May 17, 2017


  • From the NY Times: In a survey of geographical knowledge and attitudes to North Korea, Americans who can tell their arse from their elbow are more likely to favour diplomacy.  This is different from the Agrabah question, because survey participants aren’t being lied to.
  • Perceptions of bias — more precisely, claims about perceptions of bias — are very different between Democrats and Republicans in the US, according to analysis at 538.  Democrats are likely to say they think whites and Christians don’t get discriminated against much but blacks, Muslims, immigrants, gays & lesbians do. For all the groups, about a third of Republicans say they think there’s a lot of discrimination.
  • Difficulties with doing randomised experiments on social issues, from the Brookings Institution.  One of the big problems is that there isn’t good theory to allow the results of an experiment to be generalised, in contrast to drug trials where we have a pretty reasonable idea of what it means when a drug does well in a randomised trial population.  A lot of the difficulties do generalise to public health interventions, though. On a related note, economist Noah Smith talks about the role of theory and experiment in economics and in science.
  • I wrote last year about judges interrupting each other in the US Supreme Court and whether it depended on gender — the analysis in the media had ignored how much each judge talked.  There’s now an analysis with more variables (and now the right link), and the gender difference looks stronger.

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
    Ryan Smith

    Is the second link about the US supreme court correct?

    4 months ago