Also this week: teaching scientific writing using silly social media fights, Industrial Revolution counterfactuals, Jensen’s inequality vs. dark matter, celebrating (?) tenure, and more.
Dan Simpson with an interesting post on why he hates the “8 schools” example often used to teach Bayesian hierarchical models. Even if you don’t care about teaching Bayesian hierarchical models, you should read this for Dan’s provocative thoughts on why simulated data are better than real data for evaluating the performance of any statistical approach. I also found this interesting because it’s a case of disagreement between two bloggers who agree on a lot. Dan Simpson blogs at Andrew Gelman’s blog, and Gelman likes the “8 schools” example. Now I’m wondering if there’s any ecological or academic topic on which I seriously disagree with Brian and/or Meghan, and if so, what it is and how to identify it. Brian and I sometimes think we seriously disagree, but after a bit of discussion generally find that we mostly agree.
How Blackboard is like baby clothes. (ht Marginal Revolution)
A toy model of scientific research in which there’s selection for scientists who do low-risk, low-reward research because (i) risk-taking researchers will experience more failures and so will train fewer members of the next generation of scientists, and (ii) it’s hard to train students to do high-risk, high-reward science. Fun to think about, but just offhand I’m not at all convinced it’s a good caricature of reality.
Why did the Industrial Revolution first take off in Britain rather than France?
Psychology papers mostly use Bayes factors as an excuse to infer the truth of the null hypothesis, in cases where sample sizes are small and the data are noisy. I don’t feel like Bayes factors are much used in ecology, but I’d be curious to know if they’re used in the same way when they are used. Anyone care to check?
Explaining evolution to non-scientists: lessons from Ross and Phoebe. Irrelevant aside: I wish we lived in a world in which someone could feel free to write this post without first acknowledging critiques of Friends that have nothing to do with the particular scene on which the post is based.
I’m months late to this celebration of getting tenure, which I hope and assume is entirely in jest.
Coleen Rooney demonstrates how to structure a scientific paper. 🙂 I assume that Stephen Heard will incorporate this example into the second edition of his scientific writing book.