August 23, 2015


  • I can’t resist mentioning a pointless number puzzle originating in New York. How does this sequence continue: 50, 42, 34, 23, 14,…
  • Big Data: from Jennifer Gardy, a Canadian genomic epidemiologist, on Twitter. This is 5000TB, ie, about 5 million gigabytes, of genetic sequence data CMtfy0YWIAE4PAQ
  • From Upshot at the New York Times again, How to Know Whether to Believe a Health Study. StatsChat readers will be familiar with most of this.
  • Another problem with errors in automatic classifications, for apps that purport to recognise bird songs
    If it tells you a nuthatch’s call is in fact a great tit (a bird which, by the way, is thought to have over 40 different types of call), you’ll take that mistake away with you and carry on misdiagnosing nuthatches.
    (On the other hand, I completely disagree with the argument that recognising bird songs should take work, dammit)
  • Nathan Yau, at Flowing Data, is recreating the Statistical Atlas of the United States, using modern data and the 1870-style graphics.

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 »


  • avatar
    Megan Pledger


    I tried the puzzle and got 4 yesses and 4 noes and then guessed right. I assumed that since it was in a newspaper that it must have a relatively simple answer.

    But, since they talked about politicians solving problems, my initial thought was it might have some time varying reason about whether an answer was correct or not i.e. every second answer was correct (which wasn’t true).

    2 years ago

  • avatar
    Thomas Lumley

    It’s probably been long enough that I can reveal the answer to the pointless NY puzzle.

    The next three entries in the sequence are: 4, Spring, Canal

    2 years ago