Applied Statistics

Archives for November, 2009

Deciding the conclusion ahead of time

Mark Thoma links to a report by Michael Shear on a leaked memo from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and an assortment of national business groups opposed to President Obama’s health-care reform effort are collecting money to finance an economic study that could be used to portray the legislation as…

The other day I commented on an article by Peter Bancel and Roger Nelson that reported evidence that “the coherent attention or emotional response of large populations” can affect the output of quantum-mechanical random number generators. I was pretty dismissive of the article; in fact elsewhere I gave my post the title, “Some ESP-bashing red…

I’ve been ranting lately about how I don’t like the term “risk aversion,” and I was thinking it might help to bring up this post from last year: This discussion from Keynes (from Robert Skidelsky, linked from Steve Hsu) reminds me of a frustrating conversation I’ve sometimes had with economists regarding the concept of “risk…

A reporter contacted me to ask my impression of this article by Peter Bancel and Roger Nelson, which reports evidence that “the coherent attention or emotional response of large populations” can affect the output of quantum-mechanical random number generators. I spent a few minutes looking at the article, and, well, it’s about what you might…

Steve Levitt links to this article by Will Dobbie and Roland Fryer on an educational innovation to improve the education of ethnic minority children. Dobbie and Fryer write: Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) is arguably the most ambitious social experiment to alleviate poverty of our time. We [Dobbie and Fryer] provide the first empirical test of…

Two countries separated etc etc

Jonathan Raban writes: For an English-born reader, America is written in a language deceptively similar to one’s own and full of pitfalls and ‘false friends’. The word nature, for instance, means something different here – so do community, class, friend, tradition, home (think of the implications beneath the surface of the peculiarly American phrase ‘He…

From blog commenter Lemmus comes this list of the 100 most visited Wikipedia pages in 2009. The thing that I find hard to believe is that the number of hits on most of these articles is so low. For example, if I google “World War II,” the Wikipedia entry comes up first. But according to…

Lowess is great

One of the discussants in Brain and Behavioral Sciences of Seth Roberts’s article on self-experimentation was by Martin Voracek and Maryanne Fisher. They had a bunch of negative things to say about self-experimentation, but as a statistician, I was struck by their concern about “the overuse of the loess procedure.” I think lowess (or loess)…

I just received the following auto-reply: I currently have no home internet service, and so may not be able to answer your message swiftly. Thank you for your patience. This is sort of funny, partly because of the implied expectation that everyone has home internet service, and partly because I send him the message at…

This graph that Brendan Nyhan posted the other day got some attention from my coblogger John Sides and others. For example, Kevin Drum describes the chart as “pretty cool” and writes, “I think I’m more interested in the placement of senators themselves. Democrats are almost all bunched into a single grouping, with only four outliers.…