September 13, 2013


From this morning’s Twitter feed

  • An animated GIF (click on it to wake it up) showing how to improve a barchart by removing junk. [from Darkhorse Analytics: Data looks better naked]



  • Data journalism: how the data sausage gets made.  Jacob Harris describes how he collected and summarised data on meat recalls in the US
  • The Royal Statistical Society has repeated the simple maths test they gave politicians last year, this time for senior professionals and managers. Less than half of them could give the probability of getting two heads from tossing two coins.
  • However, the same Royal Statistical Society news item ends “The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)”. This seems to me to fall in the “not even wrong” category. The target group aren’t remotely representative of all British adults, and I’d be surprised if it was even possible to reweight them to the national age distribution.
  • Cathy O’Neill ( asks why rankings of eg, cars or universities don’t allow the user to change priorities for different attributes (as the OECD Better Life Index does, for example)

Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »