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from complexity, universality

A brief tour of the mysteriously universal laws of mathematics and nature. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 24, 2010 - 33 comments

World Statistics Day!

20.10.2010 is World Statistics Day, so help yourself to a metric (haha sorry) ton of publicly available data at UNdata, ICSPR (registration required to download data sets), and data.gov (previously). You can also explore, visualize and animate a variety of publicly available data sets with Google Labs' Public Data Explorer.
posted by cog_nate on Oct 20, 2010 - 14 comments

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science.

'Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong.' Dr. John P. A. Ioannidis, adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Medicine is a meta-researcher. 'He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Oct 18, 2010 - 68 comments

Kinsey, 60 years later

The Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, has investigated in 2009 sexual practices in the USA. The results are reported in this month's Special Issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. (The full text is available behind a short anonymous online survey.) [more inside]
posted by knz on Oct 15, 2010 - 14 comments

Cost of Murder

A team of researchers at Iowa State University has found that a murder costs more than $17.25 Million to society. [via]
posted by AceRock on Oct 11, 2010 - 64 comments

A Tour through the Visualization Zoo

A Tour through the Visualization Zoo. A survey of powerful visualization techniques, from the obvious to the obscure.
posted by AceRock on Oct 1, 2010 - 7 comments

We're number 1,2,3,or 4, or at least we were in 2005, we're reasonably sure.

After five years of number-crunching and methodological controversy, the NRC's rankings of US graduate programs were released today, three years after the target date and fifteen since the previous ranking. Peruse the results at phds.org. Instead of numerical ratings, the NRC released two rankings, the "R-ranking" and the "S-ranking", each one with a wide error bar around it. Confused yet? Brian Leiter thinks the philosophy rankings "qualify as somewhere between "odd" and "inexplicable."" The University of Washington's CS department says their ranking of 15-32 is "clearly erroneous." Obviously, the only appropriate response is to compute asymptotic formulae for the number of possible fuzzy rankings.
posted by escabeche on Sep 28, 2010 - 40 comments

1 in 38,000,000

You are more likely to be killed by a pig than a shark. You run a greater risk of dying from an asteroid impact than a terrorist attack. You would have to fly an average of 38,000 years in commercial aviation before suffering a fatal crash. The fears parents have for their children have nothing in common to what will actually kill or hurt them. Our perception of risk has very little relation to threat: some helpful visual guides [PDF] and reasons why.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 9, 2010 - 124 comments

They like Diet Coke.

The REAL ‘Stuff White People Like'
posted by cmoj on Sep 8, 2010 - 233 comments

There can only be One

It's a simple concept: Given a choice between two random movies, which one do you like best? That's the driving force behind Flickchart, an addictive review site for movie lovers. Faced with two posters, click the one for the title you prefer (weeding out the ones you haven't seen). Good! Now do it again. And again. And again. With each new face-off, Flickchart perfects a growing list of your favorite films -- and there can be no ties. This leads to some difficult dilemmas: Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark? Citizen Kane or The Godfather? WALL-E or Spirited Away? But you needn't struggle alone -- Flickchart is also social. By drawing on the data of tens of thousands of fellow users, you can create remarkably specific lists: Martin Scorsese's Best Period Films. The Best Road Movies of the 1980s. The Worst Movies of All Time. If you rank enough films, you can generate interesting personalized charts, like "Your Favorite Musicals" or "The Best Movies You Haven't Seen." These filters carry over to the ranking system, letting you judge nothing but Horror movies or 1960s movies or unranked movies or movies from your top 100. You can also comment on popular match-ups, lending your voice to contentious debates like Ghostbusters vs. Back to the Future or Jaws vs. Predator. Not a movie fan? Don't worry. Flickchart will be expanding into books, games, and music soon. Until then, you can give your own data sets the Flickchart treatment using this tool from CNN. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 3, 2010 - 202 comments

Wikileaks Emotional Diary of September 11th

In an attempt to make sense of the 6.4 million words that comprise the more than 573.000 paged lines in the wikileaks 9/11 pager intercept data, researchers Mitja Back, Albrecht Kuefner, and Boris Egloff from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, have now conducted a statistical analysis of the emotional content of these pages.
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 3, 2010 - 7 comments

A Very Lucky Wind

Do we live in a world where there is magic and meaning, or is it all just chance? Radiolab meets two young women who share a nearly unbelievable story of coincidence and fate. Then they consult with statisticians for a very different take on the same story. This short audio documentary is charming and delightful. A Lucky Wind won a Best Documentary: Honorable Mention Award in the 2009 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition as well as the 2009 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award (Radio Documentary). [more inside]
posted by storybored on Aug 25, 2010 - 92 comments

Independent Political Blog FiveThirtyEight.com has been absorbed by the New York Times

FiveThirtyEight.com is no more! Long Live Five Thirty Eight! Independent political statistics blog FiveThirtyEight.com has been absorbed by the New York Times. Nate Silver, the stats genius, baseball freak and predictor of 49 of 50 states in the last presidential election began his blog on DailyKos. As of this morning, the blog has moved to the New York Times. [more inside]
posted by Ironmouth on Aug 25, 2010 - 60 comments

More hot stats from OKCupid

OK Cupid statistics fun: We collected 552,000 example user pictures. We paired them up and asked people to make snap judgments. Here's what we found.
posted by nomadicink on Aug 10, 2010 - 109 comments

Online statistics textbook

Interested in teaching yourself some statistics? Here is an excellent online and interactive statistics textbook developed at UC Berkeley, and also used at CUNY, UCSC, SJSU, and Bard. Here is the syllabus for the course at Berkeley. And here are some insightful reflections from the professor on developing Berkeley's first fully approved online course.
posted by AceRock on Aug 9, 2010 - 18 comments

Dynamic Linear Modelling

It has applications in Economics, Biology, Pharmaceuticals, and is rooted in State Space Modeling, which with Kalman Filtering (paper, breakdown [warning: long]) was used in the Apollo program. Dynamic Linear Models are gaining in popularity. There exists an R package, and both a short doc and a really great (read: worth buying) book (sorry, not a download, but here's chapter 2) by Giovanni Petris, Sonia Petrone, and Patrizia Campagnoli with its own little website.
posted by JoeXIII007 on Jul 30, 2010 - 14 comments

Global Broadband Statistical Porn

Global Broadband Statistical Porn (SFW) (via) [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Jul 29, 2010 - 22 comments

After the break, it's UK 1997 vs UK 2009

How Britain has changed since 1997
posted by Gyan on Jul 10, 2010 - 44 comments

Murders in Mexico

Statistical Analysis and Visualization of the Drug War in Mexico
posted by daksya on Jul 7, 2010 - 22 comments

Lies, Damn Lies, and Daily Kos polls

For the past year and a half, Daily Kos has been running weekly polls from the respected polling firm, Research 2000. Earlier this month, former Daily Kos diarist Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight published a rating of pollsters that placed R2k near the bottom, leading Markos to fire R2K. Today, Markos alleges that R2K committed fraud, publishing a study of their results by independent statisticians. He promises to sue.
posted by empath on Jun 29, 2010 - 91 comments

R for the Rest of Us

R is powerful, but tricky. RKWard is an UI that make R user friendly or, at least, make it more similar to SPSS or Stata. Screenshots!
posted by - on Apr 29, 2010 - 25 comments

"Enhance 15 to 23. Give me a hard copy right there."

Image Error Level Analyser [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 5, 2010 - 30 comments

stimulusing

Veronique de Rugy, NRO contributor and George Mason fellow, says her research indicates that stimulus funding was disproportionately directed towards Democratic congressional districts. Nate Silver begs to disagree. De Rugy responds here; Silver responds here. Others say that this is a model "for the quick, effective peer-review that the internet facilitates." Perhaps this is a new model for peer review?
posted by lalex on Apr 3, 2010 - 27 comments

The Tyranny of the P-Value

Significantly what?...Or how our most common statistical methods really weren't meant to be used that way and why that study result is likely spurious. Since mefites like to argue about stats, here's some background for us all (and I'm not talking correlation vs causation)!
posted by mandymanwasregistered on Mar 18, 2010 - 51 comments

DNA’s Dirty Little Secret

DNA’s Dirty Little Secret: A forensic tool renowned for exonerating the innocent may actually be putting them in prison.
posted by homunculus on Mar 6, 2010 - 40 comments

The R Project for Statistical Computing

R is quickly becoming the programming language for data analysis and statistics. R (an implementation of S) is free, open-source, and has hundreds of packages available. You can use it on the command-line, through a GUI, or in your favorite text editor. Use it with Python, Perl, or Java. Sweave R code into LaTeX documents for reproducible research. [more inside]
posted by parudox on Feb 15, 2010 - 114 comments

Mercenary Epidemiology

Mercenary Epidemiology: Data Reanalysis and Reinterpretation for Sponsors With Financial Interest in the Outcome. (.pdf link) When should scientists be required to release their raw data for (potentially hostile) re-analysis? A letter to the editors of Annals of Epidemiology from David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, public health blogger, author of the book Doubt Is Their Product, and, as of December 2009, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, unanimously confirmed by the Senate despite the dismay of some. Michaels interviewed at Science Progress about Doubt Is Their Product (podcast, with transcript.)
posted by escabeche on Feb 11, 2010 - 9 comments

Facebook Regions of America

Researcher uses data regarding connections on facebook to map distinct regions of the United States.
posted by jefficator on Feb 9, 2010 - 55 comments

The race is on.

"We’ve processed the messaging habits of almost a million people and are about to basically prove that, despite what you might’ve heard from the Obama campaign and organic cereal commercials, racism is alive and well." The people who run the dating site OkCupid continue to analyze the aggregate data of their users, shedding light on preferences and behavior. The most recent OkTrends post takes a look at their compiled racial data: Your Race Affects Whether People Write You Back. (previously 1 2)
posted by naju on Oct 7, 2009 - 459 comments

hi cutie ur realy sexy. msn?

How (not) to write an online-dating message, based on a sample of 500,000 "first contact" messages. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Sep 14, 2009 - 79 comments

Death Risk Rankings

"Death Risk Rankings calculates your risk of dying in the next year and allows you to compare that risk to others in the world." Fun with mortality data and statistics from Carnegie Mellon University.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 4, 2009 - 28 comments

Common Sense

C0nc0rdance [sytl] asks; How far should we trust common sense? A less than 9 min video on Common Sense as it relates to Science. Enjoy.
posted by nola on Aug 30, 2009 - 30 comments

And you can fit the entire world's population, shoulder to shoulder, on the Isle of Wight

What if we condensed the UK into a village of 100 people? The Independent experiment with demographics.
posted by mippy on Jul 21, 2009 - 111 comments

Peering into your neighbors' windows (in aggregate)

The fine folks at OkCupid, the dating site, have begun to analyze aggregate data from the questions their users answer to form dating profiles, revealing, among other things, that users in Nevada are more open to rape fanstasies than those from Michigan. [more inside]
posted by dammitjim on Jun 30, 2009 - 60 comments

Does your son's name end with the letter "n"?

Andrew Gelman recently posted this strange trend in baby naming originally posted on Laura Wattenberg's blog in 2007. Why do so many boys' names now end with the letter "n"?
posted by srs on May 14, 2009 - 156 comments

Baseball Statistics Pornography

Mariano's Gonna Cut You, and other stat-and-graph filled baseball analysis from Beyond the Boxscore. [more inside]
posted by Mach5 on Mar 27, 2009 - 12 comments

Wikirank

Wikirank is an analytical tool that measures the popularity of trending topics on wikipedia. You can compare up to four topics and generate nifty embeddable graphs.
posted by peacay on Mar 26, 2009 - 9 comments

Silver's Picks for the Silver Screen

He predicted a losing season for the White Sox in 2007 and foresaw that the Tampa Bay Rays would be the best team in the American League in 2008, although he wrongly predicted that the Rays would win the World Series. He also predicted Obama's 6-point victory over McCain. Now the stats guru Nate Silver is picking the Oscar winners and predicting an upset win for Taraji P. Henson in the Best Supporting Actress category.
posted by jonp72 on Feb 19, 2009 - 30 comments

If X is Kobe Bryant and Y is the ball...

The selfless NBA stats geek, by Michael Lewis. Michael Lewis previously on mefi [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Feb 14, 2009 - 32 comments

Digital Research Tools PayDiRT

Digital Research Tools (DiRT) is a wiki created by Lisa Spiro, director of Rice University's Digital Media Center. Tons of "snapshot reviews of software that can help researchers" are categorized by what you're trying to accomplish ("Analyze Statistics," "Network With Other Researchers," "Search Visually"), as well as by general topic ("Authoring," "Linguistic Tools," "Text Analysis"). Via
posted by Rykey on Feb 4, 2009 - 5 comments

Harper's Index: Bush Retrospective

Special 3-page edition of Harper’s Index: A retrospective of the Bush era.
posted by Non Prosequitur on Jan 13, 2009 - 37 comments

Be careful drawing conclusions from this data

StateStats: Explore the popularity of search queries in U.S. states [more inside]
posted by sambosambo on Dec 4, 2008 - 40 comments

Of All the People in the World

Of all the People in the World "uses grains of rice to bring formally abstract statistics to startling and powerful life" . via
posted by Dormant Gorilla on Oct 30, 2008 - 13 comments

Black Swans and The Fourth Quadrant

THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. "In the following Edge original essay, Taleb continues his examination of Black Swans, the highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact. He claims that those who are putting society at risk are "no true statisticians", merely people using statistics either without understanding them, or in a self-serving manner.
posted by vronsky on Sep 16, 2008 - 41 comments

Craigstistics

Craigslistindex graphs data pulled from Craigslist listings. [more inside]
posted by Korou on Sep 11, 2008 - 13 comments

Lies, damned lies, and graphs

Graph your life at MIT's Mycrocosm. Simple interface. Interesting potential. Worrying about. Freelance: No Idea What the Hell Is Going On. Food and Liquid Consumption. Also allows for sharing datasets with other users.
posted by artifarce on Sep 8, 2008 - 10 comments

The sharks are just jealous of our ice cream

BBC News is running a weekly ongoing series of articles that describe and illustrate common misconceptions (and manipulations) of statistics using examples from the news and ads.
Lesson 1: surveys. Lesson 2: counting. Lesson 3: percentage. Lesson 4: averages. Lesson 5: causation.
posted by Tehanu on Sep 3, 2008 - 46 comments

Our Phony Economy.

Our Phony Economy. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Aug 12, 2008 - 102 comments

Government spending and tax levels

Want to know how government spending and taxation levels have gone up or down over the last 20 years, and how they compare with other countries? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has a handy set of tables (Excel, HTML-ized by Google): total spending, total revenues, fiscal surplus or deficit (Norway's surplus is 17% of GDP). Part of the statistical tables for the semi-annual OECD Outlook.
posted by russilwvong on May 30, 2008 - 6 comments

Are US Inflation and Employment Underestimated?

"Hard Numbers: The Economy is Worse than You Know" [full article for Harper's subscribers, a different abridged version] discusses how the Consumer Price Index and other US economic statistics have been manipulated over time. Among other things, the article claims, these changes make Social Security checks 70% lower than they would otherwise be. [more inside]
posted by salvia on May 5, 2008 - 73 comments

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