Applied Statistics

Archives for November, 2009

Mark Rank and Thomas Hirschl recently published an estimate that 50% of American kids are on food stamps at some point during their first twenty years of life. Their estimate is based on an analysis of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, from 1968 through 1997. This news article by Lindsey Tanner provides…

. . . where shooting someone in the head gets you four months in jail and a $1200 fine. Not a biggie, though–apparently it was only a “warning shot.” More generally, I don’t know that prison is the solution to this sort of problem. If you put a violent criminal behind bars, he very well…

The fractal geometry of nature, indeed

If this stuff is for real, it’s really impressive. (Link from Aleks’s twitter.)

Julien Emile-Geay writes about a postdoc opportunity for a postdoc in climate dynamics, applied statistics, or applied mathematics: “Beyond the Hockey Stick: new approaches to paleoclimate reconstruction”

This is all standard physics. Consider the two-slit experiment–a light beam, two slits, and a screen–with y being the place on the screen that lights up. For simplicity, think of the screen as one-dimensional. So y is a continuous random variable. Consider four experiments: 1. Slit 1 is open, slit 2 is closed. Shine light…

Handy statistical lexicon

I added a few entries recently. Currently, we have the following (in no particular order): Mister P The Secret Weapon The Superplot The Folk Theorem The Pinch-Hitter Syndrome Weakly Informative Priors P-values and U-values Conservatism WWJD Theoretical and Applied Statisticians The Fallacy of the One-Sided Bet Alabama First The USA Today Fallacy Second-Order Availability Bias…

Seth reports on a report, funded by the sugar industry, that found bad effects of a diet soda additive called Splenda. The background of the study is a delightful tangle. Seth reports: One of the authors of the Duke study is a professor of psychiatry, Susan Schiffman. An earlier study of hers had pro-Splenda results.…

A colleague sent me an article by Harry Selker and Alastair Wood about the rules for comparative effectiveness research (“evidence-based medicine”) in the House and Senate versions of the health-care bill. The key point: The [Senate] Finance Committee bill also includes language requested by industry lobbyists (pages 1138-1139) that threatens to withdraw federal funding for…

Everybody’s a critic

Christopher Nelson writes: Check out the GDP chart under “The New Triad” here: It’s supposed to compare GDP in China, India, and the US for three time periods but for my money, it’s composed wrong. The bars should be for the years, not the countries. That way we could see total GDP in each year…

Jimmy points me to this article, “Why most discovered true associations are inflated,” by J. P. Ioannidis. As Jimmy pointed out, this is exactly what we call type M (for magnitude) errors. I completely agree with Ioannidis’s point, which he seems to be making more systematically than David Weakliem and I did in our recent…