monkey's uncle

notes on human ecology, population, and infectious disease

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Entries Tagged as 'Statistics'

An Alternate Course Load for the Game of Life

September 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Anthropology, Demography, Human Ecology, science, Social Network Analysis, Teaching

In a recent editorial in the New York Times, Harvard economist and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, N. Gregory Mankiw provides some answers to the question “what kind of foundation is needed to understand and be prepared for the modern economy?”  Presumably, what he means by “modern economy” is life after college. […]

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The Igon Value Problem

November 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment · science, Statistics

Priceless. Steve Pinker wrote a spectacular review of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, in the New York Times today. I regularly read and enjoy Gladwell’s essays in the New Yorker, but I find his style sometimes problematic, verging on anti-intellectual, and I’m thrilled to see a scientist of Pinker’s stature […]

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Predicting Catastrophe?

September 4th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Statistics

There is an extremely cool paper in this week’s Nature by Scheffer and colleagues. I’m too busy right now to write much about it, but I wanted to mention it, even if only briefly.  The thing that I find so remarkable about this paper is that it’s really not the sort of thing that I […]

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Plotting Error Bars in R

August 24th, 2009 · 52 Comments · R

One common frustration that I have heard expressed about R is that there is no automatic way to plot error bars (whiskers really) on bar plots.  I just encountered this issue revising a paper for submission and figured I'd share my code.  The following simple function will plot reasonable error bars on a bar plot. […]

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Follow-Up to the Reversal in Fertility Decline

August 10th, 2009 · 7 Comments · Demography

In my last post, I wrote about a new paper by Myrskylä and colleagues in this past week's issue of Nature.  Craig Hadley sent me a link to a criticism of this paper, and really more the science reporting of it in the Economist, written by Edward Hugh on the blog A Fist Full of […]

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Why Use R?

July 25th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Demography, R, Statistics

An anthropologist colleague who did a post-doc in a population center has been trying to get a group of people at his university together to think about population issues.  This is something I'm all for and am happy to help in whatever little way I can to facilitate especially anthropologists developing their expertise in demography. […]

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New York Times Discovers R

January 6th, 2009 · 2 Comments · R

A recent article in the New York Times extolls the virtues of the R statistical programming language.  Better late than never, I suppose.  I first discovered R in 1999, just as I began writing my dissertation. At the time, I used Matlab for all my computational needs.  I still occasionally use Matlab when doing hardcore matrix algebra […]

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Statistics and Election Forecasting

November 5th, 2008 · No Comments · Statistics

With election day past us now, I have a moment to reflect upon how uncanny were Nate Silver and crew's predictions of the election.  I became quite a FiveThirtyEight.com junky as the election approached and I think that the stunning success that they demonstrated in predicting all sorts of elections yesterday holds lessons for the […]

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Truly Excellent Statistical Graphic

October 8th, 2008 · No Comments · Statistics

The figure that appeared on MediaCurves.com (the link to which I found here) following the second presidential debate last night was a truly outstanding example of communicating complex information using simple, effective graphical presentation. The figure shows the responses of 1004 respondents to the question of who won the debate.  The graphic summarizes quite a bit of […]

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Arrgh...

September 20th, 2008 · No Comments · R

I never did get around to writing about International Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday.  Carl Boe, from Berkeley, and I have a long-running joke about pirate-speak stemming from our teaching computing for formal demography using that old swashbuckler standby software -- you guessed it -- R.  We wanted to reduce the anxiety generated in […]

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