The Longest Now

Psych statistics wars: new methods are shattering old-guard assumptions
Thursday October 20th 2016, 12:51 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,knowledge,meta,metrics

Recently, statistician Andrew Gelman has been brilliantly breaking down the transformation of psychology (and social psych in particular) through its adoption of and creative use of statistical methods, leading to an improved understanding of how statistics can be abused in any field, and of how empirical observations can be [unwittingly and unintentionally] flawed. This led to the concept of p-hacking and other methodological fallacies which can be observed in careless uses of statistics throughout scientific and public analyses. And, as these new tools were used to better understand psychology and improve its methods, existing paradigms and accepted truths have been rapidly changed over the past 5 years. This shocks and anguishes researchers who are true believers in”hypotheses vague enough to support any evidence thrown at them“, and have built careers around work supporting those hypotheses.

Here is Gelman’s timeline of transformations in psychology and in statistics, from Paul Meehl’s argument in the 1960s that results in experimental psych may have no predictive power, to PubPeer, Brian Nosek’s reprodicibility project, and the current sense that “the emperor has no clothes”.

Here is a beautiful discussion a week later, from Gelman, about how researchers respond to statistical errors or other disproofs of part of their work.  In particular, how co-authors handle such new discoveries, either together or separately.

At the end, one of its examples turns up a striking example of someone taking these sorts of discoveries and updates to their work seriously: Dana Carney‘s public CV includes inline notes next to each paper wherever significant methodological or statistical concerns were raised, or significant replications failed.

Carney makes an appearance in his examples because of her most controversially popular research, with Cuddy an Yap, on power posing.  A non-obvious result (that holding certain open physical poses leads to feeling and acting more powerfully) became extremely popular in the popular media, and has generated a small following of dozens of related extensions and replication studies — which starting in 2015 started to be done with large samples and at high power, at which point the effects disappeared.  Interest within social psychology in the phenomenon, as an outlier of “a popular but possibly imaginary effect”, is so great that the journal Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology has an entire issue devoted to power posing coming out this Fall.
Perhaps motivated by Gelman’s blog post, perhaps by knowledge of the results that will be coming out in this dedicated journal issue [which she suggests are negative], she put out a full two-page summary of her changing views on her own work over time, from conceiving of the experiment, to running it with the funds and time available, to now deciding there was no meaningful effect.  My hat is off to her.  We need this sort of relationship to data, analysis, and error to make sense of the world. But it is a pity that she had to publish such a letter alone, and that her co-authors didn’t feel they could sign onto it.

Update: Nosek also wrote a lovely paper in 2012 on Restructuring incentives to promote truth over publishability [with input from the estimable Victoria Stodden] that describes many points at which researchers have incentives to stop research and publish preliminary results as soon as they have something they could convince a journal to accept.

Inversionistas inmobiliarimos en Chile de hoy
Sunday November 03rd 2013, 5:43 pm
Filed under: citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,ideonomy,international

En Puerto Varas, para ser precisos. Un articulo por Sebastian.   ᔥmadre.

Hay paisajes extraordinarios, pienso, y luego este. Esos campos y poblados guardan un centenario orgullo que emociona.

To “snub” you must find someone who can be made to feel inferior
Saturday October 19th 2013, 4:53 pm
Filed under: citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,poetic justice

“A snub,” defined Lady Roosevelt, “is the effort of a person who feels superior to make someone else feel inferior. To do so, he has to find someone who can be made to feel inferior.”

ᔥ Quote Investigator,  ↬ Meredith Patterson

A New ‘Pedia: planning for the future of Wikipedia
Saturday August 10th 2013, 2:58 am
Filed under: citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Wikipedia has gotten more elaborate and complex to use. Adding a reference, marking something for review, uploading a file or creating a new article now take many steps — and failing to follow them can lead to starting all over. The curators of the core projects are concerned with uniformly high quality, and impatient with contributors who don’t have the expertise and wiki-experience to create something according to policy. Good stubs or photos are deleted for failing to comply with one of a dozen policies, or for inadequate cites or license templates; even when they are in fact derived from reliable sources and freely licensed.

The Article Creation Wizard has a five-step process for drafting an article, after which it is submitted for review by a team of experienced editors, and finally moved to the article namespace. 7 steps for approval is too much overhead for many.  And the current notability guidelines on big Wikipedias excludes most local and specialist knowledge.

We need a simpler scratch-space to develop new material:

  • A place not designed to be high quality, where everything can be in flux, possibly wrong, in need of clarification and polishing and correction.
  • A place that can be used to build draft articles, images, and other media before posting them to Wikipedia
  • A place where everyone is welcome to start a new topic, and share what they know: relying on verifiability over time (but not requiring it immediately), and without any further standard for notability
  • A place with no requirements to edit: possibly style guidelines to aspire to, but where newbies who don’t know how the tools or system works are welcomed and encouraged to contribute more, and not chastised for getting things wrong.

Since this will be a new sort of compendium or comprehensive cyclopedia, covering all topics, it should have a new name. Something simple, say Newpedia. Scripts can be written to help editors work through the most polished Newpedia items and push them to Wikipedia and Wikisource and Commons. We could invite editors to start doing their rough work on Newpedia, to avoid the conflict and fast reversion on the larger wiki references that make it hard to use for quick new work.

Update: Mako discussed Newpedia (or double-plus-newpedia) in his panel about “Wikipedia in 2022“, and Erik Moeller talked about how the current focus on notability is keeping all of our projects from growing, in his “Ghosts of Wikipedia Future“.  I look forward to the video and transcripts.

What do you think?  I started a mailing list for people who are interested in developing such a knowledge-project.  I look forward to your thoughts, both serious and otherwise 😉

Plumpy’Nut Patent – Has their “patentleft” option seen wide use so far?
Monday July 15th 2013, 10:31 am
Filed under: citation needed,ideonomy,knowledge,metrics

In 1996, two French food scientists, André Briend and Michel Lescanne, developed a nut-based food formulation to serve as an emergency food relief product in famine-stricken areas.  The goal was to have a high-density balanced food with a long and robust shelf life – one which, unlike the previous standard of milk-based therapeutic food, could be taken at home rather than in a hospital.

They soon formed the company Nutriset to further develop and commercialize the idea.  Their most popular product, Plumpy’Nut, has shipped millions of units and currently makes up roughly 90% of UNICEF’s stocks of ready-to-use therapeutic foods [RUTFs] for famine relief.

In forming their company, they captured their idea in the form of a patent (a standard way to declare ownership of and investment) and went on to build a production chain around it.  This included tweaked formulas and a family of products; production and packaging factories; and grant-writing and research to get certification + field-feedback + approval from various UN bodies.  This involved few years of up-front investment and reputation-building, and then ramping up mass production of millions of pounds of Plumpy’Nut and its derivatives. They later set up a novel “patentleft” process allowing companies in developing countries to use the patent commercially, and make derivatives from it, at no cost — after a brief online registration. This is something which has received surprisingly little attention since, considering how simple and elegant their solution. Read on for details! (more…)

Annotation Notes from a recent discussion with this year’s Berkterns
Thursday June 13th 2013, 10:18 pm
Filed under: citation needed,knowledge,meta,popular demand,wikipedia

Anno-notes.  (thanks, piratepad)

Web <30 – the Future of the Web is Intertextual
Thursday March 28th 2013, 9:28 am
Filed under: citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,indescribable

From a recent discussion about Web 3.0 and the far future, on the AIR-L list:

In fact, the Web is currently developing Web <30, to be rolled out
with Chrome 25, Firefox 20, Opera 15, and IE 10 later this winter.

If you are interested in cutting-edge research and convolving
observation with participation, you can take part in the design of Web
<30 yourself. It is being developed through a massively
multistakeholder open online crowd-refined platform generation
(MMOOCRPG) design
Building on the exponential success of past
, the development mailing list includes a periodic
distributed auto-immolating critique of its own work, where the future
web is continuously redefined as its own dual.

Exploring science in ten hundred words or less, and similar gems
Tuesday January 29th 2013, 6:27 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,citation needed,indescribable,knowledge,meta,poetic justice,Uncategorized

try and grok science
try and make a gun
try Sheldrake’s homing dove thought experiments

For dessert, some fraud:
listed, retracted, pharmed, 11-jigen (x6),
chilled(snapshot, comments).

A Christmas Gift from Cards Against Humanity To the Wikimedes
Tuesday December 18th 2012, 1:20 am
Filed under: chain-gang,citation needed,gustatory,poetic justice,Seraphic,wikipedia


That art makes me feel … uncomfortable.
Monday December 03rd 2012, 9:00 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,citation needed,Rogue content editor

Crash course in false equivalence.

Three Copyright Myths and Where to Start to Fix it – a policy brief

A lovely short policy brief on designing a better copyright regime was published on Friday – before being quickly taken offline again.  I’ve reposted it here with light cleanup of its section headings.

If you care at all about copyright and its quirks, this is short and worth reading in full.

Recursive β-Metafunctions In the Case of Polypolice
Friday November 02nd 2012, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Blogroll,chain-gang,citation needed,wikipedia

I just finished reading about how bogus transmogrification conversion on an oscillating harmonic field of glass bells, with green gig and kerosene lamps for diversion, can be solved by beastly incarceration-concatenation. I was reminded of how much the great scienxplorers such as Watterson and others owe to this cloud of novel scientific inquiry from the ’60s and ’70s.

It makes me simultaneously want to immortalize Lem and Kandel in an eternally entangled quantum fringe, and to fire up a Trurlapaucius abstract-generator based on snarXiv code.

Bigipedia 2.0 – Britain sends up the wisdom of crowds
Wednesday October 31st 2012, 7:32 pm
Filed under: citation needed,international,popular demand,Uncategorized,wikipedia

“At last, the long-awaited release of Bigipedia 2.0 – the infallible, ever-present cyberfriend is back! Now with all errors and mistakes.”

Every episode of Bigipedia is worth listening to. From David Tyler and #Pozzitive, via the UK wikivine.

Gyrovague muses on fast-food franchises in…
Tuesday September 18th 2012, 1:52 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,citation needed,meta,Uncategorized

the age of lawsuits.

you thought this would involve SPACE, didn’t you?

Organ Trail: road trip through zombie apocalypse and dysentery
Tuesday August 14th 2012, 5:54 am
Filed under: citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,null

A Flash remake of the ’70s classic.

Digitize it all: from law to code and standard, for public justice
Thursday August 09th 2012, 12:51 pm
Filed under: citation needed,international,metrics,Uncategorized,wikipedia

If you haven’t visited recently, do so now. I’ll wait… you are in for a treat.

Carl Malamud and Friends (soon to be a show on CNN) have kept up the momentum of their early work to digitize and publish technical and other standards, many of which are now online in all their glory.

And there’s a lovely collection of introductions, from the 5-minute summary of why and how to free building codes, to a 20-minute showcase of what the team does. (via boingboing)

This is still rather top-down for my tastes — there’s no obvious way for me to help out, fund the digitization of a particular code, or run a digitizing party in my neighborhood library or FabLab. But I am inspired by the persistent work and vision of the people making this dream a reality.

They also have a lovely site devoted to a national scanning project for scanning all the archives: YesWeScan. Which gave rise to this excellent blog post and commentary from the Archivist of the US, David Ferriero*.

* Recently seen at Wikimania DC saying, in his beautiful closing speech, “If you have any trouble using Wikipedia… tell them, if it’s good enough for the Archivist of the US…”

Dilettantism? No, it’s intellectual vulgarization. -Philippe Charlier
Sunday July 08th 2012, 11:23 am
Filed under: citation needed,popular demand,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Dr. Philippe Charlier, forensic historical sleuth, tries to recreate the life and death of figures throughout history, from his office in Paris. He spends much of his time popularizing his findings. Some in his field criticize this hypervisibility.

Charlier replies: “I want to share everything I know with the greatest number of people. What I do is not dilettantisml; it’s intellectual vulgarization.

(HT to Elaine Sciolino & the Grey Lady)

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