// archives

Numerical Op-Ed

This category contains 7 posts

Teach about confirmation bias. Please.

I am on a mission to spread the news of this transformational (yes!) exercise for all teachers of all subjects, but especially scientists. It is called the Wason* 2-4-6 Task, (I’ve seen it referred to as the 2-4-8 test). It is the best exercise I’ve ever seen for demonstrating the perils of confirmation bias.  It [...]

The Patriots, the Nobel Laureate, and the power of uncertainty

Chemistry Nobel Laureate Roderick MacKinnon has done a wonderful (by which I mean numerically sound) analysis of the analysis of the Patriots’ footballs.  This is yet another example of the cost of not understanding uncertainty:  was it $2 million?  If Brady would like me to teach him, I’ll take a mere half of that. Analysis of [...]

Effect and substance, not p

There is an excellent resource by Paul Ellis at: http://effectsizefaq.com where I just clicked on http://effectsizefaq.com/2010/05/30/how-do-researchers-confuse-statistical-with-substantive-significance/ This page talks about the problem with p-level being the be-all and end-all of way too many scientific studies.  You might be aware that there is discussion about this in the scientific literature.  (I think statisticians deserve prizes for [...]

Graphing advice

How to Make Truly Terrible Graphs: A Tutorial David L. Streiner, special guest contributor and co-author of excellent statistics texts Part 1 – Introduction   In 1968, when I was writing up my doctoral thesis, I needed to make some graphs showing how the different groups changed over time under various conditions. There were no [...]

Kill My Book

Flashy new techniques get a lot of press, sometimes deservedly so:  technical breakthroughs often lead to breakthroughs in understanding as well.  But in the struggle for game-changing insights and the fame (funding) they bring, the tried, and more importantly true, gets lost in the shuffle.  The person who has to teach the intro class is pitied, [...]

Bayes explained very nicely

http://meandering-through-mathematics.blogspot.com/2011/05/bayesian-theory.html I found this link to be a very helpful description of Bayes’ theorem.    

Great Stats Blog Site

A recent post on the Simply Statistics blog takes on a sort-of-hot topic in statistics: what errors actually matter, and how are they best quantified and reported when you are using statistics to infer something about a population.  Best, in this case, means best at making accurate predictions.  The two camps are the Frequentists and the [...]

Birth of the Blog

This blog, like the book Lab Math from which it springs (incompletely formed), will be about numbers. I will endeavor to:

1. showcase the basic and the practical, not the challenging or even the advanced;

2.. provide straightforward guidance for the unenthusiastic (“just do it exactly this way”);

3.. provide refreshers for those needing refreshment (whether they know it or not.)