My stats book for the month is “Statistics Done Wrong“, which honestly I haven’t actually started yet. I got sidetracked in part by a different math related book “Genius at Play: the Curious Mind of John Horton Conway” He’s a pretty amazing (still living!) mathematician, and the book about him is pretty entertaining. If you’ve never seen a simulation of his most famous invention “Game of Life”, check it out here. Deceptively simple yet endlessly fascinating.
Moving on, this Atlantic article about why for profit education fails was really interesting. Key point: education does best when it’s targeted to local conditions, which means it actually becomes less efficient when you scale it up.
This list of the “7 deadly sins of research” was also delightful. It specifically mentions basic math errors, which is good, because those are happening a really concerning amount of the time.
Related to deadly sins, Andrew Gelman gives his history of the replication crisis.
Related to the replication crisis, holy hell China, get it together.
More replication/data error issues, but this time with a legal angle. Crossfit apparently is suing a researcher and journal who 1. worked for a competitor 2. published data that made Crossfit look bad that they later clarified was incorrect 3. had evidence that the journal/reviewers implied that they wouldn’t publish the paper unless it made Crossfit look bad. The judge has only ruled that this can proceed to trial, but it’s an interesting case to watch.
This paper on gender differences in math scores among highly gifted students was pretty interesting. It takes a look at the gender ratios for different SAT (and ACT) scores over the years (for 7th graders in the Duke Gifted and Talented program) and the trends are interesting. For the highest scorers in math (>700), it went from extremely male dominated (13:1 in 1981) to “just” very male dominated (4:1 by 1991) and then just stayed there. Seriously, that ratio hasn’t gone lower than 3.55 to 1 in the 25 years since. Here’s the graph:
In case you’re curious, top verbal scores are closer to 1:1. Curious what the recruitment practices are for the Duke program.
Also, some old data about Lyme Disease resurfaces, and apparently there may be a second cause? An interesting look at the “Swiss Agent” and why it got ignored.