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Can ‘regression to the mean’ explain the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’?

The title of this post is the question behind a news article, “The Dunning-Kruger Effect is Probably Not Real,” by Jonathan Jarry, sent to me by Herman Carstens.  Jarry’s article is interesting, but I don’t like its title because I don’t like the framing of this sort of effect as “real” or “not real.”  I think that all these sorts of effects are real, but they vary:  sometimes the effects are large, sometimes they’re small, sometimes they’re positive and sometimes negative.  So the real question is not, “Are these effects real?”, but “What’s really going on?”

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Can ‘regression to the mean’ explain the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’?
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COVID-induced nightmare for a big school in a developing country

It is important for us to appreciate the challenges facing education around the world, particularly in developing countries.  Following a recent post by Monday Osagie Adenomon, “Data speak louder than words” (22 June 2021), I decided to add to the conversation, by reflecting on my experiences as an educator in another African country.

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The devil is in the detail

On August 2, 2021, the US government announced it had met its goal of 70% vaccinated. But what does that mean? 70% of what? And what does vaccinated mean? Well, they meant that 70% of US adults has received at least one dose of vaccine. That actually means 59% of the population in the United States has received at least one shot (and thereby are fairly well protected against the COVID-19 disease with the possible exception of the delta variant). It corresponds to 69% of those 12 and over (who are eligible for the vaccine in the US). But in terms of the entire population, those fully vaccinated (with one or two doses, depending on the vaccine used) make up 50%. The risk of catching the disease for vaccinated people is relatively low, but much higher for unvaccinated individuals.

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The devil is in the detail
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Coronavirus baby bust?

Early in the pandemic, people started speculating about potential effects on birth rates. I started talking about news and research that asked the question, “Will coronavirus cause a baby boom, or is that just a myth?” At the time, I ended with a not-so-satisfying “we’ll know in about 9 months.”

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Coronavirus baby bust?
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Data speak louder than words

Nigeria is blessed with both natural and human resources. For this reason, it is often referred to as the giant of Africa. Harnessing these resources to increase the potential of Nigerians through increased employment, quality education and entrepreneurship cannot be down played.

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Data speak louder than words
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One country’s problem, nobody’s problem, everybody’s problem

When we think about massive migrations and humanitarian crises in the last five to ten years, we probably first picture the migrant waves caused by the conflict in Syria that started in 2011. After 10 years of civil war, 6.6 million people have been forced out of that country, and, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 6.7 million more remain internally displaced. More than 90% of Syrian migrants have found refuge in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Migrants also flee to European countries like Greece, Germany, and Sweden. This unfortunate and sad episode of human suffering might eclipse the second largest migratory movement and humanitarian crisis of recent years: the Venezuelan diaspora.

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One country’s problem, nobody’s problem, everybody’s problem
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Where will the rocket land?

“No, you are almost certainly not going to be hit by a 10-story, 23-ton piece of a rocket hurtling back to Earth. That said, the chances are not zero.”  Thus The New York Times on May 6 writing about the impending reentry of the first stage of the Chinese CZ-5B rocket, which had been launched the day before to test a spacecraft prototype.  Unlike most rockets sent into orbit these days, which are designed to either burn up in the atmosphere or land in the ocean, this rocket stage would experience an “uncontrolled re-entry” and crash in an unknown location.

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Where will the rocket land?
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Peanut butter, anyone?

There is a lot of talk about how this ghastly pandemic is affecting the economy. The other day, I came across an article in the The New York Times which focused on one facet of this topic: inflation in the UK. Forecasting inflation right now is difficult because of the pandemic: sudden changes in consumer spending, disruptions in supply chains, and government interventions ameliorate its effects.

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Peanut butter, anyone?
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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