Sunday data/statistics link roundup (6/17)


Happy Father’s Day!

  1. A really interesting read on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and public policy. The examples in the boxes are fantastic. This seems to be one of the cases where the public policy folks are borrowing ideas from Biostatistics, which has been involved in randomized controlled trials for a long time. It’s a cool example of adapting good ideas in one discipline to the specific challenges of another. 
  2. Roger points to this link in the NY Times about the “Consumer Genome”, which basically is a collection of information about your purchases and consumer history. On Twitter, Leonid K. asks: ‘Since when has “genome” becaome a generic term for “a bunch of information”?’. I completely understand the reaction against the “genome of x”, which is an over-used analogy. I actually think the analogy isn’t that unreasonable; like a genome, the information contained in your purchase/consumer history says something about you, but doesn’t tell the whole picture. I wonder how this information could be used for public health, since it is already being used for advertising….
  3. This PeerJ journal looks like it has the potential to be good.  They even encourage open peer review, which has some benefits. Not sure if it is sustainable, see for example, this breakdown of the costs. I still think we can do better.  
  4. Elon Musk is one of my favorite entrepreneurs. He tackles what I consider to be some of the most awe-inspiring and important problems around. This article about the Tesla S got me all fired up about how a person with vision can literally change the fuel we run on. Nothing to do with statistics, other than I think now is a similarly revolutionary time for our discipline. 
  5. There was some interesting discussion on Twitter of the usefulness of the Yelp dataset I posted for academic research. Not sure if this ever got resolved, but I think more and more as data sets from companies/startups become available, the terms of use for these data will be critical. 
  6. I’m still working on Roger’s puzzle from earlier this week.