Last September, in my efforts to recover from a knee injury, I hired a personal trainer. When we made the original plan, it ended on 31 December 2021 and he added the slogan “New Year, New You” to the plan. It’s the new year and, thankfully, big progress. I just committed for another three months and I’m really looking forward to every single upcoming workout. It’s fun! However, like many new things, there are new insights and … surprise surprise, some are statistical.Continue reading “Significant fitness”
There are lots of sources for data on Covid-19. Many of them just take data from government or hospital sources, and let you compare them however you want to. Others are a little more careful. Financial Times data journalists outline some of the problems:
Continue reading “What is the use of lots of data when we don’t know what they mean?”
Comparing the spread of coronavirus in different countries is difficult using the data being released by governments. Confirmed case counts depend heavily on the extent of countries’ very different testing regimes, so higher totals may simply reflect more testing.
Deaths are somewhat more reliable, but remain problematic because countries have different rules for what deaths to include in their official numbers.
Last week, references to a “median person” showed up enough times in my life to spur me to write this post. I think the use of an “average person” is still more popular, but this “median person” seems to be gaining popularity too. Regardless, as attached to a person, the concept is essentially the same – it’s an appealing way to take a collection of averages (or medians) calculated for each of many measured characteristics and conceptually construct a new individual, as least hypothetically. The question that doesn’t get asked enough — Who, if anyone, does an individual constructed in this way actually “look” like?Continue reading “How typical is a “median person”?”
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?”Continue reading “Can ‘regression to the mean’ explain the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’?”
More exposure means more opportunities to mutate. More selection pressure means more variants. This is certainly true for COVID-19 and it might also be true for political rhetoric. The many additional news conferences, press briefings and talk radio slots brought on by the pandemic are perfect conditions for breeding new sound bites and rhetorical tricks. Angry journalists and members of the public provide the selection pressure, weeding out the phrases that fall flat.Continue reading “There’s no evidence that …”
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?Continue reading “The Way of the Statistician and the Way of the Physicist”
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?Continue reading “People are not plants … and a little meditation”
While most state leaders worldwide are busy securing a supply of COVID-19 vaccines, almost half of the Filipinos are reluctant to get vaccinated according to Pulse Asia Survey conducted from November 23 to December 2, 2020. This is a bit higher than the September 2020 report from Social Weather Stations survey showing only about 31% of Filipinos would refuse COVID-19 vaccines.Continue reading “Would you take that vaccine?”
Writers from both inside and outside statistics have taught me a great deal about thinking about data, data analysis, statistics, measurement AND about communicating statistics to the public. I have been inspired, and my thinking has been shaped by these contributions. I want to share some recommendations in this post.Continue reading “Statistician reacting to Statisticians (and others) reacting to the news: A meta-post with reading recommendations”
No, I’m not a statistician. I’m one of those biologists who, for decades, misused null hypothesis significance testing for testing hypotheses.Continue reading “Statistics is for statisticians”