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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Science category.

“Starting at the beginning again can be exhausting and stressful. But, opportunities are finally coming into focus . . .”

Ashley Steel writes: Walking away from science or walking away with science? This is an essay about career transitions and the value of statistical thinking in, perhaps, surprising places. It is written in hopes of opening a conversation. When my father, a kind and distinguished academic physician, gave me a chemistry set for my 12th […]

“Here’s an interesting story right in your sweet spot”

Jonathan Falk writes: Here’s an interesting story right in your sweet spot: Large effects from something whose possible effects couldn’t be that large? Check. Finding something in a sample of 1024 people that requires 34,000 to gain adequate power? Check. Misuse of p values? Check Science journalist hype? Check Searching for the cause of an […]

How to think scientifically about scientists’ proposals for fixing science

I kinda like this little article which I wrote a couple years ago while on the train from the airport. It will appear in the journal Socius. Here’s how it begins: Science is in crisis. Any doubt about this status has surely been been dispelled by the loud assurances to the contrary by various authority […]

My talk at the Brookings Institution this Fri 11am

The replication crisis in science: Does it matter for policy? Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University I argue that policy analysts should care about the replication crisis for three reasons: (1) High-profile policy claims have been systematically exaggerated; (2) This has implications for how to conduct and interpret new […]

Carol Nickerson

Nick Brown informed me that Carol Nickerson passed away. Nick writes: Carol was unemployed for the last five years of her life. She had been associate/adjunct faculty at UIUC for some time, but when I got to know her she was being let go after she refused to do something unethical for the person who […]

“Less Wow and More How in Social Psychology”

Fritz Strack sends along this article from 2012 which has an interesting perspective. Strack’s article begins: But, he continues, things changed in 2011 with the scandals of Diederik Stapel (a career built upon fake data), Daryl Bem (joke science getting published in a real journal), and a seemingly unending series of prominent studies that failed […]

That study about the health risks of red meat: An excellent news report

A couple different people pointed me to this excellent news article by Gina Kolata (with Brad Plumer), who writes: Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills. But on Monday, in […]

Here’s a supercool controversy for ya

Raghu Parthasarathy writes: You might like this very good article by Ashley Smart on a recent fight about the statistical mechanics of water, and a feud that was made worse by a lack of sharing code Condensed matter theory! That’s what I worked on, back when I was a physicist. We did an experiment that […]

Dan’s Paper Corner: Can we model scientific discovery and what can we learn from the process?

Jesus taken serious by the many Jesus taken joyous by a few Jazz police are paid by J. Paul Getty Jazzers paid by J. Paul Getty II Leonard Cohen So I’m trying a new thing because like no one is really desperate for another five thousand word essay about whatever happens to be on my […]

Brief summary notes on Statistical Thinking for enabling better review of clinical trials.

This post is by Keith O’Rourke and as with all posts and comments on this blog, is just a deliberation on dealing with uncertainties in scientific inquiry and should not to be attributed to any entity other than the author. As with any critically-thinking inquirer, the views behind these deliberations are always subject to rethinking […]

“Superior: The Return of Race Science,” by Angela Saini

“People so much wanted the story to be true . . . that they couldn’t look past it to more mundane explanations.” – Angela Saini, Superior. I happened to be reading this book around the same time as I attended the Metascience conference, which was motivated by the realization during the past decade or so […]

I think that science is mostly “Brezhnevs.” It’s rare to see a “Gorbachev” who will abandon a paradigm just because it doesn’t do the job. Also, moving beyond naive falsificationism

Sandro Ambuehl writes: I’ve been following your blog and the discussion of replications and replicability across different fields daily, for years. I’m an experimental economist. The following question arose from a discussion I recently had with Anna Dreber, George Loewenstein, and others. You’ve previously written about the importance of sound theories (and the dangers of […]

Let’s try this again: It is nonsense to say that we don’t know whether a specific weather event was affected by climate change. It’s not just wrong, it’s nonsensical.

This post is by Phil Price, not Andrew. If you write something and a substantial number of well-intentioned readers misses your point, the problem is yours. Too many people misunderstood what I was sayinga few days ago in the post “There is no way to prove that [an extreme weather event] either was, or was […]

Was Thomas Kuhn evil? I don’t really care.

OK, I guess I care a little . . . but when it comes to philosophy, I don’t really care about Kuhn’s personality or even what exactly he said in his books. I use Kuhn in my work, by which I mean that I use an idealized Kuhn, I take the best from his work […]

My talk at the Metascience symposium Fri 6 Sep

The meeting is at Stanford, and here’s my talk: Embracing Variation and Accepting Uncertainty: Implications for Science and Metascience The world would be pretty horrible if your attitude on immigration could be affected by a subliminal smiley face, if elections were swung by shark attacks and college football games, if how you vote depended on […]

“I am a writer for our school newspaper, the BHS Blueprint, and I am writing an article about our school’s new growth mindset initiative.”

Caleb VanArragon writes: I am a student at Blaine High School in Blaine, Minnesota. I am a writer for our school newspaper, the BHS Blueprint, and I am writing an article about our school’s new growth mindset initiative. I was wondering if you would be willing to answer a couple of questions about your study […]

More on the piranha problem, the butterfly effect, unintended consequences, and the push-a-button, take-a-pill model of science

The other day we had some interesting discussion that I’d like to share. I started by contrasting the butterfly effect—the idea that a small, seemingly trivial, intervention at place A can potentially have a large, unpredictable effect at place B—with the “PNAS” or “Psychological Science” view of the world, in which small, seemingly trivial, intervention […]

Coney Island

Inspired by this story (“Good news! Researchers respond to a correction by acknowledging it and not trying to dodge its implications”): Coming down from Psych Science Stopping off at PNAS Out all day datagathering And the craic was good Stopped off at the old lab Early in the morning Drove through Harvard taking pictures And […]

“The issue of how to report the statistics is one that we thought about deeply, and I am quite sure we reported them correctly.”

Ricardo Vieira writes: I recently came upon this study from Princeton published in PNAS: Implicit model of other people’s visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes In which the authors asked people to demonstrate how much you have to tilt an object before it falls. They show that when a human […]

Why does my academic lab keep growing?

Andrew, Breck, and I are struggling with the Stan group funding at Columbia just like most small groups in academia. The short story is that to apply for enough grants to give us a decent chance of making payroll in the following year, we have to apply for so many that our expected amount of […]