Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'Statistical Inference'

The Origins of Statistical Inference – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg

December 4th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Origins of Statistical Inference – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg · Data, Policy, Statistical Inference, Statistics

Not far from Fisher, a young economist named Austin Bradford Hill was growing similarly impatient with the limits of statistics to account for cause and effect in health care. In 1923, for example, Hill received a grant from Britain’s Medical Research Council that sent him to the rural parts of Essex, east of London, to […]

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The Limitations of Statistical Significance – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 22nd, 2012 · Comments Off on The Limitations of Statistical Significance – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Data, Statistical Inference, Statistics

The bigger problem, however, is that the frequentist methods—in striving for immaculate statistical procedures that can’t be contaminated by the researcher’s bias—keep him hermetically sealed off from the real world. These methods discourage the researcher from considering the underlying context or plausibility of his hypothesis, something that the Bayesian method demands in the form of […]

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More Data Means More Noise – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 21st, 2012 · Comments Off on More Data Means More Noise – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Data, Prediction, Statistical Inference, Statistics

As there is an exponential increase in the amount of available information, there is likewise an exponential increase in the number of hypotheses to investigate. For instance, the U.S. government now publishes data on about 45,000 economic statistics. If you want to test for relationships between all combinations of two pairs of these statistics—is there […]

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In Medicine, Stupid Models Kill People – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 20th, 2012 · Comments Off on In Medicine, Stupid Models Kill People – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Data, Prediction, Statistical Inference, Statistics

Much of the most thoughtful work on the use and abuse of statistical models and the proper role of prediction comes from people in the medical profession. That is not to say there is nothing on the line when an economist makes a prediction, or a seismologist does. But because of medicine’s intimate connection with […]

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Hedgehogs and Forecasting – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 17th, 2012 · Comments Off on Hedgehogs and Forecasting – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Elitism, Prediction, Statistical Inference, Statistics

In fact, a little knowledge may be a dangerous thing in the hands of a hedgehog with a Ph.D. One of Tetlock’s more remarkable findings is that, while foxes tend to get better at forecasting with experience, the opposite is true of hedgehogs: their performance tends to worsen as they pick up additional credentials. Tetlock […]

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Connecting Subjective and Objective Reality – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 14th, 2012 · Comments Off on Connecting Subjective and Objective Reality – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Data, Prediction, Statistical Inference, Statistics

Prediction is important because it connects subjective and objective reality. Karl Popper, the philosopher of science, recognized this view. For Popper, a hypothesis was not scientific unless it was falsifiable—meaning that it could be tested in the real world by means of a prediction.

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There is no Such Thing as Perfectly Objective Predictions – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 13th, 2012 · Comments Off on There is no Such Thing as Perfectly Objective Predictions – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Causation and Correlation, Data, Modelling, Prediction, Statistical Inference, Statistics

Some of you may be uncomfortable with a premise that I have been hinting at and will now state explicitly: we can never make perfectly objective predictions. They will always be tainted by our subjective point of view.

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The Diminishing Returns of Additional Information – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 13th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Diminishing Returns of Additional Information – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Causation and Correlation, Data, Modelling, Statistical Inference, Statistics

Our biological instincts are not always very well adapted to the information rich modern world. Unless we work actively to become aware of the biases we introduce, the returns to additional information may be minimal—or diminishing.

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Numbers Have No Way of Speaking For Themselves – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 12th, 2012 · Comments Off on Numbers Have No Way of Speaking For Themselves – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Causation and Correlation, Data, Modelling, Prediction, Statistical Inference, Statistics

The numbers have no way of speaking for themselves. We speak for them. We imbue them with meaning. Like Caesar, we may construe them in self-serving ways that are detached from their objective reality.

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Men May Construe Things After Their Fashion – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 11th, 2012 · Comments Off on Men May Construe Things After Their Fashion – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Data, Prediction, Psychology, Quotes, Statistical Inference, Statistics

[But] men may construe things after their fashion / Clean from the purpose of the things themselves,” Shakespeare warns us through the voice of Cicero—good advice for anyone seeking to pluck through their newfound wealth of information. It was hard to tell the signal from the noise. The story the data tells us is often […]

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