Tag Archives: statistics

What does randomness look like?

The Poisson distribution has a habit of creeping up in all sorts of places, some inconsequential, and others life-altering. The number of mutations in your DNA as your cells age. The number of cars ahead of you at a traffic light, or patients in line before you at the emergency room. The number of typos in each of my blog posts.The number of patients with leukemia in a given town. The numbers of births and deaths, marriages and divorces, or suicides and homicides in a given year. The number of fleas on your dog.

Blog entry on Poisson distribution from a fantastic science blog.

Statistics, probability, and Nate Silver

In the last few days Nate Silver has become the third most talked-about man in politics, with pundits left and right saying he’s audaciously staked his professional reputation on an Obama win.
more on kfury.com

I am happy to see this victory of statistics. Hopefully it will encourage at least few people to try to understand facts instead of blindly believing in what pundits say.

This post on Google+ statistics is a billion* times better than any other post

Infographics are often dressed up lies. There’s a reason for the current infographic craze: unlike text, it’s not easy for journalists to break them apart and reformat them. You either include them or you don’t.

A critical look at the recently published Google+ numbers, with a broader perspective on reporting the numerical data.

What if academics were as dumb as quacks with statistics?

You can say that there is a statistically significant effect for your chemical reducing the firing rate in the mutant cells. And you can say there is no such statistically significant effect in the normal cells. But you cannot say that mutant cells and mormal cells respond to the chemical differently. To say that, you would have to do a third statistical test, specifically comparing the “difference in differences”, the difference between the chemical-induced change in firing rate for the normal cells against the chemical-induced change in the mutant cells.

Analysis of a very common mistake in neuroscience research papers.

One Per Cent: Occupy vs Tea Party: what their Twitter networks reveal

Those tweeting about the Tea Party emerge as a tight-knit “in crowd”, following one another’s tweets. By contrast, the network of people tweeting about Occupy consists of a looser series of clusters, in which the output of a few key people is being vigorously retweeted.

Analysis of Twitter usage by people from both sides of American political spectrum reveals interesting patterns. The article doesn’t try to conclude what does it actually say about these constituents.

The Density of Smart People – Creative Class

San Francisco and New York are far and away the leaders in human capital density with 7,031 and 6,357 college degree holders per square mile, respectively. Boston (3,871), Washington, D.C. (3,395) , Seattle (2,853), and Chicago (2.543) all have human capital densities in the range of 2,500 to 3,500 degree holders per quarter mile. Silicon Valley has a human capital density of 1,259 degree holders per square mile.

Stats on density of college graduates per square mile in different American cities.