April 17, 2016


  • “Statistical bullshit: how politicians poisoned statistics”, by Tim Harford in the Financial Times. An important piece to read, but it’s also worth bearing in mind Daniel Davies’s response on Twitter: “it wasn’t politicians that gave us the replicability crisis…”
  • Graphics: every attempted scoring shot Kobe Bryant made during his career.  Some features (like the three-point line) are obvious, more would probably be clear to basketball fans.  It still misses out a bit on the ‘compared to what?’ scale. How did Kobe’s shots compare to other players’, for example?
  • The dark side of comments. The Guardian analysed the 70 million comments on their website: results not surprising, but depressing.

Although the majority of our regular opinion writers are white men, we found that those who experienced the highest levels of abuse and dismissive trolling were not. The 10 regular writers who got the most abuse were eight women (four white and four non-white) and two black men. Two of the women and one of the men were gay. And of the eight women in the “top 10”, one was Muslim and one Jewish.

And the 10 regular writers who got the least abuse? All men

  • At Slate: maps of cholera: “at CDC headquarters today, five-and-a-half years into the epidemic, they are proudly displaying two historic maps that have everything to do with each other, but they are not telling you why” 
  • From 538: when people in the US file their taxes.

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
    steve curtis

    An interesting item from the FT article regarding claims about excess UK hospital deaths for those admitted on weekends.

    “His office responded with a spectacular piece of bullshit, saying (I paraphrase) that whether or not the claim about 11,000 excess deaths was true, similar claims could be made that were.”

    ” But a more straightforward explanation is that people are only admitted to hospital at the weekend if they are seriously ill.”

    1 year ago

  • avatar
    steve curtis

    And more gems from FT and Tim Harford

    “You complain that your report would be dry. The dryer the better. Statistics should be the dryest of all reading,” wrote the great medical statistician William Farr in a letter in 1861.

    And the recipient of the letter ?
    “the first woman to be elected to the Royal Statistical Society: Florence Nightingale.”

    1 year ago