Links for 2009-10-03

  • "I agree that if a researcher can establish that a particular effect or phenomenon has a statistically significant influence or role in social behavior, it matters, that this is a finding worth reporting. The problem is, as McCloskey notes, that some findings matter more than other findings, and that the reason they matter more or less can only be worked out through something other than statistical argument, that the weight we should give such a finding has to come from some philosophical, moral, political or normative claim. "
  • "The school has a plan for responding to the undead on its Web site among outlines for dealing with hurricanes and pandemics.

    The exercise lays out how university officials would respond to attacks by "flesh-eating, apparently life impaired individuals." It notes that a zombie outbreak might include "documentation of lots of strange moaning.""

  • "Being a Bayesian -at least in everyday life-, instead of fantasizing about infinite readers I use my prior experience on similar articles I wrote, and the data provided in this blog's access statistics, to try and put together my guess: in statistical jargon, I assign a "subjective prior probability" to the dropping out of readers during a long piece, depending on its length and subject. Since the number in this case comes out pretty close to unity -a certain outcome-, let me get to the heart of this post quickly. I want to convince you that you, too, are a Bayesian. But I need to explain you the theorem first!"
  • "A fundraiser who previously worked for a symphony might make sense, but a CAO without academic experience is very likely to fail. The culture of the faculty, even at the cc level, is unique. (In how many industries is the "crossing over to the dark side" line used so extensively?) And someone who hasn't lived it will likely have a rough time learning it from on high. There may be cases in which that has worked, but it's an exceedingly risky strategy."
  • "Colleges and universities spent a total of $51.9 billion on research development in the 2008 fiscal year, with the federal government providing by far the biggest -- but a declining share of the total.

    Those were among the findings of data from an annual survey by the National Science Foundation released Thursday. "

  • "Alon's study is based on three large national surveys of students that provide data on what happened to the high school graduating classes of 1972, 1982 and 1992. She finds that much of the growth in enrollment of students of lower income socioeconomic groups came at two-year colleges, while gains at four-year institutions over all and selective four-year institutions were quite modest."
  • "We report on residual-gas damping of the motion of a macroscopic test mass enclosed in a nearby housing in the molecular flow regime. The damping coefficient, and thus the associated thermal force noise, is found to increase significantly when the distance between the test mass and surrounding walls is smaller than the test mass itself. The effect has been investigated with two torsion pendulums of different geometry and has been modeled in a numerical simulation whose predictions are in good agreement with the measurements. Relevant to a wide variety of small-force experiments, the residual-gas force noise power for the test masses in the LISA gravitational wave observatory is roughly a factor 15 larger than in an infinite gas volume, though still compatible with the target acceleration noise of 3 fm s-2 Hz^-1/2 at the foreseen pressure below 10^-6 Pa."
  • "PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining -- by experiment -- whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle."
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Nice collection of links. I especially liked the links on practical significance versus statistical significance and on Bayesian statistics.