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Posts tagged "statistics"
As Episode 100 approaches, the panel ponders milestones. Which milestones are worth celebrating? Which are overblown? Would Ben make a good father? What is a good milestone made out of? The question of the week brings with it plenty of


Visualizing the division in the 113th congress

Interesting observations

  • From the chart, we can see that there is significant polarization in the Senate. In fact, there is a dividing line between the two parties.
  • Both independents seem to vote solidly democrat.
  • Massachussetts has some really out there senators (full disclosure: I live in MA right now)
  • So does New Jersey
  • Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK), Chiesa (R-NJ), Machin (D-WV), and Pryor (D-AR), are the closest things to centrists in the Senate.
  • There are solid voting clusters around the party leaderships of both parties.
  • The party line seems to come before all else, judging by how closely voting aligns by party.

(via How divided is the Senate? - Vik’s Blog)

Ed especially gets off on this, but since I (Ben) saw it first, i’m posting it here.

Check out Deadspin’s breakdown full of graphs insight into the behemoth that practically envelopes all popular sports.

Much of the information confirms what many people suspect (LeBron James is by far the most popular athlete by mentions, Football is the most popular sport over the longest period of time, etc.) But its still an interesting read.

The Lost Art of Stealing Bases

Grantland is hands down my favorite sports writing site, and this post is part and parcel why that is the case.


(via Jonah Keri on the art of stealing bases - Grantland)

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Bonus Episode: Repost - Luke, I am your quantifier

Hey guys, this is a repost of a discussion we had with Paul (a.k.a., “The Skeptical Statistician”) about a series of posts he did on his blog attempting to quantify the differences between the old and new Star Wars trilogy. This repost comes on the wake of his kickstarter to turn those posts into an ebook. Please help him out if you can. 


But how accurate is Hawk-Eye? A paper published in 2008 in a journal called Public Understanding of Science suggests that the way Hawk-Eye analyses are presented in sport may lead people to incorrectly assume that its output is definitely what happened. Hawk-Eye presents a great opportunity to discuss uncertainty, confidence intervals, and the joy of stats, so here’s a Monday morning maths class.

According to the article, Hawk-Eye works via a number of cameras that capture locations of the ball as it travels, and a model of the field of play. Cameras cannot record every moment of the ball’s flight, due to frame rate limitations, so between frames the trajectory of the ball must be estimated. With regards to cricket, where LBW calls are questioned, Hawk-Eye extrapolates beyond where the ball hits the pad, and predicts whether it would have hit the stumps or not.

A model’s ability to predict the future path of a ball depends on a number of factors. The further a ball travels before it stops, the easier it is to predict where it would have carried on to. Therefore Hawk-Eye is likely to be less accurate the further towards the batsman the ball bounces, and the further away the batsman is from his stumps. Though Hawk-Eye technology takes some uncertainties into account, its purpose is to give a binary outcome: “out” or “not-out”.

The article suggests that more information about that uncertainty should be reported to the television audience, to more honestly show the variation in the possible true paths of a ball. For example they suggest showing a ball’s predicted location, and the confidence intervals that surround it (if 95% this would mean there’s only a 5% chance the ball actually fell outside this larger area).

This would not only more accurately reflect the limitations of the technology, but it could potentially teach complex statistical concepts and principles to a huge number of people. Hawk-Eye could still provide a binary response to an umpire query, but the probability it is the true answer will also be clear to all.

Hawk-Eye at Wimbledon: it’s not as infallible as you think | Suzi Gage | Science |

Chart Attack: Inaction in Action

113th Congress Fail…

(via 113th Congress On Pace To Be Least Productive In Modern History)

The social network between characters in Homer’s Odyssey is remarkably similar to real social networks today. That suggests the story is based, at least in part, on real events, say researchers


“Throughout this whole rap of 44 bars, there are 496 syllables, and of those syllables, 215 are rhymed. That means that 43% of his syllables are rhymed, which is one of the highest rates you will find for any rapper. For instance, as quoted in this article here, Camron has a rate of .41 rhymes per syllable, Eminem has a rate of .38 rhymes per syllable.”

- An in-depth statistical analysis of why MF Doom may be the most technically accomplished rapper

Paul’s always insightful analysis finds itself focused on the topic of Bracketology. Also, there’s a little shout out to us there. Heyo!

Chart Attack: Percentage of Ph.D.’s in Academic Jobs by Graduation

Well, now I feel better…


(via How Many Ph.D.’s Actually Get to Become College Professors? - Jordan Weissmann - The Atlantic)

Chart Attack: Lower Unemployment Rate for Bachelor’s Degree Holders

It’s hard to argue with the implications of this graph.

Yadda, Yadda, “correlation does not equal causation” Yadda.  

(via A Case for College: The Unemployment Rate for Bachelor’s-Degree Holders Is 3.7 Percent - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic)

Chart Attack: Do shorter sentences = dumber speeches?

Here’s a very interesting counterpoint to all the “Presidential speeches are getting dumber” arguments. Changes in the language and construction of the speech may not represent anything but a stylistic change on the part of the speech writer.

(via The State of The Guardian’s SOTU Infographic Is…Dumber | Popular Science)

Chart Attack: Correlation between Autism Diagnosis and Organic Food Sales

Maybe the best example of correlation not being equal to causation that I have ever seen (r = .99!). Also, reminds me of a classic XKCD comic.

(via Correlation between autism diagnosis and organic food sales - Boing Boing)

Kind of an ambitious effort by atheists/humanists/secularists to get some data about like minded individuals across the world.  Let’s you see the numbers according to country and broken down by various demographic variables.