Applied Statistics

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There are a few things that the French love, but all Americans–liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats–love to hate. In particular, I’m thinking of 1. Mimes 2. Jerry Lewis 3. Postmodern philosophy I can’t do much for you about items 1 and 2, but here’s some French philosophizin’ for ya (based on joint work with…

Elissa Brown sends these in. They’re actually pretty good, with a quite reasonable Ogden-Nash-style rhythm and a certain amount of statistical content. It’s good to know that the kids today are learning useful skills in their graduate programs. You are perfect; I’d make no substitutions You remind me of my favorite distributions With a shape…

Some thoughts on final exams

I just finished grading my final exams–see here for the problems and the solutions–and it got me thinking about a few things. #1 is that I really really really should be writing the exams before the course begins. Here’s the plan (as it should be): – Write the exam – Write a practice exam -…

Tyler Cowen quotes Barbara Demick as writing, “North Koreans have multiple words for prison in much the same way that the Inuit do for snow.” So do we, no? But in our case, they seem to come from 1930s B-movies I wonder if there are almost as many words for prison in Russia, Turkmenistan, and…

Ouch. Here’s the story (which Kaiser forwarded to me). The English medical journal The Lancet (according to its publisher, “the world’s leading independent general medical journal”) published an article in 1998 in support of the much-derided fringe theory that MMR vaccination causes autism. From the BBC report: The Lancet said it now accepted claims made…

Eric Bettinger, Bridget Terry Long, Philip Oreopoulos, and Lisa Sanbonmatsu write: Growing concerns about low awareness and take-up rates for government support programs like college financial aid have spurred calls to simplify the application process and enhance visibility. Here’s the study: H&R Block tax professionals helped low- to moderate-income families complete the FAFSA, the federal…

More on the estimation of war deaths

Following up on our recent discussion (see also here) about estimates of war deaths, Megan Price pointed me to this report, where she, Anita Gohdes, Megan Price, and Patrick Ball write: Several media organizations including Reuters, Foreign Policy and New Scientist covered the January 21 release of the 2009 Human Security Report (HSR) entitled, “The…

What can search predict?

You’ve all heard about how you can predict all sorts of things, from movie grosses to flu trends, using search results. I earlier blogged about the research of Yahoo’s Sharad Goel, Jake Hofman, Sebastien Lahaie, David Pennock, and Duncan Watts in this area. Since then, they’ve written a research article. Here’s a picture: And here’s…

First the scientific story, then the journalist, then my thoughts.

Alan Turing is said to have invented a game that combines chess and middle-distance running. It goes like this: You make your move, then you run around the house, and the other player has to make his or her move before you return to your seat. I’ve never played the game but it sounds like…