uncertainty

2 posts
Statistical uncertainty as certainty

Mark Rober, who is having a good run of science and engineering videos on YouTube, posted a short note on how he embraces statistical uncertainty: As humans we are really good at using hindsight bias to convince ourselves we are more in control of things than we really are. For example, if you give 1024 people a coin and give them 10 tries to get as many tails as possible,...

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Useful and not so useful Statistics

Hannah Fry, for The New Yorker, describes the puzzle of Statistics to analyze general patterns used to make decisions for individuals: There is so much that, on an individual level, we don’t know: why some people can smoke and avoid lung cancer; why one identical twin will remain healthy while the other develops a disease like A.L.S.; why some otherwise similar children flourish at school while others flounder. Despite the...

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Gallery of uncertainty visualization methods

It must be uncertainty month and nobody told me. For Scientific American, Jessica Hullman briefly describes her research in uncertainty visualization with a gallery of options from worst to best. Tags: Jessica Hullman, Scientific American, uncertainty

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What that hurricane map means

For The New York Times, Alberto Cairo and Tala Schlossberg explain the cone of uncertainty we often see in the news when a hurricane approaches. People often misinterpret the graphic: The cone graphic is deceptively simple. That becomes a liability if people believe they’re out of harm’s way when they aren’t. As with many charts, it’s risky to assume we can interpret a hurricane map correctly with just a glance....

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xkcd and the needle of probability

xkcd referenced the ever-so-loved forecasting needle. I’m so not gonna look at it this year. Maybe. Tags: humor, needle, uncertainty, xkcd

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Hotter days where you were born

It’s getting hotter around the world. The New York Times zooms in on your hometown to show the average number of “very hot days” (at least 90 degrees) since you were born and then the projected count over the next decades. Then you zoom out to see how that relates to the rest of the world. I’ve always found it interesting that visualization and analysis are typically “overview first, then...

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Needle of uncertainty

The Upshot has used a needle to show shifts in their live election forecasts, because many readers don’t understand probability. Nate Cohn and Josh Katz: This was evident before the result of the 2016 election, and as a result we tried something new: a jitter, where the needle quivered to reflect the uncertainty around the forecast. Although many readers disliked it, the jitter reflected an earnest attempt to give tangible...

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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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