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Archive of posts filed under the Decision Theory category.

A. J. Liebling vs. Dorothy Parker (2); Steve Martin advances

As Dalton wrote: On one hand, Serena knows how to handle a racket. But Steve Martin knows how to make a racket with some strings stretched taught over a frame. Are you really gonna bet against the dude who went to toe-to-toe Kermit the Frog in racket making duel? Today we have an unseeded eater […]

Update on that study of p-hacking

Ron Berman writes: I noticed you posted an anonymous email about our working paper on p-hacking and false discovery, but was a bit surprised that it references an early version of the paper. We addressed the issues mentioned in the post more than two months ago in a version that has been available online since […]

Serena Williams vs. Steve Martin (4); The Japanese dude who won the hot dog eating contest advances

We didn’t have much yesterday, so I went with this meta-style comment from Jesse: I’m pulling for Kobayashi if only because the longer he’s in, the more often Andrew will have to justify describing him vs using his name. The thought of Andrew introducing the speaker as “and now, here’s that Japanese dude who won […]

P-hacking in study of “p-hacking”?

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes: This paper [“p-Hacking and False Discovery in A/B Testing,” by Ron Berman, Leonid Pekelis, Aisling Scott, and Christophe Van den Bulte] ostensibly provides evidence of “p-hacking” in online experimentation (A/B testing) by looking at the decision to stop experiments right around thresholds for the platform presenting confidence that […]

The Japanese dude who won the hot dog eating contest vs. Oscar Wilde (1); Albert Brooks advances

Yesterday I was going to go with this argument from Ethan: Now I’m morally bound to use the Erdos argument I said no one would see unless he made it to this round. Andrew will take the speaker out to dinner, prove a theorem, publish it and earn an Erdos number of 1. But then […]

More on that horrible statistical significance grid

Regarding this horrible Table 4: Eric Loken writes: The clear point or your post was that p-values (and even worse the significance versus non-significance) are a poor summary of data. The thought I’ve had lately, working with various groups of really smart and thoughtful researchers, is that Table 4 is also a model of their […]

Paul Erdos vs. Albert Brooks; Sid Caesar advances

The key question yesterday was, can Babe Didrikson Zaharias do comedy or can Sid Caesar do sports. According to Mark Palko, Sid Caesar was by all accounts extremely physically strong. And I know of no evidence that Babe was funny. So Your Show of Shows will be going into the third round. And now we […]

Sid Caesar vs. Babe Didrikson Zaharias (2); Jim Thorpe advances

Best comment from yesterday came from Dalton: Jim Thorpe isn’t from Pennsylvania, and yet a town there renamed itself after him. DJ Jazzy Jeff is from Pennsylvania, and yet Will Smith won’t even return his phone calls. Until I can enjoy a cold Yuengling in Jazzy Jeff, PA it’s DJ Jumpin’ Jim for the win. […]

Halftime! And Jim Thorpe (1) vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff

So. Here’s the bracket so far: Our first second-round match is the top-ranked GOAT—the greatest GOAT of all time, as it were—vs. an unseeded but appealing person whose name ends in f. Again here are the rules: We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the […]

Yakov Smirnoff advances, and Halftime!

Best argument yesterday came from Yuling: I want to learn more about missing data analysis from the seminar so I like Harry Houdini. But Yakov Smirnoff is indeed better for this topic — both Vodka and the Soviet are treatments that guarantee everyone to be Missing Completely at Random, and as statistican we definitely prefer […]

Harry Houdini (1) vs. Yakov Smirnoff; Meryl Streep advances

Best argument yesterday came from Jonathan: This one’s close. Meryl Streep and Alice Waters both have 5 letters in the first name and 6 in the last name. Tie. Both are adept at authentic accents. Tie. Meryl has played a international celebrity cook; Alice has never played an actress. Advantage Streep. Waters has taught many […]

Alice Waters (4) vs. Meryl Streep; LeBron James advances

It’s L’Bron. Only pitch for Mr. Magic was from DanC: guy actually is ultra-tall, plus grand than that non-Cav who had play’d for Miami. But Dalton brings it back for Bron: LeBron James getting to the NBA Final with J.R. Smith as his best supporting cast member is a more preposterous escape than anything David […]

Our hypotheses are not just falsifiable; they’re actually false.

Everybody’s talkin bout Popper, Lakatos, etc. I think they’re great. Falsificationist Bayes, all the way, man! But there’s something we need to be careful about. All the statistical hypotheses we ever make are false. That is, if a hypothesis becomes specific enough to make (probabilistic) predictions, we know that with enough data we will be […]

LeBron James (3) vs. Eric Antoine; Ellen DeGeneres advances

Optimum quip Thursday was from Dzhaughn: Mainly, that woman’s tag has a lot of a most common typographical symbol in it, which would amount to a big difficulty back in days of non-digital signs on halls of drama and crowd-laughing. Should that fact boost or cut a probability appraisal of said woman writing an amazing […]

Fitting multilevel models when the number of groups is small

Matthew Poes writes: I have a question that I think you have answered for me before. There is an argument to be made that HLM should not be performed if a sample is too small (too small level 2 and too small level 1 units). Lot’s of papers written with guidelines on what those should […]

Ian McKellen (2) vs. Ellen DeGeneres; Pierre-Simon Laplace advances

The arguments yesterday in favor of Laplace were valid, earnest, and boring. Dalton reinforced the contrast with this comment: Belushi’s demons are a whole lot more interesting than Laplace’s demon. With the latter, you always know what you’re gonna get forever and ever evermore. The former offers heaps of exciting uncertainty, and if you remember […]

Pierre-Simon Laplace (2) vs. John Belushi; Pele advances

For yesterday I was leaning toward Penn and Teller based on Bobbie’s reasoning: Penn & Teller not only create interesting, often politically-relevant, magic. They are also visible skeptics who critique the over-claiming of magicians/mystics/paranormal advocates and they use empirical arguments/demonstrations when they speak to debunk pseudoscience. For those of us who care about such things […]

Penn and Teller (3) vs. Pele; Alan Turing advances

Sorry, but did Turing ever have a chance of losing to David Blaine?? Forget about it. This contest is supposed to be Turing complete, no? Best argument in favor of the showman was from Jonathan: OK. Here’s a Blaine seminar. He delivers the entire lecture locked inside a trunk with 40 minutes of air. He […]

Alan Turing (4) vs. David Blaine; Oprah Winfrey advances

Yesterday, Martin Gardner seemed like he’d be sailing in on a gentle wave of nostalgia, but then Dzhaughn brought us back to reality: I cannot believe we are having this conversation. Self-made multi-billionaire philanthropist African American warrior saint v. nerd game writer. Let. me. think. Copies of O per copies of Sci Am? I am […]

Oprah Winfrey (1) vs. Martin Gardner; Nora Ephron advances

For yesterday’s contest, Steve writes: I’m going with Gauss. Ephron would show up in his office, and say, “I’ve got this great idea for a screenplay”; she’d really lay on the charm and work on her sales pitch. After she’d finish, Gauss would go back to his filing cabinet, aimlessly rifle through his least interesting […]