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The importance of “bumblers” and “pointers” in science, and the division of labor

A few years ago, I received some angry emails from a psychology professor I’d never met, who was annoyed at me for criticizing published work in his field. In one of these, he wrote: Of Dan Wegner’s many wonderful papers, I think I still like best his little theory of science paper in which he says there are two kinds of people in science: bumblers...

Laura Ingalls Wilder vs. Steve Stigler; Malcolm advances

Dzhaughn offers an allusive line of reasoning: He is a very high achieving Malcolm, and there is Little prospect that he will be Pope, so we need not worry about Gladwell before. Baez, Collins, Rivers, Blondell, Miro. She was born to a life of privilege. Anon’s got the serious take: I’d have to go with Malcolm X, in part because while he’s a household...

What are the most important statistical ideas of the past 50 years?

Many of you have heard of this article (with Aki Vehtari) already—we wrote the first version in 2020, then did some revision for its publication in the Journal of the American Statistical Association. But the journal is not open-access so maybe there are people who are interested in reading the article who aren’t aware of it or don’t know how to access...

Erik van Zwet explains the Shrinkage Trilogy

The Shrinkage Trilogy is a set of three articles written by Zwet et al.: 1. The Significance Filter, the Winner’s Curse and the Need to Shrink at http://arxiv.org/abs/2009.09440 (Erik van Zwet and Eric Cator) 2. A Proposal for Informative Default Priors Scaled by the Standard Error of Estimates at http://arxiv.org/abs/2011.15037 (Erik van Zwet and...

Labeling the x and y axes: Here’s a quick example where a bit of care can make a big difference.

I’ll have more to say about the above graph some other time—it comes from this excellent post from Laura Wattenberg. Here I just want to use it as an example of statistical graphics. Overall, the graph is great: clear label, clean look, good use of color. I’m not thrilled with the stacked-curve thing—it makes it hard to see exactly what’s going...

Joan Didion vs. Malcolm X; Rigg advances

In the contest between the fake spy and the real traitor, Manuel writes: Diana Rigg exploits as an spy, albeit fictional, are memorable. The second Mrs. Arnold would stand more than a fighting chance against her, as she knew everything about cryptography, invisible ink and the like. But even the absent Mr. Peel seems more interesting than his husband....

Efficient leave-one-out cross-validation for Bayesian non-factorized normal and Student-t models

Paul, Jonah, and Aki write: Cross-validation can be used to measure a model’s predictive accuracy for the purpose of model comparison, averaging, or selection. Standard leave-one-out cross-validation (LOO-CV) requires that the observation model can be factorized into simple terms, but a lot of important models in temporal and spatial statistics do...

Water Treatment and Child Mortality: A Meta-analysis and Cost-effectiveness Analysis

This post is from Witold. I thought some of you may find this pre-print (that I am a co-author of) interesting. It’s a meta-analysis of improving water quality in low and middle income countries. We estimated this reduced odds of child mortality by 30% based on 15 RCT. That’s obviously a lot! If true, this would have very large real-world implications,...

Students learn more from active classrooms, but they think they’re learning less!

Aki points us to this article by some Harvard physics teachers, “Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom,” which begins: Despite active learning being recognized as a superior method of instruction in the classroom, a major recent survey found that most college STEM instructors still...

Diana Rigg vs. Benedict Arnold; Bechdel advances

In yesterday’s battle of two lawgivers, Anonymous Pigeon writes: First of all I would like to start with a question: Who did more for humanity? Hammurabi did with his code. Sure Alison Bechdel did help for females and yada yada yada but just imagine having a little stone on your wall, it has a completely hilarious law and is signed by Hammurabi. THAT...

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