Eric’s Enlightenment for Friday, June 5, 2015

  1. Christian Robert provides a gentle introduction to the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm with accompanying R codes.  (Hat Tip: David Campbell)
  2. John Sall demonstrates how to perform discriminant analysis in JMP, especially for data sets with many variables.
  3. Using machine learning instead of human judgment may improve the selection of job candidates.  This article also includes an excerpt from a New York Times article about how the Milwaukee Bucks used facial recognition as one justification to choose Jabari Parker over Dante Exum.  (Hat Tip: Tyler Cowen)
  4. “A hospital at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center has a robot filling prescriptions.”
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Eric’s Enlightenment for Monday, May 25, 2015

  1. A plant called thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) can detect sounds that are made by caterpillars that feed on its leaves.  In response, it mounts a defense by producing glucosinolates and anthocyanins – cool research by Heidi Appel and Reginald Croft!
  2. Economists offer 10 pieces of data-driven advice for university graduates about succeeding in today’s job market.
  3. Very nice and in-depth interview with Claudia Goldin on labour economics and education, especially in terms of differences between men and women.
  4. I was very sad to learn of the deaths of John Nash and Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé.  Here is a nice obituary by Benjamin Morris, with examples of non-cooperative games and Nash equilibria from soccer, football, basketball and rock-paper-scissors.

Eric’s Enlightenment for Wednesday, May 20, 2015

  1. A common but bad criticism of basketball analytics is that statistics cannot capture the effect of teamwork when assessing the value of a player.  Dan Rosenbaum wrote a great article on how adjusted plus/minus accomplishes this goal.
  2. Citing Dan’s work above, Neil Paine used adjusted plus/minus (APM) to show why Jason Collins was one of the top defensive centres in the NBA and the most underrated player of the last 15 years of his career.  When Neil mentions regularized APM (RAPM) in the third-to-last paragraph, he calls it a Bayesian version of APM.  Most statisticians are more familiar with the term ridge regression, which is one type of regression that penalizes the inclusion of too many redundant predictors.  Make sure to check out that great plot of actual RAPM vs. expected PER at the bottom of the article.
  3. In a 33-page article that was published on 2015-05-14 in Physical Review Letters, only the first 9 pages describes the research done for the article; the other 24 pages were used to list its 5,514 authors – setting a record for the largest known number of authors for a single research article.  Hyperauthorship is common in physics, but not – apparently – in biology.  (Hat Tip: Tyler Cowen)
  4. Brandon Findlay explains why methanol/water mixtures make great cooling baths.  He wrote a very thorough follow-up blog post on how to make them, and he includes photos to aid the demonstration.

Eric’s Enlightenment for Monday, May 11, 2015

  1. Benjamin Morris used statistics to assess the value of Dennis Rodman as a rebounder and as a basketball player in general – and wrote one of the most epic series of blog posts in sports analytics.  Contrary to popular opinion, he eloquently argued why Rodman was a better rebounder than Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.  In a digression in Part 1/4 (a), he used assist percentage to assess John Stockton’s greatness as a passer.
  2. I enjoy reading David Sherrill’s notes on quantum and computational chemistry.
  3. Read the first slide of this biostatistics lecture to learn how to calculate the concordance statistic (a.k.a. the C-statistic or the area under the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve).
  4. Here are all of the videos of David Zetland’s lectures for his course on natural resource economics at Simon Fraser University.

Eric’s Enlightenment for Thursday, April 23, 2015

  1. Reaching the NBA Finals has been much more difficult in the Western Conference than in the Eastern Conference in the past 15 years.
  2. In terms of points above average shooter per 100 shots, Kyle Korver ranks first in 2014-2015 with +30.4 points.  DeAndre Jordan ranks second with +17.4 points.  (Incredible!)
  3. Evan Soltas evaluates “the rent hypothesis” – the claim that a larger share of income in recent years are unearned gains.  (More rigorous, rent is “a payment for a resource in excess of its opportunity cost, one that instead reflects market power”.)  This is Evan’s most read article.
  4. A research team led by Junjiu Huang from 中山大学 (Sun Yat-Sen University) have successfully “edited the genes of human embryos using a new technique called CRISPR”.  Carl Zimmer provides some background.  (HT: Tyler Cowen.)