Bad Data Science in the Wild

Today’s example comes from a Reddit post on USMNT subreddit that shows the proportion of minutes played by US Men’s National Team (USMNT) players who participated in the January mini-camp the USMNT does every year. OP made the following plot: IDK what this actually means, but I sure know what people will think when they see it! Background The context here is that fans are generally dissatisfied with the USMNT right now, and one of the reasons is that Gregg Berhalter (the USMNT coach) doesn’t call up the right players.

Computer Science Invents Wavelets

A friend of mine shared an abstract with me from an upcoming talk by Computer Science professor: Data analysis is an emerging research topic that focuses on understanding patterns of data to discover knowledge. For understanding the data, various machine learning (ML) techniques are commonly utilized to build learning models. For maintaining high performance of the models, it is important to extract good features and utilize them to build a reliable learning model.

Plotting binary outcomes

library(tidyverse) library(binom) Someone had a relatively straight-forward question: They had sets of binary outcomes for different response variables, and wanted to display them all in a simple way that highlighted both the probability of success and amount of data they had for each observation. There are more than a few ways to do it, and it can be hard to determine which is best without seeing them, so let’s look at a few examples and see which we like!

The common failure mode of statistics and economics

Both Economics and Statistics share a peculiar failure mode: Many critical results in both rely on “large sample”/“long run average” proofs. The Central Limit Theorem is fundamental to much of classical statitics, including most (if not all) of the fundamental approaches that people are exposed to in their first few courses. The Efficient Market Hypothesis underpins much of the economic theory on which Western economies are based. Both are powerful tools for explaining common phenomena and often make complex problems simpler to understand and model.

A simple model for car ownership

I recently had to buy a car, and one of the trickiest things I found was figuring out how to decide between buying new, buying used (how used?) and leasing. Growing up, my parents never bought a new car. To my knoweldge, the only new car they ever bought was my dad right after he graduated college. My wife’s parents, OTOH, buy new almost exclusively. They typically own for a few years (3-5), trade it back in to the dealer and get a new vehicle.

The Crusade Against P-values

So we’ll call that break a “summer hiatus”. But now we’re back, and coming recently from the Joint Statistical Meetings (2019) in Denver, I’ve got Thoughts. This year’s JSM was different for me, because I spent most of my time on recruitment, speaking with potential applicants during many of the sessions. As a result, I attended many fewer talks that I normally do. By happenstance, the topic of the p-value came up repeatedly in the talks I was able to attend.

Pie Charts: A Journey

As a newly-minted PhD Statistician, I was hired by a company that didn’t have a lot of native statistical expertise because they wanted to change that. As a result, I felt empowered to give lots of opinions on topics within my domain to anyone who happened to be in the room, including the head of the division. One of those opinions was that pie charts were the worst. I viewed pie charts as the scarlet letter of bad analysis: Having one in your analysis should get you shamed and shunned.

Nonlinearity

This is an update to my Analysis Philosphy page, which is still working towards completion Nonlinearity is a commonly-misunderstood problem when it comes to data analysis, mostly because our profession has once again managed to find a way to use a simple-sounding term in a way that’s counterintuitive to lay audiences. (See also Artificial Intelligence is Dumb.) When people think about nonlinear response variables, they think of functions that have non-linear relationships.

DIY Metrics: Game Logs

Previously on DIY Metircs… Last time in the DIY Metrics series, we had reached the point where we could extract a host of individual metrics from our data set using a function we’d named add_simple_stat_indicators: add_simple_stat_indicators <- function(tb){ tb %>% mutate( gotblk = (description == "BLOCK"), gotstl = (description == "STEAL"), gotast = (description == "ASSIST"), gotreb = map_lgl(description, str_detect, "REBOUND"), tfoulu = map_lgl(description, str_detect, "T.FOUL"), tfoull = map_lgl(description, str_detect, "T.

How Analytics Ruins Sports

With the recent success of the Rockets, people are trotting out that old saw about analytics nerds ruining sports. With the Houston Rockets specifically, the question is a combined referendum on the numbers-based approach of GM Daryl Morey and the foul-drawing proclivities of Houston’s two stars, James Harden and Chris Paul. Of course, the latter is linked with the former, since analytics shows us that drawing shooting fouls is extremely efficient offense.