Sunday Data/Statistics Link Roundup (11/11/12)

  1. Statisticians have been deconstructed! I feel vaguely insulted, although I have to admit I’m not even sure I know what the article says. This line is a doozy though: "Statistics always pulls back from the claims it makes…" As a statistician blogger, I make tons of claims. I probably regret some of them, but I’d never take them back :-). 
  2. Following our recent detour into political analysis, Here is a story about the statisticians that helped Obama win the election by identifying blocks of voters/donors that could help lead the campaign to victory. I think there are some lessons here for individualized health. 
  3. XKCD is hating on frequentists! Wasserman and Gelman respond. This is the same mistake I think a lot of critics of P-values make. When used incorrectly, any statistical method makes silly claims. The key is knowing when to use them, regardless of which kind you prefer. 
  4. Another article in the popular press about the shortage of data scientists, in particular “big data” scientists. I also saw a ton of discussion of whether Nate Silver used “big data” in making his predictions. This is another one of those many, many cases where the size of the data is mostly irrelevant; it is knowing the right data to use that is important. 
  5. Apparently math can be physically painful.  I don’t buy it. 

"Unoriginal genius"

"The world is full of texts, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more"

This quote is from an article in the Chronicle Review. I highly recommend reading the article, particularly check out the section on the author’s “Uncreative writing” class at UPenn. The article is about how there is a trend in literature toward combining/using other people’s words to create new content. 

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