351 posts tagged with statistics.
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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 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


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

If it ain't a mess, it'll do till the mess gets here

Statistics compiled by State Senator Eliot Shapleigh in the state's annual ranking, entitled "Texas on the Brink" report dreary news in just about all categories used to characterize standards of living, from education to health to enfranchisement. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 15, 2008 - 15 comments

US Presidential Greatness as a Function of Experience

Is an Experienced President a Good President?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 10, 2008 - 92 comments

Put away your asterisks

Steroids, "Other Drugs," and Baseball: a Voice of Scepticism on the Impact of Steroids on Major League Baseball. Eric Walker suggests a "juiced" ball made much more of an effect than PEDs.
posted by mrgrimm on Jan 28, 2008 - 32 comments

95% of gaijin demand 70% more pie charts

Election poll fatigue? Diversify your daily dose of stats with What Japan Thinks. Check out Japan's favorite emoticons, thoughts on drinking vinegar, and of course awwcats. [more inside]
posted by soma lkzx on Jan 25, 2008 - 28 comments

Convicted by Statistics?

Dutch nurse Lucia De Berk has had her case reopened 5 years after her conviction for multiple counts of murdering her patients. [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Jan 4, 2008 - 6 comments

US Census Bureau's DataWeb

TheDataWeb - a network of online data libraries on topics including census data, economic data, health data, income and unemployment data, population data, labor data, cancer data, crime and transportation data, family dynamics, vital statistics data
posted by Gyan on Dec 26, 2007 - 10 comments

Animal Planet investigates alcoholism in monkeys

"Significantly, the percentage of monkeys and humans who avoid alcohol is the same." [YouTube]
posted by finite on Dec 10, 2007 - 28 comments

Global Development By The Numbers

The new UN Human Development Report is out. Lots of interesting stuff on climate change. But for me, nothing beats the Human Development Index, a number that means different things to different people.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Nov 28, 2007 - 8 comments

10.8% say, "shove it."

How depressing is your job? The Office of Applied Studies, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, released a report ranking various occupations in order of the number of depressive episodes experienced by workers. "Personal Care & Service" occupations (defined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics here) top the list. One wonders if these are the occupations contributing to the growth of the so-called "service economy," and if so, are we heading for a deepening national malaise?
posted by univac on Oct 13, 2007 - 51 comments

The Price of Fame

Brad Laidman critiques the findings from the Centre For Public Health at Liverpool John Moore University report [pdf] 'Elvis to Eminem: quantifying the price of fame through early mortality of European and North American rock and pop stars.' [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Sep 14, 2007 - 25 comments

Is There Such a Thing as Sexual Honesty?

National Center for Health Statistics says the median for heterosexual men is seven partners and for heterosexual women it’s four, and isn't that just plain BS? The New York Times has looked at the NCHS study and found The Myth, the Math, the Sex while Salon explained that Chaste women + promiscuous men = impossible. Now Janet W. Hardy, the author of The Ethical Slut, reminds us either men are rounding up or women are rounding down. Then she does something radical by admitting that she has honestly, depending on your definition, perhaps hundreds of lovers. Is either gender ready to be honest about sex? For instance, do hookers or blackout sex even count?
posted by PeteNicely on Aug 17, 2007 - 83 comments

Baseball Stat of the Day Blog

What's the fewest number of pitches pitched in a complete game? How many times has a relieving pitcher been awarded a win without even facing a batter? How many different pitchers has Julio Franco faced? What's the greatest number of hits in a game where all of them are home runs? Who's hit the most grand slams in the ninth or extra innings? These questions and many (many) more at Baseball-reference.com's fantastic Stat of the Day blog.
posted by Plutor on Aug 2, 2007 - 34 comments

The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.

The progression of obesity in America (where one's BMI is greater than 30) from 1985 to 2005.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 28, 2007 - 108 comments

NBA Player-Season Map

Completely amazing graph of every NBA player for every season in which he played at least five minutes since 1979. Points Per Game are on the Y-Axis, sum total of every other stat on the X-axis, with the data points colored with RGB depending on the player's statistical tendencies during that season. Full explanation of methodology here. Gigantic monitor recommended. Via the always excellent TrueHoop.
posted by Kwine on Jul 12, 2007 - 20 comments

The Leaden Echo and The Golden Echo - Early Childhood Lead Exposure and Criminal Activity Later In Life

...Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning. The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives. What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries...
Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity
Research Links Childhood Lead Exposure to Changes in Violent Crime Rates Throughout the 20th Century    (PDF)
posted by y2karl on Jul 8, 2007 - 56 comments

Closer to the heart

"In 2003, Americans spent an estimated US$5,635 per capita on health care, while Canadians spent US$3,003... Canada’s single-payer system, which relies on not-for-profit delivery, achieves health outcomes that are at least equal to those in the United States at two-thirds the cost." What do wealthy, educated Americans living in Canada think?
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 3, 2007 - 137 comments

How many abortions o'clock is it?

World Clock SWF application showing the time of day expressed in actual time, the number of species passed into extinction, barrels of oil produced, the temperature of the earth, prison population, world population, and deaths by various causes. Because, y'know, you weren't depressed enough already. Site also offers a number of free games, calculators and applications for your own site.
posted by psmealey on Jun 30, 2007 - 36 comments

Church Locking in England

Church Locking: shattering the myth that "all churches are locked". With the aim of visiting every church in England and recording whether it is kept locked or unlocked, this ten-year-old 'side project' now has statistics by county and diocese, county maps, and a map of the country showing their progress.
posted by chrismear on May 16, 2007 - 29 comments

121 pints of tears on the wall, 121 pints of tears...

"The average person will eat over 10,000 bars of chocolate, shed 121 pints of tears and have sex more than 4,200 times". A documentary airing tonight in the UK is attempting a new method of visualizing statistics related to an individual's impact on the environment. Human Footprint is scheduled to air on Channel 4 at 9PM GMT. There is a "calculator" you can use to get the statistics adjusted for your age (and give you a little more data behind the statistics if you can sit through a page by page flash demo).
posted by notmtwain on Apr 25, 2007 - 29 comments

congress ordered study on abstinence programs backfires

Mathematica Policy Research Inc. released the findings of their study on government funded abstinence programs. The results? Not so great for the abstinence programs, or the federal & state governments which combined spend $80+ million funding the programs. The major findings were that the abstinence programs they studied had no correlation with a decreased level of sexual activity in the population of teens they surveyed. Interestingly, one of the programs they studied was a voluntary after school program consisting of daily 2.5 hour sessions with enrollment beginning at grade 3 and continuing into the 8th grade, and even that program didn't produce a significantly higher number of abstinent teens. The study was ordered by Congress. You can read the full study here (pdf, 164 pages.)
posted by nerdcore on Apr 13, 2007 - 61 comments

The Number

Whatever one's opinion of its possible limitations, the 2006 Iraq mortality survey produced epidemiological evidence that coalition forces have failed to protect Iraqi civilians... If, for the sake of argument, the study is wrong and the number of Iraqi deaths is less than half the infamous figure, is it acceptable that "only" 300,000 have died? Last November, with no explanation, the Iraqi Ministry of Health suddenly began citing 150,000 dead, five times its previous estimate. Is that amount of death acceptable? In January, the United Nations reported that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed violently in the last year alone. Is that acceptable?
Regarding The Number, the result of what one of the study's authors calls an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide... [more within]
posted by y2karl on Mar 7, 2007 - 44 comments

The decline of rape aka feel free to walk on my lawn

The three-decade decline in teenage and young-adult rape accompanies huge drops in all crimes -- murder, assault, drug abuse and property -- committed by youth... Women's rapidly rising status and economic independence in the larger society fostered new attitudes and laws that rejected violence against women. That younger people growing up in this environment of greater gender equality should show the biggest decreases in rape, while older generations lag behind, is consistent with this explanation... Over the last 30 years, rape arrest rates have fallen by 80% among Californians under age 15, much larger than the 25% drop among residents age 40 and older.
The decline of rape
So, kids today are different.
posted by y2karl on Feb 22, 2007 - 93 comments

US Energy Flows

Lawrence Livermore National Lab produces fascinating charts of energy flow in the US (more). More energy use statisitics can be found at the Energy Information Administration.
posted by pombe on Feb 16, 2007 - 30 comments

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