Archive for JSM 2019

eugenism and the complete opposite [not a book review]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , on February 21, 2022 by xi'an

When reading last Sunday the Guardian book review of Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics (to appear) by Adam Rutherford, I got reminded of a recent Nature (general public) article on the “mixed-race” myth in Latin America. Which itself reminded me of an opposition I noticed when preparing for  the discussion on eugenics at the 2019 JSM. The Nature article, “How the mixed-race mestizo myth warped science in Latin America“, tells the story of a post-racial society with enough mixing (mestizaje, which also has a colonial coloration) between earlier ethnicities throughout the population to achieve greater social cohesion and put an end to racism. Story that appeared in the early 1900’s in opposition to North America’s and (part of) Europe’s eugenic policies oriented towards (supposedly) “preserving racial purity”. This story alas did not prevent racism, though, with “skin colour [still being] a powerful determinant of wealth and education levels across Latin America”, and forced sterilisations, incl. in the 1990’s. And, while creating a poorly defined label, it was also instrumental in repressing indigenous communities and cultures.

a problem that did not need ABC in the end

Posted in Books, pictures, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2019 by xi'an

While in Denver, at JSM, I came across [across validated!] this primarily challenging problem of finding the posterior of the 10³ long probability vector of a Multinomial M(10⁶,p) when only observing the range of a realisation of M(10⁶,p). This sounded challenging because the distribution of the pair (min,max) is not available in closed form. (Although this allowed me to find a paper on the topic by the late Shanti Gupta, who was chair at Purdue University when I visited 32 years ago…) This seemed to call for ABC (especially since I was about to give an introductory lecture on the topic!, law of the hammer…), but the simulation of datasets compatible with the extreme values of both minimum and maximum, m=80 and M=12000, proved difficult when using a uniform Dirichlet prior on the probability vector, since these extremes called for both small and large values of the probabilities. However, I later realised that the problem could be brought down to a Multinomial with only three categories and the observation (m,M,n-m-M), leading to an obvious Dirichlet posterior and a predictive for the remaining 10³-2 realisations.

R wins COPSS Award!

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2019 by xi'an

Hadley Wickham from RStudio has won the 2019 COPSS Award, which expresses a rather radical switch from the traditional recipient of this award in that this recognises his many contributions to the R language and in particular to RStudio. The full quote for the nomination is his  “influential work in statistical computing, visualisation, graphics, and data analysis” including “making statistical thinking and computing accessible to a large audience”. With the last part possibly a recognition of the appeal of Open Source… (I was not in Denver for the awards ceremony, having left after the ABC session on Monday morning. Unfortunately, this session only attracted a few souls, due to the competition of twentysome other sessions, including, excusez du peu!, David Dunson’s Medallion Lecture and Michael Lavine’s IOL on the likelihood principle. And Marco Ferreira’s short-course on Bayesian time series. This is the way the joint meeting goes, but it is disappointing to reach so few people.)

Denver snapshot [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2019 by xi'an

Introductory overview lecture: the ABC of ABC [JSM19 #1]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2019 by xi'an

Here are my slides [more or less] for the introductory overview lecture I am giving today at JSM 2019, 4:00-5:50, CC-Four Seasons I. There is obviously quite an overlap with earlier courses I gave on the topic, although I refrained here from mentioning any specific application (like population genetics) to focus on statistical and computational aspects.

Along with the other introductory overview lectures in this edition of JSM:

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