Okay, I’m taking a quick break from my regular posts because I can’t stop geeking out about this recent XKCD comic: If you already know about clickbait (likely) and p-values (less likely), you may not need the joke explained to you. But there’s something deep going on here too, tying into the themes of probability … More You’ll never believe what weird trick fixes p-values
I often tell my students, “When you have a question, ask, because you’re probably not the only one who’s wondering.” I heard the same thing when I was a student, but I still felt embarrassed to ask. What if I really was the only one? Wouldn’t I be slowing down class to ask? If no … More If you have a question, someone else probably has it too…
I have the perfect cure for hiccups: chug five or six swallows of water while plugging your ears. (So in addition to the water, you need either someone to hold your ears for you, or a straw to drink through while you hold your own ears.) This technique has never failed me or Clara, and we’ve used … More Broadcasting beliefs
On billboards, during movie theater previews, among those ads for lawyers and ESL teachers on public transit—I love coming across instances of the “Your advertisement could be here!” filler that advertising companies use when their advertising space goes unfilled. For one thing, I’m tickled by the meta-ness of advertising for advertising. For another, some of the more creative … More Your Advertisement Here!
This is my take on a classic probability paradox, the case of Sleeping Beauty. Along the way I’ll explain what I think is wrong with a classic rule of inference, Bayes’ Rule, and what needs to be done to fix it, but I hope you enjoy the paradox even if you don’t have a background in … More The Sleeping Beauty Paradox
Today’s post is a short paradox about averages, and how they don’t always match expectations. Imagine you’re a freshman college student, happily confident of a personalized education—after all, your college boasts an average class size of a mere 10 students per course. But when you arrive, most of your classes have far more students than … More The class size paradox
There are over 7,000,000,000 people in the world, over 320,000,000 of whom live in the United States alone. When I try to picture populations this big, I go “okay, a thousand people would be how many fit in a really big room, and then a million is… a lot more than that, and a billion … More There are a lot of people.