Sunday data/statistics link roundup (5/20)

It’s grant season around here so I’ll be brief:
  1. I love this article in the WSJ about the crisis at JP Morgan. The key point it highlights is that looking only at the high-level analysis and summaries can be misleading, you have to look at the raw data to see the potential problems. As data become more complex, I think its critical we stay in touch with the raw data, regardless of discipline. At least if I miss something in the raw data I don’t lose a couple billion. Spotted by Leonid K. 
  2. On the other hand, this article in the Times drives me a little bonkers. It makes it sound like there is one mathematical model that will solve the obesity epidemic. Lines like this are ridiculous: “Because to do this experimentally would take years. You could find out much more quickly if you did the math.” The obesity epidemic is due to a complex interplay of cultural, sociological, economic, and policy factors. The idea you could “figure it out” with a set of simple equations is laughable. If you check out their model this is clearly not the answer to the obesity epidemic. Just another example of why statistics is not math. If you don’t want to hopelessly oversimplify the problem, you need careful data collection, analysis, and interpretation. For a broader look at this problem, check out this article on Science vs. PR. Via Andrew J. 
  3. Some cool applications of the raster package in R. This kind of thing is fun for student projects because analyzing images leads to results that are easy to interpret/visualize.
  4. Check out John C.’s really fascinating post on determining when a white-collar worker is great. Inspired by Roger’s post on knowing when someone is good at data analysis. 
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