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Dealing with the Uncertainty in Scientific Results

MOST EVIDENCE IN the empirical sciences is statistical in nature, and scientists rely on a variety of statistical tests to distinguish valid scientific discoveries from spurious ones. Unfortunately, there is a growing recognition that many important research findings based on statistical evidence are not reproducible,...
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Doing The Impossible By Using Simple Math

This is not to say Musk will realize his most ambitious goals: landing on Mars, electrifying much of the world’s transportation fleet, and accelerating the transition from a fossil-fuel to a carbon-free economy. But each is closer than most thought possible in such a short...
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Keeping it Simple for a Reason

However, data will also exhibit idiosyncrasies that result from the randomness in the process of data sampling and do not say anything about the process that generated them—these idiosyncrasies will disappear if we resample new data from the process. Teasing out the true properties of...
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Lies, Damn Lies, and Project Statistics

Harvey’s term for torturing the data until it confesses is “p-hacking,” a reference to the p-value, a measure of statistical significance. P-hacking is also known as overfitting, data-mining—or data-snooping, the coinage of Andrew Lo, director of MIT’s Laboratory of Financial Engineering. Says Lo: “The more...
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The Magic of Just Putting a Spotlight on a Problem

The team’s mission is to design policy interventions based on a scientific understanding of human behavior. Recently, for instance, hoping to fight antimicrobial resistance, they tried to persuade some prescription-happy doctors to go easy on the antibiotics. GALLAGHER: We had a very simple intervention, which...
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Murder He Calculated

Threats of federal intervention aside, it will be difficult to fix the problem of high murder rates without first addressing clearance rates. So it’s fortuitous, perhaps, that we are living in an age in which the analysis of data is supposed to help us decipher,...
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Use Your Dark Data

In the same way that dark matter is an unseen but very large part of the cosmos (some estimates peg dark matter at 27 percent of the mass of the universe), dark data represents the unseen but very large part of the data that most...
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You Are Only As Good As Your Project Data

As you’ve probably heard, while Hillary Clinton won the majority of the popular vote, Donald Trump was awarded more than 270 votes in the Electoral College. Many, particularly on social media, were incredulous, partly at the candidates but also at the pollsters — in particular,...
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Your Big Data Is At Your Fingertips

So Bull Moose was able to anticipate demand for then-unknown bands such as Pearl Jam and Limp Bizkit before competitors. “We ordered stuff far better than others,” Wickard says, “but we also returned far less merchandise.” Over the past two decades, Wickard and a handful...
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Nobody Is Healthy, You Just Need To Be Tested More

Nobody Is Healthy You Just Need To Be Tested More
“As my internist friend likes to say, ‘Nobody’s healthy — they just haven’t been tested enough,’” says Nigel Paneth, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Michigan State University. Hacking the Human OS, IEEE Spectrum, June 2015. I love data.  Once I started to collect...
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Lessons Learned From Slow Economic Growth

Lessons Learned From Slow Economic Growth
The expansion’s modest pace has kept inflation down, allowing the Fed to hold its target for short-term interest rates near zero since 2008. Moderate growth also means that the U.S. has avoided debt-driven excesses that can bring an upswing to an abrupt halt, as happened...
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Lessons Learned From Marathon Runners

Lessons Learned From Marathon Runners
The problem I continue to see in my coaching and consulting with runners is when time goals are selected that aren’t based on current fitness, actual training adaptation or performances along the way. Sometimes the number becomes a means to motivate and may not match...
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First Have An Idea Then Mine Your Data

First Have An Idea Then Mine Your Data
“There’s a creative moment when you think of a hypothesis, maybe it’s that interest rate data drives” currency rates, she says. “So we think about that first before we mine the data.  We don’t mine the data to come up with ideas.” Lady Braga Steps...
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