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The debate over climate change is..

FriendlyStatistician Re:n/t (278 comments)

Hi, statistician here.

For a single model to predict temperatures higher than what actually happens and for the result to be within the error bars is unremarkable. When all 73 models predict results higher than what happens that indicates some serious systematic bias in the modelling (assuming there wasn't selection bias on the other side, of course--if the heartland folk intentionally ignored models that predicted less warming than actually happened then that's a huge problem). If the models are unbiased ("right on average") I would probably expect about half of them to predict above and half of them to predict below the actual results. (It wouldn't necessarily be exactly half and half, because the error distribution is not necessarily symmetric, but it should probably be somewhere around there.)

I believe that climate change is happening, but I think we're probably generally overestimating both the size of it and our precision.. There are well-recognized biases in various steps of the academic/scientific system--obtaining funding, getting published, making a name for yourself--that encourage this kind of exaggeration of results, in terms of both size and precision.

This is my judgement as a statistician--a kind of meta-scientist, if you will. I have no expertise in climate so I can't speak to the soundness of the mdoels being used, but the statistical behavior of them does raise some flags.

about two weeks ago
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The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

FriendlyStatistician Re:It's here already? (162 comments)

But now we have robots! Surely the problem with previous attempts was simply a lack of technology and resources which we have now solved.

about three weeks ago
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In First American TV Interview, Snowden Talks Accountability and Patriotism

FriendlyStatistician Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (389 comments)

I'd bet it's Leavenworth, assuming they let him live. The guy is now claiming "He was a spy" which means he is admitting to espionage. To me, that makes him no-longer a whistle-blower, but something quite different. He's admitting to being a traitor, which entitles him to a trial on charges that can carry some serious penalties, including death. I'd be surprised if they went for death, given he's still alive.

He is claiming that he was trained and worked as a spy for the US government, not (as you seem to think) that he spied on the US government for a foreign power.

about a month ago
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What It's Like To Be the Scientific Consultant For The Big Bang Theory

FriendlyStatistician Re:Not for Nerds (253 comments)

Perhaps introspection is lacking in that particular decision making process and how playing with statistics and probabilities can lead to wrong decision making especially in modern human society allows interactions between controlled social environments and uncontrolled social environments, in terms of medical controls, specifically access to vaccines and high risk population bases.

Whoa man, whoa. Sentences are your friends, don't abuse them like that.

about 3 months ago
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Joss Whedon Releases New Film On Demand

FriendlyStatistician Re:Quality? (137 comments)

It's a 72-hour rental, so you can watch it yourself and then rewatch it with friends a couple days later if you want. An option to own it would be nice, but I imagine that will come later.

I don't know where you live, but $5 is half the price of a cinema ticket where I live.

about 3 months ago
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I prefer my peppers ...

FriendlyStatistician Re:Depends on the dish (285 comments)

I also get hiccups from spicy food, which is annoying. It started a few years ago, never had a problem as a kid.

My favorite peppers are serranos, but I cut out the seeds and membranes before I eat them. Delicious on pizza--I like the flavor more than jalapenos.

about 4 months ago
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SXSW: Edward Snowden Swipes At NSA

FriendlyStatistician Re:Snowden's an expert? (116 comments)

Oh, I get it. You're saying if the typical sysadmin was more like Snowden; I read it as saying if Snowden had been different (i.e. if he had not leaked the documents).

about 5 months ago
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The Tangled Tale of Mt. Gox's Missing Millions

FriendlyStatistician Re:"Sight"? On slashdot? (191 comments)

It's not new. I suppose you could say it already is a meme.

about 5 months ago
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Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like

FriendlyStatistician Re:Throughput? Latency? Peerings? (338 comments)

He doesn't mention latency, but he does say he clocked 915 Mb/s both up and down.

You could try reading the article.

about 6 months ago
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Google Fiber Launches In Provo — and Here's What It Feels Like

FriendlyStatistician Re:Content? (338 comments)

The content is in the first link.

It could have been identified better, but it is there.

about 6 months ago
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New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

FriendlyStatistician Re:On the fly, but.... (100 comments)

Academic journals traditionally require the authors to assign the copyright to the publisher. The authors do not get paid directly, but publications are an important factor in tenure decisions and general academic prestige--"publish or perish."

Some journals allow the authors to post the paper on their website, and some journals which do not technically allow it have generally ignored it in the past, but some publishers have been cracking down on the practice recently.

about 6 months ago
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Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

FriendlyStatistician Re:Basic Statistics (312 comments)

Most statisticians consider standard deviation to be a more meaningful/fundamental measure than mean absolute deviation. I agree with Nassim Taleb that mean absolute deviation is easier to understand, but I disagree that we should switch to using the mean absolute deviation.

(I should note that, contrary to the summary, Taleb is not properly a statistician--he's an economist).

about 6 months ago
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Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

FriendlyStatistician Re:Taleb doesn't live in a normal world (312 comments)

I disagree with Mr. Taleb on this point, but I feel I should note that most of his work over the last 10-20 years has been about things which are not Normal. He is quite well known for it.

about 6 months ago
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Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

FriendlyStatistician Re:The big picture (312 comments)

Hi, I'm a statistician.

It's not so simple to just say "ok, we're going to use the Mean Absolute Deviation from now on." The use of standard deviation is not quite the historical accident that Taleb makes it out to be--there are good reasons for using it. Because it is a one-to-one function of the second central moment (variance), it inherits a bunch of nice properties that the mean absolute deviation does not. There is not a one-to-one correspondence between variance and mean absolute deviation.

Taleb is correct that the mean absolute deviation is easier to explain to people, but this is not just a matter of changing units of measure (where there is a one-to-one correspondence) or changing function and variable names in code (where there is again a one-to-one correspondence). Standard deviation and mean absolute deviation have different theoretical properties. These differences have led most statisticians over the last hundred years to conclude that the standard deviation is a better measure of variability, even though it is harder to explain.

about 6 months ago
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Sergey Brin Says Using a Smartphone Is 'Emasculating'

FriendlyStatistician Re:Regardless of what you think of smartphones... (325 comments)

> This is worse than 1984. In Oceania, one at least knew where the cameras were and could at-least try to avoid them.

Have you read 1984 recently? A huge part of the plot revolves around the protagonist thinking he was safe when he was in fact being watched on camera the entire time.

about a year and a half ago
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3-D Printing Pen Can Draw In the Air

FriendlyStatistician Re:Really? (85 comments)

That looks like it just heats and sculpts wax, rather than extruding it. Quite a different thing.

about a year and a half ago
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Researchers Opt To Limit Uses of Open-access Publications

FriendlyStatistician Re:Contract restrictions? (172 comments)

What sort of "ownership" are you talking about other than copyright and patents? If the copyright stays with the author [or publisher] (which you and I agree on), and the work is not patented, I don't see any other recognizable ownership of "intellectual property" on the work that can transfer to the institution. Since it's published it's obviously not trade secret, and I trademarks doesn't seem applicable.

Can you explain what this mysterious non-copyright, non-patent, non-trademark, and non-trade-secret "IP" that the institution owns is?

about a year and a half ago
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Researchers Opt To Limit Uses of Open-access Publications

FriendlyStatistician Re:Contract restrictions? (172 comments)

This is usually the case with patents, but I've never heard of an academic institution claiming an ownership interest in employees' copyrights or having contract clauses about what sort of copyright license is allowable.

about a year and a half ago

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