Applied Statistics

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Deep in a long discussion, Phil writes, in evident frustration: I don’t like argument by innuendo. Say what you mean; how hard is it, for cryin’ out loud? Actually, it is hard! I’ve spent years trying to write directly, and I’ve often noticed that others have difficulty doing so. I always tell students to simply…

Hey, statistics is easy!

Kent Holsinger sends along this statistics discussion from a climate scientist. I don’t really feel like going into the details on this one, except to note that this appears to be a discussion between two physicists about statistics. The blog in question appears to be pretty influential, with about 70 comments on most of its…

I came across this news article by Sharon Begley: Mind Reading Is Now Possible: A computer can tell with 78 percent accuracy when someone is thinking about a hammer and not pliers. The article came out in 2008. I’m just wondering what’s been happening since in this area.

Felix Salmon gives the story. I haven’t read the research articles, but it’s an interesting story. As Salmon frames the book, it’s Freakonomics-the-book vs. Freakonomics-style empirical analysis. P.S. I’m assuming that both numbers above have been rounded to the nearest billion.

A whole new kind of z-statistic

Jeremy Miles pointed me to this article by Leonhard Held with what might seem like an appealing brew of classical, Bayesian, and graphical statistics: P values are the most commonly used tool to measure evidence against a hypothesis. Several attempts have been made to transform P values to minimum Bayes factors and minimum posterior probabilities…

Sanjay Srivastava writes: Below are the names of some psychological disorders. For each one, choose one of the following: A. This is under formal consideration to be included as a new disorder in the DSM-5. B. Somebody out there has suggested that this should be a disorder, but it is not part of the current…

Graph of the week

Brendan Nyhan links to this hilariously bad graph from the Wall Street Journal: It’s cute how they scale the black line to go right between the red and blue lines, huh? I’m not quite sure how $7.25 can be 39% of something, while $5.15 is 10%, but I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation .…

Brendan Nyhan passes along an article by Don Green, Shang Ha, and John Bullock, entitled “Enough Already about ‘Black Box’ Experiments: Studying Mediation Is More Difficult than Most Scholars Suppose,” which begins: The question of how causal effects are transmitted is fascinating and inevitably arises whenever experiments are presented. Social scientists cannot be faulted for…

Do fish stir the ocean?

This looks interesting: Jean-Luc Thiffeault Mathematics Department, University of Wisconsin – Madison “Do fish stir the ocean?” As fish or other bodies move through a fluid, they stir their surroundings. This can be beneficial to some fish, since the plankton they eat depends on a well-stirred medium to feed on nutrients. Bacterial colonies also stir…