Me gusta tomar Tequila

Holy hellfire sh*t!  It turns out tequila is a health food!  It’s a probiotic, no less.  I say ¡Salud!

TequilaLimonConSal

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Private Charity? No way!

Michael Tanner, writing for National Review online, attempts to answer the question “Why Is There So Much Government Hostility to Private Charity?”  The answer is simple, once you understand this guy’s fundamental message

mussolini

“Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

Tip from Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.

 

 

Our National Blind Spot

Want to save the planet?  How about starting by saving the birds.  Here’s a Pareto graph that gives a strong hint of where to start:

BirdMortality

That’s right, get the cat population under control.  Eradicate feral cat colonies, and euthanize cat collections (oh, and institutionalize obsessive cat ladies).  The whole country needs to grow up and get that “cute little kitty” lie out of their heads, and replace it with something more realistic, like “bird murderer.”

Tip from Bird Note, by way of Sarah Hoyt at the Instapundit.

Science is getting exciting!

Five very interesting articles recently popped up on the web, suggesting that current science is much more interesting than the average Joe might think:

    • At FiveThirtyEight*, Christie Aschwanden’s Science Isn’t Broken gives a great exposition on scientific fraud, p-hacking, and why science is much more difficult than most folks realize.
    • Robert Matthews, writing in UAE’s The National, says Lone researchers with radical ideas may hold the keys to science’s unanswered questions.  One of those “loners” is “Eleonora Troja, an astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who studies X-rays, had hoped for years to detect the light from a neutron-star merger, but many people thought she was dreaming.”  
    • FiveThirtyEight’s Rebecca Boyle,  in Two Stars Slammed Into Each Other And Solved Half Of Astronomy’s Problems. What Comes Next?, describes that dream coming true and a revolution in astronomy that occurred in just 3 weeks this past August.
    • In The Serial-Killer Detector, the New Yorker’s Alec Wilkinson tells the story of Thomas Hargrove’s one-man Big Data project to categorize and analyze murders in the United States (751,785 since 1976) with the goal of tracking down serial killers.  From the description, is appears Hargrove has done yeoman’s work combining Small N and Big Data techniques with great success. “Hargrove thinks … that there are probably around two thousand serial killers at large in the U.S.”  Yikes!
    • Want to get in on the action?  At ScienceAlert.com, Mike McRae tells how Now You Can Build Your Very Own Muon Detector For Less Than $100, and possibly contribute to a Big Data project supporting stellar astronomy.

*ESPN’s website that analyzes sport statistics, election polling, and (apparently) anything else that catches their analysts’ eyes.

 

Artichoke and Shellfish Soup

So I was suddenly confronted with a windfall of canned shellfish when our local WalMart Neighborhood store closed this month.  I decided to get even more serious about recipes based on McIntosh’s Tin Fish Gourmet.  She gives a simple recipe for Oyster and Artichoke Stew, which I embellished beyond all recognition into this rich, creamy (and low-carb) soup:

  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, halved
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 or 2 tins of diced clams, smoked oysters, mussels, or whatever
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large avocado, quartered and (you guessed it) thinly sliced

Saute the carrot, celery, and red onion slices in oil until the onion is transparent, then add the artichoke hearts, reserving the liquid for a bit later.  When everything is nicely sauteed, set these vegetables aside.  Add the butter and flour to the pan, and whisk into a roux.  When the roux is bubbling and starting to darken, add the liquid from the artichoke hearts and any liquid from the tinned shellfish to make a sauce.  Once it comes to a boil, add the sour cream and enough milk to get a creamy soup consistency.  Add the sauteed vegetables and the shellfish, and bring to a boil.  Then turn off the heat.

Serve in shallow soup dishes, topped with 3 or 4 slices of avocado and some of the green onion.  This cries out for a dry white wine on the side.

 

When all you have is a hammer…

…everything looks like a nail.

Daniel Lakens, the 20% Statistician, takes a rare but easy shot at statisticians and null hypothesis significance testing.

Our statistics education turns a blind eye to training people how to ask a good question. After a brief explanation of what a mean is, and a pit-stop at the normal distribution, we jump through as many tests as we can fit in the number of weeks we are teaching. We are training students to perform tests, but not to ask questions

He defines

…the Statisticians’ Fallacy: Statisticians who tell you ‘what you really want to know’, instead of explaining how to ask one specific kind of question from your data.

My favorite is the two-tailed test of the difference of two means, which can provide evidence that the two are different, but not that they are (nearly) the same.  My runners up are goodness-of-fit tests, which do no such thing.  Sometimes I feel like I’m selling the researcher’s version of Snake Oil, rather than teaching sound data analysis and interpretation.

Lakens closes with an excellent addendum, a reference to David Hand’s Deconstructing Statistical Questions,  which goes into much more detail.