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Headline permutations

“Trump’s Base Nurses Anger Over Election” was the headline of a story in today’s newspaper. There was something “colorless green ideas” about this headline, which made me think, Lucky Jim-style, of some permutations: Nurses Anger Trump’s Base Over Election Election Base Angers Trump Over Nurses Election Over, Trumps Base Nurses Anger Election Over, Nurses Trump […]

Still cited only 3 times

I had occasion to refer to this post from a couple years ago on the anthropic principle in statistics. In that post, I wrote: I actually used the anthropic principle in my 2000 article, Should we take measurements at an intermediate design point? (a paper that I love; but I just looked it up and […]

Trash talkin’

Someone sent me an email: I thought you will get a kick out of these figures from a new paper [appearing in a top economics journal]. I replied: Wow—this is like a parody of econ. But, then again, econ is a parody of econ, isn’t it? [To clarify here, by “econ,” I don’t mean the […]

Oooh, I hate it when people call me “disingenuous”:

This has happened before. I hate it when someone describes me as “disingenuous,” which according to the dictionary, means “not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.” I feel like responding, truly, that I was being candid and sincere! But of course once someone accuses you […]

just about any dataset worth analyzing is worth reanalyzing: My review of “New Explorations into International Relations: Democracy, Foreign Investment, Terrorism, and Conflict,” by Seung-Whan Choi

The book is by Seung-Whan Choi and my review is here. I’ll repost it in a moment, but first I’ll share the strange story of how this review came to be and why it was never published. Back in 2017 I received an email from the journal Perspectives on Politics to review this book. I […]

“Data in Wonderland”: A course on storytelling with data:

Scott Spencer is teaching this class at Columbia. It looks really cool.

Indeed, the standard way that statistical hypothesis testing is taught is a 2-way binary grid. Both these dichotomies are inappropriate.

I originally gave this post the title, “New England Journal of Medicine makes the classic error of labeling a non-significant difference as zero,” but was I was writing it I thought of a more general point. First I’ll give the story, then the general point. 1. Story Dale Lehman writes: Here are an article and […]

4 years of an unpopular Republican president –> bad news for Republican support among young voters –> continuation of unprecedented generation gap –> I’m not sure what this implies for politics

We hear from Ole Rogeberg on occasion: 2009: Taking Absurd Theories Seriously: Economics and the Case of Rational Addiction Theories 2011: Descriptive statistics, causal inference, and story time 2012: Scientific fraud, double standards and institutions protecting themselves 2013: Struggles over the criticism of the “cannabis users and IQ change” paper 2015: Cannabis/IQ follow-up: Same old […]

Postmodernism for zillionaires

“Postmodernism” in academia is the approach of saying nonsense using a bunch of technical-sounding jargon. At least, I think that’s what postmodernism is . . . Hmm, let’s check wikipedia: Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from […]

Wow, just wow. If you think Psychological Science as bad in the 2010-2015 era, you can’t imagine how bad it was back in 1999

Shane Frederick points us to this article from 1999, “Stereotype susceptibility: Identity salience and shifts in quantitative performance,” about which he writes: This is one of the worst papers ever published in Psych Science (which is a big claim, I recognize). It is old, but really worth a look if you have never read it. […]

She’s thinking of buying a house, but it has a high radon measurement. What should she do?

Someone wrote in with a question: My Mom, who has health issues, is about to close on a new house in **, NJ. We just saw that ** generally is listed as an area with high radon. If the house has a radon measurement over 4 and the seller puts vents to bring it into […]

“Why Some Important Findings Remain Uncited”

Gaurav Sood points us to these two posts: Unsighted: Why Some Important Findings Remain Uncited Gaming Measurement: Using Economic Games to Measure Discrimination “Important findings remain uncited” is kind of the flip side of “A study fails to replicate, but it continues to get referenced as if it had no problems.”

Evidence-based medicine eats itself in real time

Robert Matthews writes:

Thoughts inspired by “the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”

After reading the review of Ariel Sabar’s “Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” I decided to follow Paul Alper’s advice and read the book, which was conveniently available at the local library. At first I thought the book would be boring, not because of the topic but because […]

Guttman points out another problem with null hypothesis significance testing: It falls apart when considering replications.

Michael Nelson writes: Re-reading a classic from Louis Guttman, What is not what in statistics, I saw his “Problem 2” with new eyes given the modern replication debate: Both estimation and the testing of hypotheses have usually been restricted as if to one-time experiments, both in theory and in practice. But the essence of science […]


This came in a mass email: Statistical Horizons is excited to present Applied Bayesian Data Analysis taught by Dr. Roy Levy on Thursday, February 18–Saturday, February 20. In this seminar, you will get both a practical and theoretical introduction to Bayesian methods in just 3 days. Topics include: Model construction Specifying prior distributions Graphical representation […]

MRP and Missing Data Question

Andy Timm writes: I’m curious if you have any suggestions for dealing with item nonresponse when using MRP. I haven’t seen anything particularly compelling in a literature review, but it seems like this has to have come up. It seems like a surprisingly large number of papers just go for a complete cases analysis, or […]

Can the “Dunning-Kruger effect” be explained as a misunderstanding of regression to the mean?

The above (without the question mark) is the title of a news article, “The Dunning-Kruger Effect Is Probably Not Real,” by Jonathan Jarry, sent to me by Herman Carstens. Jarry’s article is interesting, but I don’t like its title I don’t like the framing of this sort of effect as “real” or “not real.” I […]

This one is for fans of George V. Higgins

I don’t think there are many remaining fans of George V. Higgins: he died 20 years ago, his popularity had been in decline for decades, and his only bestseller was his first book, in 1970, which was also made into a well-received but not particularly popular or well-remembered movie. His writing was extremely mannered, and […]

Fun example of an observational study: Effect of crowd noise on home-field advantage in sports

Kevin Quealy and Ben Shpigel offer “Four Reasons the N.F.L. Shattered Its Scoring Record in 2020”: No. 1: No fans meant (essentially) no home-field advantage With fans either barred or permitted at diminished numbers because of public-health concerns, the normal in-game din dropped to a murmur or — at some stadiums — to a near […]