Tails of the Unexpected:
"Normality has been an accepted wisdom in economics and finance for a century or more. Yet in real-world systems, nothing could be less normal than normality. Tails should not be unexpected, for they are the rule." An eminently human-readable explanation of why normal models fail to describe the uncertainties of our abnormal world. [more inside]
posted by ecmendenhall
on Jun 9, 2012 -
Last night, author and farmer Wendell Berry delivered a powerful lecture
[video; full text here
includes portions not delivered verbally] to a full house on the occasion of his accepting the National Endowment of the Humanities' Jefferson Award. The famous PC holdout
has appeared previously
in the blue, but this lecture is not to be missed. Here is soul nourishment for the long-time Berry follower, and for the newcomer a superb introduction to one of our time's greatest intellects. [more inside]
posted by maniabug
on Apr 25, 2012 -
is an exhaustive website devoted to the life
and works of the statistical pioneer and "father of eugenics" Francis Galton, inventor of the scatterplot, the correlation coefficient, fingerprint identification, and who knows what else. Almost all of Galton's books
are reproduced here, some in scanned form and some in searchable .pdf, from his major books to his letters to Pigeon Fancier's Journal
. A short selection after the fold. [more inside]
posted by escabeche
on Apr 25, 2012 -
Almost one year after Congressional Republicans tried to limit the definition of rape
to only include "force" (previously
), the Department of Justice is redefining the term--but this time to to expand it dramatically
The outdated definition that has been governing national rape statistics since 1929, “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” has been updated to "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” According to Susan D. Carbon, director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the previous definition “excluded an untold number of victims.” For the first time, men will be included in national rape statistics, as well as those raped while unable to give consent due to intoxication or other mental and physical incapacity.
posted by zombieflanders
on Jan 6, 2012 -
An "Exciting Guide to Probability Distributions" from the University of Oxford: part 1
, part 2
. (Two links to PDFs)
posted by JoeXIII007
on Dec 15, 2011 -
One of the delights of the books and the blog is the authors’ willingness to play with ideas and consider alternative explanations. But unquestioning trust in friends and colleagues combined with the desire to be counterintuitive appear in several cases to have undermined their work. They—and anyone who wishes to convey economics and statistics to a popular audience—just need to take the next step and avoid, in any given example, privileging one story over all other possibilities.Freakonomics: What Went Wrong?
posted by RogerB
on Dec 13, 2011 -
"So, if the probability of finding an egg with two yolks is 1/1000 - then to find the likelihood of discovering four in a row you simply multiply the probabilities together four times. One thousand to the power of four brings us to the grand total of one trillion...
If true that would mean the event that occurred in Jen's kitchen was a trillion-to-one event. But is it true? No is the short answer."
posted by Petrot
on Dec 10, 2011 -
Serum hemoglobin is related to endurance running performance. Smoking is known to enhance serum hemoglobin levels ... alcohol may further enhance this beneficial adaptation.
A recent paper
by Kenneth Myers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
reviews the potential benefits of smoking for endurance atheletes. [more inside]
posted by nangar
on Nov 26, 2011 -
provides a RESTful
interface to the popular open-source statistical package R
, enabling the user to perform calculations and create publication-quality or web-embeddable visualizations via standard web requests.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Nov 10, 2011 -
Florence Nightingale's Statistical Diagrams.
Famous as the mother of modern nursing, she was also an immensely talented applied statistician and visual information artist. These skills were instrumental in persuading 19th century British health authorities to improve hospital hygiene. She originated a graph type now known as “Nightingale's Coxcomb” and used it to dramatic effect. Examples of these graphs were presented in her monograph, “Notes on matters affecting the health, efficiency and hospital administration of the British army” published in 1858. That same year she became the first female fellow of the Statistical Society of London (now Royal Statistical Society). An animation of the coxcombs here
. The Nightingale Crimean War coxcombs are considered by some to be one of the three best graphics in history
. [more inside]
posted by storybored
on Sep 15, 2011 -
Statistical analysis of OKCupid profiles
exposes some sexually fascinating revelations:
like giving oral more than omnivores
- Twitter users are more likely to masturbate today
- Christians and Atheists are just as likely to claim they have never
- The correlation between men who prefer gentle sex & use of the word 'boating'
I f**king love statistics [more inside]
posted by 0bvious
on Aug 31, 2011 -
A corpus analysis of rock harmony
[PDF] - The analyses were encoded using a recursive notation, similar to a context-free grammar, allowing repeating sections to be encoded succinctly. The aggregate data was then subjected to a variety of statistical analyses. We examined the frequency of different chords
and chord transitions ... Other results concern the frequency of different root motions, patterns of
co-occurrence between chords, and changes in harmonic practice across time.
More information, analysis, and explanation here
posted by Wolfdog
on Jul 29, 2011 -
Although much has been said
about the demographic composition of the United States Congress, much less has been said about the thousands of staffers who work behind the scenes, drafting legislation, interacting with constituents, and advising their congressperson. The National Journal has created two infographics
that attempt to describe this silent, but influential workforce.
posted by schmod
on Jun 20, 2011 -