Applied Statistics

Archives for December, 2009

Here’s the entry from the statistical lexicon: The “All Else Equal” Fallacy: Assuming that everything else is held constant, even when it’s not gonna be. My original note about this fallacy came a couple years ago when New York Times columnist John Tierney made the counterintuitive claim (later blogged by Steven Levitt) that driving a…

DIY data analysis: three fun examples

I recently came across some links showing readers how to make their own data analysis and graphics from scratch. This is great stuff–spreading power tools to the masses and all that. From Nathan Yau: How to Make a US County Thematic Map Using Free Tools and How to Make an Interactive Area Graph with Flare.…

Jenny quotes Erica Wagner: Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote for more than four decades on an Underwood portable. For him, his machine was a kind of first editor. “If this typewriter doesn’t like a story, it refuses to work,” he said. “I don’t get a man to correct it since I know if I get a…

From Ubs: How fast is Rickey? Rickey is so fast that he can steal more bases than Rickey. (And nobody steals more bases than Rickey.)

Professor Risk

From the co-author of the celebrated Scholarpedia article on Bayesian statistics…

All deaths are suicides?

Stephen Dubner quotes Gary Becker as saying: According to the economic approach, therefore, most (if not all!) deaths are to some extent “suicides” in the sense that they could have been postponed if more resources had been invested in prolonging life. Dubner describes this as making “perfect sense” and as being “so unusual and so…

A journalist contacted me to ask what I thought about this article by Marshall Burke, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, John Dykema, and David Lobell: Armed conflict within nations has had disastrous humanitarian consequences throughout much of the world. Here we [Burke et al.] undertake the first comprehensive examination of the potential impact of global climate…

Tyler Cowen writes: Breaking a three-day stalemate, the Senate approved an amendment to its health care legislation that would require insurance companies to offer free mammograms and other preventive services to women. The vote was 61 to 39, with three Republicans joining 56 Democrats and the two independents in favor. This happened directly after the…

The science of wishful thinking

A few months ago I read Charles Seife’s excellent book, “Sun in a bottle: The strange history of fusion and the science of wishful thinking.” One thing I found charming about the book was that it lumped crackpot cold fusion, nutty plans to use H-bombs to carve out artificial harbors in Alaska, and mainstream tokomaks…

Tom Ball writes: Didn’t know if you had seen this article [by Jason Richwine] about political allegiance and IQ but wanted to make sure you did. I’m surprised the author hasn’t heard or seen of your work on Red and Blue states! What do you think? I think the article raises some interesting issues but…