Studying the nautilus, the beauty of lullabies, understanding stupid, the continuing hype of AI, separating signal from noise, and a worrisome note on bananas
A statistical test suggests that several countries are misreporting or fabricating COVID case numbers. The United States is included among those countries. Is there another explanation?
Statistics and science aren't the same thing. Moreover, statisticians aren't fortune tellers, yet we continue to treat them as if they are. It's time to stop.
Polling is more art than science. Once again, American pollsters have shown that they aren't as good as we thought.
Understanding the confidence interval will help you grasp what an election poll is -- or is not -- saying. As you might have guessed, the media consistently gets it wrong.
Nine American tourists have died this year under mysterious circumstances in this Carribean nation. Should Americans still visit it? Well, yes. As it turns out, going there is safer than driving ... or visiting Mexico. We crunched the numbers.
There’s an increasing concern among scholars that, in many areas of science, famous published results tend to be impossible to reproduce.
As the saying goes, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." We know that's true because statisticians themselves just said so. A jaw-dropping study reveals that nearly 1 in 4 of them report being asked to remove or alter data to better support a hypothesis. That is called scientific fraud.
According to pharmacologist Ray Dingledine, good science is hard to do because of (1) "our drive to create a coherent narrative from new data, regardless of its quality or relevance"; (2) "our inclination to seek patterns in data whether they exist or not"; and (3) our negligence to "always consider how likely a result is regardless of its P-value." The good news is that this can be fixed.
More than 2/3 of animals are transported on just four airlines: Alaska, Delta, American, and United. United was responsible for transporting a plurality (27%) of all animals in 2017, so we would expect -- from sheer volume alone -- for more pets to die on United flights. So, the question is, "Do a statistically disproportionate number of animals die on United?" In 2017, sadly, the answer is yes.
Pollsters have taken a beating the last few years. Getting Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election wrong were spectacular failures that shook the public's faith in prediction models. The media is largely to blame. People like Nate Silver are often portrayed as oracles and polls as divinely inspired. Anyone who questions their accuracy is attacked for rejecting science. But polls aren't science. Instead, they are some combination of fancy math (statistics) and art. If the underlying assumptions are wrong, or if the sampling methods are biased, then polls will be inaccurate.
With 32 G.O.P lawmakers retiring it can be said that the media narrative about a "wave" of Republicans leaving Congress is wrong. Here are the stats behind that assessment.