August 16, 2017

Briefly

  • “Is it legal for me to violate Terms of Service in order to collect data for a research project?” (in the US). Casey Fiesler on law and ethics of scraping
  • My first boss as a statistician. John Simes, has won the University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. Among other things, he was one of the early proponents of universal clinical trial registration. In 1986 he wrote about the impact of publication bias on treatment choice in cancer.
  • A teaching example based on a baseball/brain cancer ‘cluster’ that didn’t hold up.  Much smaller numbers than the brain injury problems in US football or even rugby, and less prior plausibility.
  • It’s not just New Zealanders who have order of magnitude-and-units problems. From The New Yorker, via Felix Salmon
    nyfeet
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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

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Comments

  • avatar
    steve curtis

    The Assange story doesnt know the Pentagon alone is 6.6 mill sq ft. Of course they meant sq miles ( Isnt the New Yorker famous for its fact checkers ?)

    4 months ago

    • avatar
      Thomas Lumley

      Yes, square miles. And yes, what makes it worth quoting is that the justly famous New Yorker fact checkers didn’t notice that the number was over 25 million times too small.

      4 months ago

  • avatar
    Don Mackie

    Accepting the USA use of the Imperial system, the use of small units for large things has always intrigued me. For example: the weight of railway locomotives often given in pounds, surface area of planets in square feet etc. I suspect makes harder to conceptualise, validate and hence error-prone.

    4 months ago

    • avatar
      Thomas Lumley

      In this case I think it was probably parallelism as a rhetorical device, but I agree with the general point.

      4 months ago