September 17, 2014

1:35 PM | What do you do to visualize uncertainty?
Howard Wainer writes: What do you do to visualize uncertainty? Do you only use static methods (e.g. error bounds)? Or do you also make use of dynamic means (e.g. have the display vary over time proportional to the error, so you don’t know exactly where the top of the bar is, since it moves while […] The post What do you do to visualize uncertainty? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
12:18 PM | position at Warwick
A new position for the of Professor Of Statistics and Data Science / Director of the [newly created] Warwick Data Science Institute has been posted. To quote from the job description, “the position arises from the Department of Statistics’ commitment, in collaboration with the Warwick Mathematics Institute and the Department of Computer Science, to a […]
10:54 AM | The green-eyed/ blue-eyed puzzle/ conundrum
Today I want to share a puzzle that my friend Aaron Abrams told me a few days ago. I’m sure some of you have heard it before, but it’s confusing me, so I’m asking for your help. Set-up Here’s the setup. There’s an island of people, all of whom have either blue eyes or green […]
2:15 AM | Colon cancer, mathematical time travel, and questioning the sequential mutation model.
On Saturday, I arrived in Columbus, Ohio for the the MBI Workshop on the Ecology and Evolution of Cancer. Today, our second day started. The meeting is an exciting combination of biology-minded mathematicians and computer scientists, and math-friendly biologist and clinicians. As is typical of workshops, the speakers of the first day had an agenda […]

Baker AM, Cereser B, Melton S, Fletcher AG, Rodriguez-Justo M, Tadrous PJ, Humphries A, Elia G, McDonald SA, Wright NA & Simons BD (2014). Quantification of crypt and stem cell evolution in the normal and neoplastic human colon., Cell reports, 8 (4) 940-7. PMID:


September 16, 2014

10:14 PM | arriving in Linz
Filed under: pictures, Travel, University life Tagged: Austria, Danube, engine, Linz, plane picture
6:54 PM | Leonard Susskind sull'universo
Guarda un po' il caso. In una discussione su Quora riguardo le possibilità di visualizzare oggetti di dimensioni superiori a 3, fa capolino Leonard Susskind, che, spero ricorderete, ho citato scrivendo un paio di cose sul principio olografico. Di Susskind viene segnalata una intervista per l'Enonomist, di cui vi traduco l'estratto più strettamente collegato con l'universo.L'universo si sta ancora espandendo? E se sì, di quanto si può espandere, ed nel caso […]
1:34 PM | They know my email but they don’t know me
This came (unsolicited) in the inbox today (actually, two months ago; we’re on a delay, as you’re probably aware), subject line “From PWC – animations of CEO opinions for 2014″: Good afternoon, I wanted to see if the data my colleague David sent to you was of any interest. I have attached here additional animated […] The post They know my email but they don’t know me appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
12:22 PM | Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm
Here’s what I’ve spent the last couple of days doing: alternatively reading Christian Rudder’s new book Dataclysm and proofreading a report by AAPOR which discusses the benefits, dangers, and ethics of using big data, which is mostly “found” data originally meant for some other purpose, as a replacement for public surveys, with their carefully constructed data […]
12:18 PM | Le Monde [short] guide to Vienna
An interesting (?) coincidence: Le Monde weekend edition has its tourist page dedicated to Vienna! As usual, it is a list of places recommended by a local, Le Vienne de Robert Stadler, which includes Café Korb Postparkasse MAK (Museum für angewandte Kunst) Haus Wittgenstein Loos American Bar Maybe a wee bit limited a scope (albeit […]
7:21 AM | What makes a mathematical proof beautiful?
(Cross-posted at NewAPPS)In December, I will be presenting at the Aesthetics in Mathematics conference in Norwich. The title of my talk is Beauty, explanation, and persuasion in mathematical proofs, and to be honest at this point there is not much more to it than the title… However, the idea I will try to develop is that many, perhaps even most, of the features we associate with beauty in mathematical proofs can be subsumed to the ideal of explanatory persuasion, which I take to be the […]
6:20 AM | Linkage
Unexpected shapes in smoke plumes, as photographed by Thomas Herbrich (G+)ISAAC 2014 and COCOA 2014 accepted paper lists (G+)FOCS 2014 program and best paper winners (G+)Kinetic sculpture made of wooden balls on threads, with some extensive software simulation behind its design (G+)How a 19th century math genius taught us the best way to hold a pizza slice, or, a practical application of the theorem that when a flat surface is embedded in 3d, it remains flat in at least one direction […]

September 15, 2014

10:14 PM | Statistics first slides
Today I started my new course of Statistics for our third year undergraduates. In English! A point that came as a surprise for the students but I got no complaint (so far) and they started asking questions in English during the class. The slides are “under construction” and this first chapter borrows a fair chunk […]
8:44 PM | La Sunmobile della General Motors
Su Corrierino e Giornalino, qualche giorno fa, è stata pubblicata la scannerizzazione di una pagina con due trafiletti di Mauro Janni del 17 gennaio 1965 in cui quello superiore è dedicato all'automobile solare della General Motors. In effetti l'automobile solare, la Sunmobile, è un modellino di poco meno di 40 cm costruito da William Cobb e presentato il 31 agosto del 1955 a un motor show a Chicago. Il modello, in legno di balsa, presentava 12 piccoli pannelli solari su […]
3:22 PM | More bad news for the buggy-whip manufacturers
In a news article regarding difficulties in using panel surveys to measure the unemployment rate, David Leonhardt writes: The main factor is technology. It’s a major cause of today’s response-rate problems – but it’s also the solution. For decades, survey research has revolved around the telephone, and it’s worked very well. But Americans’ relationship with […] The post More bad news for the buggy-whip manufacturers appeared first on Statistical […]
1:00 PM | On deck this week
Mon: More bad news for the buggy-whip manufacturers Tues: They know my email but they don’t know me Wed: What do you do to visualize uncertainty? Thurs: Sokal: “science is not merely a bag of clever tricks . . . Rather, the natural sciences are nothing more or less than one particular application — albeit […] The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
2:13 AM | Editorial board of “Journal of K-Theory” on strike, demanding Tony Bak hands over the journal to the K-Theory foundation.
Text of the announcement below: Dear Colleagues, We the undersigned announce that, as of today 15 September 2014, we’re starting an indefinite strike. We will decline all papers submitted to us at the Journal of K-Theory. Our demand is that, as promised in 2007-08, Bak’s family company (ISOPP) hand over the ownership of the journal to the K-Theory Foundation (KTF). The handover must […]

September 14, 2014

10:14 PM | Series B reaches 5.721 impact factor!
I received this email from Wiley with the great figure that JRSS Series B has now reached a 5.721 impact factor. Which makes it the first journal in Statistics from this perspective. Congrats to editors Gareth Roberts, Piotr Fryzlewicz and Ingrid Van Keilegom for this achievement! An amazing jump from the 2009 figure of 2.84…!Filed […]
8:21 PM | Appendice: Atom, Topolino, Flash Gordon e il fico strangolatore
Queste poche righe sarebbero dovute comparire nel post dedicato a L'armata Hot Dog, ma la memoria, fino a settimana scorsa, ha difettato. Poi, grazie allo stimolo del volume Le follie di Eta Beta, ecco che la memoria ritorna.Iniziamo con la scena dalla storia lunare in cui Atom si trova invischiato tra i tentacoli guardiani lasciati dal perduto popolo dei lunatici: La drammatica scena ricorda e non poco una analogamente drammatica scena disegnata da Floyd Gottfredson ne La spia poeta in cui […]
7:50 PM | Experiments with inertia
a coulpe of home experiments about #inertia from Science Comics #2
2:43 PM | Childhood, war games and becoming a historian.
This week’s A Point of View on BBC Radio 4 The Horror of War by Renaissance historian Lisa Jardine was truly excellent and well worth ten minutes of your time. From the starting point of having visited a war exhibition … Continue reading →
1:30 PM | Six quotes from Kaiser Fung
You may think you have all of the data. You don’t. One of the biggest myth of Big Data is that data alone produce complete answers. Their “data” have done no arguing; it is the humans who are making this claim. Before getting into the methodological issues, one needs to ask the most basic question. […] The post Six quotes from Kaiser Fung appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
8:39 AM | Have fun playing with curvature
[iframe src="" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="460" height="372" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"] Recently Tim Hutton and Adam Goucher have been playing around with hyperbolic tesselations. That has produced a {4,3,5} honeycomb grid for the reaction-diffusion simulator Ready, which Adam talked about on his blog a couple of days ago. Tim has also made a much simpler toy to play with in […]
8:25 AM | George Green: Nottingham’s Magnificent Mathematician
We don’t regard him as a miller, I’m afraid, we regard him as a very eminent mathematician whose work today is still being used in major industries and concerns. – George Saunders, descendant of George Green, on being asked a question about bags of flour on the Alan Clifford show on BBC Radio Nottingham of... Read more »
3:30 AM | Defining empathy, sympathy, and compassion
When discussing the evolution of cooperation, questions about empathy, sympathy, and compassion are often close to mind. In my computational work, I used to operationalize-away these emotive concepts and replace them with a simple number like the proportion of cooperative interactions. This is all well and good if I want to confine myself to a […]
12:40 AM | Prevent errors or fix errors
The other day I was driving by our veterinarian’s office and saw that the marquee said something like “Prevention is less expensive than treatment.” That’s sometimes true, but certainly not always. This evening I ran across a couple lines from Ed Catmull that are more accurate than the vet’s quote. Do not fall for the […]

September 13, 2014

10:14 PM | xkcd [interview & book]
Of interest for xkcd fans: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions is out! Actually, it is currently the #1 bestseller on amazon! (A physics book makes it to the top of the bestseller list, a few weeks after a theoretical economics book got there. Nice! Actually, a statistics book also made it […]
9:57 PM | Bren Hall, East Stairs
Just some test shots with my new travel lens (Canon's 17-40/F4 L, replacing a mysteriously nonfunctional and optically not as good 17-85IS).
8:33 PM | Sum of geometric means
Let xn be a sequence of non-negative numbers. Then the sum of their running geometric means is bounded by e times their sum. In symbols The inequality is strict unless all the x‘s are zero, and the constant e on the right side is optimal. Torsten Carleman proved this theorem in 1923.
5:00 PM | Zaha Hadid’s design for the Science Museum’s new maths hall is certainly something
For a while, the Science Museum has been forming groups and making noises and tickling rich people with the aim of working out how they’re going to update their rather neglected maths hall. Yesterday they made an unexpectedly positive announcement: they’ve been given £5 million by rich people David and Claudia Harding, and Dame Zaha Hadid has drawn up a... Read more »
4:44 PM | Highlights from the installation speech of UBC’s 13th President, Arvind Gupta
Here are excerpts from the speech of Arvind Gupta at his official installation as UBC’s 13th president. Canada’s post-secondary system should take notice. “We recognize UBC as a Place of Mind, but also as a place of shared cultures, traditions, and … Continue reading →
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