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Routine hospital-based SARS-CoV-2 testing outperforms state-based data in predicting clinical burden.

Len Covello, Yajuan Si, Siquan Wang, and I write: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, government policy and healthcare implementation responses have been guided by reported positivity rates and counts of positive cases in the community. The selection bias of these data calls into question their validity as measures of the actual viral incidence in the community […]

“They adjusted for three hundred confounders.”

Alexey Guzey points to this post by Scott Alexander and this research article by Elisabetta Patorno, Robert Glynn, Raisa Levin, Moa Lee, and Krista Huybrechts, and writes: I [Guzey] am extremely skeptical of anything that relies on adjusting for confounders and have no idea what to think about this. My intuition would be that because […]

“A Headline That Will Make Global-Warming Activists Apoplectic” . . . how’s that one going, Freakonomics team?

I saw this article in the newspaper today, “2020 Ties 2016 as Hottest Yet, European Analysis Shows,” and accompanied by the above graph, and this reminded me of something. A few years ago there was a cottage industry among some contrarian journalists, making use of the fact that 1998 was a particularly hot year (by […]

Include all design information as predictors in your regression model, then postratify if necessary. No need to include survey weights: the information that goes into the weights will be used in any poststratification that is done.

David Kaplan writes: I have a question that comes up often when working with people who are analyzing large scale educational assessments such as NAEP or PISA. They want to do some kind of multilevel analysis of an achievement outcome such as mathematics ability predicted by individual and school level variables. The files contain the […]

“Enhancing Academic Freedom and Transparency in Publishing Through Post-Publication Debate”: Some examples in the study of political conflict

Mike Spagat writes: You’ll definitely want to see this interesting paper by Kristian Gleditsch. Research and Politics, a journal for which Kristian Gleditsch is one of the editors, has hosted several valuable rounds of post-publication peer review. One instance starts with a paper of mine and Stijn van Weezel which replicated, critiqued and improved earlier […]

Weakliem on air rage and himmicanes

Weakliem writes: I think I see where the [air rage] analysis went wrong. The dependent variable was whether or not an “air rage” incident happened on the flight. Two important influences on the chance of an incident are the number of passengers and how long the flight was (their data apparently don’t include the number […]

xkcd: “Curve-fitting methods and the messages they send”

We can’t go around linking to xkcd all the time or it would just fill up the blog, but this one is absolutely brilliant. You could use it as the basis for a statistics Ph.D. I came across it in this post from Palko, which is on the topic of that Dow 36,000 guy who […]

NYT editor described columnists as “people who are paid to have very, very strong convictions, and to believe that they’re right.”

Enrico Schaar points out this news article from 2018 by Ashley Feinberg about the New York Times editorial page. Feinberg writes: In the December meeting, [New York Times editorial page editor James] Bennet described columnists as “people who are paid to have very, very strong convictions, and to believe that they’re right.” [A.G.] Sulzberger [now […]

Typo of the day

“Poststratifiction”

Megan Higgs (statistician) and Anna Dreber (economist) on how to judge the success of a replication

The discussion started with this comment from Megan Higgs regarding a recent science replication initiative: I [Higgs] was immediately curious about their criteria for declaring a study replicated. In a quick skim of the info in the google form, here it is: In the survey of beliefs, you will be asked for (a) the probability […]

Our ridiculous health care system, part 734

I went to get a coronavirus test today. We had to get the test for work, and I had no problem with that. What I did have a problem was with that, to get this test, I needed to make an appointment, fill out three forms and take an online “course” (clicking through a set […]

Most controversial posts of 2020

Last year we posted 635 entries on this blog. Above is a histogram of the number of comments on each of the posts. The bars are each of width 5, except that I made a special bar just for the posts with zero comments. There’s nothing special about zero here; some posts get only 1 […]

“Maybe the better analogy is that these people are museum curators and we’re telling them that their precious collection of Leonardos, which they have been augmenting at a rate of about one per month, include some fakes.”

Someone sent me a link to a recently published research paper and wrote: As far as any possible coverage on your blog goes, this one didn’t come from me, please. It just looks… baffling in a lot of different ways. OK, so it didn’t come from that person. I read the paper and replied: Oh, […]

“Translation Plagiarism”

Michael Dougherty writes: Disguised plagiarism often goes undetected. An especially subtle type of disguised plagiarism is translation plagiarism, which occurs when the work of one author is republished in a different language with authorship credit taken by someone else. I’ve seen this done, where the original language is statistics and the translated language is political […]

What we did in 2020, and thanks to all our collaborators and many more

Published or to be published articles: [2021] Reflections on Lakatos’s “Proofs and Refutations.” {\em American Mathematical Monthly}. (Andrew Gelman) [2021] Holes in Bayesian statistics. {\em Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics}. (Andrew Gelman and Yuling Yao) [2021] Reflections on Breiman’s Two Cultures of Statistical Modeling. {\em Observational Studies}. (Andrew Gelman) [2021] Bayesian statistics […]

Three unblinded mice

I happened to come across this post from 2013 disucssing a news article by Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, who writes about the selection bias arising from the routine use of outcome criteria to exclude animals in medical trials: Couzin-Frankel starts with an example of a drug trial in which 3 of the 10 mice in the treatment […]

Why We Sleep—a tale of non-replication.

Good to have a non-coronavirus post that I can put on delay . . . After reading our recent post, “Why We Sleep — a tale of institutional failure”, David Shanks wrote: You may be interested to know that a little while ago we were completely unable to replicate a key result by Walker and […]

One dose or two? This epidemiologist suggests we should follow Bugs Bunny and go for two.

Joseph Delaney writes: I [Delaney] am starting to see the hot take of “why don’t we experiment with giving only one dose of an mRNA vaccine”. For example, see this. We briefly brought up one such argument a couple weeks ago, but only in the context of a discussion of something else.  I hadn’t looked […]

Retired computer science professor argues that decisions are being made by “algorithms that are mathematically incapable of bias.” What does this mean?

This came up in the comments, but not everyone reads the comments, so . . . Joseph recommended an op-ed entitled “We must stop militant liberals from politicizing artificial intelligence; ‘Debiasing’ algorithms actually means adding bias,” by retired computer science professor Pedro Domingos. The article begins: What do you do if decisions that used to […]

Le Detection Club

I just read this BD. It was great, reminded me a bit of Knives Out.

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