March 07, 2015

11:15 PM | Le Monde puzzle [#902]
Another arithmetics Le Monde mathematical puzzle: From the set of the integers between 1 and 15, is it possible to partition it in such a way that the product of the terms in the first set is equal to the sum of the members of the second set? can this be generalised to an arbitrary […]
5:15 PM | Bestiarius vol.01: il valore dell'amicizia
Come racconta Masasumi Kakizaki nell'ultima pagina del primo volume, l'origine di Bestiarius è particolare: l'editor di Shonen Sunday, rivista per i giovani, chiede al mangaka un'opera da serializzare sulle sue pagine. L'idea proposta è abbastanza semplice: un manga fantasy ambientato nella Roma Imperiale.Se l'ambientazione richiama il mondo videoludico o dei giochi di ruolo (spesso i riferimenti iconografici, in particolare per i guerrieri, delle razze umane risalgono proprio […]
5:00 PM | Round 2 begins! Plato (1) vs. Mark Twain (4)
Yesterday we reached the end of round 1, and I’m sorry but we’re voting Bono off the island. There was no particular killer argument in favor of John Waters, but the forthcoming showdown between Judy Garland and the Baltimore icon is just too good to pass up. So here’s what we have so far: And […] The post Round 2 begins! Plato (1) vs. Mark Twain (4) appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
2:06 PM | Interactive demonstrations for linear and Gaussian process regressions
Here’s a cool interactive demo of linear regression where you can grab the data points, move them around, and see the fitted regression line changing. There are various such apps around, but this one is particularly clean: (I’d like to credit the creator but I can’t find any attribution at the link, except that it’s […] The post Interactive demonstrations for linear and Gaussian process regressions appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and […]
1:45 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Readers! Lots of love to spread today, and I’ve got a love shovel. So be prepared to get covered from head to toe in love. And no, it’s nothing like snow, so don’t worry about wearing boots or anything. In fact it’s best experienced naked, as most good things are. Think of it as powerful […]
4:17 AM | First World problems: Stan edition
Jonah writes: First of all, every time I type ‘shinyapps’ the autocorrect replaces it with ‘chin-ups’. It was amusing but now it’s just annoying. You’d think Apple would have added the ability for the autocorrect to notice that I keep changing it back to “shinyapps” without making me manually add it as an exception. That’s […] The post First World problems: Stan edition appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and […]
12:04 AM | Statistics job opening . . . at the NBA!
Jason Rosenfeld writes: I work for the NBA League Office headquarters in New York City. I’m the Director of Basketball Analytics here at the NBA, and I’m again recruiting analysts. More information on the roles I’m trying to fill can be found here: I’m open to both undergraduate and graduate students. I’d be perfect […]

March 06, 2015

11:15 PM | Domaine de Mortiès [in the New York Times]
“I’m not sure how we found Domaine de Mortiès, an organic winery at the foothills of Pic St. Loup, but it was the kind of unplanned, delightful discovery our previous trips to Montpellier never allowed.” Last year,  I had the opportunity to visit and sample (!) from Domaine de Mortiès, an organic Pic Saint-Loup vineyard […]
10:29 PM | Infinity Reloaded
A while ago I have written a post about infinity called Infinity and Beyond. At that point I haven’t encountered the concept much, but after that it appear more often in my math-life. Unfortunately it did not make things more clear for me, it just made more things hard to understand. I have done infinite series […]
5:00 PM | John Waters (1) vs. Bono; Garland advances
For yesterday‘s contest, Jonathan warns us what might happen if we invite Dorothy: Only downside: Liza might show up. And the best argument for the Rev come from Bruce: It would be interesting to hear The Rev Al explain . . . during any of his many meetings with the President, has Obama ever hit […] The post John Waters (1) vs. Bono; Garland advances appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
4:56 PM | Observations and changes for specs grading, 8 weeks in
Two-thirds of the way through the semester of specifications grading, I've gotten a fairly good look at how it works. And I have some observations and some things to change for next time.
3:45 PM | Will Eisner: in viaggio verso la stella di Barnard
In occasione della Will Eisner Week italiana del 2015, vi propongo una recensione di "Vita su un altro pianeta", riprendendo in parte la struttura del mio aggiorno il post recuperando al completo l'articolo originale su Dio! Questo significa che è... un segnale! Può essere soltanto di origine biologica... una forma di intelligenza... come la nostra... proveniente dallo spazio!Tra tutte le opere di Will Eisner, Vita su un altro pianeta è doppiamente particolare, […]

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Heintz W.D. (1976). Systematic Trends in the Motions of Suspected Stellar Companions, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 175 (3) 533-535. DOI:

Kürster M., Endl M., Rouesnel F., Els S., Kaufer A., Brillant S., Hatzes A.P., Saar S.H. & Cochran W.D. (2003). The low-level radial velocity variability in Barnard's star (= GJ 699), Astronomy and Astrophysics, 403 (3) 1077-1087. DOI:

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Jackson D.A., Symons R.H. & Berg P. (1972). Biochemical Method for Inserting New Genetic Information into DNA of Simian Virus 40: Circular SV40 DNA Molecules Containing Lambda Phage Genes and the Galactose Operon of Escherichia coli, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 69 (10) 2904-2909. DOI:

2:01 PM | “The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail”
Russ Lyons points me to this recent magazine article by Martijn Katan and a research article, “Diet and Serum Cholesterol: Do zero correlations negate the relationship?” by David Jacobs, Joseph Anderson, and Henry Blackburn, and this video by Michael Greger. This is interesting stuff, especially as the ultimate truth is still very unknown. It’s good […] The post “The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail” appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal […]
12:14 PM | Patent trolls
This morning I’m preparing for my weekly Slate Money podcast by trying to learn all about patents and patent trolls. To tell you the truth, so far I don’t know why patent trolls are all that bad, besides the fact that they obviously have a terrible sounding name. It seems like the patent system works […]
6:46 AM | The nearest neighbor in an antimatroid
Franz Brandenburg, Andreas Gleißner, and Andreas Hofmeier have a 2013 paper that considers the following problem: given a finite partial order P and a permutation π of the same set, find the nearest neighbor to π among the linear extensions of P. Here "nearest" means minimizing the Kendall tau distance (number of inversions) between π and the chosen linear extension. Or, to put it another way: you are given a directed acyclic graph whose vertices are tagged with distinct numbers, […]

March 05, 2015

11:43 PM | Quaternions in Paradise Lost
Last night I checked a few books out from a library. One was Milton’s Paradise Lost and another was Kuipers’ Quaternions and Rotation Sequences. I didn’t expect any connection between these two books, but there is one. The following lines from Book V of Paradise Lost, starting at line 180, are quoted in Kuipers’ book: Air […]
11:15 PM | mixture models with a prior on the number of components
“From a Bayesian perspective, perhaps the most natural approach is to treat the numberof components like any other unknown parameter and put a prior on it.” Another mixture paper on arXiv! Indeed, Jeffrey Miller and Matthew Harrison recently arXived a paper on estimating the number of components in a mixture model, comparing the parametric with […]
9:18 PM | Fare matematica
La poesia, in altre parole, è matematica. E' vicina a una particolare branca della materia nota come combinatoria, lo studio delle permutazioni, o di come possiamo sistemare un particolare gruppo di oggetti, numeri o lettere secondo leggi stabilite. Già nel lontano 200 a.C., gli scrittori sulle poesie in sanscrito si chiedevano in quanti modi sia possibile sistemare vari insiemi di sillabe lunghe o corte, i mattoni dei versi in sanscrito. Una sillaba è corta, con una […]
6:18 PM | snapshot from Gibbet Hill
Filed under: pictures, Travel, University life Tagged: England, Gibbet Hill, sculpture, sunset, University of Warwick
5:00 PM | Judy Garland (4) vs. Al Sharpton; Derrida advances
WB calls yesterday‘s contest in the comments: Among French intellectuals, I’d rather hear from a corpse than an active public figure. My vote goes to Derrida. And, today, the woman who defined Hollywood stardom, up against a religious leader who dabbles in slander. How fabulous is that?? P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here […] The post Judy Garland (4) vs. Al Sharpton; Derrida advances appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social […]
2:36 PM | Defaults, once set, are hard to change.
So. Farewell then Rainbow color scheme. You reigned in Matlab Far too long. But now that You are no longer The default, Will we miss you? We can only Visualize. E. T. Thribb (17 1/2) Here’s the background.  Brad Stiritz writes: I know you’re a creator and big proponent of open-source tools. Given your strong interest […] The post Defaults, once set, are hard to change. appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
9:09 AM | Mathematics Without Apologies
Book release of 'Mathematics Without Apologies'

March 04, 2015

11:30 PM | My talk tomorrow (Thurs) at MIT political science: Recent challenges and developments in Bayesian modeling and computation (from a political and social science perspective)
It’s 1pm in room E53-482. I’ll talk about the usual stuff (and some of this too, I guess). The post My talk tomorrow (Thurs) at MIT political science: Recent challenges and developments in Bayesian modeling and computation (from a political and social science perspective) appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
11:14 PM | accelerating Metropolis-Hastings algorithms by delayed acceptance
Marco Banterle, Clara Grazian, Anthony Lee, and myself just arXived ou paper “Accelerating Metropolis-Hastings algorithms by delayed acceptance“, which is an major revision and upgrade of our “Delayed acceptance with prefetching” paper of last June. Paper that we submitted at the last minute to NIPS, but which did not get accepted. The difference with this […]
5:00 PM | Bernard-Henry Levy (3) vs. Jacques Derrida; Carlin advances
There wasn’t much enthusiasm yesterday, but I do have to pick a winner, so I’ll go with Zbicylist’s comment: “Carlin. Are there 7 words you can’t say in a seminar? Let’s find out.” And today we have two more modern French intellectuals! I don’t have much of anything to say about either of these guys […] The post Bernard-Henry Levy (3) vs. Jacques Derrida; Carlin advances appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social […]
3:13 PM | Schema per affrontare il calcolo di un esponenziale
Erano un po' di giorni che ci pensavo. E' che, semplicemente, mi sembrava incredibile che la maggior parte delle funzioni per il calcolo dell'esponenziale dei principali linguaggi di programmazione (inclusi gli algoritmi di Google e Wolfram Alpha) fallavano nel calcolo di $-2^{7/5}$, mentre una calcolatrice scientifica installata su uno smartphone propone il risultato giusto, nello specifico -2.639015822. Sicuramente gli algoritmi fallaci di cui sopra non hanno al loro interno una non sono in […]
2:02 PM | These are the statistics papers you just have to read
Here. And here. Just kidding. Here’s the real story. Susanna Makela writes: A few of us want to start a journal club for the statistics PhD students. The idea is to read important papers that we might not otherwise read, maybe because they’re not directly related to our area of research/we don’t have time/etc. What […] The post These are the statistics papers you just have to read appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
12:40 PM | Technical notes
For the last fifteen Wednesdays I’ve been posting links to technical notes. This is the end of the series. You can find most of the links from previous Wednesday posts on one page by going to technical notes from the navigation menu at the top of the site.
11:26 AM | Affordable Housing Needs a Reset #OWS
I’m super proud of the latest Huffington Post piece that Alt Banking put out entitled Affordable Housing Needs a Reset. Here’s an excerpt: We’ve been hearing a lot lately from New York Mayor de Blasio on his affordable housing plan. He says he will “build or preserve” 200,000 housing units, but the plan would only build […]
12:27 AM | Indian food (and wine) pairing
Scientists have figured out what makes Indian food so delicious, from Roberto A. Ferdman at Wonkblog. In Western cuisines, ingredients in a dish are more likely to share flavor components than ingredients picked at random; in Indian cuisines, ingredients in … Continue reading →
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