You may not be interested in noise, but noise is interested in you

[Edit, Sept. 25, 2016: In retrospect, this is a confusing post. The overall point is fine, but my contrived illustration is not a good one.] At an otherwise excellent talk some time ago, the speaker put up a graph like this (look below — not the cheetah)… …and said that the two sets of data points, … Continue reading You may not be interested in noise, but noise is interested in you

How do I hate p-values? Let me count the ways…

[Note: a long post of interest only to people who care about data analysis and bad statistics, and maybe about the distant stars influencing your life.] By now, we should all be able to list the many reasons that p-values (or null-hypothesis-significance-testing, NHST) are awful: that “statistical significance” has nothing to do with effect size … Continue reading How do I hate p-values? Let me count the ways…

On the replication crisis in science and the twigs in my backyard

A long post, in which you’ll have to slog or scroll through several paragraphs to get to the real question: can we navigate using fallen sticks? These days we seem to be inundated with deeply flawed scientific papers, often featuring shaky conclusions boldly drawn from noisy data, results that can’t be replicated, or both. I … Continue reading On the replication crisis in science and the twigs in my backyard

If I keep writing, maybe this post will become significant

   There’s been an flurry of papers and essays in the past few years on scientific studies being wrong, arguing that the number of incorrect conclusions is disturbingly large, and symptomatic of poor practice, misplaced incentives, and other factors. Perhaps the most widely seen views on this theme graced the cover of The Economist a … Continue reading If I keep writing, maybe this post will become significant