Posts

December 10, 2014

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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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2:00 PM | Seeing Music: What Does the Missing Fundamental Look Like?
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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2:05 AM | 254A, Notes 2: Complex-analytic multiplicative number theory
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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11:39 PM | Don’t believe everything you read in the (scientific) papers
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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8:03 PM | Bayesian Cognitive Modeling Models Ported to Stan
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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3:36 PM | Retelling a story – this time with all the facts
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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3:02 PM | some students don’t learn a whole lot in college
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 […] The post Buggy-whip update appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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2:00 PM | Your Telephone Is Lying to You About Sounds
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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12:14 PM | Call For Papers: Epistemic Consequentialism at the University of Kent
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 …
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5:00 AM | Today I am prime again
Not only is my age prime, but it’s a Mersenne prime! Barring some great advances in medical technology it’s the last time I’ll be able to say that. (What else is interesting about the number 31? It seems like a … Continue reading →

December 08, 2014

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11:14 PM | amazonish thanks (& repeated warning)
As in previous years, at about this time, I want to (re)warn unaware ‘Og readers that all links to Amazon.com and more rarely to Amazon.fr found on this blog are actually susceptible to earn me an advertising percentage if a purchase is made by the reader in the 24 hours following the entry on Amazon […]
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4:12 PM | Steven Pinker on writing: Where I agree and where I disagree
Linguist and public intellectual Steven Pinker recently published an article, “Why Academics Stink at Writing.” That’s a topic that interests me! Like Pinker, I’ve done a lot of writing, both for technical and general audiences. Unlike Pinker, I have not done research on linguistics, but I’ll do my best to comment based on my own […] The post Steven Pinker on writing: Where I agree and where I disagree appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal […]
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2:00 PM | On deck this week
Mon: Steven Pinker on writing: Where I agree and where I disagree Tues: Buggy-whip update Wed: The inclination to deny all variation Thurs: The Fallacy of Placing Confidence in Confidence Intervals Fri: Saying things that are out of place Sat: Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t . . . We’re brothers of the same mind, unblind Sun: […] The post On deck this week appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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12:15 PM | FATML and next Saturday’s Eric Garner protest
At the end of this week I’ll be heading up to Montreal to attend and participate in a one-day workshop called Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning (FATML), as part of a larger machine learning conference called NIPS. It’s being organized by Solon Barocas and Moritz Hardt, who kindly put me on the closing panel of the […]
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5:34 AM | Loudly and bravely
Wallace Shawn: As I write these words, in New York City in 1985, more and more people who grew up around me are making this decision; they are throwing away their moral chains and learning to enjoy their true situation:  Yes, they are admitting loudly and bravely, We live in beautiful homes, we’re surrounded by […]
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4:06 AM | Who should write the new NYT chess column?
Matt Gaffney gives these “three essential characteristics” for writing “a relevant, interesting weekly chess column” in 2014: 1. It must be written by someone who is deeply involved in the chess world. Summaries of information that is already available online won’t cut it anymore. And since newspapers can’t afford to send columnists around the world […] The post Who should write the new NYT chess column? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal […]
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2:47 AM | Links for December 7
Brainfilling Curves: A fractal bestiary by Jeffrey Ventrella. Matt Parker on Numberphile on Stern-Brocot numbers, fractions, and rational numbers (an exposition of my favorite elementary paper, Recounting the rationals by Neil Calkin and Herbert Wilf) From DataLab (FiveThirtyEight): how common … Continue reading →
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1:20 AM | the demise of the Bayes factor
With Kaniav Kamary, Kerrie Mengersen, and Judith Rousseau, we have just arXived (and submitted) a paper entitled “Testing hypotheses via a mixture model”. (We actually presented some earlier version of this work in Cancũn, Vienna, and Gainesville, so you may have heard of it already.) The notion we advocate in this paper is to replace […]

December 07, 2014

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11:51 PM | Updating blog posts
I’ve been going through my old blog posts and fixing a few problems. I found a few missing images, code samples that had lost their indentation, etc. Most of the errors have been my fault, but some were due to bugs in plug-ins. If you see any problems with a post, please let me know. […]
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5:02 PM | Christmas Gifts for Him ^_^
I hope you liked the last posts about Christmas gifts: Christmas Presents , Christmas Presents for Her  and Christmas Gifts for Children ; to close this series of posts I have a small list of things that He might find them really interesting … Continue reading →
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2:57 PM | Subtleties with measurement-error models for the evaluation of wacky claims
Paul Pudaite writes: In the latest Journal of the American Statistical Association (September 2014, Vol. 109 No. 507), Andrew Harvey and Alessandra Luati published a paper [preprint here] — “Filtering With Heavy Tails” — featuring the phenomenon you had asked about (“…(non-Gaussian) models for which, as y gets larger, E(x|y) can actually go back toward […] The post Subtleties with measurement-error models for the evaluation of wacky claims appeared […]

December 06, 2014

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11:14 PM | Statistics slides (5)
Here is the fifth and last set of slides for my third year statistics course, trying to introduce Bayesian statistics in the most natural way and hence starting with… Rasmus’ socks and ABC!!! This is an interesting experiment as I have no idea how my students will react. Either they will see the point besides […]
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8:23 PM | Tied elections
Stephen Pettigrew at FiveThirtyEight writes about the 2014 elections that ended in a tie. These are generally resolved by games of chance. The elections that are mentioned there are small ones (two city councilors and a county commissioner); is this … Continue reading →
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4:21 PM | When and why the coffee spills
http://t.co/fBhTs48KG4 the #physics of spilling and walking with #coffee How do we spill coffee?(a) Either by accelerating too much for a given coffee level (fluid statics)(b) Or, through more complicated dynamical phenomena: Initial acceleration sets an initial sloshing amplitude, which is analogous to the main antisymmetric mode of sloshing.This initial perturbation is amplified by the back-and-forth and pitching excitations since their frequency is close to the natural one because of the […]
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