Also this week: physics vs. least squares regression, the coronavirus pandemic vs. trust in science, genius vs. genius, and more.
Hank Stevens’ Primer of Ecology with R is now available for free online on GitHub, along with all the R code! We draw heavily on this book and the code in the labs for our Population Ecology course here at Calgary. I highly recommend it.
Agnes Callard on the (lack of) difference between the geniuses we praise (or at least tolerate) for being different, and the geniuses we condemn. Lovely and insightful short essay, about The Queen’s Gambit, philosophy, Callard’s own life, and everyone’s life.
Interesting post from Andrew Gelman asking why so many published effect size estimates are overestimates, but published effect size estimates of the “hot hand” were underestimates. Can we say anything in general about when to expect our effect size estimates to be biased upwards vs. downwards? And here’s a related post from me.
You know all those opinion pieces arguing that the coronavirus pandemic will, or should, increase trust in science and scientists? Maybe don’t be so sure about that. A new, unreviewed preprint (which I haven’t read; just passing along the link if you’re interested) combines data from a massive international public opinion survey with other data sources to argue that experiencing a disease epidemic reduces trust in scientists, reduces trust in vaccines, and makes people less likely to vaccinate their own children. As I said, I think you should read this yourself before you pass judgment (it’s from serious people). It’s on my reading list.
Given that I’m an old school blogger, I’m obviously a sucker for any piece lamenting the extinction of the pre-Twitter blogosphere and critiquing attempts to recreate it. Like this one. See also. And also. In light of the apparent mini-trend for people who got their start in blogging trying to return to some version of blogging, I have two questions. One, will this mini-trend inspire anyone who doesn’t remember the pre-Twitter blogosphere to try to recreate it? Second, this mini-trend mostly seems to involve commenters on politics, economics, and culture. Will any scientists who used to blog go back to blogging, or to some blogging-like activity such as Substack? I’m kind of feeling like the answer to the second question is “no”, but I guess we’ll see. Searching Substack on “science” doesn’t turn up many results as the moment…
The physics intuitions behind least squares regression. This is a great teaching post, and not just for physics and engineering students. I’m giving it to my biostats undergrads.
This isn’t the sort of thing I usually link to, but it’s very good.
As a Williams College alum, gotta say, I’m a bit embarrassed by this. That’s a bit of a silly way for me to feel, I know. Just as it’s a bit silly for me to feel proud that the best rebuttal of the previous link came from a Williams prof.
This week in links that are only meaningful to me and any readers who are also from south-central Pennsylvania: goddammit 2020.
Meanwhile, in Korea:
I assume that this is what happened next. 🙂