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Democracy in Action

The Pew Research Center reported yesterday that the voters of 29 states have already approved bans on same-sex marriage. For me, this observation highlights the absurdity of the naïve apotheosis of populism and democratic institutions that constitutes a core element of the contemporary Western zeitgeist. We tend to take for granted that democracy is something […]

And the Teslas Just Keep on Coming

I think this Youtube video does a far better job of showcasing the dangers of MRI machines than “The Magnetic Zone” video that Siemens distributes. I particularly enjoy the “take off” sound that the air cylinder makes three seconds into the clip.

Data Collection Strategies Revisited

Data Collection Strategies Revisited

To follow up on my post earlier today on two approaches to linear model fitting, I decided to do some Monte Carlo simulations to test the relative strength of my two proposals for data collection strategies. To test the merits of sampling clustered data points versus sampling scattered data points, I generated 100,000 data sets […]

Linear Regression and Decisions about Sampling

Lately I’ve been thinking about the optimal strategy for data collection when you plan to run a linear regression. Clearly, you want a sample of widely distributed points if you’re unsure that a strict linearity assumption is appropriate. If you already know from theoretical reasons that linearity is appropriate, then you know that you only […]

Making the Most of My Mac

For literally years I’ve been meaning to write a post about my favorite programs and utilities for the Mac, but I’ve always managed to put it off. Given that I recently sent my girlfriend my old Powerbook, I thought that I should finally write down a list of the programs and tools that I’ve found […]

Again with the Null Hypothesis Significance Testing

As I was finishing reading “The Cult of Statistical Significance” yesterday, the following passage struck me as particularly important: Rothman computed a p-value function — a continuous function of p-values mapped against a range of effect sizes. The range of effect sizes was here again measured by the relative risk ratio and includes both beneficial […]

Proving the Obvious and Understanding the Not-So Obvious

Proving the Obvious and Understanding the Not-So Obvious

Continuing on with my exploration of the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, I thought that I should calculate some simple conditional frequency statistics. The graph below strikes me as a very good example of how conditional probabilities play out in the real world. From it, you can see how the right piece of […]

National Survey of Drug Use and Health

National Survey of Drug Use and Health

Lately, I’ve been exploring the data set that was recently released by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. There’s enough raw data in it to spend months trying to make sense of it all. That said, for the moment I thought that I would simply post the following chart I generated using a […]

Breast Cancer and Early First Pregnancy?

Reading David Freedman’s book “Statistical Models: Theory and Practice” today, I was very struck by this passage: Example 1. In cross-national comparisons, there is a striking correlation between the number of telephone lines per capita in a country and the death rate from breast cancer in that country. This is not because talking on the […]

Alexander and His Hectors

I suspect that anyone with an interest in evolutionary psychology or game theory will enjoy this passage from Taleb’s “The Black Swan:” I discovered that it is much more effective to act like a nice guy and be “reasonable” if you prove willing to go beyond just verbiage. You can afford to be compassionate, lax, […]