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Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

Why Not? The NHL Tries Some Experimentation

Steve Levitt likes to preach that experimentation should not be limited to scientists and other researchers; firms and other institutions stand to benefit from it a great deal, and yet often don’t engage. But here, from the Canadian magazine Macleans, is one institution that’s giving it a shot: the National Hockey League.

When the Prediction Fits the Crime

It’s not quite Minority Report, but the L.A. Times reports that the LAPD is working with UCLA mathematicians to pursue a sophisticated form of predictive policing.

How to Tell When a CEO Is Lying

In a nifty piece of forensic analysis, two researchers claim to have figured out how to tell when executives are lying. David Larcker and Anastasia Zakolyukina analyzed 30,000 conference calls between 2003 and 2007 to see if certain “tells” during the call were associated with earnings that were later “materially restated.”

A Football Outsider Answers Your Questions

We recently solicited your questions for Bill Barnwell, a Football Outsider and one of the many authors of the new Football Outsiders Almanac. Here are his replies, which cover everything from miracle turnarounds to the role of injuries to his own background.

Box-Office Science

Imagine a world where Hollywood producers could predict, with scientific precision, the box office revenue a movie will generate just by reading the screenplay. A new forecasting model devised by a trio of marketing professors from Wharton and NYU promises to deliver something like that.

The Computer as Oracle

When given strong data to work with, computers can do a good job of beating humans in predicting what the masses will embrace. BusinessWeek has an interesting recap of successful machine-made future-gazing.

Better Golfing Through Data

The game of golf has in many ways retained its down-to-earth origins. So what happens when a gaggle of statisticians and mathematical theorists bearing GPS and laser surveyors descend on the links?

Make-It-Yourself Prediction Widgets

Wolfram Alpha has just launched a free Widget Builder that lets you easily create widgets to calculate all kinds of things – seamlessly integrating data from the Alpha server.

The Art of Online Recommendations

Wired profiles Hunch, a company trying to master the art of online recommendations. Hunch participants respond to “Teach Hunch About You” questions, and their answers are fed into a master algorithm, which has already revealed some interesting correlations.

Charitable Giving in a Recession

A new report, based on the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy’s Individual Giving Model (IGM), estimates that individual charitable giving was down 4.9% percent in 2009.

The Dangers of Too Much Data

Wondering whether aspirin will protect your heart or cause internal bleeding? Or whether you should kick your coffee habit or embrace it? It’s often hard to make sense of the conflicting advice that comes out of medical research studies.

What Are the Odds That a Given Cow Will Make It to the Super Bowl?

We blogged last fall about the Book of Odds, an interesting site that generates “odds statements” of all sorts. Now, David Gassko and Ian Stanczyk of the Book of Odds have written a guest post which answers just the kind of question we like to ask around here: What are the odds that a given cow will make it to the Super Bowl?

Introducing: The Book of Odds

What’s more dangerous: a playground jungle gym or your office chair? As it happens, one in every 3,759 fatal accidental falls starts from a piece of playground equipment. You’re 85 times more likely, meanwhile, to fall to your death from a chair. That’s one of the many odd pairings waiting to be discovered in The Book of Odds, an online statistical encyclopedia launching tomorrow.
Some other probabilistic tidbits I found digging through the site:

Statistical Slumps

It was during a trip to the Boston Science Museum that I had an idea about calculating statistical slumps.

The Value of Statistics

Last week’s excellent article on the just one sign of the market value of number crunching. As I wrote in the afterword to the paperback version of Super Crunchers:

Numbers Are Bad Liars

In a Washington Post op-ed, Bernd Beber and Alexandra Scacco claim that the truth lies in the digits of the vote count. Humans are bad at making up fraudulent numbers, they write, and the fact that the vote counts for the different provinces contain “too many 7’s and not enough 5’s in the last digit” and not enough non-adjacent digits points to made-up numbers.

More or Less

The author and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford is the presenter of the BBC podcast More or Less, a 25-minute program about numbers and statistics. Based on the following list of recent topics, it would seem to be of interest to Freakonomics readers: Nassim Taleb and Paul Wilmott on a simple conceptual error that contributed to the credit crunch; the . . .

Assessing Your Divorce Risk

What are the odds of your marriage ending in divorce? This is a risk with some pretty important consequences, but chances are, you don’t have the foggiest idea on how to quantify it. Until now. My favorite economist (and my significant other), Betsey Stevenson, has put together a neat online widget for the folks at The widget crunches recent . . .

In a Parachute-Effectiveness Trial, Who Gets the Placebo?

Photo: soldiersmediacenter How do we know that parachutes are really a good treatment for preventing serious injury in someone falling from an airplane? That’s the subject of this tongue-in-cheek paper on the limits of evidence-based medicine, written by two physicians and published in the British Medical Journal. After applying to parachutes the guidelines usually used to test new drugs, the . . .

Medicine and Statistics Don’t Mix

Some friends of mine recently were trying to get pregnant with the help of a fertility treatment. At great financial expense, not to mention pain and inconvenience, six eggs were removed and fertilized. These six embryos were then subjected to Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (P.G.D.), a process which cost $5,000 all by itself. The results that came back from the P.G.D. . . .

I.Q.R. in a Box

Levitt doesn’t get why Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” video generated thousands of YouTube comments when there’s the Johns Hopkins Department of Biostatistics. They do mostly poetry, but also have a music video: “I.Q.R. [interquartile range: a measure of statistical dispersion] In a Box” — a spoof on S.N.L.‘s slightly racier version. Zero comments so far, but video director Allison Lind, . . .

LIST-onomics: A Certain Percent

Lists are great. They can be revealing, cause anxiety, or serve no discernible purpose. But throw in some links and a statistic and you have … LIST-onomics, this blog’s newest diversion. Here is today’s list: 33 percent: … of parents say they set no rules for their children’s use of social networks. … the amount Indian steel prices shot up . . .