Posts

February 17, 2015

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1:18 PM | sunset on the Krkonošská magistrála
Filed under: Mountains, Travel Tagged: Czech Republic, Giant Mountains, Krkonošská magistrála, ski resorts, sunset, vacations, Špindlerův Mlýn
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12:00 PM | Random walks and the arcsine law
Suppose you stand at 0 and flip a fair coin. If the coin comes up heads, you take a step to the right. Otherwise you take a step to the left. How much of the time will you spend to the right of where you started? As the number of steps N goes to infinity, […]
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11:47 AM | When non-mathematicians judge the math major
I was going to blog about some serious stuff this morning but then someone (specifically, my cousin Anne Hall) sent me this socialist and feminist redo of 50 Shades, which made me forget everything else. Favorite line: “You need to go away and sit and think about commodity fetishism and the compensation of emotional labour. […]
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2:40 AM | Snow day probabilities
I just learned that Snow Day Calculator exists, and will tell you the probability of having a snow day from school tomorrow. Here’s an interview with David Sukhin, its creator, currently a junior at MIT. It appears AccuWeather has a … Continue reading →

February 16, 2015

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11:15 PM | Bayesian optimization for likelihood-free inference of simulator-based statistical models [guest post]
[The following comments are from Dennis Prangle, about the second half of the paper by Gutmann and Corander I commented last week.] Here are some comments on the paper of Gutmann and Corander. My brief skim read through this concentrated on the second half of the paper, the applied methodology. So my comments should be […]
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10:05 PM | Laughing at 225
It is time to report on my weight loss progress. Unfortunately, the report is very boring; I am still stuck at the same weight: 225. What can I do? Let’s laugh about it. Here are some jokes on the subject. * * * After the holidays I stepped on my scale. After an hour I […]
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10:03 PM | History of Cryptology
These days, Cryptology has became part of my life. Everything because on Saturday I am going to have a small talk about the evolution of Cryptology from the beginning to modern day. It is nothing fancy, just a 20 minutes presentation (find more about this on my post: A Surprise). I liked a lot the […]
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9:59 PM | Nothing is on Hold by the arXiv
I wrote a paper with my son, Alexey Radul, titled (Not so) Much Ado About Nothing. As the title indicates, nothing is discussed in this paper. It’s a silly, humorous paper full of puns about “nothing.” We submitted the paper to the arXiv two months ago, and it has been on hold since then. This […]
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5:00 PM | Chris Rock (3) vs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
At first I thought yesterday‘s bout would be hard to score. But, after reading all the comments, it was easy. Beauvoir, and it’s not even close. My reasoning isn’t based on any single comment, but rather that there was a lot more passion in the comments about Beauvoir, pro and con. I think it’s fair […] The post Chris Rock (3) vs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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3:00 PM | James Watson sez: Cancer cure is coming in minus 14 years!
From a recent news article by Laura Helmuth, I learned this amusing fact about DNA-discoverer James Watson: “he told a New York Times reporter 16 years ago that a researcher was ‘going to cure cancer in two years.'” Here’s the link to the NYT story, dated 3 May 1998: Within a year, if all goes […] The post James Watson sez: Cancer cure is coming in minus 14 years! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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2:00 PM | On deck this week
Mon: James Watson sez: Cancer cure is coming in minus 14 years! Chris Rock (3) vs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Tues: Bayesian survival analysis with horseshoe priors—in Stan! Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes Wed: VB-Stan: Black-box black-box variational Bayes Jesus (1) vs. Leo Tolstoy Thurs: Another example of why centering predictors can be good idea Mohandas […] The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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2:00 PM | If you don’t succeed, try again: Timed tests using specs grading
Six weeks into the specifications grading experiment, one of the most positive things to emerge from the class is a modified model of timed testing that focuses on student choice and a revise/resubmit cycle that lowers student stress. Here's how it's working for me.
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1:18 PM | snímek z Prahy [#2]
Filed under: Kids, pictures, Travel Tagged: Apostles, astronomical clock, Czech Republic, mechanical clock, old town, Prague
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12:17 PM | Things I’m reading
Really into writing right now but I’d still like to share my reading list with y’all. The review of 50 Shades I wish I’d written (hat tip Chris Wiggins). I still can’t decide whether the net effect of the film is bad, because the characters are so terribly stereotypical and stalkerish, or good, because it […]
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1:55 AM | Playing with continued fractions and Khinchin’s constant
Take a real number x and expand it as a continued fraction. Compute the geometric mean of the first n coefficients. Aleksandr Khinchin proved that for almost all real numbers x, as n → ∞ the geometric means converge. Not only that, they converge to the same constant, known as Khinchin’s constant, 2.685452001…. (“Almost all” […]
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1:32 AM | Linkage
I don't know what Google+ is doing under the hood (and don't really want to know) but whatever it is seems kind of bloated to me, enough to kill my browser and the responsiveness on my whole machine when I try to open 14 G+ tabs at once. But anyway, here they are:Sexism and bureaucracy at Wikipedia and an update on the Walter Lewin sexual harassment story (G+)Wisconsin gov. Walker seeks major cuts on universities so he can build a sportsball facility; Calif. gov. Brown isn't much better […]

February 15, 2015

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11:39 PM | Stan Down Under
I (Bob, not Andrew) am in Australia until April 30. I’ll be giving some Stan-related and some data annotation talks, several of which have yet to be concretely scheduled. I’ll keep this page updated with what I’ll be up to. All of the talks other than summer school will be open to the public (the […] The post Stan Down Under appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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11:15 PM | Le premier homme [book review]
I read this book by Albert Camus over my week in Oxford, having found it on my daughter’s bookshelf (as she had presumably read it in high school…). It is a very special book in that (a) Camus was working on it when he died in a car accident, (b) the manuscript was found among […]
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6:36 PM | A conceptual model for human image recognition: combining passive memory with active imagination
When I was in college (in the ’80s) the question why humans outperform computers in image recognition already was receiving some attention. At the time an idea came to me, and it still seems relevant enough to write down. No … Continue reading →
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5:00 PM | Simone de Beauvoir (2) vs. Raymond Carver
Yesterday‘s match is the closest call we’ve had yet. The funniest comment was the very first, from Anonymous: Yoko. I’d go up to her after the seminar and give her a list of all the bands I hate, and ask her if she could break them up too. Similarly from Daniel: Alan Turing broke the […] The post Simone de Beauvoir (2) vs. Raymond Carver appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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4:10 PM | What Einstein thought about Galilei
about #AlbertEinsten #GalileoGalilei Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is a mine of information for anyone interested in the cultural history of the Western world and its influence upon economic and political development.(...) To begin with, the Dialogue gives an extremely lively and persuasive exposition of the then prevailing views on the structure of the cosmos in the large. The naïve picture of the earth as a flat disc, combined with obscure ideas about […]
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3:12 PM | Pippo Galileo
Copertina dell'edizione inglese di Pippo Galileo di Carl Fallberg e Hector Adolfo de Urtiága. Di quest'ultimo e della serie Goofy as a famous hystoric persons avevo scritto all'interno del paralipomeno di Alice dedicato a Escher.Ora, invece, eccovi due parole sullo scienziato che ha ispirato la storia, estratte da un ritratto che avevo scritto nel 2009: Galileo Galilei nasce a Pisa i 15 febbraio del 1564, dove iniziò i suoi studi in medicina nel 1581: dopo 4 anni, però, […]
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2:15 PM | snímek z Prahy [#1]
Filed under: Kids, pictures, Travel Tagged: Czech Republic, Prague, Vltava river
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2:04 PM | “Peer assessment enhances student learning”
Dennis Sun, Naftali Harris, Guenther Walther, and Michael Baiocchi write: Peer assessment has received attention lately as a way of providing personalized feedback that scales to large classes. . . . By conducting a randomized controlled trial in an introductory statistics class, we provide evidence that peer assessment causes significant gains in student achievement. The […] The post “Peer assessment enhances student learning” appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal […]
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6:05 AM | The Universe Is an Inside-Out Star
The Universe Is an Inside-Out Star No, not really. But as we’ll see, it’s a useful analogy. Today we’ll learn about sound waves in the sun and how, if we imagine that the universe is the sun but inside-out, these are the same as the sound … Continue reading → The post The Universe Is an Inside-Out Star appeared first on The Physics Mill.
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3:00 AM | Evolutionary non-commutativity suggests novel treatment strategies
In the Autumn of 2011 I received an email from Jacob Scott, now a good friend and better mentor, who was looking for an undergraduate to code an evolutionary simulation. Jake had just arrived in Oxford to start his DPhil in applied mathematics and by chance had dined at St Anne’s College with Peter Jeavons, […]

Tan, L., Serene, S., Chao, H.X. & Gore, J. (2011). Hidden randomness between fitness landscapes limits reverse evolution., Physical Review Letters, 106 (19) 198102. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21668204

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1:15 AM | Grand unification of mathematics
Greg Egan’s short story Glory features a “xenomathematician” who discovers that an ancient civilization had produced a sort of grand unification of their various branches of mathematics. It was not a matter of everything in mathematics collapsing in on itself, with one branch turning out to have been merely a recapitulation of another under a different […]

February 14, 2015

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11:15 PM | Rødstrupe [book review]
In the common room of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Warwick [same building as the Department of Statistics], there is a box for book exchanges and I usually take a look at each visit for a possible exchange. In October, I thus picked Jo Nesbø’s The Redbreast in exchange for maybe The […]
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9:10 PM | Ranking schools based on hiring networks
Aaron Clauset, Samuel Arbesman, and Daniel B. Larremore have published a paper in Science Advances: Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks. The long and the short of it is that you’ve got to go somewhere really good for … Continue reading →
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5:00 PM | Alan Turing (2) vs. Yoko Ono
For yesterday‘s match, I’ll have to go with Ed Wood. Best argument came from Nick: I’d rather watch him talk than watch one of his movies. And, in all seriousness, I think Wood’s talk would be better. Schlafly must’ve given thousands of speeches by now, and I think whatever she has to say would just […] The post Alan Turing (2) vs. Yoko Ono appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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