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“The presumption of wisdom and/or virtue causes intellectuals to personalize situations where contending ideas are involved.”

Mark Tuttle writes: A friend recommended the book Intellectuals and Society, by Thomas Sowell. The book is from 2010, but before this recommendation I hadn’t heard of it. Note the last paragraph, below, in the Wikipedia entry: Ego-involvement and personalization The presumption of wisdom and/or virtue causes intellectuals to personalize situations where contending ideas are […]

“From Socrates to Darwin and beyond: What children can teach us about the human mind”

This talk is really interesting. I like how she starts off with the connections between psychological essentialism and political polarization, as an example of the importance of these ideas in so many areas of life.

Ahhhh, Cornell!

What’s up with that place? From his webpage: Sternberg’s main research interests are in intelligence, creativity, wisdom, thinking styles, teaching and learning, love, jealousy, envy, and hate. That pretty much covers it.

Yes, there is such a thing as Eurocentric science (Gremlins edition)

Sometimes we hear stories about silly cultural studies types who can’t handle the objective timeless nature of science. Ha ha ha, we laugh—and, indeed, we should laugh if we don’t cry because some of that stuff really is ridiculous. But let us not forget that science really can be culture-bound. Not just silly psychology journals […]

Bayesian methods and what they offer compared to classical econometrics

A well-known economist who wishes to remain anonymous writes: Can you write about this agent? He’s getting exponentially big on Twitter. The link is to an econometrician, Jeffrey Wooldridge, who writes: Many useful procedures—shrinkage, for example—can be derived from a Bayesian perspective. But those estimators can be studied from a frequentist perspective, and no strong […]

My talk’s on April Fool’s but it’s not actually a joke

For the Boston chapter of the American Statistical Association, I’ll be speaking on this paper with Aki: What are the most important statistical ideas of the past 50 years? We argue that the most important statistical ideas of the past half century are: counterfactual causal inference, bootstrapping and simulation-based inference, overparameterized models and regularization, multilevel […]

This one pushes all my buttons

August Wartin writes: Just wanted to make you aware of this ongoing discussion about an article in JPE: It’s the same professor Lidbom that was involved in this discussion a few years ago (I believe you mentioned something about it on your blog). Indeed, we blogged it here. Here’s the abstract of Lidbom’s more recent […]

Alan Sokal on exponential growth and coronavirus rebound

Alan Sokal writes: Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured Britons that, come 21 June—at least, if all goes according to plan—we will “re-open everything up to and including nightclubs, and enable large events such as theatre performances.” Life will return to normal, or so he says. Alas, Johnson is fooling himself, and it takes […]

Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics

Aki points us to this fun 1990s-style webpage from Jeff Miller. Last year we featured his page on word oddities and other trivia. You might also enjoy his page, Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols. Here’s an example: The equal symbol (=) was first used by Robert Recorde (c. 1510-1558) in 1557 in The Whetstone […]

Marshmallow update

Gur Huberman points us to this interesting article by Dee Gill about a posthumous research publication. It’s about 80 zillion times better than the usual science press release. P.S. I did some quick googling and found some fun links showing past credulity on the marshmallow thing from the usual suspects: Sapolsky, Brooks, NPR. None of […]

A new approach to pandemic control by informing people of their social distance from exposure

Po-Shen Lo, a mathematician who works in graph theory, writes about a new approach he devised for pandemic control. He writes: The significance of this new approach is potentially very high, because it not only can improve the current situation, but it would permanently add a new orthogonal tool to the toolbox for pandemic control, […]

Statistical fallacies as they arise in political science (from Bob Jervis)

Bob Jervis sends along this fun document he gives to the students in his classes. Enjoy. Theories of International Relations Assume that all the facts and assertions in these paragraphs are correct. Why do the conclusions not follow? (This does not mean that the conclusions are actually false.) What are the alternative explanations for the […]

Drew Bailey on backward causal questions and forward causal inference

Following up on my paper with Guido on backward causal questions and forward causal inference, education researcher Drew Bailey writes: (1) Some disagreements between social scientists or between social scientists and the public arise when one side is in “forward causal inference” mode and the other side is in “backward causal question” mode; (2) Individuals […]

What’s the best novel ever written by an 85-year-old?

I recently read A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carré. It was pretty good. Which is impressive given that the author wrote it when he was 85! OK, I’m not saying it was as good as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but I still liked it. It was done well, and if it featured some […]

Here is how you should title the next book you write.

I was talking with someone about book titles. I liked the title Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State when I came up with it, but the book did not sell as well as I hoped (not that I thought it would sell enough to make me lots of money; I’m just using sales […]

“I looked for questions on the polio vaccine and saw one in 1954 that asked if you wanted to get it—60% said yes and 31% no.”

Apparently there are surveys all over the world saying that large minorities of people don’t want to take the coronavirus vaccine. If it was just the U.S. we could explain this as partisanship, but it’s happening in other countries too. This seems like a new thing, no? When there was talk of the anti-vax movement […]

Meg Wolitzer and George V. Higgins

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a Meg Wolitzer fan (see here and here). During the past year or so I’ve been working my way through her earlier books, and I just finished Surrender, Dorothy, which was a quick and fun and thought-provoking read, maybe not quite as polished as some of […]

The Mets are hiring

Des McGowan writes: We are looking to hire multiple full time analysts/senior analysts to join the Baseball Analytics department at the New York Mets. The roles will involve building, testing, and presenting statistical models that inform decision-making in all facets of Baseball Operations. These positions require a strong background in complex statistics and data analytics, […]

Multivariate missing data software update

Ranjit Lall writes: In 2018 you posted about some machine learning-based multiple imputation software I was developing that works particularly well with large and complex datasets. The software is now available as a package in both Python (MIDASpy) and R (rMIDAS), and a paper describing the underlying method was just published online in Political Analysis […]

Stanford prison experiment

Mark Palko points us to a review by Alison Abbott of a book by Susannah Cahalan telling a disturbing story of a psychology professor at a prestigious university who had stunning academic and popular success based on research that he seems to have incorrectly and misleadingly reported. Disturbing—but not surprising, given we now have a […]

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