## Nature tidbits

Posted in Books, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2018 by xi'an

“Louis Chen was technically meant to retire in 2005. The mathematician at the National University of Singapore was turning 65, the university’s official retirement age. But he was only five years into his tenure as director of the university’s new Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and the university wanted him to stay on. So he remained for seven more years, stepping down in 2012. Over the next 18 months, he travelled and had knee surgery, before returning in summer 2014 to teach graduate courses for a year.”

And [yet] another piece on the biases of AIs. Reproducing earlier papers discussed here, with one obvious reason being that the learning corpus is not representative of the whole population, maybe survey sampling should become compulsory in machine learning training degrees. And yet another piece on why protectionism is (also) bad for the environment.

## foie gras fois trois

Posted in Statistics, Wines with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2014 by xi'an

As New Year’s Eve celebrations are getting quite near, newspapers once again focus on related issues, from the shortage of truffles, to the size of champagne bubbles, to the prohibition of foie gras. Today, I noticed an headline in Le Monde about a “huge increase in French people against force-fed geese and ducks: 3% more than last year are opposed to this practice”. Now, looking at the figures, it is based on a survey of 1,032 adults, out of which 47% were against. From a purely statistical perspective, this is not highly significant since

$\dfrac{\hat{p}_1-\hat{p_2}}{\sqrt{2\hat{p}(1-\hat{p})/1032}}=1.36$

is compatible with the null hypothesis N(0,1) distribution.

## Orangutans

Posted in Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on August 8, 2010 by xi'an

The first trans-Atlantic edition of Significance contains a paper by Kerrie Mengersen on her recent work in the jungles of Borneo, analysing a survey among villagers about the populations of orangutans and the evolution patterns of those populations. I knew Kerrie was involved in this study in the past years, but it is nice to see the outcome in such a clear format. I am looking forward the technical aspects of the spatial analysis that allows for a better understanding of the population patterns and of their dynamics. (The title of the paper is great as well: “The sound of silence: listening to the villagers to learn about orangutans”.)