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How data privacy methods can hide the real data story

When state governments within the United States issued stay-at-home orders in 2020, companies started providing interactive data visualizations and dashboards to show how well or not so well certain regions of the United States were social distancing. Unacast, a technology company out of New York state, was one of them. They gathered smartphone data from up to 15 percent of people in every county of the United States, and then assigned grades to each state based on how much smartphone users traveled after COVID-19 related closures, compared to before.

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How data privacy methods can hide the real data story
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Nuclear power and whale-hunting: The power of irrational thinking

Greenland holds parliamentary elections these days. Ample opportunities for a statistical mind to wonder if the world has gone mad. Being on the cusp of retiring from about 10 years in the political circus I do know well that the object of desire is not truth, but votes. I know that if a large enough segment of potential voters has a firm belief, it is risky to estrange them with facts.

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Nuclear power and whale-hunting: The power of irrational thinking
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Data Engineers and Data Scientists in Statistics Education: University programs and teamwork

Are “data scientist” and “data engineer” different titles for someone doing the same type of work?  Or do they present two different attitudes toward solving the same problems? Since data science has become a buzzword, internet discussions like this one have not stopped.  Recently, several bloggers used “Data Engineers versus Data Scientists” as titles for their articles to express their views on these “terminologies” or “professions.”  

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Data Engineers and Data Scientists in Statistics Education: University programs and teamwork
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Data for whom? Being mindful of racial disparities

As the United States makes progress towards a state of “normality,” the country has set an incredible pace for vaccine production and distribution. But what information is lost in the big picture?

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Data for whom? Being mindful of racial disparities
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Missing the evidence

A story in the Guardian on February 28 is headlined Pfizer vaccine may be less effective in people with obesity, says study. As the story says, the ‘study’ in question is a preprint. That’s not necessarily a problem; preprints have been a valuable source of up-to-date information during the Covid pandemic, at least when used with care.

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Missing the evidence
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How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics

Logical versus emotional motives. Perceptions versus observed numbers. We are always facing a fight between two sides of the same coin. When we feel anxious, scared, or worried, we look for certainty. Several examples arise in day-life activities. 

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How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics
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Is early treatment for COVID-19 possible?

The current Brazilian government has been prolific in atypical practices since its coming to power in 2019. The handling of issues related to the current COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.  This post addresses recent government announcements related to the pandemic and the ensuing reactions it arose. 

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Is early treatment for COVID-19 possible?
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The Way of the Statistician and the Way of the Physicist

The rules of evidence as presented in statistics textbooks are not the same as the informal criteria that statisticians and practitioners use in deciding what methods to use.  What are the similarities and differences between statistical thinking and the modeling done in the physical sciences?

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The Way of the Statistician and the Way of the Physicist
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People are not plants … and a little meditation

On this Groundhog Day, I should be focused on how many weeks are left in winter.  Instead, I still find myself in that period of reflection spurred on by the arbitrary change of number associated with our calendar.  As for many, 2020 was marked by much change in my life. I attribute much of the positive to attempts to build various mindfulness practices into my life.  As a statistician, I often find myself in a tension between caring and not caring about results of research on such practices.  Why the tension?

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People are not plants … and a little meditation