Statistics

49 posts
Election visuals: three views of FiveThirtyEight’s probabilistic forecasts

As anyone who is familiar with Nate Silver's forecasting of U.S. presidential elections knows, he runs a simulation that explores the space of possible scenarios. The polls that provide a baseline forecast make certain assumptions, such as who's a likely voter. Nate's model unshackles these assumptions from the polling data, exploring how the outcomes vary as these assumptions shift. In the most recent simulation, his computer explores 40,000 scenarios, each...

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Audit advanced data science course online

Jeff Leek and Roger Peng started their course Advanced Data Science at Johns Hopkins University. It’s meant for JHU students, but you can learn from the weekly course material for free: The class is not designed to teach a set of statistical methods or packages – there are a ton of awesome classes, books, and tutorials about those things out there! Rather the goal is to help you to organize...

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Minimizing risk

For NYT Opinion, Aaron E. Carroll on doing small things that sum to something bigger: Too many view protective measures as all or nothing: Either we do everything, or we might as well do none. That’s wrong. Instead, we need to see that all our behavior adds up. Each decision we make to reduce risk helps. Each time we wear a mask, we’re throwing some safety on the pile. Each...

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Optimizing a peanut butter and banana sandwich

How do you assemble a banana and peanut butter sandwich that maximizes the number of bites with the perfect ratio of bread, peanut butter, and banana? Ethan Rosenthal, in a quest to work on something truly meaningless, solved the problem over several months with a truly roundabout solution: So, how do we make optimal peanut butter and banana sandwiches? It’s really quite simple. You take a picture of your banana...

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Inference of key shape from the sound it makes in the lock

Researchers from the National University of Singapore found a way to infer key shape based on the sound the lock makes when you insert the key. First they capture a sound recording with a standard microphone. Then they run the audio file through software to filter out the metallic clicks. This provides a time series from which they can infer likely keys. Soundarya Ramesh presented the work at HotMobile 2020...

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Census counting during the pandemic

Reporting for The New York Times, Giovanni Russonello on the decennial census during these times: If households can’t be reached, even by enumerators, then census takers rely on a process known as imputation — that is, they use data from demographically similar respondents to take a best guess at what the missing data ought to say. “This year I can imagine imputation being much higher, and that will itself be...

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What YouTube recommendations look like for others

Watch enough YouTube, and you end up in a bubble of videos catered to everything you like and believe in. TheirTube, by Tomo Kihara and Polina Alexeenko and funded by the Mozilla Foundation, imagines the point of view of six personas: Each of these TheirTube personas is informed by interviews with real YouTube users who experienced similar recommendation bubbles. Six YouTube accounts were created in order to simulate the interviewees’...

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Tracking what happens to police after use of force on protestors

You’ve probably seen the videos. ProPublica is tracking to see what happens after: ProPublica wanted to find out what happens after these moments are caught on tape. We culled hundreds of videos to find those with the clearest examples of officers apparently using a disproportionate level of force against protesters and reached out to 40 law enforcement agencies about the 68 incidents below. For each incident, we inquired about any...

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Tic-Tac-Toe the Hard Way is a podcast about the human decisions in building a machine learning system

From Google’s People + AI Research team, David Weinberger and Yannick Assogba build a machine learning system that plays Tic-Tac-Toe. They discuss the choices, not just the technical ones, along the way in the ten-part podcast series: A writer and a software engineer engage in an extended conversation as they take a hands-on approach to exploring how machine learning systems get made and the human choices that shape them. Along...

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Understanding Covid-19 statistics

For ProPublica, Caroline Chen, with graphics by Ash Ngu, provides a guide on how to understand Covid-19 statistics. The guide offers advice on interpreting daily changes, spotting patterns over longer time frames, and finding trusted sources. Most importantly: Even if the data is imperfect, when you zoom out enough, you can see the following trends pretty clearly. Since the middle of June, daily cases and hospitalizations have been rising in...

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