# Posts

### September 09, 2014

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10:14 PM | random generators… unfit for ESP testing?!

“The term psi denotes anomalous processes of information or energy transfer that are currently unexplained in terms of known physical or biological mechanisms.” When re-reading [in the taxi to Birmingham airport] Bem’s piece on “significant” ESP tests, I came upon the following hilarious piece that I could not let pass: “For most psychological experiments, a […]

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9:01 PM | Pianeti da vendere

Il romanzo raccoglie cinque dei sei racconti di cui è costituita la serie originale, incentrata sulle avventure di Artur Blord, un imprenditore di una lontana colonia terrestre, con un grandissimo fiuto per gli affari che gli permette di intraprendere con successo quasi qualunque impresa. Blord costituisce in un certo senso una anomalia nella produzione di eroi di Van Vogt, non possedendo alcun superpotere (anche se questa mancanza verrà sopperita da alcuni dei comprimari).Il
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8:51 PM | A break

This is a short note just to say that I will not be contributing posts to M-Phi for the time being.

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8:47 PM | Orkney and beyond

I used to believe that planes always landed on runways. Orkney has a way of stopping you from taking things for granted. I was up to speak for the second time at the Orkney International Science Festival, which is organised by Howie Firth – one of the most enthusiastic men I have ever met. He […]

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Phillip Middleton sent this along, it’s from Peter Diamandis, who is best known for his X Prize, the “global leader in the creation of incentivized prize competitions.” Diamandis wrote: Phillip Middleton, Is technology making you work harder? Or giving you more time off? Seriously, it feels like it’s enabling me to work around the clock! […]
The post Suspiciously vague graph purporting to show “percentage of slaves or serfs in the world” appeared first
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12:18 PM | ABC@NIPS: call for papers

In connection with the previous announcement of ABC in Montréal, a call for papers that came out today: NIPS 2014 Workshop: ABC in Montreal December 12, 2014 Montréal, Québec, Canada Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) or likelihood-free (LF) methods have developed mostly beyond the radar of the machine learning community, but are important tools for a […]

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Do you know what I am doing this morning? I’m glued to ESPN talk radio, which is 98.7FM in the NYC area, although it is a national station and can be streamed online as well. Here’s a statement you might be surprised to hear from me. In the past decade, sports talk radio has become […]

### September 08, 2014

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I read the newly arXived paper “On Single Variable Transformation Approach to Markov Chain Monte Carlo” by Dey and Bhattacharya on the pleasant train ride between Bristol and Coventry last weekend. The paper actually follows several earlier papers by the authors that I have not read in detail. The notion of single variable transform is […]

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Anti-Abortion Democrats, Jimmy Carter Republicans, and the Missing Leap Day Babies: Living with Uncertainty but Still Learning To learn about the human world, we should accept uncertainty and embrace variation. We illustrate this concept with various examples from our recent research (the above examples are with Yair Ghitza and Aki Vehtari) and discuss more generally […]
The post My talk at the Simons Foundation this Wed 5pm appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and
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Igino Ugo Tarchetti è stato uno dei rappresentanti della scapigliatura milanese, dedicandosi, lo scrittore, alla letteratura del fantastico e del gotico da una parte, e alla scrittura umoristica dall'altra.Come sta esplorando molto bene Splatter in una serie di articoli sul cinema horror, l'Italia ha sempre mostrato nel genere del mistero e della paura una certa interessante propensione. Non dimentichiamo, infatti, che uno dei romanzi gotici per eccellenza, Il castello di Otranto,
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8:46 PM | Holiday part 2

Thank you very much for your support on the first Holiday post (check it here) and as I promised this the continuation. Not that many photos for this part, but hopefully you will like it, too. 1. We had a day … Continue reading →

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This talk will have two parts. (1) Astronomy professor David Schiminovich will discuss the ways in which recent large-scale sky surveys that include billions of data points can address questions such as, What will happen to the Earth and other planets when the Sun becomes a white dwarf? (2) Statistics professor Andrew Gelman will discuss […]
The post My talk with David Schiminovich this Wed noon: “The Birth of the Universe and the Fate of the Earth: One Trillion UV Photons Meet
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1:00 PM | On deck this week

Mon: My talk with David Schiminovich this Wed noon: “The Birth of the Universe and the Fate of the Earth: One Trillion UV Photons Meet Stan” Tues: Suspiciously vague graph purporting to show “percentage of slaves or serfs in the world” Wed: “It’s as if you went into a bathroom in a bar and saw […]
The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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I just finished reading a fascinating article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek about a man who claims to have reverse-engineered the admission processes at Ivy League colleges (hat tip Jan Zilinsky). His name is Steven Ma, and as befits an ex-hedge funder, he has built an algorithm of sorts to work well with both the admission algorithms at […]

### September 07, 2014

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10:14 PM | independent component analysis and p-values

Last morning at the neuroscience workshop Jean-François Cardoso presented independent component analysis though a highly pedagogical and enjoyable tutorial that stressed the geometric meaning of the approach, summarised by the notion that the (ICA) decomposition of the data X seeks both independence between the columns of S and non-Gaussianity. That is, getting as away from […]

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4:02 PM | Likelihood from quantiles?

Michael McLaughlin writes: Many observers, esp. engineers, have a tendency to record their observations as {quantile, CDF} pairs, e.g., x CDF(x) 3.2 0.26 4.7 0.39 etc. I suspect that their intent is to do some kind of “least-squares” analysis by computing theoretical CDFs from a model, e.g. Gamma(a, b), then regressing the observed CDFs against […]
The post Likelihood from quantiles? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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9:14 AM | ICM2014 — Bhargava, Gentry, Sanders

On my last day at the ICM I ended up going to fewer talks. As on the previous two days the first plenary lecture was not to be missed — it was Maryam Mirzakhani — so despite my mounting tiredness I set my alarm appropriately. I was a little surprised when I got there by […]

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4:21 AM | Non-Digital Computers

Non-Digital Computers
Non-Digital Computers This is the last installment of my many-part series on computers. Last time we used the notion of a Turing machine to define what a computer is. We discovered something surprising: that not all computers need to be … Continue reading →
The post Non-Digital Computers appeared first on The Physics Mill.

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“In that pleasant district of Merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster. The remains of this extensive wood are still to be seen at the […]
The post Some time in the past 200 years the neighborhood has changed appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

### September 06, 2014

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11:56 PM | Holiday part 1

I was on holiday last weeks and some of you wanted to see some photos, so I posted some on Facebook in the new and special photo album: Holiday. So, I thought that it would be nice to share some photos … Continue reading →

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10:14 PM | stop culling the Alps bouquetins!

I just learned today that about 300 bouquetins had been killed in the French Alps the past few days as an hasty and ungrounded measure against bovine brucellosis. I find it amazing that the local authorities can act with so little scientific justification and against European regulations that make bouquetins a protected species. In comparison, […]

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6:11 PM | L'armata di Hot Dog

Necessaria premessa a L'armata di Hot Dog, Ivan lo scemo, pubblicato sul secondo volume dell'edizione Panini, inizia con un riferimento esplicito alla vicenda del Titanic: la mega astronave di viaggi spaziali turistici Titan parte nello spazio profondo e viene colpita da un asteroide vagante, non rilevato a causa di un'avaria negli strumenti, probabilmente causata da un ladro di diamanti che non aveva trovato nascondiglio migliore se non utilizzare uno dei contatori!L'ultima scialuppa del
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4:09 PM | Witches Kitchen 1971

http://t.co/sHn7nJ4uFj a #funny image about #mathematics by Alexander Grothendieck Riemann-Roch Theorem: The final cry: The diagram is commutative! To give an approximate sense to the statement about f: X → Y, I had to abuse the listeners' patience for almost two hours. Black on white (in Springer lecture notes) it probably takes about 400, 500 pages. A gripping example of how our thirst for knowledge and discovery indulges itself more and more in a logical delirium far removed from life,
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2:56 PM | The Oxford Lynch Mob

It is a rare experience for victims of long-term stalking, violent assault and harassment to be harassed by a gang of aggressive Oxbridge thugs. As I put it in March 2014 on Prof. Leiter's blog:[....] behind the scenes a group of graduate students, including some of the signatories of the Open Letter of 5 March 2014, had been campaigning the University to have my contact with students suspended and me fired. My supervisions were reassigned, my seminars were postponed and then reassigned to my
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2:31 PM | So… yeah

Lately CJ has a habit of ending every story he tells by saying “So… yeah.” I first noticed it this summer, so I think he picked it up from his camp counselors. What does it mean? I tend to read it as something like “I have told my story — what conclusions can we draw […]

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Juliet Price writes: I recently came across your blog post from 2009 about how statistical analysis differs when analyzing an entire population rather than a sample. I understand the part about conceptualizing the problem as involving a stochastic data generating process, however, I have a query about the paragraph on ‘making predictions about future cases, […]
The post How does inference for next year’s data differ from inference for unobserved data from the current year?
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1:34 PM | Aunt Pythia gives it up for Polly

Dearest readers. Dearest, dearest readers. Aunt Pythia was just about to crack open her dog-eared google doc of questions when she happened across this Ask Polly column which blew her away (hat tip Julie Steele). It’s entitled Ask Polly: Why Don’t the Men I Date Ever Truly Love Me? and it’s just about the best advice Aunt […]

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6:47 AM | Efficiency of Rado graph representations

The Rado graph has interesting symmetry properties and plays an important role in the logic of graphs. But it's an infinite graph, so how can we say anything about the complexity of algorithms on it?There are algorithmic problems that involve this graph and are independent of any representation of it, such as checking whether a first-order logic sentence is true of it (PSPACE-complete). But I'm interested here in problems involving the Rado graph where different ways of constructing and
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