uncertainty

15 posts
Visualizing the Uncertainty in Data

Data is an abstraction, and it's impossible to encapsulate everything it represents in real life. So there is uncertainty. Here are ways to visualize the uncertainty. Read More

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Trolling the uncertainty dial

During the election last year, The New York Times ran an uncertainty dial to show where the vote was swaying. Not everyone appreciated it. Many people hate it. The Outline disliked it enough to troll with an uncertainty dial of their own. Personally, I like the dial, but I think it does require a certain level of statistical knowledge to not lose your marbles watching it. Tags: uncertainty

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Showing uncertainty during the live election forecast

During the election, The New York Times showed a live gauge to show the current forecast for Clinton and Trump. It moved to show a 25th to 75th percentile band of uncertainty: A lot of people didn’t get it, and it seemed to upset plenty of people too. Gregor Aisch, an NYT graphics editor, explains what they tried to accomplish with the gauges. [W]e thought (and still think!) this movement...

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Statistics lesson on polling

Nate Cohn for the Upshot provides a statistics lesson in the context of election forecasts and why they differ so much. [P]ollsters make a series of decisions when designing their survey, from determining likely voters to adjusting their respondents to match the demographics of the electorate. These decisions are hard. They usually take place behind the scenes, and they can make a huge difference. To make the point, the Upshot...

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Increased Income Across All Groups

But not every group's median income increased by the same amount. Read More

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Simulation shows why polls don’t always match future results

With election season in full swing, as far as the news is concerned at least, we get to see poll after poll in the beginning of a voting day and then reports the next day about which ones were wrong. Based on the news alone, it feels like almost every poll is just plain wrong. Maarten Lambrechts shows what’s going on here with Rock ‘n Poll. It simulates a poll...

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Super Tuesday simulation to show uncertainty

As we know, there are various outcomes during election season, with uncertainty in each round. The Upshot is currently using a simulation to show the expectations of tonight. These estimates, which include states that have not yet reported all their votes, are based on several factors: Our expectations of every candidate’s performance, the voting results in other states and the demographic makeup and historical voting patterns of voters in each...

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Wind prediction and potential power

As we use up current energy resources, it grows more important to look to alternative energy sources. Wind is one potential area, but the problem is that one has to know where it's windy enough — now and in the future — to justify the cost of building the structures to harness the energy. It's freakin' wind, and variability is all over the place. Project Ukko is an effort to...

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An uncertain spreadsheet for estimates

A lot of data you get are estimates with uncertainty attached. Plus or minus something. Standard error. So when you try to do math with those numbers straight up, ignoring the uncertainty, you end up with a result that seems concrete but it's actually more squishy. Guesstimate, made by Ozzie Gooen, is an effort to include the uncertainty in your spreadsheets. The first reaction of many people to uncertain math...

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Lessons in statistical significance, uncertainty, and their role in science

Science is hard. Statistics is hard. Proving cause and effect is hard. Christie Aschwanden for FiveThirtyEight, with graphics by Ritchie King, discusses the uncertainty in data and the challenge of answering seemingly straightforward questions via the scientific method. Leading the article is a description of p-hacking. Mess around with variables enough, and you too can get a p-value low enough to publish results in a distinguished journal. A fine interactive...

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