Category Archives: Statistics

P-Values and Power of Test: Why So Many Results Can’t Be Replicated

It’s all the rage to argue that science is facing a crisis because so many results can’t be repeated. David Colquhoun has a really nice explanation why replication experiments fail so often. Before we get to his explanation, we’ll have … Continue reading

Posted in Funding, Statistics | 6 Comments

Understanding the CBO Minimum Wage Report: Why a Knowledge of Basic Statistics Matters

Image by Bettmann/CORBIS The Congressional Budget Office released a report (pdf) arguing there would be minor job losses if a $10.10 per hour minimum wage were passed. I’m not taking it too seriously: CBO estimates are usually pretty shoddy*. Kenneth … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Statistics | 5 Comments

What’s Wrong With This Pie Chart?

In this Boston Magazine graphic about the change in Boston’s ethnic composition, can you find what’s wrong? Let’s see:

Posted in Fucking Morons, Statistics | 5 Comments

More Big Data Abuse

I recently wrote about a disgusting abuse of ‘big data’: the formation and selling of a “Rape Sufferers” list. No, really. According to Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, this seems to be part of a larger and equally nauseating trend (boldface … Continue reading

Posted in Bidness, Statistics | 1 Comment

More Teacher Evaluation Insanity

Education reformers style themselves as problem solvers who get things done. The reality, however, is that they’re grade A fuckups (boldface mine): A single missing suffix among thousands of lines of programming code led a public school teacher in Washington, … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Statistics | 3 Comments

One Tweed Insider’s View of Educational Evaluation

I highly recommend this devastating indictment of New York City’s education ‘reform’ policies by an anonymous NYC Department of Education insider. Wonkiness is rarely so brutal. What I want to focus on is the section about evaluation, since reformers love … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Statistics | 2 Comments

Turning Off Comments? Effect Size and Why You Should Always Read the Primary Literature

Last week, Popular Science‘s decision to turn off comments got a lot of attention in the bloggysphere. What’s interesting is that this decision appears to be based on a misreading of the primary literature (boldface mine): The quotes used in … Continue reading

Posted in Statistics

Nate Silver and the One-Eyed King in the Land of the Blind

Amidst all of the hubbub over Nate Silver’s departure from the NY Times, Kevin Drum notices something disturbing (boldface mine): At the same time, this tidbit from Politico about Silver’s decisionmaking process while he was weighing competing offers from the … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Experts, Polling, Statistics | 4 Comments

Maybe We Should Give Up on Peer Review and Just Dump Everything in ArXiv

I kid, but consider this abstract, “Peer-review practices of psychological journals: The fate of published articles, submitted again”, that came trundling across the transom (boldface mine): A growing interest in and concern about the adequacy and fairness of modern peer-review … Continue reading

Posted in Publishing, Statistics | 3 Comments

How the Dominant Funding Structure Leads to the Decline Effect (and Other Stats Problems)

Ed Yong has an excellent post about how many neuroscience studies are underpowered (not enough study subjects). These studies are unable to detect real effects, especially if the effects are moderate or weak. As bad, for a result to be … Continue reading

Posted in Funding, Statistics | 2 Comments