StatLit News 2015
Milo Schield, Editor
General Interest Events
Statistical Inference for Managers.
Milo Schield. ASA JSM
2015/09: Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other
Ways to Lie with Statistics
1st Edition by Gary Smith
“A very entertaining book about a very serious problem. We deceive
ourselves all the time with statistics, and it is time we wised up.”
–Robert J. Shiller, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics Did you
know that baseball players whose names begin with the letter “D” are
more likely to die young? Or that Asian Americans are most
susceptible to heart attacks on the fourth day of the month? Or that
drinking a full pot of coffee every morning will add years to your
life, but one cup a day increases the risk of pancreatic cancer? All
of these “facts” have been argued with a straight face by
credentialed researchers and backed up with reams of data and
As Nobel Prize–winning economist Ronald Coase once cynically
observed, “If you torture data long enough, it will confess.” Lying
with statistics is a time-honored con. In Standard Deviations,
economics professor Gary Smith walks us through the various tricks
and traps that people use to back up their own crackpot theories.
Sometimes, the unscrupulous deliberately try to mislead us. Other
times, the well-intentioned are blissfully unaware of the mischief
they are committing. Today, data is so plentiful that researchers
spend precious little time distinguishing between good, meaningful
indicators and total rubbish. Not only do others use data to fool
us, we fool ourselves.
2015/09: Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception
Hardcover – September 22, 2015 by George A. Akerlof and Robert J.
Ever since Adam Smith, the central teaching of economics has been
that free markets provide us with material well-being, as if by an
invisible hand. In Phishing for Phools, Nobel Prize-winning
economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller deliver a fundamental
challenge to this insight, arguing that markets harm as well as help
us. As long as there is profit to be made, sellers will
systematically exploit our psychological weaknesses and our
ignorance through manipulation and deception. Rather than being
essentially benign and always creating the greater good, markets are
inherently filled with tricks and traps and will "phish" us as "phools."
At the same time, the book tells stories of individuals who have
stood against economic trickery--and how it can be reduced through
greater knowledge, reform, and regulation.
The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and
Rare Events Happen Every Day
by David Hand. TOC:1 The
Mystery; 2 A Capricious Universe; 3. What is Chance? 4 The
Law of Inevitability; 5 The Law of Truly Large Numbers; 6
The Law of Selection; 7 The Law of the Probability Lever; 8
The Law of Near Enough; 9 The Human Mind; 10 Life, the
Universe and Everything; 11 How to Use the Improbability
What is wrong with THE
Introductory Statistics Course. Schield USCOTS
Statistical Literacy roundtable
Making our World a Better Place. Schield 2015
USCOTS. 4.5 minutes
29: Congratulations go to Tyler VanderWeele, winner of the
2015 ASA “Causality in Statistics Education Award”
for his book “Explanation in
Causal Inference” (Oxford, 2015). The award ceremony will
take place at the 2015 JSM conference, August 8-13, in
Seattle. Another good news, Google has joined Microsoft in
sponsoring next year’s award, so please upgrade your 2016
nominations. For details of nominations and selection
Updating the GAISE College
chaired by Michelle Everson.
2015 Aug 3: RSS Statistics for
Added StatLit.org webpage for
2015 Jun 21: Lynn Steen, RIP.
2015 June 9: RSS:
Call for Grant Ideas.
Submit by July 31, 2015.
2015 May 11:
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics
by Richard H. Thaler
2015 Apr 28:
Statistics: P values are just the tip of the iceberg
by Leek & Peng in Nature.
"In practice, decisions that are made earlier in data analysis have a
much greater impact on results — from experimental design to batch
effects, lack of adjustment for confounding factors, or simple
measurement error. Arbitrary levels of statistical significance can be
achieved by changing the ways in which data are cleaned, summarized or
2015 Apr 25:
Are You Smarter than an 8th Grader?
Nicholas Kristof. "I
believe American high schools and colleges overemphasize calculus and
don’t sufficiently teach statistics. Statistical literacy should be part
of every citizen’s tool kit."
2015 Apr 11: Statistical Literacy online course for
teachers (no credit): May 11-June 29. Syllabus,
Textbook and Registration
2015 Mar 18:
The first crack in the wall of significance testing
by Simon Oxenham. See
Cummings "Dance of the P-values"
2015 March: "LOCUS has developed a series of assessments designed to
measure statistical literacy."
"LOCUS addresses the assessment component of the
[GAISE] framework to provide items that assess statistical literacy in
the spirit of GAISE." LOCUS: Levels of
Conceptual Understanding in Statistics.
Amstat news March p. 35. Content: "Emphasis on
Practice and Process of Statistical Problem Solving: Formulating
Statistical Questions & Collecting Data (40%) Analyzing Data and
Interpreting Results (60%). LOCUS Assessments (two versions) Register at
http://locus.statisticsEducation.org for an account and start using the
assessments today. Funded by NSF in 2011 with $2.1 million.
2015 Feb 25:
Psychology Journal Bans Significance Testing
by Steven Novella.
See Cummings "Dance of the P-values"
2015 Feb 19:
Statistical Concepts Discovered by Data Scientists
by Granville. "Here we highlight 11 major data science contributions
to statistical science. I am not aware of any statistical science
contribution to data science, but if you know one, you are welcome to
2015 Feb 12:
BASP is Banning NHSTP
by Trafimow and Marks.
2015 Jan 28:
Review of Presenting Data.
2015 Jan 15:
Your demand for statistical proof is racist. Candice
Lanius in Cyborgology. "A demand for statistical proof is blatant
distrust of someone’s lived experience."
Causality in Statistical Education Award. The committee is pleased to announce that a
gift from Microsoft Research will enable the prize to double in 2015. A
$10,000 prize or two $5,000 prizes will awarded this year.
For additional information about the award,
see the 2012
winner and the
Nominations and questions should be sent to the ASA office at email@example.com.
The nomination deadline is February 15, 2015. Visit www.amstat.org/education/causalityprize/
for nomination information.
2015 Aug 9-13.
Statistical Meeting in Seattle, WA.
* 3:05 #040 Looking Deeper into
Student's Engagement, Learning Style, and Attitudes by Chauhan* & Zubovic
(Purdue U. Fort Wayne)
* 4:45 #067 Causal Inference in Environmental Science and Agriculture:
Opportunities and Challenges by Molly Davies
* 5:05 #065 Intro Stats in the 21st century by Richard De Veaux*
* 7:00 #095 Roundtable Writing in the Statistics Classroom by Kim
Love-Myers* (Statistical Consulting Center, UGA)
* 8:50 #143 Teaching Study Design Principles vs. Data Analysis by
Tisha Hooks* and April Kerby (Winona State)
* 9:05 #143 What Would Fisher Do? Promoting a Rich Understanding of
Model Construction by Couton & Stroup (U. Nebraska - Lincoln)
* 9:20 #143 Including a History of Statistics Course in your
Curriculum by Phyllis Curtiss* and Kirk Anderson (Grand Valley State)
* 10:35 #185 Teaching Meta-Analysis: Concepts, Controversies, and Resources
by Deborah Dawson (Univ. Iowa)
* 10:50 #185 3 Related Paradoxes by Harry James Norton, Carolinas Medical
Center & George Divine, Henry Ford Hospital
* 11:05 #185 From Measurement Errors to Normal Distributions: History and
Pedagogical Implications by Ilhan Izmirli (GMU)
* 11:05 #186 SBSIG Visual Analytics and the Introductory Statistics
Course: Time for a Paradigm Shift by Benjamin Adams (U. AL)
* 12:05 #182 Graphical causal models: the next multimodel inference
regime change needed in Ecology? Irvine* and Gitelman (Oregon St)
* 2:00 #240 Panel: GAISE in Increasingly Data-Centric World Rob
Carver, John Gabrosek, Megan Mocko, Paul Velleman, Beverly Wood
* 7:00 #276 Roundtable Resampling in the Undergraduate Curriculum by
Tim Hesterberg (Google)
* 10:30 #377 Poster #12: Estimating Causal Effects..in RCTs w. Provider-Subject Noncompliance by Elisa Sheng*
& Xiao-Hua Zhou (U. Wa)
* 10:35 #330 A new criterion for confounder selection
by Tyler VanderWeele* (Harvard) and Ilya Shpitser (U. Southampton)
* 11:50 #362
Graphical Framework for Causal Reasoning: Multivariate,
Multilevel & Longitudinal Settings. Theobald & Richardson (U. Wa)
* 11:20 #366 Reading Assignments for the Statistics Classroom by Scott Mcclintock* and Steve Soltys (Elizabethtown College)
* 11:35 #366 Quantitative Writing: Communicating Data by Kimberly Massaro*
and Gail Pizzola (UTSA) 6up
* 11:50 #366 Children statistical literacy: Empowering & informing future
decision makers by Matilde Sanchez-Pena & J. Main (Purdue)
* 12:05 #366
Statistical Inference for Managers by Milo Schield (Augsburg)
* 12:30 #389 Roundtable: Innovative Ways for Teaching Large Statistics
Courses by Stacey Hancock (U. Calif. Irvine)
* 2:00 #404 Invited Panel: Statistics Education via Online Courses.
John McGready, James Rosenberger, Simon Sheather & Camille Fairbourn
* 7:00 #456 Roundtable Quantitative Statistics Courses Are Very
Qualitative by Leanna House* and Scotland Leman (Virginia Tech)
* 8:30 #486 Panel: Landscape of Business Analytics at Higher Education. Phelps (Duquesne), Szabat, Anderson, Camm & LaBarr.
* 8:55 #480 Unraveling Bias in Online [Natural] Experimentation by
Chris Harland (Microsoft)
* 9:15 #480 How Credible are Observational Estimates of Causal Effects
from 'Big Data' by Eytan Bakshy* and Dean Eckles (Facebook)
* 9:15 #487 Relationship b/t Verbal Reasoning Skills and
Statistical Literacy... by Elizabeth Johnson*(GMU) & D. Keosayian
* 9:20 #487 what statistically significant relationship looks like
[in scatter plots] by Aaron Fisher*, Anderson, Peng & Leek (John Hopkins)
* 9:30 #487 Reinforcing Experimental Design with Activities by Paul
Stephenson*, Curtiss, Richardson and Reischman (Grand Valley State)
* 9:40 #487 Changing How Students Think About Statistics by Paul
Plummer (U. Central Missouri)
* 9:55 #487 Are Pie Charts Really So Bad? by Michael Posner* and
Joseph Reiter (Villanova)
* 10:05 #490 Causal inference for ordinal outcomes by Alexander Volfovsky*,
Edo Airoldi and Donald Rubin (Harvard)
* 10:50 #545..Evolution of Statistical Terms such as Analytics, Big Data,
and Data Science by John McKenzie, Babson College
* 11:00 #517 ...Delivering Impactful End-to-End Stories to Executive
Audiences by Paul Swiontkowski (Microsoft)
* 3:05 #597 On causal interpretations of race in regressions adjusting
for confounding and mediating variables by Whitney Robinson (UNC)
* 9:05 #654 Peer Assessment in the Statistics Classroom by Dennis
Sun (Stanford & Google)
* 10:35 #691 Bias Amplification: The Case of Fixed-effects by Joel
Middleton*, Marc Scott, Jennifer Hill and Ronli Diakow
2015 July 22-24.International
Assoc Statistical Educators (IASE)
Satellite Conference Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Data Sciences: Statistics or Computer Science.
Timothy J. Kyng, Ayse Bilgin and
Busayasachee Puang Ngern (Macquarie U.)
2015 June 22-23.
Statistical Literacy conference (Turning Data into
Knowledge) in Lisbon Portugal. "Currently, statistics education takes place
in a new social and cultural context and faces a global challenge of meeting
the calls for statistically literate and informed citizens who are able to
turn data into knowledge. Such a challenge provides new opportunities to
rethink both what statistics we teach and how we teach statistics. Doing so
is imperative in order to develop students’ ability to reason about data and
to use them effective and critically, in their daily life, for prediction
and decision-making." "Two strands have been defined: A.
Statistical literacy and B. Statistical reasoning."
Invited speakers are Dani Ben-Zvi and Janet Ainley.
2015: June 15. The Taming
of Chance Story Competition.
Sponsored by The Fields
Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences in
partnership with the American Statistical Association).
This competition "seeks to answer a critical question at the
center of how statistics is (or is not) relevant to our
everyday lives. Answering the question "What our world be
like if the normal curve had never been discovered",
statistics educators and students are invited to tell a
story which makes the subject resonate with a general
audience who increasingly have a need to be quantitatively
literate. The competition judges will be awarding the
$2000 grand prize in June of 2015, and to further encourage
participation by younger students, an additional $1500 prize
is reserved for entries from students under the age of 26.
Submission deadline, June 15 2015." For more information,
please see the competition website:
2015 May 28-30.
The Penn Stater
Conference Center Hotel State College, Pennsylvania "Making
Calendar, Plenary speakers and workshops.
Opening session: What's wrong with Stat 101. Allan
Rossman describes the course. In the oppening address, Dick De Veaux
(Slides) and George Cobb
diagnosis the ills and suggest some cures. Short
responses by each of six discussants: Amy Wagaman, Jeff
Witmer, Jessica Utts, Milo Schield (Slides,
Paper), Nathan Tintle, Webster West.
Schield Statistical Literacy roundtable.
Amy Phelps and Kathryn Szabat and Kathryn Knape: "Planning an Academic Analytics program':
2015 Mar 10. Updating
the curriculum of an introductory statistical literacy course for the modern
student with Ellen Gundlach, Purdue University 2:00 to 2:30p.m. Eastern
time, Tuesday March 10th, 2015 (note special time) Teaching & Learning
Series Webinar. Abstract: Strategies for including important (and
sometimes controversial), modern issues from society into an introductory
statistical literacy course for liberal arts students will be discussed,
including several projects which have been successfully used for 500
students split between large-lecture traditional, fully online, and flipped
sections. Topics include advertisement analysis, big data, ethics, social
media article discussions, and a service learning project. These new topics
and projects capture student interest and show them how relevant statistical
literacy is to their daily lives. To register for this webinar
Ellen Grundlach page at www.stat.purdue.edu/people/faculty/gundlach
"Using Calibrated Peer Review in Statistics and Biology: A Coordinated
Statistical Literacy Project' with Ellen Gundlach & Nancy Pelaez, Purdue
University 2:00 to 2:30 pm Eastern time, October 13th, 2009 Ellen and Nancy
use Calibrated Peer Review, an online writing and peer evaluation
program available from UCLA, to introduce statistical literacy to Nancy's
freshman biology students and to bring a real-world context to statistical
concepts for Ellen's introductory statistics classes in an NSF-funded
project. CPR allows instructors in large classes to give their students
frequent writing assignments without a heavy grading burden. Ellen and Nancy
have their students read research journal articles on interesting subjects
and use guiding questions to evaluate these articles for statistical
content, experimental design features, and ethical concerns.
CPR at http://cpr.molsci.ucla.edu/Home.aspx
2015: Feb 28.
Education Research Journal (SERJ)
call for papers on the topic of 'Research on Statistical
Guest editors are Jim Ridgeway and James Nicholson, and SERJ
co-editor Maxine Pfannkuch. Interested authors should send a
letter of intent by February 28, 2015, but preferably
earlier, consisting of a 150-250 word abstract describing
key aspects of the paper. Manuscripts for this special
issue will be limited to a maximum of 7500 words of
body text and authors are encouraged to aim for 4000-6000
words of body text (not counting abstract, tables and
graphs, references, appendices).
2015: Feb 15.
Nominations due for
2015 Judea Pearl Causality Award.
Submissions should include a cover letter that provides
information about the nominee, type of material suggested as
an important contribution, the intended audience, and an
abstract of why the material is nominated, along with the
nominated work. Submissions and questions should be sent to
the ASA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2015: Jan 10-13.
San Antonio, TX.
Abstracts for All Speakers.
Selected contributed paper themes:
* Best Practices for Teaching the Introductory Statistics
Course organized by Randall Pruim, Scott Alberts and Patti
* Statistics Education beyond the Introductory Statistics
Course organized by Randall Pruim, Scott Alberts and Patti Frazer
* Infusing QL into Mathematics and Nonmathematics Courses
organized by Andrew Miller, Aaron Montgomery and Gary Franchy.
2015: Feb 1.
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Nominations.
"The Consortium for the
Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE) is
now accepting nominations for the 2015 USCOTS Lifetime
Achievement Award in statistics education. This biennial
award is presented at the U.S. Conference On Teaching
Statistics to an individual who, over an extended period of
time, has made lasting contributions with broad impact to
the field of statistics education especially, but not
limited to, the teaching and learning of college-level
statistics. A nomination packet (maximum 10 pages)
should include a nomination letter of up to 3 pages signed
by three nominators stating why the individual is deserving
of the award and up to 7 pages of supporting
testimony/e-mails from others."
Call for Nominations
2015: Feb 1.
2015 Call for Poster Proposals.
"We are calling for proposals
for the Posters and Beyond (P&B) session for USCOTS 2015
(United States Conference On Teaching Statistics) which will
be held May 28-30, 2015 in State College, Pennsylvania. The
P&B session provides an opportunity for conference
participants to display a poster of their ideas or provide a
small demonstration of their favorite examples, activities,
and teaching methods. Due to limited space, the P&B will be
limited to approximately 70 presenters. Abstracts for
posters or demonstrations in the USCOTS Posters and Beyond
session submitted before Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 11:59pm
will receive feedback from the session organizers by
Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Final abstracts should be
submitted by Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 11:59pm. Abstracts
submitted between February 1 and April 1 will be considered
for selection, but will not receive feedback from the
session organizers. Posters and Beyond is a peer-reviewed
opportunity at USCOTS, thus the P&B team will make decisions
about inclusion in the program. All P&B applicants will be
notified whether they were selected by Friday, April 17,
2015. Abstracts will be submitted through the USCOTS
registration system, which will open soon." Iddo Gal,