May 2006

It's summer!

It's the end of the term for both Harvard and MIT... so in view of the fact that we on the authors committee are about to embark on summers of tireless dedication to research while scattered to the far reaches of the planet, posting to this blog will be reduced until fall.

A special thanks to the loyal readers and commenters of this blog -- you folks have made this year a really rewarding experience for us. We won't stop posting, so do hope you still stop by occasionally and are still with us when we resume on a full schedule at the end of the summer.

Communication, Anyone?

Jim Greiner

The course I co-taught this semester on Quantitative Social Science & Law has come to an end. There were a lot of “lessons learned” in the class, both for the students (at least, I hope so) and for the teaching staff (more definitely). Of all of these lessons, one sticks in my head: we ought to focus on teaching quantitative students how to communicate with folks without formal statistical training.

A bit of google frivolity

Amy Perfors

Google has just come out with a new tool, Google Trends, which compares the frequencies of different web searches and thus provides hours of entertainment to language and statistics geeks like myself. In honor of that -- and, okay, because it's nearing the end of the term and I'm just in the mood -- here's a rather frivolous post dedicated to the tireless folks at Google, for entertaining me today.

Some observations:

Running Statistics On Multiple Processors

Jens Hainmueller

You just bought a state-of-the-art PC with dual processors and yet your model still runs forever? Well, your statistical software is probably not multi-threading, meaning that despite the fact that your computer actually has two processors, the whole computation runs only on one of them. Don’t believe me? Well check your CPU usage, it's probably stuck at 50 percent (or less).

Coarsened at Random

Jim Greiner

I’m the “teaching fellow” (the “teaching assistant” everywhere but Harvard, which has to have its lovely little quirks: “Spring” semester beginning in February, anyone?) for a course in missing data this semester, and in a recent lecture, an interesting concept came up: coarsened at random.