Data Makes Reasonable Decision-making Possible

Posted to Miscellaneous  |  Nathan Yau

What is data?This guest post is by Andrew Gelman from Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science. He answers the question – “What is data and why should we care about it?”

Good data are better than bad data, but worst of all are data whose quality you can’t assess. Beyond this, we want to use statistical methods that allow us to combine data from many sources. I’m comfortable with regression and multilevel models, but other methods are out there too. In any case, we have to care about our data because inferences and decisions are just about always data-based, implicitly if not explicitly. Being the person in the room with the hard data gives you authority, as well it should.


Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

Watching the growth of Walmart – now with 100% more Sam’s Club

The ever so popular Walmart growth map gets an update, and yes, it still looks like a wildfire. Sam’s Club follows soon after, although not nearly as vigorously.

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.