Comments on “Ten common statistical mistakes…”: #4

Continuing our series — see here for Part 1, and Part 2 — let’s look at Makin and Orban de Xivry’s Statistical Mistake #4: Spurious Correlations. This one is easy to understand, though nonetheless common. The authors refer to situations like the one illustrated in their Figure 2, shown below, in which the correlation calculated … Continue reading Comments on “Ten common statistical mistakes…”: #4

Comments on “Ten common statistical mistakes…”: #1 and #2

The steady stream of scientific articles with irreproducible results, shaky conclusions, and poor reasoning [1] is, thankfully, accompanied by attempts to do something about it. A few months ago, Tamar Makin and Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry published an excellent short article called “Ten common statistical mistakes to watch out for when writing or reviewing a … Continue reading Comments on “Ten common statistical mistakes…”: #1 and #2

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alternative Careers, and Active Learning

I recently finished reading Ray Monk’s Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, a thorough biography of the twentieth century philosopher. (Some entertaining comics about Wittgenstein’s philosophy are here, here, and here.) It’s an excellent book, diving into the life of a remarkable, strange, and intense person. Among other things, Wittgenstein refused any part of his … Continue reading Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alternative Careers, and Active Learning

What’s the point of a first-year physics class?

What do I add to a first-year university physics class on simple harmonic motion? Anything? What’s the point of a class on simple harmonic motion? Why do first-year physics classes exist? I was thinking about these questions exactly six months ago, pre-pandemic, when I started writing a blog post that seems especially relevant now. I … Continue reading What’s the point of a first-year physics class?

Book draft done!

On July 4, I finished a draft of the fourth and final part of Building Life, my popular-science book on biophysics. There’s still a lot to revise, based in part on comments from my editor and others on Parts 1-3 and, I’m sure, comments to come on Part 4, but nonetheless I’m delighted to say … Continue reading Book draft done!