August 11, 2014

10:48 PM | 3rd Day in Stuttgart and Cryptography
In case this is way to old for some of you and don’t really know what is it about check this post: Visiting Stuttgart. Also, you can check the posts made for the first 2 days of the project with the HFT: First … Continue reading →
10:14 PM | Ebola virus [and Mr. Bayes]
Just like after the Malaysian Airlines flight 370 disappearance, the current Ebola virus outbreak makes me feel we are sorely missing an emergency statistical force to react on urgent issues… It would indeed be quite valuable to have a team of statisticians at the ready to quantify risks and posterior probabilities and avoid media approximations. […]
6:19 PM | Do you like how your tools are shaping you?
We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. — John M. Culkin Discussions about technology choices seldom consider who we become by using a tool. Different tools encourage different ways of thinking. Over time, different tools lead to different habits of mind.
6:14 PM | ICM2014 — introductory post
Four years ago I blogged from the ICM in Hyderabad. The posts are amongst the most popular I have written — my statistics show that some of them are still being read quite regularly even now. Right now I’m sitting in Charles de Gaulle airport waiting to board a plane to Seoul, where I will […]
5:08 PM | How to Talk About the Fields Medal at Your Next Cocktail Party
On Wednesday, four mathematicians will receive the prestigious Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Seoul. If you go to the kinds of parties I do, the Fields Medal... -- Read more on
3:03 PM | Discussion with Sander Greenland on posterior predictive checks
Sander Greenland is a leading epidemiologist and educator who’s strongly influenced my thinking on hierarchical models by pointing out that often the data do not supply much information for estimating the group-level variance, a problem that can be particularly severe when the number of groups is low. (And, in some sense, the number of groups […] The post Discussion with Sander Greenland on posterior predictive checks appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and […]
2:27 PM | Maths at the British Science Festival 2014
Since the British Science Festival’s programme of events for the 2014 festival is now online, you can search through it to find all the mathematical/maths-related events which will be taking place this September in Birmingham. But this is a full-service maths blog, and so you don’t have to because we’ve done it for you. (If... Read more »
1:52 PM | White people don’t talk about racism
Here’s what comes up in conversations at my Occupy meetings a lot: systemic racism. Maybe once a week on average, whether we are talking about the criminal justice system, or the court system, or the educational system, or standardized tests, or chronic employment problems, or welfare rhetoric, or homelessness. There are many very well-informed people […]
1:00 PM | On deck this week
Mon: Discussion with Sander Greenland on posterior predictive checks Tues: Understanding the hot hand, and the myth of the hot hand, and the myth of the myth of the hot hand, and the myth of the myth of the myth of the hot hand, all at the same time Wed: Updike and O’Hara Thurs: Luck […] The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
11:06 AM | Open source dissertation
Three cheers for Brent Yorgey! He’s finishing up his dissertation, and he’s posting drafts online, including a GitHub repo of the source. Cheer 1: He’s not being secretive, fearing that someone will scoop his results. There have been a few instances of one academic scooping another’s research, but these are rare and probably not worth […]
8:34 AM | Third Christopher Zeeman Medal to go to Marcus du Sautoy
The Christopher Zeeman Medal for the Promotion of Mathematics to the Public for 2014 has been awarded to Professor Marcus du Sautoy of the University of Oxford. The Christopher Zeeman Medal is awarded jointly by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and is described on the IMA... Read more »
4:13 AM | Jun Ren, Freezing Water #7, Vanier Park
I just returned from a short vacation in Vancouver (unrelated to SIGGRAPH, also happening there now) and took a few snapshots, mostly of boats or totem poles. Another batch of photos from MOA, also with many totem poles, is still to come. But here's one that has neither:Obviously, I don't understand the rules of photographic composition. By any rational standard, the tree should not be at the center. It's not the subject, it attracts too much attention to itself there, and centering typically […]
3:52 AM | Grothendieck’s parents
From “Who is Alexander Grothendieck?  Anarchy, Mathematics, Spirituality, Solitude,” by Winfried Scharlau (trans. Melissa Schneps) If one is to believe the account given in Eine Frau, Sascha saw Hanka’s photograph by chance, probably one of the photographs that still exist today, and immediately informed the dismayed husband: “I will take your wife away!”  A few days later […]

August 10, 2014

10:14 PM | ABC model choice by random forests [guest post]
[Dennis Prangle sent me his comments on our ABC model choice by random forests paper. Here they are! And I appreciate very much contributors commenting on my paper or others, so please feel free to join.] This paper proposes a new approach to likelihood-free model choice based on random forest classifiers. These are fit to […]
7:23 PM | Data & Visualization Tools to Track Ebola
I’ve received the following email (slightly edited for clarity): Can anyone recommend a turnkey, full-service solution to help the Liberian government track the spread of Ebola and get this information out to the public? They want something that lets healthcare workers update info from mobile phones, and a workflow that results in data visualizations. They […] The post Data & Visualization Tools to Track Ebola appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social […]
6:43 PM | Le punte delle stelle
Leggi anche: Perché le stelle scintillano?
4:36 PM | ASCIIMathML to the rescue
Doug Schepers recently asked me for some advice for HTMLizing some mathematics. Doug is one of those exceptional people at the W3C who thrive in pushing the web and its standards forward. In this case, Doug was looking at this …
1:50 PM | Cool new position available: Director of the Pew Research Center Labs
Peter Henne writes: I wanted to let you know about a new opportunity at Pew Research Center for a data scientist that might be relevant to some of your colleagues. I [Henne] am a researcher with the Pew Research Center, where I manage an international index on religious issues. I am also working with others […] The post Cool new position available: Director of the Pew Research Center Labs appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
1:36 PM | Geometry and Cards
This is a very quick and short post, but it is Sunday and I do not what to put you to read too much math related things, right?! But seeing wonderful and creative things people do it is extremely welcomed … Continue reading →
2:13 AM | Three-colorable circle graphs and three-page book embeddings
The GD11 contest graph that I've written about earlier turns out to be a circle graph. Here's a chord diagram representing it:I'm looking at this and similar graphs because I'm trying to understand a result claimed in a STACS 1992 paper by Walter Unger, "The Complexity of Colouring Circle Graphs", which claims that testing 3-colorability of circle graphs can be done in polynomial time. (More precisely Unger claims a time bound of O(n log n) if a chord diagram representing the graph […]

August 09, 2014

10:14 PM | Dracula [book review]
As I was waiting for my plane to Bangalore a week ago, I spotted a cheap English edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in De Gaulle airport. I had not re-read the book since my teenage years (quite a while ago, even by wampyr’s standards!), so I bought it for the trip ahead. I remembered very […]
4:39 PM | La differenza è tutta lì
Maurizio Codogno ha proposto un interessante post sulla divulgazione che ha acceso la discussione nei commenti. In particolare mi sono sembrati interessanti i commenti di Filippo Zuliani: (...) la divulgazione scientifica tira pochi lettori che non giustificano il costo di un giornalista specifico da dedicarvi.E ancora: I media parlano di divulgazione scientifica (e del suo livello basso) come parlano di informazione in Italia in generale (e del suo livello basso). La massa non se ne interessa […]
12:20 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice: delicious crepes edition
Aunt Pythia is going to brag about something this morning. Namely, how delicious her crepes are. And here’s the thing, she’s generous and like to share. If you were willing to get to her house at 8:06am on a weekend morning, she’d also make you some crepes with fresh fruit. You could sit right there, […]
12:18 PM | Boston skyline
Filed under: pictures, Running, Travel, University life, Wines Tagged: Boston, City Landing, JSM 2014, Massachusset, Mike's cannoli, musée Maillol

August 08, 2014

10:14 PM | JSM 2014, Boston [#4]
Last and final day and post at and about JSM 2014! It is very rare that I stay till the last day and it is solely due to family constraints that I attended the very last sessions. It was a bit eerie, walking through the huge structure of the Boston Convention Centre that could easily […]
6:14 PM | La matematica delle lacrime
Un gruppo di fisici che studiano la meccanica dei fluidi ha iniziato una proficua collaborazione con Kara Maki riguardo lo studio dinamico delle "pellicole" di lacrime. Il modello, sviluppato in tre articoli che hanno preceduto il lavoro conclusivo, soprattutto sperimentale, è così descritto: all'interno della pellicola lacrimale, le dinamiche del fluido sono governate dalle equazioni incomprimibili di Navier-Stokes insieme con la conservazione di massa ed energia. Alla superficie […]

Miller A., Carchman R., Long R. & Denslow S.A. La Crosse viral infection in hospitalized pediatric patients in Western North Carolina., Hospital pediatrics, (26) PMID:

Maki K.L., Braun R.J., Henshaw W.D. & King-Smith P.E. (2010). Tear film dynamics on an eye-shaped domain I: pressure boundary conditions., Mathematical medicine and biology : a journal of the IMA, 27 (3) 227-254. PMID:

Maki K.L., Braun R.J., Ucciferro P., Henshaw W.D. & King-Smith P.E. (2010). Tear film dynamics on an eye-shaped domain. Part 2. Flux boundary conditions, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 647 361-390. DOI:

Maki K.L., Braun R.J. & P. E. King-Smith (2008). An overset grid method for the study of reflex tearing, Mathematical Medicine and Biology, 25 (3) 187-214. DOI:

4:19 PM | Where are people buying How Not To Be Wrong?
Amazon Author Central shows you Bookscan sales for your books broken down by metropolitan statistical area.  (BookScan tracks most hardcover sales, but not e-book sales.)  This allows me to see which MSAs are buying the most and fewest copies, per capita, of How Not To Be Wrong.  Unsurprisingly, Madison has by far the highest number […]
1:20 PM | Estimated effect of early childhood intervention downgraded from 42% to 25%
Last year I came across an article, “Labor Market Returns to Early Childhood Stimulation: a 20-year Followup to an Experimental Intervention in Jamaica,” by Paul Gertler, James Heckman, Rodrigo Pinto, Arianna Zanolini, Christel Vermeerch, Susan Walker, Susan M. Chang, and Sally Grantham-McGregor, that claimed that early childhood stimulation raised adult earnings by 42%. At the […] The post Estimated effect of early childhood intervention downgraded from 42% to 25% appeared […]
12:18 PM | Mystic sunset
Filed under: pictures, Running, Travel Tagged: Boston, JSM 2014, Massachusset, Mystic river
11:23 AM | Navigating the mindset for data journalism
I’ve been working my butt off this summer starting up a data journalism program and teaching in it. I couldn’t ask for a better crew of students and instructors: engaged, intelligent, brave, and eager to learn. And my class has been amazing, due to the incredibly guest speakers who have given their time to us. On […]
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