no free lunch in statistics

Simon and Tibshirani recently posted a short comment on the Reshef et al MIC data mining paper I blogged about a while back: The proposal of Reshef et. al. (“MIC”) is an interesting new approach for discovering non-linear dependencies among pairs of measurements in exploratory data mining. However, it has a potentially serious drawback. The authors laud … Continue reading no free lunch in statistics

Attention publishers: the data in your tables want to be free! Free!

The Neurosynth database is getting an upgrade over the next couple of weeks; it’s going to go from 4,393 neuroimaging studies to around 5,800. Unfortunately, updating the database is kind of a pain, because academic publishers like to change the format of their full-text HTML articles, which has a nasty habit of breaking the publisher-specific … Continue reading Attention publishers: the data in your tables want to be free! Free!

in which Discover Card decides that my wife is also my daughter

Ever since I opted out of receiving preapproved credit card offers, I’ve stopped getting credit card spam in the mail (yay!). But companies I have an existing relationship with still have the right to send me various offers and updates, and there’s nothing I can do about that (except throw said offers in the trash … Continue reading in which Discover Card decides that my wife is also my daughter

large-scale data exploration, MIC-style

UPDATE 2/8/2012: Simon & Tibshirani posted a critical commentary on this paper here. See additional thoughts here. Real-world data are messy. Relationships between two variables can take on an infinite number of forms, and while one doesn’t see, say, umbrella-shaped data very often, strange things can happen. When scientists talk about correlations or associations between … Continue reading large-scale data exploration, MIC-style

elsewhere on the net

Some neat links from the past few weeks: You Are No So Smart: A celebration of self-delusion. An excellent blog by journalist David McCraney that deconstructs common myths about the way the mind works. NPR has a great story by Jon Hamilton about the famous saga of Einstein’s brain and what it’s helped teach us … Continue reading elsewhere on the net

the perils of digging too deep

Another in a series of posts supposedly at the intersection of fiction and research methods, but mostly just an excuse to write ridiculous stories and pretend they have some sort of moral. Dr. Rickles the postdoc looked a bit startled when I walked into his office. He was eating a cheese sandwich and watching a … Continue reading the perils of digging too deep