Category Archive: Math

Nov 13 2013

Statisticians need to see how experimental science really works, then shut up about it

This kind of irks me. The plague of non-reproducibility in science may be mostly due to scientists’ use of weak statistical tests, as shown by an innovative method developed by statistician Valen Johnson, at Texas A&M University in College Station. The article goes on to specify an amazing new Bayesian test the person invented which …

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Oct 03 2013

Jeopardy contestants don't know good game theory

Two things demonstrate to me that Jeopardy contestants don't understand rudimentary game theory. Case 1: In many cases you have a score where one person is way ahead, and the other two trail by an amount so that it's a "run-away", meaning that even if the second place contestant bet the maximum amount in final …

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Jul 26 2013

Hollywood's box office debacle this summer is not hard to understand


Via Slashdot: In the weeks since Spielberg’s prediction, six wannabe blockbusters have cratered at the North American box office: “R.I.P.D.,” “Turbo,” “After Earth,” “White House Down,” “Pacific Rim,” and “The Lone Ranger.” These films featured big stars, bigger explosions, and top-notch special effects—exactly the sort of summer spectacle that ordinarily assures a solid run at …

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Nov 04 2012

Calling Republicans the party of racism is questionable


Bill Maher is fond of repeating his line: "Being a Republican doesn't make you a racist, but if you're a racist you're probably a Republican." This attitude has obvious anecdotal examples to support it. The numerous racist signs shown at Tea Party rallies, the incredibly low minority support for and participation in the GOP, things …

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Oct 15 2012

Understanding polls (part 2)

Source: St. Louis Fed

In a previous installment, I showed the results of sampling a population to determine some fact: In that case, it was a hypothetical measurement of the number supporting Obama. By taking 50 "people" at random in the set and tabulating their responses, one gets a rough estimate of the actual proportion of the population who …

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