Posts

February 21, 2015

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2:56 PM | Guest Post: Porn, Consent, and Obamneycare for Sex
This is guest post by Michael Carey. In his own words: I am a decidedly “alternative” math nerd, working in an environment where I’m on the wrong end of power and status relationships with a handful of conservatives.  (Like, “willing to say nasty things about the gays in public” conservatives.)  I have been an occasional pseudonymous […]
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2:30 PM | Bayes and doomsday
Ben O’Neill writes: I am a fellow Bayesian statistician at the University of New South Wales (Australia).  I have enjoyed reading your various books and articles, and enjoyed reading your recent article on The Perceived Absurdity of Bayesian Inference.  However, I disagree with your assertion that the “doomsday argument” is non-Bayesian; I think if you read […] The post Bayes and doomsday appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and […]
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2:12 PM | “What Does the Police Say?”
One day I received a call on my home line. I do not like calls from strangers, but the guy knew my name. So I started talking to him. I assumed that it was some official business. He told me that their company monitors Internet activities, and that my computer is emitting viruses into the […]
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2:10 PM | PamPam
Have you ever solved a CalcuDoku puzzle, or a MathDoku puzzle? Maybe you have, but you do not know it. Many incarnations of this puzzle are published under different names. The MIT’s Tech publishes it as TechDoku. What distinguishes this puzzle type from most others is that it is trademarked. The registered name is KenKen. […]

February 20, 2015

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11:15 PM | in a time lapse
Filed under: Kids, pictures Tagged: In a time lapse, Ludovico Einaudi, minimalist composer
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9:45 PM | The bracket so far
Thanks to the Excel stylings of Paul Davidson: Our competition is (approximately) 1/4 done! And I’ve been thinking about possible categories for next year’s tourney: New Jersey politicians Articulate athletes Plagiarists People named Greg or Gregg Vladimir Nabokov and people connected to him . . . Ummm, we need 3 more categories. Any suggestions? Real […] The post The bracket so far appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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5:00 PM | Mother Teresa (4) vs. Sun Myung Moon
For yesterday, I’ll have to go with Gandhi, the original badass of nonviolence. Zbicyclist found this quote, “He propagated that . . . we should take only that which is required, in minimum quantity. We should not eat to appease our taste buds,” which implies that Gandhi shouldn’t pick the caterer—but that’s not an issue, […] The post Mother Teresa (4) vs. Sun Myung Moon appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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3:08 PM | The opposite of an idiot
The origin of the word idiot is “one’s own,” the same root as idiom. So originally an idiot was someone in his own world, someone who takes no outside input. The historical meaning carries over to some degree: When you see a smart person do something idiotic, it’s usually because he’s acting alone. The opposite of […]
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2:09 PM | Statistical Significance – Significant Problem?
John Carlin, who’s collaborated on some of my recent work on Type S and Type M errors, prepared this presentation for a clinical audience. It might be of interest to some of you. The ideas and some of the examples should be familiar to regular readers of this blog, but it could be useful to […] The post Statistical Significance – Significant Problem? appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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1:18 PM | steps
Filed under: Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel Tagged: Czech Republic, Giant Mountains, Snow Crash, Špindlerův Mlýn
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11:49 AM | The Topological Tverberg Conjecture is False
Attention, Topological Combinatorialists! The topological Tverberg Conjecture, described as ‘a holy grail of topological combinatorics’, is false. The conjecture says that any continuous map of a simplex of dimension $(r−1)(d+1)$ to $\mathbb{R}^d$ maps points from $r$ disjoint faces of the simplex to the same point in $\mathbb{R}^d$. In certain cases the conjecture has been proven true,... Read more »
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11:44 AM | Guest post: Be more careful with the vagina stats in teaching
This is a guest post by Courtney Gibbons, an assistant professor of mathematics at Hamilton College. You can see her teaching evaluations on ratemyprofessor.com. She would like you to note that she’s been tagged as “hilarious.” Twice. Lately, my social media has been blowing up with stories about gender bias in higher ed, especially course evaluations.   As a […]

February 19, 2015

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11:15 PM | a Nice talk
Today, I give a talk on our testing paper in Nice, in a workshop run in connection with our Calibration ANR grant: The slides are directly extracted from the paper but it still took me quite a while to translate the paper into those, during the early hours of our Czech break this week.Filed under: […]
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5:00 PM | Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Stanley Kubrick
Yesterday‘s competition is a toughie. If it were up to me, I think I’d have to go with Jesus. Here’s why: I’d come into the seminar with lots of resistance, like, c’mon, Jesus, I totally don’t believe the hype. As Hernan put it in comments: Jesus spoke in parables to avoid committing to a specific […] The post Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Stanley Kubrick appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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2:31 PM | Reforming the data-driven justice system
This article from the New York Times really interests me. It’s entitled Unlikely Cause Unites the Left and the Right: Justice Reform, and although it doesn’t specifically mention “data driven” approaches in justice reform, it describes “emerging proposals to reduce prison populations, overhaul sentencing, reduce recidivism and take on similar initiatives.” I think this sentence, especially the reference to […]
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2:08 PM | Another example of why centering predictors can be good idea
Andrew Dolman writes: Just in case you need another example of why it is important to consider what the intercepts in a model represent, here is a short comment I [Dolman] just got published correcting a misinterpretation of a simple linear model, that would not have happened if they had centered their predictor around a […] The post Another example of why centering predictors can be good idea appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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1:18 PM | snímek z Prahy [#3]
Filed under: Kids, pictures, Running, Travel Tagged: art nouveau, Czech Republic, Municipal Building, Obecní dům, Prague, Smetana Hall
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1:02 PM | Successful companies with incompetent employees
It’s not hard to imagine how a company filled with great people can thrive. More intriguing are the companies that inspire Dilbert cartoons and yet manage to succeed. When a company thrives despite bad service and incompetent employees, they’re doing something right that isn’t obvious. Not everyone can be incompetent. Someone somewhere in the company must be very competent […]
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4:01 AM | Chinese New Year during Lent?
As I’m writing this, tomorrow is Chinese New Year (in the US) and today is Ash Wednesday. (I suspect it’ll be a day later when you read this.) This raises a question: does Chinese New Year often fall during Lent … Continue reading →
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1:49 AM | Halin graph algorithms made simple
I have a new paper on the arXiv, D3-reducible graphs (arXiv:1502.05334), but it's a small one that is not related to this week's many conference submission deadlines (ICALP yesterday, COLT tomorrow, WADS friday). One reason for its existence was that I wanted an implementable algorithm for working with Halin graphs (the graphs that you get by drawing a tree in the plane, with no degree-two vertices, and then connecting the leaves by a cycle surrounding the tree) and the algorithms that I could […]

February 18, 2015

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11:15 PM | amazing Gibbs sampler
When playing with Peter Rossi’s bayesm R package during a visit of Jean-Michel Marin to Paris, last week, we came up with the above Gibbs outcome. The setting is a Gaussian mixture model with three components in dimension 5 and the prior distributions are standard conjugate. In this case, with 500 observations and 5000 Gibbs […]
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9:52 PM | Quantum Physics and Logic at Oxford
The 12th International Workshop on Quantum Physics and Logic is being held in Oxford from July 13th to 17th, 2015.
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5:18 PM | sunset on the Krkonošská magistrála [#2]
Filed under: Mountains, pictures, Travel Tagged: Bohemia, Czech Republic, Giant Mountains, Krkonošská magistrála, sunset, vacations, Špindlerův Mlýn
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5:00 PM | Jesus (1) vs. Leo Tolstoy
For yesterday we’ll have to go with Hobbes. As Zbicyclist put it: “A seminar that promises to be nasty, brutish — and short!” Jonathan put the anti-David argument well: “If there were ever someone who would try to bullshit his way through a seminar, it’s Larry David. Unprepared (with some excuse of course) and a […] The post Jesus (1) vs. Leo Tolstoy appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.
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2:04 PM | VB-Stan: Black-box black-box variational Bayes
Alp Kucukelbir, Rajesh Ranganath, Dave Blei, and I write: We describe an automatic variational inference method for approximating the posterior of differentiable probability models. Automatic means that the statistician only needs to define a model; the method forms a variational approximation, computes gradients using automatic differentiation and approximates expectations via Monte Carlo integration. Stochastic gradient […] The post VB-Stan: Black-box black-box variational Bayes […]
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1:00 PM | Stand-alone code for numerical computing
For this week’s resource post, see the page Stand-alone code for numerical computing. It points to small, self-contained bits of code for special functions (log gamma, erf, etc.) and for random number generation (normal, Poisson, gamma, etc.). The code is available in Python, C++, and C# versions. It could easily be translated into other languages […]
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12:08 PM | AAPOR Big Data Report
I was recently part of a task force for understanding the practices of “big data” from the perspective of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), which is an organization that promotes good standards for studying public opinion. So for example, AAPOR has a code of ethics for how to track public opinion, and a set […]

February 17, 2015

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11:15 PM | hierarchical models are not Bayesian models
When preparing my OxWaSP projects a few weeks ago, I came perchance on a set of slides, entitled “Hierarchical models are not Bayesian“, written by Brian Dennis (University of Idaho), where the author argues against Bayesian inference in hierarchical models in ecology, much in relation with the previously discussed paper of Subhash Lele. The argument […]
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5:00 PM | Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes
Yesterday‘s winner is Chris Rock. “There’s math. And then everything else is debatable.” And now, for today, we have a misanthropists’ version of yesterday’s contest: the grumpy comedian battling it out with the consummate realist political philosopher. Nasty, brutish, and short, indeed. It’s a bit scary how appropriate this matchup is, considering they were all […] The post Larry David (4) vs. Thomas Hobbes appeared first on Statistical […]
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2:16 PM | Bayesian survival analysis with horseshoe priors—in Stan!
Tomi Peltola, Aki Havulinna, Veikko Salomaa, and Aki Vehtari write: This paper describes an application of Bayesian linear survival regression . . . We compare the Gaussian, Laplace and horseshoe shrinkage priors, and find that the last has the best predictive performance and shrinks strong predictors less than the others. . . . And here’s […] The post Bayesian survival analysis with horseshoe priors—in Stan! appeared first on Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and […]
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