Posted on

Numbers and their baggage

Numbers often get the spotlight in news stories.  Sometimes they deserve the front stage as valuable information describing a situation that would be hard, if not impossible, to adequately capture without them.  But, they can also easily mislead.  All numbers in the news come with baggage. For some numbers, the baggage is out in the open like a carry on, but for many it is of unknown form, size, and weight – and hidden deep in the baggage compartment.

Continue reading “Numbers and their baggage”
Numbers and their baggage
Posted on

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. 

Continue reading “How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics”
How to save yourself using a bit of logic and statistics
Posted on

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?

Continue reading “The Way of the Statistician and the Way of the Physicist”
The Way of the Statistician and the Way of the Physicist
Posted on

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?

Continue reading “People are not plants … and a little meditation”
People are not plants … and a little meditation
Posted on

Uncertainty and prediction

A Danish proverb asserts that Prediction is hard – especially about the future. Prediction is especially hard when it comes to describing uncertainty. Today, the US votes (or finishes voting) on the next President, and there is a lot of interest in forecasting, formal or informal.

Continue reading “Uncertainty and prediction”
Uncertainty and prediction