Friday, May 26, 2006

"Willing to Do the Math: An Interview with David Botstein"

From PLoS Biology

The first half is about science education for undergraduates and the second half is about the birth of the human genome project. A very interesting article.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Columbia is entering e-prints era

I came across a new website on the libarynet of Columbia. It says that Columbia is pilot testing an electronic interface for academic papers of her departments. This is truly a good news. In the future, it will be very easy and semi-official to log every paper one finishes through this repository.

[Reference] Phi-divergence for Goodness-of-Fit tests

Goodness-of-fit tests via phi-divergencesAuthors: Leah Jager (University of Washington), Jon A. Wellner (University of Washington)Comments: 43 pages. Submitted to Annals of Statistics. See also this http URL this http URL

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lon Cardon and Tom Linder on Whole-Genome and Linkage Microarray Studies

I particularly like the following discussion on validation.

Conard: How do you go about validating the output information?

Cardon: I think there are two levels to validation. The one that probably gets overlooked most often is quality control. The first thing you want to look at is quality of the genotypes. Before you expend all that effort and spend the money, some mechanism for validating the genotype is important. That may mean re-genotyping, but it would be re-genotyping a relatively small number of markers and potentially using a different assay to really validate those findings before going further.

The second level concerns replication—the gold standard in association studies. When someone reports a finding, the best thing that can happen is someone in a different lab says, “I genotyped that same marker on my samples and I saw the same results.” That happened with macular degeneration recently, and that’s very hard to argue against.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Parents of baby boys used to say NO to social security? Of course not!

I was getting some first name distribution data for project MICHAEL. I found out, by googling and consulting with wikipedia, that the social secuity website maintains a nice list of first names of BIRTHS reported on application for social security number. When I was excitedly "grabbing" data off this website, I noticed something unusual. The number of boy births did not match up with the number of girl births for a couple of decades. The trend is pretty interesting. See above.

I sent this graph to Andrew and he posted in this blog. I was looking forward to some freaknomics-type answers and I got some. Here are the explainations I can accept.

Yeah, I didn't think it was WWI. When SS was first enacted, enrollment was optional. Although SS benefits were small at the time, there were survivor benefits; plus, although regular benefits were roughly pegged to contributions, in general women had fewer market wage opportunities than men so SS was the only game in town. More women signed up sooner.
Posted by: Robert at May 10, 2006 10:47 PM

Jason Ruspini writes,
There is an error preventing me fromposting on the blog, but survivors benefits (lifeinsurance) would be my guess.
Cheers, Jason Ruspini

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Statistical compromises

For some project I am working on, I opened the book entitled "Permutation Methods -- A Distance Function Approach" by Mielke and Berry. At this moment, I am only working on the first page. I just want to blog their first sentence in the introduction; "Many of the statistical methods routinely used in contemporary research are based on a compromise with the ideal." I found this opening very arresting.