# Posts

### December 12, 2014

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2:23 PM | Saying things that are out of place

Basbøll points us to a column by Michael Shermer, a journalist and self-described skeptic who’s written a lot about skepticism, atheism, etc. Recently, though, Shermer wrote of an event that “shook [his] skepticism to its core”—it was a story about an old radio that didn’t work, then briefly started to work again, then stopped working. […]
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10:57 AM | Next Generation Political Campaign Platform?

[This post is by David K. Park] I’ve been imagining the next generation political campaign platform. If I were to build it, the platform would have five components: Data Collection, Sanitization, Storage, Streaming and Ingestion: This area will focus on the identification and development of the tools necessary to acquire the correct data sets for […]
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### December 11, 2014

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Multiple importance sampling is back!!! I am always interested in this improvement upon regular importance sampling, even or especially after publishing a recent paper about our AMIS (for adaptive multiple importance sampling) algorithm, so I was quite eager to see what was in Hera He’s and Art Owen’s newly arXived paper. The paper is definitely […]

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9:21 PM | The Massive Puzzles of Gravity

This article follows the footsteps of the giants of physics that have moulded our current understanding of gravity. It is a series of brilliant inspirations, usually accompanied by deceiving misconceptions. After all, even today, gravity is still a slippery concept.

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Per molti potrà suonare come una curiosità fine a se stessa, quasi inutile, ma nei fatti è interessante per capire come l'idea di innovazione tecnica e tecnologica sia presente, in modi differenti, in moltissimi campi, inclusa l'animazione.Con l'avvento della computer grafica, non solo la realizzazione dei videogiochi è diventata più precisa e dettagliata per personaggi e ambienti, ma anche l'animazione stessa si è giovata delle innovazioni
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Marquardt D.W. (1963). An Algorithm for Least-Squares Estimation of Nonlinear Parameters, Journal of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 11 (2) 431-441. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1137/0111030

Citation

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Richard Morey writes: On the tail of our previous paper about confidence intervals, showing that researchers tend to misunderstand the inferences one can draw from CIs, we [Morey, Rink Hoekstra, Jeffrey Rouder, Michael Lee, and EJ Wagenmakers] have another paper that we have just submitted which talks about the theory underlying inference by CIs. Our […]
The post The Fallacy of Placing Confidence in Confidence Intervals appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social
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1:45 PM | Turbocharging the back of the envelope

The numbers that we use to describe the world are rarely exact. How long will it take you to drive to work? Perhaps "between 20 and 30 minutes". It would be unwise (and unnecessary) to say "exactly 23.4 minutes".This uncertainty means that "back-of-the-envelope" calculations are very valuable in estimating and reasoning about numerical problems, particularly in the sciences. The idea here is to perform a calculation using rough guesses of the quantities involved, to get an "order of
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There’s some tricky business going on right now in politics, with a bunch of ridiculous last-minute negotiations to roll back elements of Dodd-Frank and aid Wall Street banks in the current budget deal. Hell, it’s the end of the year, and people are distracted, so the public won’t mind if the banks get formal government […]

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3:35 AM | Integral Octonions (Part 11)

Why there are 270 rescaled copies of the first shell of the E8 lattice sitting in the second shell.

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Causal and Probabilistic Reasoning18-20 June, 2015Idea and Motivation2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the publications of Judea Pearl’s Causality and the second edition of Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour, and Richard Scheines’ Causality, Prediction, and Search, which together are the foundations for the mathematical theory of causal modeling. During this period, the theory of causal Bayesian networks has been applied to a variety of topics in the special sciences,
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### December 10, 2014

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Phil O’Neill and Theodore Kypraios from the University of Nottingham have arXived last week a paper on “Bayesian model choice via mixture distributions with application to epidemics and population process models”. Since we discussed this paper during my visit there earlier this year, I was definitely looking forward the completed version of their work. Especially because […]

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10:06 PM | Stan at NIPS 2014

For those in Montreal a few of the Stan developers will giving talks at the NIPS workshops this week. On Saturday at 9 AM I’ll be talking about the theoretical foundations of Hamiltonian Monte Carlo at the Riemannian Geometry workshop (http://www.riemanniangeometry2014.eu) while Dan will be talking about Stan at the Software Engineering workshop (https://sites.google.com/site/software4ml/) Saturday […]
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7:47 PM | The Imitation Game

I have seen this movie on 28th, but waited a little to talk about it so that more of you have the opportunity to see it. This post will have some spoilers, just to let you know. I am not a … Continue reading →

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As many thoughtful people have pointed out already, Eric Garner’s case proves that video evidence is not a magic bullet to combat and punish undue police brutality. The Grand Jury deemed such evidence insufficient for an indictment, even if the average person watching the video cannot understand that point of view. Even so, it would be a […]

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2:08 PM | The inclination to deny all variation

One thing we’ve been discussing a lot lately is the discomfort many people—many researchers—feel about uncertainty. This was particularly notable in the reaction of psychologists Jessica Tracy and Alec Beall to our “garden of forking paths” paper, but really we see it all over: people find some pattern in their data and they don’t even […]
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2:04 PM | great mathy popular science books

At the end of the semester, I often recommend fun popular science books to my students about how to approach problems and make better decisions using math, operations research, and critical and quantitative reasoning. My list is growing. Here is my list in no particular order. ~~~ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by […]

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I wrote a post yesterday about the missing fundamental effect. It’s a startling auditory illusion in which your brain hears a note that is lower than any of the notes that are actually playing....
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

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1:00 PM | C++ resources

This week’s resource post: C++ IEEE floating-point exceptions in C++ Unraveling Strings in Visual C++ C++ TR1 regular expressions Random number generation in C++ See also posts tagged C++ Last week: R resources Next week: HTML, TeX, and Unicode

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In Notes 1, we approached multiplicative number theory (the study of multiplicative functions and their relatives) via elementary methods, in which attention was primarily focused on obtaining asymptotic control on summatory functions and logarithmic sums . Now we turn to the complex approach to multiplicative number theory, in which the focus is instead on obtaining […]

### December 09, 2014

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A journalist writes in with a question: This study on [sexy topic] is getting a lot of attention, and I wanted to see if you had a few minutes to look it over for me . . . Basically, I am somewhat skeptical of [sexy subject area] explanations of complex behavior, and in this case […]
The post Don’t believe everything you read in the (scientific) papers appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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11:14 PM | Quasi-Monte Carlo sampling

“The QMC algorithm forces us to write any simulation as an explicit function of uniform samples.” (p.8) As posted a few days ago, Mathieu Gerber and Nicolas Chopin will read this afternoon a Paper to the Royal Statistical Society on their sequential quasi-Monte Carlo sampling paper. Here are some comments on the paper that are […]

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9:17 PM | Parable of the Polygons

Sometimes maths can make a very clear point about a complicated subject. Vi Hart, internet mathematician, has worked with games designer Nicky Case to put together this lovely playable blog post, Parable of the Polygons. It’s based on a mathematical model by economist Thomas Schelling, and it’s about social behaviour, and how personal bias, even in... Read more »

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Hats off for Martin Šmíra, who has finished porting the models from Michael Lee and Eric-Jan Wagenmakers’ book Bayesian Cognitive Modeling to Stan. Here they are: Bayesian Cognitive Modeling: Stan Example Models Martin managed to port 54 of the 57 models in the book and verified that the Stan code got the same answers as […]
The post Bayesian Cognitive Modeling Models Ported to Stan appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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Before 1995 probably only a handful of people interested in the history of navigation had ever heard of the English clockmaker John Harrison and the role he played in the history of attempts to find a reliable method of determining … Continue reading →

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A few years ago, researchers Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa released a book called “Academically Adrift” that claims that many students don’t leave college with new knowledge and new skills [Link to an article in the Chronicle]: Here is what they found: Growing numbers of students are sent to college at increasingly higher costs, but […]

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2:43 PM | Buggy-whip update

On 12 Aug I sent the following message to Michael Link, president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. (I could not find Link’s email on the AAPOR webpage but I did some googling and found an email address for him at nielsen.com.): Dear Dr. Link:A colleague pointed me to a statement released under your […]
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Telephones lie about sounds because odd numbers aren’t even. Once again with those integers and sound perception! Telephones can only pick up frequencies above 300 or 400 Hertz (cycles per second,...
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

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1:18 PM | off to Montréal [NIPS workshops]

On Thursday, I will travel to Montréal for the two days of NIPS workshop there. On Friday, there is the ABC in Montréal workshop that I cannot but attend! (First occurrence of an “ABC in…” in North America! Sponsored by ISBA as well.) And on Saturday, there is the 3rd NIPS Workshop on Probabilistic Programming […]

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Conference Epistemic Consequentialism: Problems and Prospects25-26 June 2015 • University of Kent, CanterburyKeynote SpeakersJulia Driver (WUSTL)James Joyce (Michigan)Ralph Wedgwood (USC)Jon Williamson (Kent)Call for PapersContributors are invited to submit extended abstracts (no more than one page) on the topic of consequentialist or teleological approaches to epistemology. Papers in both formal and traditional epistemology are welcome.Submission deadline: 31 January 2015Submit abstract
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5:06 AM | #dotAstro FTW

[This is week 4 of the challenge. woohoo.]
Today I only have ~15 min. This week, I happen to be in Chicago for dotAstronomy 6. This might be odd since I’m not an astronomer (nowhere near in fact). It …