NIMBYs and economic theories: Sorry / Not Sorry

This post is not by Andrew. This post is by Phil. A few days ago I posted What’s the deal with the YIMBYs?  In the rest of this post, I assume you have read that one. I plan to post a follow-up in a month or two when I have had time to learn more, but there are a couple of things I can say right now. I. Sorry I apologize unreservedly to YIMBY supporters who know, or think they know, that buiding more housing in San Francisco will decrease rents there or at least will greatly reduce the rate at which they rise. I characterized the entire YIMBY movement as being at least partly motivated by a desire to stick a thumb in the eye of the smug slam-the-door-now-that-I’m-inside NIMBY crowd, rather than by a genuine belief that loosening…
Original Post: NIMBYs and economic theories: Sorry / Not Sorry

Higher credence for the masses: From a Ted talk?

The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows | Laura Arnold | TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue I brought this link forward in some comments but wanted to promote it to a post as I think its important and I know many folks just do not read comments.As I once heard claimed in a talk on risk communication – “No one has as much credibility as a mother voicing concerns about her children – No one!” Now, academics have been voicing concerns about the quality of published studies and claims for a long time, me in 1989, others inspired by Fisher in 1959 and CS Peirce in 1879. Recently there has been an exponential explosion in the voicing of concerns about  the quality of published studies – but it does not seem to be reaching the masses. Academics must not have much credibility with…
Original Post: Higher credence for the masses: From a Ted talk?

What’s the deal with the YIMBYs?

This post is not by Andrew. It is by Phil. There’s at least one thing people in San Francisco seem to agree on: the rent is too damn high. The median rent is between about $3000 and $3500 per month…for a one-bedroom apartment. High-tech workers and upper-echelon businesspeople can afford a place, but baristas and hair salon workers and teachers and shop clerks etc. etc. have real trouble. Of course there is plenty of development pressure, and new high-rise apartments are going in that have hundreds of apartments each, typically with a rent of $4000 – $8000 per month. If you let a developer build “market rate” apartments, that’s what they’ll build. Suppose San Francisco adds 10,000 market-rate units. Some will be one-bedrooms, some two- or three-bedrooms, and some will be occupied by singles, others by couples, etc. But for…
Original Post: What’s the deal with the YIMBYs?

Reality meets the DeLilloverse

Reality meets the DeLilloverse Posted by Andrew on 11 May 2017, 6:23 pm From 2009: “They thought ASU’s brand was too strong to compete with. Incarnate Word is now part of the Communiversity @ Surprise, a newly opened one-stop learning center for higher education in the northwest Valley.” I guess my statistics textbooks probably read like parodies of statistics textbooks, so from that perspective it makes sense that the above business-speak reads like a parody of business-speak. It’s the combination of biz-jargon “Communiversity @ Surprise” with the biblical “Incarnate Word” that takes this one into DeLillo territory.
Original Post: Reality meets the DeLilloverse

Can you account for this?

I’m speaking (remotely) to a roomful of accountants tomorrow. Exciting, huh? Actually, I don’t know if they’re accountants. They’re “accounting researchers,” whatever that means. . . . The title they gave to my talk is “A statistician’s thoughts on registered reports.” There’s no abstract (and, of course, no slides) but they sent me this list of relevant issues: 1. Power is essential for any good empirical research. How effective is registration at improving power? The positive, given they way we are doing it, is that people can commit to gathering a lot of high-quality data, knowing that they will be published regardless of whether they support their results. 2. How helpful is it really to reduce HARKing [hypothesizing after results are known]? 3. How effective is registration in reducing p-hacking, especially given that so many of the interesting results in…
Original Post: Can you account for this?

“Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz sent me his new book on learning from data. As is just about always the case for this sort of book, I’m a natural reviewer but I’m not really the intended audience. That’s why I gave Dan Ariely’s book to Juli Simon Thomas to review; I thought her perspective would be more relevant than mine for the potential reader. I took the new book by Stephens-Davidowitz and passed it along to someone else, a demanding reader who I thought might like it, and he did: he kept coming to me with new thought-provoking bits that he’d found in it. So that’s a pretty solid endorsement. I couldn’t convince him to write a review so you’ll have to take my word that he liked it. The thing I found most appealing about the book was that, in addition to…
Original Post: “Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Riddle me this

Riddle me this Posted by Andrew on 8 May 2017, 9:55 am [cat picture] Paul Alper writes: From Susan Perry’s article based on Paul Hacker’s BMJ article: In 2015, the University of Colorado had to shut down its nonprofit Global Energy Balance Network after the organization was exposed as being essentially a “scientific” front for its funder, Coca-Cola. The University of Colorado School of Medicine returned the $1 million that the beverage company had provided to start the organization. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and public health at New York University, told [Paul] Hacker that although the reporters at the obesity conferences were misled, they shouldn’t have been so gullible. They should have known, she said, that the industry was behind the events, given who was speaking at them. Hacker’s BMJ article is at BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 05…
Original Post: Riddle me this

The Aristocrats!

The Aristocrats! Posted by Andrew on 6 May 2017, 9:18 am [cat picture] I followed a link from Tyler Cowen to the book, “Inside Job: How Government Insiders Subvert the Public Interest,” by Mark Zupan (but not this Mark Zupan, I think). The link points to the book’s Amazon page, and here’s the very first blurb: ‘In the tradition of Parkinson’s Law, this fascinating and novel contribution to political theory examines in horrifying but eloquent detail just how vulnerable government is, not just to demand-side capture by special interests, but to supply-side take-over by insiders operating for their own benefit and at the expense of the public good.’ Vicount Matthew Ridley, Journalist, Member of the House of Lords and author of The Evolution of Everything A viscount is a kind of lord, right? Ummm, I better check. From Wikipedia: A viscount…
Original Post: The Aristocrats!

Problems with randomized controlled trials (or any bounded statistical analysis) and thinking more seriously about story time

In 2010, I wrote: As a statistician, I was trained to think of randomized experimentation as representing the gold standard of knowledge in the social sciences, and, despite having seen occasional arguments to the contrary, I still hold that view, expressed pithily by Box, Hunter, and Hunter (1978) that “To find out what happens when you change something, it is necessary to change it.” At the same time, in my capacity as a social scientist, I’ve published many applied research papers, almost none of which have used experimental data. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have well-known problems with realism or validity (a problem that researchers try to fix using field experiments, but it’s not always possible to have a realistic field experiment either), and cost/ethics/feasibility (which pushes researchers toward smaller experiments in more artificial settings, which in turn can lead to…
Original Post: Problems with randomized controlled trials (or any bounded statistical analysis) and thinking more seriously about story time

Time Inc. stoops to the level of the American Society of Human Genetics and PPNAS?

Do anyone out there know anyone at Time Inc? If so, I have a question for you. But first the story: Mark Palko linked to an item from Barry Petchesky pointing out this article at the online site of Sports Illustrated Magazine. Here’s Petchesky: Over at Sports Illustrated, you can read an article about Tom Brady’s new line of sleepwear for A Company That Makes Stretchy Workout Stuff. The article contains the following lines: “The TB12 Sleepwear line includes full-length shirts and pants—and a short-sleeve and shorts version—with bioceramics printed on the inside.” “The print, sourced from natural minerals, activates the body’s natural heat and reflects it back as far infrared energy…” “The line, available in both men’s [link to store for purchase] and women’s [link to store for purchase] sizes, costs between $80 to $100 [link to store for…
Original Post: Time Inc. stoops to the level of the American Society of Human Genetics and PPNAS?