Daily Archives: April 5, 2017

When running was for weirdos


Paradoxes of probability and other statistical strangeness

The Logical Place

The Conversation

Image 20170329 14155 f440dl
Statistics and probability can sometimes yield mind bending results. Shutterstock

Stephen Woodcock, University of Technology Sydney

Statistics is a useful tool for understanding the patterns in the world around us. But our intuition often lets us down when it comes to interpreting those patterns. In this series we look at some of the common mistakes we make and how to avoid them when thinking about statistics, probability and risk.The Conversation

You don’t have to wait long to see a headline proclaiming that some food or behaviour is associated with either an increased or a decreased health risk, or often both. How can it be that seemingly rigorous scientific studies can produce opposite conclusions?

Nowadays, researchers can access a wealth of software packages that can readily analyse data and output the results of complex statistical tests. While these are powerful resources, they also open the door to people without…

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NZSF tries to debunk “common myths”

Someone must really be getting up their noses.

No discussion of risk return ratios in op-ed.

croaking cassandra

The Herald yesterday gave over a full page to an unpaid advertorial from a public servant.    Of course, it wasn’t quite described that way, but that is what New Zealand Superannuation Fund chief executive Adrian Orr’s lengthy opinion piece amounted to.  Perhaps we should just be grateful to the Herald that they didn’t charge the NZSF –  and thus the taxpayer – for the advertising space.

It is a strange piece in many ways.  It is unfortunately becoming more common to have public servants take to the media to defend political decisions.   Public servants are there is advise and administer, but politicians are the ones who make the policy decisions and should be called to account for them.     And that is quite clear in the NZSF case.  Parliament set up the NZSF and associated provisions.  Included in those provisions is the ability for the government of the day to (openly and transparently) contribute…

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Agatha Christie adaptations: The Complete List

The Agatha Christie Reader

After spending much of 2013 watching oh, so many Agatha Christie adaptations, I decided to put together a list of all her novels and short story collections, and whether and when they have been adapted for film. I’ll attempt to keep this updated as new information comes to mind, particularly since it appears that 2017 will be the start of yet another new era of adaptations for the Queen of Crime. See below:

(list updated – September 2016)

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Professor Michael Mann destroys the case for action on climate change

Watts Up With That?

Guest Opinion by Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: The House Science committee heard from three climate scientists. The testimony of the activist, Michael Mann, destroyed the case for strong public policy action to fight climate change. He deserves attention. Sadly, the attention has been on the least important parts of his testimony.

“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
— From the “Summary for Policy-Makers” of the IPCC’s AR5 Working Group I. Unfortunately, there is no consensus about the timing and magnitude of future warming.


House Committee on Science, Space & Technology.

On March 29 the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on “Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method“. The star witness, in terms of public…

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The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program

I remember reading somewhere that lower murder rates was an important payoff from these programs. Countries other than the USA have much lower murder rates.



By: García, Jorge Luis (University of Chicago) ; Heckman, James J. (University of Chicago) ; Leaf, Duncan Ermini (University of Southern California) ; Prados, Maria José (University of Southern California)
This paper estimates the long-term benefits from an influential early childhood program targeting disadvantaged families. The program was evaluated by random assignment and followed participants through their mid-30s. It has substantial beneficial impacts on health, children’s future labor incomes, crime, education, and mothers’ labor incomes, with greater monetized benefits for males. Lifetime returns are estimated by pooling multiple data sets using testable economic models. The overall rate of return is 13.7% per annum, and the benefit/cost ratio is 7.3. These estimates are robust to numerous sensitivity analyses.
Keywords: childcare, early childhood education, long-term predictions, gender differences in responses to programs, health, quality of life, randomized trials, substitution bias
JEL: J13 I28 C93
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10456&r=ltv

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