It’s That Time of Year….

Good news and bad news: this morning I gave my final lecture of the semester, a review of final exam topics for my "poets class" in statistics. Now I have 4 days to turn that list of topics and examples into the actual exam. Fortunately, I’ve got some help this year, a practical guide to writing test questions, thanks to Kim Swygert at Number 2 Pencil. No more lame-o multiple choice answers like

a. chi-square

b. peanut butter

c. 0.05

d. all of the above

e. none of the above

f. no more than two of the above.

Bang, You’re Dead

Jan Nordgreen over at think again! posed a fun probability problem about a hung-over gunfighter this morning. I’ve posted two possible solutions–Jan provided some additional data after I posted the first one, so I changed models. I swiped the model used in logistic regression, since it has a nice property. AND…I’ve posed my own problem involving probit regression. Check it out.

Summer Reading: the Baroque Cycle

Young Allison caught up with me after the seminar on Friday to recommend Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s stories. I just laughed and told her that I had read them as they were published, way back in the 20th century. They still are funny.

I recommended Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, which is great fun, and is the inspiration for my freshman seminar this fall: Systems of the World. Featured characters: Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Jenner, Pasteur, Lavoisier, Einstein, Pinchot, Alfred Wegener, Wiley Post, Watson and Crick, Turing, von Neumann, Adam Smith, and more.