the subsequent discussion of this research in the New York Times and elsewhere. […]

Bobby Fischer (4) vs. Lance Armstrong; Riad Sattouf advances

Our best argument from the last one comes from Bobbie: I used to believe that Euler could draw circles around anyone but after some investigation I now believe that Sattouf could draw anything around anyone (and write about it beautifully as well). And today we have a battle of two GOATs, with Fischer seeded fourth […]

If this article portrays things accurately, the nutrition literature is in even worse shape than I thought

Forget Pizzagate. This is the stuff we really care about. John Ioannidis writes: Assuming the meta-analyzed evidence from cohort studies represents life span–long causal associations, for a baseline life expectancy of 80 years, eating 12 hazelnuts daily (1 oz) would prolong life by 12 years (ie, 1 year per hazelnut) [1], drinking 3 cups of […]

Transforming parameters in a simple time-series model; debugging the Jacobian

So. This one is pretty simple. But the general idea could be useful to some of you. So here goes. We were fitting a model with an autocorrelation parameter, rho, which was constrained to be between 0 and 1. The model looks like this: eta_t ~ normal(rho*eta_{t-1}, sigma_res), for t = 2, 3, … T […]

When doing regression (or matching, or weighting, or whatever), don’t say “control for,” say “adjust for”

This comes up from time to time. We were discussing a published statistical blunder, an innumerate overconfident claim arising from blind faith that a crude regression analysis would control for various differences between groups. Martha made the following useful comment: Another factor that I [Martha] believe tends to promote the kind of thing we’re talking […]

Riad Sattouf (1) vs Leonhard Euler; Springsteen advances

I really wanted to go with Geng, partly because I’m a big fan of hers and partly because of Dzhaughn’s Geng-tribute recommendation: In the way that many search their memories for significant aromas when they read Proust, re-reading Geng led me to recollect my youth in Speech Club, of weekends of interpretive readings and arguments […]

One more reason to remove letters of recommendation when evaluating candidates for jobs or scholarships.

This is just one more sexual harassment story, newsworthy only in the man-bites-dog sense. But it reminded me of something that gets discussed from time to time, which is that we should stop using letters of recommendation to evaluate candidates for jobs or scholarships. Here’s a list of hoops that people recommend you jump through. […]

No, I don’t buy that claim that Fox news is shifting the vote by 6 percentage points

Tyler Cowen writes: This is only one estimate, from Gregory J. Martin and Ali Yurukoglu, but nonetheless it is backed by a plausible identification stragegy and this is very interesting research: We find that in a hypothetical world without Fox News but with no other changes, the Republican vote share in the 2000 election would […]

Bruce Springsteen (1) vs. Veronica Geng; Monty Python advances

Yesterday’s contest wasn’t particularly close, as it pitted a boring guy who got lucky with one famous book, vs. some very entertaining wits. I saw Life of Brian when it came out, and I think I laughed harder at that spaceship scene than any other time in my life. In any case, Ethan brings it […]

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water . . . SHARK ATTACKS in the Journal of Politics

We’ve been here before. Back in 2002, political scientists Chris Achen and Larry Bartels presented a paper “Blind Retrospection – Electoral Responses to Drought, Flu and Shark Attacks.” Here’s a 2012 version in which the authors trace “the electoral impact of a clearly random event—a dramatic series of shark attacks in New Jersey in 1916” […]

Darrell Huff (4) vs. Monty Python; Frank Sinatra advances

In yesterday’s battle of the Jerseys, Jonathan offered this comment: Sinatra is an anagram of both artisan and tsarina. Apgar has no English anagram. Virginia is from New Jersey. Sounds confusing. And then we got this from Dzhaughn: I got as far as “Nancy’s ancestor,” and then a Youtube clip of Joey Bishop told me, […]

Science as an intellectual “safe space”? How to do it right.

I don’t recall hearing the term “safe space” until recently, but now it seems to be used all the time, by both the left and the right, to describe an environment where people can feel free to express opinions that might be unpopular in a larger community, without fear of criticism or contradiction. Sometimes a […]

Frank Sinatra (3) vs. Virginia Apgar; Julia Child advances

My favorite comment from yesterday came from Ethan, who picked up on the public TV/radio connection and rated our two candidate speakers on their fundraising abilities. Very appropriate for the university—I find myself spending more and more time raising money for Stan, myself. A few commenters picked up on Child’s military experience. I like the […]

The butterfly effect: It’s not what you think it is.

John Cook writes: The butterfly effect is the semi-serious claim that a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado half way around the world. It’s a poetic way of saying that some systems show sensitive dependence on initial conditions, that the slightest change now can make an enormous difference later . . . Once […]

Julia Child (2) vs. Ira Glass; Dorothy Parker advances

Yesterday we got this argument from Manuel in favor of Biles: After suffering so many bad gymnastics (mathematical, logical, statistical, you name it) at seminars, to have some performed by a true champion would be a welcome change. But Parker takes it away, based on this formidable contribution of Dzhaughn: Things I Have Learned From […]