# Posts

### September 30, 2014

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2:52 PM | The chocolate factory gone up in smoke

There was a major fire near my house yesterday with many fire-engines rushing by and a wet smoke smell lingering by the whole night. As I found out during my early morning run, the nearby chocolate factory had completely burned. Actually, sixteen hours after the beginning of the fire, the building was still smouldering, with […]

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Not sure if you’ve seen this recent New York Times article entitled Learning to Love Criticism, but go ahead and read it if you haven’t. The key figures: …76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was “abrasive,” “judgmental” or “strident.” Only […]

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4:34 AM | No, I didn’t say that!

Faye Flam wrote a solid article for the New York Times on Bayesian statistics, and as part of her research she spent some time on the phone with me awhile ago discussing the connections between Bayesian inference and the crisis in science criticism. My longer thoughts on this topic are in my recent article, “The […]
The post No, I didn’t say that! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

### September 29, 2014

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11:47 PM | Power laws and wealth

From Alison Griswold at Slate, reporting on the Wealth-X and UBS billionaire census (warning: obnoxious auto-playing music at the second link): “The typical billionaire has a net worth of $3.1 billion.” Does “typical” mean mean? or median? It appears that “mean” is intended, because the front page of this census says there are 2,325 billionaires […]

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This is a book I carried away from JSM in Boston as the Oxford University Press representative kindly provided my with a copy at the end of the meeting. After I asked for it, as I was quite excited to see a book linking Jorge Luis Borges’ great Library of Babel short story with mathematical […]

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6:40 PM | Wouldn’t trade places

Last week at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, I was surrounded by the most successful researchers in math and computer science. The laureates had all won the Fields Medal, Abel Prize, Nevanlinna Prize, or Turing Award. Some had even won two of these awards. I thought about my short academic career [1]. If I had been […]

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La matematica, in particolare la geometria, è una disciplina visualizzabile, e questa possibilità può essere sfruttata per avvicinarla agli studenti di ogni ordine e grado. Docsity ha recentemente pubblicato una serie di gif animate utili proprio allo scopo, trovate un po' qua e là lungo il web.Una prima gif animata è quella relativa al completamento del quadrato, argomento un po' ostico per molti studenti: La gif successiva, invece, può utilmente
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God is in every leaf of every tree. The leaf in question today is the height of journalist and Twitter aficionado Jon Lee Anderson, a man who got some attention a couple years ago after disparaging some dude for having too high a tweets-to-followers ratio. Anderson called the other guy a “little twerp” which made […]
The post Some general principles of Bayesian data analysis, arising from a Stan analysis of John Lee Anderson’s height appeared first on Statistical
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1:03 PM | Chameleon models

Here’s an interesting paper I’m reading this morning (hat tip Suresh Naidu) entitled Chameleons: The Misuse of Theoretical Models in Finance and Economics written by Paul Pfleiderer. The paper introduces the useful concept of chameleon models, defined in the following diagram: Pfleiderer provides some examples of chameleon models, and also takes on the Milton Friedman argument that […]

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1:00 PM | On deck this week

Mon: Some general principles of Bayesian data analysis, arising from a Stan analysis of John Lee Anderson’s height Tues: Are Ivy League schools overrated? Wed: Can anyone guess what went wrong here? Thurs: What went wrong Fri: 65% of principals say that at least 30% of students . . . wha?? Sat: Carrie McLaren was […]
The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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12:30 PM | Another Reason to Love the Number Seven

The world’s favorite number is seven, at least if the result of a poll conducted by Alex Bellos is to be believed. Some people like it because it is prime, some because they have a lot of sevens in...
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

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10:30 AM | CERN's 60th Birthday

http://t.co/zU9b7V4idL by @ulaulaman about #CERN60 The day to celebrate CERN's birthday is arrived: The convention establishing CERN was ratified on 29 September 1954 by 12 countries in Western Europe. The acronym CERN originally stood in French for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research), which was a provisional council for setting up the laboratory, established by 12 European governments in 1952. The acronym was retained for the new
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6:08 AM | Scrupoli

Doris Mårtensson tornò a casa la sera di sabato venti aprile.Adesso erano le otto del lunedì mattina, e lei se ne stava davanti al grande specchio della camera da letto a rimirare la sua tintarella e pensava a quanto invidiosi sarebbero stati i suoi colleghi. Aveva un brutto livido provocato da un succhioto sulla coscia destra e due sul seno sinistro. Mentre si allacciava il reggiseno, pensò che forse, per una settimana o dieci giorni, sarebbe stato il caso di evitare
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3:16 AM | University of Würzburg graffiti

I neglected to pack my camera and its new lens with me for the trip to GD (oops), and anyway most of the time the weather wasn't very conducive to photography. But I did take a couple of cellphone snapshots of graffiti/murals on the University of Würzburg campus. This one, if Google translate is to be believed, proclaims Würzburg as the city of young researchers; it's on the wall of the Mensa where we ate lunch every day.And here's some advice to the students starting the new term,
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### September 28, 2014

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10:14 PM | future of computational statistics

I am currently preparing a survey paper on the present state of computational statistics, reflecting on the massive evolution of the field since my early Monte Carlo simulations on an Apple //e, which would take a few days to return a curve of approximate expected squared error losses… It seems to me that MCMC is […]

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5:43 PM | Foucault and the pendulum

http://t.co/AphFwEZfQ2 #foucaultpendulum #physics #earthrotation The first public exhibition of a Foucault pendulum took place in February 1851 in the Meridian of the Paris Observatory. A few weeks later Foucault made his most famous pendulum when he suspended a 28 kg brass-coated lead bob with a 67 meter long wire from the dome of the Panthéon, Paris. The plane of the pendulum's swing rotated clockwise 11° per hour, making a full circle in 32.7 hours. The original bob used in 1851
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Is D. C. Statehood a matter of civil rights?, by Andrew Giambrone in The Atlantic I know, what does this have to do with math? Well, you could read Chris Wilson’s article for Slate on Puerto Rico statehood back in 2010, in which he writes about possible flag designs; we’d probably end up going with […]

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1:25 PM | Il (non) carnevale della fisica #1

Cos'è la fisica? Vediamo cosa si legge su it.wiki: La fisica è la scienza della natura nel senso più ampio. Il termine "fisica" deriva dal neutro plurale latino physica, a sua volta derivante dal greco τὰ φυσικά [tà physiká], ovvero "le cose naturali" e da φύσις [physis], "natura".Scopo della fisica è lo studio dei fenomeni naturali, ossia di tutti gli eventi che possano essere
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Antonio Rinaldi points me to this journal article which reports: We found a sinusoidal pattern in CMM [cutaneous malignant melanoma] risk by season of birth (P = 0.006). . . . Adjusted odds ratios for CMM by season of birth were 1.21 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.05–1.39; P = 0.008] for spring, 1.07 (95% CI, […]
The post People used to send me ugly graphs, now I get these things appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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As one goes through more advanced expositions of quantum physics, the concept of action is gradually given more importance, with it being considered a fundamental piece in some introductions to Quantum Field Theory (Zee, 2003) through the use of the path integral approach. The basic idea behind using the action is to assign a number […]

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4:05 AM | Squares and Motzkins

Greg Smith gave an awesome colloquium here last week about his paper with Blekherman and Velasco on sums of squares. Here’s how it goes. You can ask: if a homogeneous degree-d polynomial in n variables over R takes only non-negative values, is it necessarily a sum of squares? Hilbert showed in 1888 that the answer […]

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1:29 AM | Report from Graph Drawing

I'm currently in the process of returning* from Würzburg, Germany, where I attended the 22nd International Symposium on Graph Drawing (GD 2014) and was one of the invited speakers at the associated EuroGIGA/CCC Ph.D. school on graph drawing.The format for the Ph.D. school was three one-hour lectures in the morning and three hours of working on exercises in the afternoon, for two days. My contribution was a high-level overview of graph drawing methods that involve curves (an updated version
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### September 27, 2014

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10:14 PM | redshirts

“For the first nine years of its existence, aside from being appointed the flagship, there was nothing particularly special about it, from a statistical point of view.” A book I grabbed at the last minute in a bookstore, downtown Birmingham. Maybe I should have waited this extra minute… Or picked the other Scalzi’s on the […]

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9:33 PM | 100 Followers

OMG!! Thank you sooo soo so much! This made my day, week, everything! I am so happy to see that so many of you like and mostly want to see more of my math-love. As maybe you already know I … Continue reading →

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4:16 PM | The horror, the horror!

For those readers who might have wondered what The Renaissance Mathematicus looks and sounds like, you need wonder no more. There is now a video on Youtube in which I stumble and stutter my way through a very impromptu, not … Continue reading →

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3:46 PM | Jesuit Day

Adam Richter (@AdamDRichter) of the Wallifaction Blog (he researches John Wallis) tells me that the Society of Jesus, known colloquially as the Jesuits, was officially recognised by Pope Paul III on 27th September 1540. He gives a short list of … Continue reading →

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3:12 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice

Holy crap, peoples! Aunt Pythia just counted up her readers’ questions and found super high quality (yay!) combined with super small quantity (boo!), a non-ideal situation. Do you know that there are currently fewer than two weeks’ worth of questions in the bin?! That means that next week might be extra short if nobody comes […]

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1:13 PM | “An exact fishy test”

Macartan Humphreys supplied this amusing demo. Just click on the link and try it—it’s fun! Here’s an example: I came up with 10 random numbers: > round(.5+runif(10)*100) [1] 56 23 70 83 29 74 23 91 25 89 and entered them into Macartan’s app, which promptly responded: Unbelievable! You chose the numbers 56 23 70 […]
The post “An exact fishy test” appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

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I know I can’t be the only person who’d like to see this: a list of the fifteen books that make up Martin Gardner’s body of Scientific American columns. I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like the full set – I had a couple of the books when I was young and liked […]

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12:18 PM | métro static

“Mon premier marathon je le fais en courant.” [I will do my first marathon running.] Filed under: pictures, Running Tagged: Badwater Ultramarathon, Florida, Marathon FL, métro, métro static, Paris, sea, sunset