Archive for the ‘Research Methods’ Category

Great data visualization

December 9, 2010

Take a look at these three sites.

Ethnographic rap

September 15, 2010

Here’s a song that you can learn from:

Here are the lyrics:

Harvard professor fakes data?

August 30, 2010

Harvard professor Marc Hauser was found guilty of “scientific misconduct”. Harvard doesn’t say exactly what that entails, but it is clear is that he and his assistants had the task of coding videotaped monkey behavior. This is a task which should always be given to someone who does not know what the study’s hypotheses are. It should also be noted that the scientific method is designed to protect a researcher from his/her unconscious biases. It does nothing to prevent people from simply faking it.

BTW, the guy’s field of study is morality.

Why “God’s Will” is a lousy explanation

November 5, 2009

Ok, that’s an easy one, but I needed a vehicle for talking about post- and pre-dictive explanation.

If you give ‘God wanted it that way’ as the reason for anything, you do actually get 100% postdictive success. There is no question that that mechanism will actually lead to the outcome you are trying to explain. “Duh!” you might say, but there are a lot of mechanisms proposed in academic papers which in fact do not lead to the claimed outcome. So in this respect, God’s will is actually a pretty powerful explanatory mechanism.

What you lose with God’s will is predictive success. Since you don’t know God’s will in advance, you don’t know how things are going to turn out. So predictively, God’s will is no better than random guessing.

fundamental, curiosity-driven science

October 6, 2009

Excerpt from Baltimore Sun:

Carol W. Greider, who on Monday became the 33rd person associated with the Johns Hopkins University to win the Nobel Prize, is a triathlete, a mother of two and a methodical and modest genetic researcher who colleagues say shuns publicity in favor of pursuing her passion: fundamental, curiosity-driven science.

See the full article here:,0,800156.story

Your brain on Kafka

September 20, 2009

Thanks to a tweet from @valdiskrebs, have a look at this nicely written piece by Tom Jacobs describing recent research on how the brain “amps up” when trying to make sense of puzzles.

Nerd terms domain

September 11, 2009

Here’s a componential analysis of terms such as nerd, geek and dweeb.


Thanks to Dan Halgin for pointing me to it.

Should theories be beautiful?

September 8, 2009

According to Lave and March, and many others, the answer is yes. But take a look at Krugman’s analysis “How did economists get it so wrong?” in the New York Times . He blames beauty.

Bad science?

August 31, 2009

Michael White’s reaction to the recent Science issue spotlighting “network science”.

Predicting baseball injuries

July 7, 2009

The article doesn’t really say much, but still interesting: