Present-day great statistical discoveries

Some time during the 18th century the biologist and geologist Louis Agassiz said: “Every great scientific truth goes through three stages. First, people say it conflicts with the Bible. Next they say it has been discovered before. Lastly they say they always believed it”. Nowadays I am not sure about the Bible but yeah, it happens.

I express here my long-standing and long-lasting admiration for the following triplet of present-day great discoveries. The authors of all three papers had initially struggled to advance their ideas, which echos the quote above. Here they are, in no particular order.

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How regression statistics mislead experts

This post concerns a paper I came across checking the nominations for best paper published in International Journal of Forecasting (IJF) for 2012-2013. The paper bears the annoyingly irresistible title: “The illusion of predictability: How regression statistics mislead experts”, and was written by Soyer Emre and Robin Hogarth (henceforth S&H). The paper resonates another paper published in “Psychological review” (1973), by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky: “On the psychology of prediction”. Despite the fact that S&H do not cite the 1973 paper, I find it highly related.

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Dark background theme for reading

I am picking up on Rob Hyndman’s suggestion on dark themes for writing. I carried on with a bit of “internet-scientific” reading. Opinions on ‘dark vs white’ background themes, which is better for your eyes, are mixed. You are busy, so just the bottom line: do what works for you.

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R vs MATLAB (Round 3)

At least for me, R by faR. MATLAB has its own way of doing things, which to be honest can probably be defended from many angles. Here are few examples for not so subtle differences between R and MATLAB:

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Quantify your jogging

Numbers are useful (I think we can all agree on that..). If you own a smart phone, you can install this runmeter app. When you run, you can take the smartphone with you and activate this app to collect interesting numbers like distance, pace, fastest pace, heart rate*, calories etc. Now we can load the statistics collected over the past months into R and have a quantified look at the progress.

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R and Dropbox

When you woRk, you probably have a set of useful functions/packages you constantly use. For example, I often use the excellent quantmod package, and the nice multi.sapply function. You want your tools loaded when R session fires.

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Elegant backup for your smart phone contacts

Few days ago I dropped my iPhone and cracked it. Though the iPhone still works, I decided it will be good to have a backup for my contact on my desktop. Fancy backup can be achieved in the following two step procedure: first synching your contacts information with facebook, and second, sending yourself an excel file with full details of your mobile contacts, phone number, date of birth, home page, work address and other details extracted from their facebook page. The process takes only few minutes and is free.

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