January 17, 2015

2:43 PM | Lewis Richardson, father of numerical weather prediction and of fractals
Lee Sechrest writes: If you get a chance, Wiki this guy: I [Sechrest] did and was gratifyingly reminded that I read some bits of his work in graduate school 60 years ago. Specifically, about his math models for predicting wars and his work on fractals to arrive at better estimates of the lengths of common […] The post Lewis Richardson, father of numerical weather prediction and of fractals appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
2:26 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
My, my, my. It’s been a while. Aunt Pythia plum forgot about her duties last Saturday, what with all the math nerds and such in San Antonio. Many apologies! But don’t think Aunt Pythia didn’t miss you, because nothing could be less true: Aunt Pythia positively pined for you this last week. It was excruciating […]
10:27 AM | 2014: un anno su LSB
Anche se un po' in ritardo, vorrei ricapitolare i miei articoli usciti nel 2014 su Lo Spazio Bianco. Tra approfondimenti, recensioni, e brevisioni e altre cose, l'attività è riassumibile come segue: Approfondimenti80 anni insieme: il Paperino di Federico PedrocchiJoker: l'uomo che rideCrisi Finale: il supereroismo secondo Grant Morrison Recensioni:"Progetto" Enigma: articolo 1, con la recensione vera e propria; articolo 2, con una breve biografia di Alan Turing.Batman, il […]

January 16, 2015

11:15 PM | lock in [book review]
As mentioned in my recent review of Redshirts, I was planning to read John Scalzi’s most recent novel, Lock In, if only to check whether or not Redshirts was an isolated accident! This was the third book from “the pile” that I read through the Yule break and, indeed, it was a worthwhile attempt as the […]
3:43 PM | When a study fails to replicate: let’s be fair and open-minded
In a recent discussion of replication in science (particularly psychology experiments), the question came up of how to interpret things when a preregistered replication reaches a conclusion different from the original study. Typically the original, published result is large and statistically significant, and the estimate from the replication is small and not statistically significant. One […] The post When a study fails to replicate: let’s be fair and open-minded appeared first on […]
1:43 PM | What meaning can and cannot be: Lessons from real life, Part 2
The problem of fictional discourse -- do statements involving fictional objects have truth-values or are they truth-valueless; if the former, how are these truth values determined? -- is one that goes back at least to Frege (his views on the compositionality of language and what the referent of a sentence is entail that sentences which have non-referring parts have no truth-value) and for which no adequate solution has yet been found, given, e.g., the publication of books such as Tim Crane's […]
1:22 PM | Cross-validation, LOO and WAIC for time series
This post is by Aki. Jonah asked in Stan users mailing list Suppose we have J groups and T time periods, so y[t,j] is the observed value of y at time t for group j. (We also have predictors x[t,j].) I’m wondering if WAIC is appropriate in this scenario assuming that our interest in predictive accuracy is for […] The post Cross-validation, LOO and WAIC for time series appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
12:39 PM | Anteprima recensione: Annhilator e il buco nero di Fraser Irving
Questa volta estraggo, ma non come screenshot, una parte della recensione di "Annihilator", ultimo fumetto di Grant Morrison che sta arrivando in Italia a ridosso dell'edizione originaleI conigli sono degli animali estremamente prolifici, quasi leggendari nel loro tasso di riproduzione, tanto che Leonardo Fibonacci proprio grazie a questi simpatici roditori scoprì la serie che oggi porta il suo nome: 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 e così via, e dove ogni numero è la somma dei due […]

Vogel H. (1979). A better way to construct the sunflower head, Mathematical Biosciences, 44 (3-4) 179-189. DOI:

Mack D.R. (1990). The magical Fibonacci number, IEEE Potentials, 9 (3) 34-35. DOI:

Antonucci R. (1993). Unified Models for Active Galactic Nucle and Quasars, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 31 (1) 473-521. DOI:

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Ferrarese L. (2000). A Fundamental Relation between Supermassive Black Holes and Their Host Galaxies, The Astrophysical Journal, 539 (1) L9-L12. DOI:

Hamaus N., Paumard T., Müller T., Gillessen S., Eisenhauer F., Trippe S. & Genzel R. (2009). Prospects for testing the nature of Sgr A*'s near-infrared flares on the basis of current very large telescope - and future very large telescope interferometer - observations, The Astrophysical Journal, 692 (1) 902-916. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/692/1/902

Gravett P. (2008). De Luca and Hamlet: Thinking Outside the Box, European Comic Art, 1 (1) 21-36. DOI:

11:50 AM | Representation of women and the genius myth
In a recent issue of Science, there was an article entitled Belief that some fields require ‘brilliance’ may keep women out (hat tip Gary Cornell) that absolutely resonates with my experiences, both as a mathematician and as a teacher. Namely, it talks about the extent to which women are discouraged to go into a field because that […]
5:22 AM | Call for Papers: LORI-V (Deadline May 18)
Call for PapersThe Fifth International Conference on Logic, Rationality and Interaction (LORI-V)October 28-31, 2015Taipei, TaiwanThe International Conference on Logic, Rationality and Interaction (LORI) conference series aims at bringing together researchers working on a wide variety of logic-related fields that concern the understanding of rationality and interaction ( The series aims at fostering a view of Logic as an interdisciplinary endeavor, and supports the creation of […]
4:16 AM | Linkage
Real-time 3d special effects in modern dance (G+)How not to react to conference talks that happen to be presented by women (G+, including also an unrelated report from the SODA business meeting)Photos of icy landscapes showing how varied the geometry of ice can be (G+)New ACM fellows (G+)n-body choreagraphies (strange solutions to the n-body problem in which all bodies follow each other along a curve; more and still more; G+)Men (on the Internet) don’t believe sexism is a problem in […]

January 15, 2015

11:47 PM | Hackerare la satira
E' notizia di oggi quella del Corriere che mette in piedi un volume dedicato a Charlie Hebdo utilizzando le vignette dei fumettisti italiani, semplicemente dimenticandosi di contattarli per chiedere il permesso e magari un file in alta risoluzione (cose che non solo sono educate, ma fanno smadonnare i grafici un po' meno di quanto avranno probabilmente fatto...).Al di là delle polemiche sul metodo utilizzato dal Corriere o dalla difesa del diritto d'autore, penso che chiunque abbia il […]
11:15 PM | Harold Jeffreys’ default Bayes factor [for psychologists]
“One of Jeffreys’ goals was to create default Bayes factors by using prior distributions that obeyed a series of general desiderata.” The paper Harold Jeffreys’s default Bayes factor hypothesis tests: explanation, extension, and application in Psychology by Alexander Ly, Josine Verhagen, and Eric-Jan Wagenmakers is both a survey and a reinterpretation cum explanation of Harold […]
9:34 PM | The bracket!
That’s right, we’re getting ready for the battle to choose the best seminar ever. Paul Davidson, who send in the image below, writes: Knocked together in Excel. I’m European, so I may not have respected the North American system for brackets i.e. I split each category into seeded pools and randomly drew from them. The […] The post The bracket! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
2:55 PM | I need your help in setting up the ultimate bracket: Picking the ideal seminar speaker
This came in the departmental email awhile ago: CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: LATOUR SEMINAR — DUE DATE AUGUST 11 (extended) The Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Alliance (Columbia University, École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Panthéon-Sorbonne University), The Center for Science and Society, and The Faculty of Arts and Sciences are proud to present BRUNO LATOUR AT […] The post I need your help in setting up the ultimate bracket: Picking the ideal seminar speaker […]
1:58 PM | The Black Box Society by Frank Pasquale
There’s a new book out, called The Black Box Society and written by Frank Pasquale, a lawyer focused on technology and a friend of mine. It’s published by Harvard University Press and it looks like this: To be honest, when I first received it I was a bit worried that it would make my book, […]
4:45 AM | A year in books: philosophy, psychology, and political economy
If you follow the Julian calendar — which I do when I need a two week extension on overdue work — then today is the first day of 2015. Happy Old New Year! This also means that this is my last day to be timely with a yet another year-in-review post; although I guess I […]

January 14, 2015

11:15 PM | another view on Jeffreys-Lindley paradox
I found another paper on the Jeffreys-Lindley paradox. Entitled “A Misleading Intuition and the Bayesian Blind Spot: Revisiting the Jeffreys-Lindley’s Paradox”. Written by Guillaume Rochefort-Maranda, from Université Laval, Québec. This paper starts by assuming an unbiased estimator of the parameter of interest θ and under test for the null θ=θ0. (Which makes we wonder at the […]
5:10 PM | Stan comes through . . . again!
Erikson Kaszubowski writes in: I missed your call for Stan research stories, but the recent post about stranded dolphins mentioned it again. When I read about the Crowdstorming project in your blog, I thought it would be a good project to apply my recent studies in Bayesian modeling. The project coordinators shared a big dataset […] The post Stan comes through . . . again! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
1:59 PM | Some art so far
In response to my request #1 (“Gone Fishing” T-shirt), Ed Witt sent in this: I thanked Ed and asked if it would be possible to take the image and add to it so it’s clear that the “.05” is being drawn from a sea of other numbers, also with a little bucket next to the […] The post Some art so far appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
1:18 PM | nested sampling for systems biology
In conjunction with the recent PNAS paper on massive model choice, Rob Johnson†, Paul Kirk and Michael Stumpf published in Bioinformatics an implementation of nested sampling that is designed for biological applications, called SYSBIONS. Hence the NS for nested sampling! The C software is available on-line. (I had planned to post this news next to […]
1:00 PM | Striving for simplicity, arriving at complexity
This post is a riff on a line from Mathematics without Apologies, the book I quoted yesterday. In an all too familiar trade-off, the result of striving for ultimate simplicity is intolerable complexity; to eliminate too-long proofs we find ourselves “hopelessly lost” among the too-long definitions. [emphasis added] It’s as if there’s some sort of […]
12:00 PM | Regular expression resources
Continuing the series of resource posts each Wednesday, this week we have notes on regular expressions: Regular expressions in PowerShell and Perl Regular expressions in R Regular expressions in Mathematica C++ TR1 regular expressions See also blog posts tagged regular expressions and the RegexTip Twitter account. Last week: Probability resources Next week: Numerical computing resources

January 13, 2015

11:15 PM | simulation by inverse cdf
Another Cross Validated forum question that led me to an interesting (?) reconsideration of certitudes! When simulating from a normal distribution, is Box-Muller algorithm better or worse than using the inverse cdf transform? My first reaction was to state that Box-Muller was exact while the inverse cdf relied on the coding of the inverse cdf, like […]
11:11 PM | Problem solvers and theory builders
From Mathematics without Apologies: It’s conventional to classify mathematicians as “problem solvers” or “theory builders,” depending on temperament. My experiences and the sources I consulted in writing this book convince me that curiosity about problems guides the growth of theories, rather than the other way around. Alexander Grothendieck and Robert Langlands … count among the […]
10:29 PM | Apples and Grapes
This post will be short and a little surprising (I hope). As you remember from some of my old posts (Games, Tutoring & Multiplication Table) I am tutoring a lot in this period and just a couple of days ago I got stuck at explaining something not extremely hard or complicated, and this is what […]
7:46 PM | the most expensive baguette ever…!
Goshdarnit! On the way home tonight, I stopped as usual at the bakery nearby and as usual I let my bike outside next to the entrance. Without bothering with locking as it takes me ages to unlock it with the left hand… When I came out a minute later, the bike was gone!!! At least, […]
4:15 PM | Dimostrazioni senza parole: somma di una serie infinita
Sulla copertina di RM #199 (pdf) c'è la dimostrazione senza parole della somma di una serie: \[\sum_{k=0}^\infty (-1)^k (1/3)^k\] Come ricordano i Rudi, la dimostrazione (che potete vedere su è di Hasan Unal(1), che a sua volta trae ispirazione da Richard Mabry (della Louisiana State University) Il post vuole essere una sorta di contenuto extra regalato ai Rudi che, riguardo la cover, hanno candidamente ammesso: No, non abbiamo dei link.E allora eccoli serviti! […]

Unal H. (2009). Proof Without Words: Sum of an Infinite Series, The College Mathematics Journal, 40 (1) 39-39. DOI:

3:11 PM | (Bird) Food for thought
At this time of year I tend to get through the post a steady trickle of catalogues, reminding me of the mailing lists to which I still need to unsubscribe. Qutie a few of these are wildlife related, with a good chunk given over to the £200M wild bird food industry. For a while now I’ve felt rather uneasy about the excessive commodification of what should be a simple act - attracting birds to the garden just to enjoy their company.... Read more
2:08 PM | Artist needed!
We have some great ideas but none of us can draw. We need your help with designs and art for any or all of these projects: 1. “Gone Fishing” T-shirt A person is standing in a boat, fishing. The lake is full, not of fish but of little numbers: “.14″, “.31″, “.08″, etc etc. And […] The post Artist needed! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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