• Newsrooms all over the world are embracing data journalism – looking for unique and thoughtful ways to use data to tell stories about their communities. But is every newsroom handling data as carefully as it should be? What safeguards are in place ensure journalists are using data in ethical ways? That’s the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Irineo Cabreros.

    Cabreros (@cabrerosic) is an associate statistician at the RAND Corporation. At RAND he has worked on projects in health care, education, fairness and equity, military personnel, substance use, incarceration, and insurance industries. He is a passionate science communicator who has written for Slate Magazine as an AAAS Mass Media Fellow. His research interests include causal inference, algorithmic equity, experimental design, survey sampling, high-dimensional statistics, latent variable modeling, and statistical genetics with his focuses areas including Labor Markets, Modeling and Simulation, Racial Equity and Survey Research Methodology among many others.

  • At Stats+Stories we're lucky to have listeners who put up with John's bad jokes and our general shenanigans. In fact, you've listened to 199 discussions of the statistics behind the stories and the stories behind the statistics. To mark our 100th episode we asked you to submit statistical headlines and a haiku won. For 200 we took to Twitter using the #MemeMedianMode hashtag and this time those that rose to the top actually memes. Today we're talking to the creators of our top two.

    Nynke Krol (@krol_nynke) is a statistician at statistics Netherlands who also submitted a stance mean that caused both, John and Rosemary, to actually laughed out loud when they saw her take on data normality.

    Eric Daza (@ericjdaza) is a data scientist statistician who focuses on digital health, he submitted several means to our mean, median, mode contest, including one that made me flashback to my first graduate class in research methods, on causation/correlation.

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  • Twitter can be cacophonous at times – one a given day, serious analysis of the situation in Afghanistan, news stories about climate change, and Parry Gripp’s Music for Cat Piano Volume 1 can all compete for a user’s attention. This has only become more clear during the COVID 19 pandemic as it seems almost everyone is tweeting about the disease, with varying levels of expertise. However, there have been some experts who’ve been able to tweet through the noise, we’ll talk with one of them on this Royal Statistical Society edition of Stats and Stories with guest Natalie E. Dean.

    Dr. Natalie Dean (@nataliexdean) is an assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. She received her PhD in Biostatistics from Harvard University, and previously worked as a consultant for the WHO’s HIV Department and as faculty at the University of Florida. Her primary research area is infectious disease epidemiology and study design, with a focus on developing innovative trial and observational study designs for evaluating vaccines during public health emergencies. She has previously worked on Ebola, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and now COVID-19. She received the 2020 Provost Excellent Award for Assistant Professors at the University of Florida. In addition to research, she has been active in public engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is verified on Twitter with over 100k followers and has authored pieces in outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, and Stat News.

  • The tenure track process at American universities is a grind – one shaped by the old adage to “Publish or perish.” But if a junior faculty member manages to successfully navigate the process – publishing as expected, learning to manage a classroom, participating in service – then they’re rewarded with tenure. Tenure is an almost permanent employment relationship at universities that’s designed to give faculty the freedom – because of their job security to pursue any area of inquiry they feel drawn to. The problem, of course, is that not everyone makes it through that grind. A growing body of research shows that women, though they receive more than 50-percent of all PhDs, are not making it through the tenure track process in the same numbers. That’s the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories,

    Dr. Michelle Cardel is an obesity and nutrition scientist, registered dietitian, the Director of Global Clinical Research & Nutrition at WW International, Inc. (formerly Weight Watchers) and a faculty member at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine, where she is also an Associate Director for the Center for Integrative Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases. Her research is focused on three areas, (1) assessing the effects of psychosocial factors, including low social status and food insecurity, on eating behavior and obesity-related disease, (2) the development and implementation of effective healthy lifestyle interventions with a focus on underserved populations, and (3) improving gender equity within academia.

    Leslie McClure is Professor & Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. Dr. McClure does work to try to understand disparities in health, particularly racial and geographic disparities, and the role that the environment plays in them. Her methodological expertise is in the design and analysis of multicenter trials, as well as issues of multiplicity in clinical trials. She is currently the Director of the Coordinating Center for the Diabetes LEAD Network, and the Director of the Data Coordinating Center for the Connecting the Dots: Autism Center of Excellence. In addition to her research, Dr. McClure is passionate about increasing diversity in the mathematical sciences and devotes considerable time to mentoring younger scientists. Dr. McClure also Chaired the ASA’s Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Assault, which led the way in developing policies surrounding sexual misconduct for professional organizations. (Previously on How Where You Live Affects Your Health)

  • Talking about statistics with my journalism colleagues is the basis of what brings this show together. But speaking about, and communicating statistical work with journalists, and understanding our interdisciplinary relationship in the era of fake news and misinformation is more important than ever. That's the focus of this week’s episode of Stats and Short Stories with guest Kevin McConway.

    Kevin McConway is an Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at the Open University in the UK, where he taught statistics, mainly to adult students in a wide range of disciplines. He has researched collaboratively across natural and social science. Kevin has developed a strong interest and involvement in statistics in the media. In particular, he was an adviser for eleven years and an occasional contributor to the BBC radio program More or Less, which aims to support the public understanding of numbers in the news. He has worked with and helped train journalists in understanding and communicating statistics, often through the UK’s Science Media Centre where he is a member of the advisory committee. He tweets on @kjm2.

  • Being able to read and write is necessary to be successful in work, at home, and in civic life. Do parallel skills associated with critical reasoning from numbers and data carry similar weight? What do you need to know to be an informed consumer of numeric information, and to use such information? That's the focus of this episode of Stats+Stories with guest Iddo Gal.

    Iddo Gal is an Associate Professor and past-Chair, Dept. of Human Services, University of Haifa, Israel, with an MA in Personnel Psychology from Tel-Aviv University and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology, University of Pennsylvania. Gal enjoys multidisciplinary interests that span two fields of research and applied practice: the first being teaching/learning and assessment of adult numeracy and statistical literacy, and systemic aspects of developing related functional competencies; and the second being managerial issues in service organizations, in particular empowerment of frontline workers and empowerment of clients of service organizations, and related issues such as service satisfaction, customer complaints, and accessibility of services to diverse populations.

  • In honor of this year's Joint Statistical Meetings, this week's episode is a repost of a conversation John Bailer and Brain Tarran, of Significance Magazine, had at JSM 2019 about communicating statistical information at a large-scale professional event.

    John Bailer is “the stats guy” and co-creator of Stats+Stories. He is also a University Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Statistics at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is currently President-elect of the International Statistical Institute and previously served on the previously on the ASA Board of Directors. His scholarly interests include the design and analysis of environmental toxicology experiments and occupational health studies, quantitative risk estimation, gerontological data analysis, promoting quantitative literacy, and enhancing connections between statistics and journalism.

  • Communicating statistics effectively can be a difficult task it can sometimes be hard to know how much information someone needs in order to understand a particular set of numbers. Jargon can be another stumbling block to clearly communicating what a statistical finding means. Communicating stats clearly is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Kevin McConway

    Kevin McConway is Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at the Open University in the UK, where he taught statistics, mainly to adult students in a wide range of disciplines. He has researched collaboratively across natural and social science. Kevin has developed a strong interest and involvement in statistics in the media. In particular he was as adviser for eleven years and an occasional contributor to the BBC radio program More or Less, which aims to support the public understanding of numbers in the news. He has worked with and helped train journalists in understanding and communicating statistics, often through the UK’s Science Media Centre where he is a member of the advisory committee. He tweets on @kjm2.

  • About 20 years ago, most people would have been unfamiliar with the term crowdfunding. Now, when it comes to the arts, you can crowdfund anything from comic books to Mystery Science Theater 3 Thousand to musical compositions. What it takes to successfully crowdfund a rock project is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guests Moinak Bhaduri, Dominique Haughton and Piaomu Liu.

    Moinak Bhaduri is an Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences at Bentley University who studies spatio-temporal Poisson processes and others like the self-exciting Hawkes or log-Gaussian Cox processes that are natural generalizations. His primary interest includes developing change-detection algorithms in systems modeled by these processes, especially through trend permutations. His research has found applications in computer science, finance, reliability and repairable systems, geoscience, and oceanography.

    Dominique Haughton is a Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Global Studies at Bentley University, and Affiliated Researcher at the Université Paris 1 (Pantheon-Sorbonne). Research interests include applied statistics, business analytics, global analytics, music analytics, data mining, and model selection. Professor Haughton’s work concentrates on how to best leverage modern analytics techniques in order to address questions of business or societal interest.

    Piaomu Liu is an Assistant Professor, Mathematical Sciences at Bentley University. Her research interests include Lifetime data analysis (recurrent event & competing risks), joint dynamic modeling, and semiparametric methods.

  • Our lives are framed by numbers tracking our performance in school, our financial health, and our physical and emotional wellbeing. While this information can help us figure out what we might do to improve a situation, it’s only part of the statistical story. There’s other information, other data, that might be useful as well. The importance of linking data is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories, where we explore the statistics behind the stories and the stories behind the statistics with guest Katie Harron

    Harron is an Associate Professor in quantitative methods at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health as well as the 2021 Wood Medal recipient for, “her outstanding methodological work on record linkage.” . Her research focuses on the development of statistical methods and synthetic data for data linkage, and particularly for evaluating the quality of linkage. She aims to develop methods to exploit the rich data that are collected about populations as we interact with services throughout our lives. Her work facilitates the wider use of these population-based administrative and electronic data sources for epidemiological research, to support clinical trials, and to inform policy. Harron’s applied research focuses on maximizing the use of existing data sources to improve services for vulnerable mothers and families. Her current research links data from health, education and social care at a national level, in order to improve our understanding of the health of individuals from birth to young adulthood.

  • Over the course of the last year, statistics have framed our lives in very obvious ways. From COVID cases to unemployment rates, stats have helped us understand what’s happening in the wider world. As we contemplate how to “build back better” in the aftermath of the pandemic, official statistics could help guide our way, at least, that’s what the authors of a recent Significance Magazine article think. That’s the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Paul Allin.

    Paul is a visiting professor of statistics in the department of mathematics at Imperial College London, UK. His research interests are the measurement of national wellbeing and progress, and the use of these measures in politics, policy, business, and everyday life. He also chairs the Statistics User Forum, an ‘umbrella’ organization that brings together producers and groups of users of UK official statistics. Paul previously spent forty years as a professional statistician, researcher, and policy analyst in the Office for National Statistics and other departments and agencies, including as the director of the Measuring National Wellbeing program. His social media usage is limited to LinkedIn and StatsUserNet.

  • For years now, the utility of the P-value in scientific and statistical research has been under scrutiny – the debate shaped by concerns about the seeming over-reliance on p-values to decide what’s worth publishing or what’s worth pursuing. In 2016 the American Statistical Association released a statement on P-values, meant to remind readers that, “The P-values was never intended to be a substitute for scientific reasoning.” The statement also laid out six principles for how to approach P-values thoughtfully. The impact of that statement is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Robert Matthews.

    Robert Matthews is a visiting professor in the Department of Mathematics, Aston University in Birmingham, UK. Since the late 1990s, as a science writer, he has been reporting on the role of NHST in undermining the reliability of research for several publications including BBC Focus, and working as a consultant on both scientific and media issues for clients in the UK and abroad. His latest book, Chancing It: The Laws of Chance and How They Can Work for You is available now. 

    His research interests include the development of Bayesian methods to assess the credibility of new research findings – especially “out of the blue” claims; A 20-year study of why research findings fade over time and its connection to what’s now called “The Replication Crisis”; Investigations of the maths and science behind coincidences and “urban myths” like Murphy’s Law: “If something can go wrong, it will”; Applications of Decision Theory to cast light on the reliability (or otherwise) of earthquake predictions and weather forecasts; The first-ever derivation and experimental verification of a prediction from string theory.

  • Every two years the International Prize in Statistics is given out to recognize an individual or team for major contributions to the field of statistics particularly those that have practical applications or which lead to breakthroughs in other disciplines. The winner is chosen in a collaboration between the American Statistical Association, the Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, the International Biometric Society, the International Statistical Institute, and the Royal Statistical Society. The 2021 honoree is Nan Laird and her award and career is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories.

    Laird is the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard University. During her more than forty years on the faculty, she developed many simple and practical statistical methods for pressing public health and medical problems. Her work on the EM Algorithm, with Art Dempster and Don Rubin, is among the top 100 most cited of all published articles in science. She’s also developed popular and widely used methods for meta-analysis, longitudinal data, and statistical genetics. She has worked in several areas of application including the quantification of adverse events in hospitals, childhood obesity, and genetic studies in Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, asthma, and lung disease. Laird was awarded the 2021 International Prize in Statistics for, "her work on powerful methods that have made possible the analysis of complex longitudinal studies."

  • The universe seems unbelievably vast, a sky filled with countless stars and worlds. Well, maybe not so countless as there’s a whole field devoted to crunching the numbers associated with an ever-expanding universe. Astrostatistics is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories

    Jessi Cisewski-Kehe is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on methodological development for complicated datasets of which closed-form models and likelihood functions are not able to fully capture the desirable and interesting features of the observations. Statistical challenges in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology (i.e., astrostatistics) are a primary focus of her work.

    Chad Schafer is a professor in the Department of Statistics & Data Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Since his Ph.D. work at the University of California at Berkeley, he has worked on statistical challenges that arise in astronomy, with a particular focus on the handling of complex estimation problems. He is currently involved with the Legacy Survey of Space and Time, to be conducted at the under-construction Vera C. Rubin Observatory, co-chairing its Informatics and Statistics Science Collaboration since 2015.

  • Enter with your meme for a chance to appear on the show. All entries are submitted through Twitter through the official Stats+Stories account (https://twitter.com/statsandstories) by July 10th for entry.

  • Where are the best locations for food pantries? What are the patterns and use of a crisis call center? How can services be improved for the senior population of Wahtenaw County in Michigan? These questions share a common denominator, they represent data and analysis needs of community service organizations. Statistics in the service of the community is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guests. Emily Morris and Tom Braun.

    Tom Braun is a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and has been a faculty advisor for STATCOM for the past three years. Dr. Braun is an international expert in the design of Bayesian adaptive designs for oncology clinical trials, and he has more recently expanded his research into snSMART designs for clinical trials for rare diseases. Dr. Braun has collaborated with a variety of medical and public health investigators, including bone marrow transplantation, cancer of the mouth, breast, and lungs, periodontal disease, and development of anthrax vaccines. Tom also is an active member in University of Michigan committees working to address issues of incivility, rankism, and harassment in academia, and he also active in developing new pedagogy for teaching biostatistics and data science.

    Emily Morris is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biostatistics and former co-president of Statistics in the Community (STATCOM) at the University of Michigan. In addition to the leadership role, her involvement in STATCOM projects ranges from summarizing patterns in counseling visits at a local nonprofit to identifying optimal locations for mobile food pantries in Toledo. Her research primarily involves machine learning methods applied to brain imaging analysis.

  • Big data, though not new, is often talked about as though it is. It’s become something of a buzzword associated with everything from politics to record sales to epidemiology. But, not all big data is created the same – some of it might not even be that big at all. That’s the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Xiao-Li Meng

    Xiao-Li Meng is the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Statistics, and the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Data Science Review, is well known for his depth and breadth in research, his innovation and passion in pedagogy, his vision and effectiveness in administration, as well as for his engaging and entertaining style as a speaker and writer. Meng was named the best statistician under the age of 40 by COPSS (Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies) in 2001, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his more than 150 publications in at least a dozen theoretical and methodological areas, as well as in areas of pedagogy and professional development.

  • Parents, educators, and activists have all raised concerns about the impact of COVID on the educational experience of students. For high school students, these issues are amplified as they consider graduation and what may come after. The impact of COVID on high school grades is a focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Harrison Schramm.

    Harrison Schramm is a Principal Research Scientist at Group W as well as President-Elect at the Analytics Society of INFORMS.  Prior to joining INFORMS he was a Senior Fellow at Center For Strategic And Budgetary Assessments and has been a leader in the Operations Research community for the past decade. Before that, he had a successful career in the US Navy, where he served as a Helicopter Pilot, Military Assistant Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, and as a lead Operations Research Analyst in the Pentagon. His areas of emphasis were large-scale simulation models, statistics, optimization, and applied probability. His research interests lie at the intersection of data and mathematical models.

  • Our modern understanding of big data and the increasingly sophisticated tools we have for analyzing them have opened up whole new worlds for exploration. And, sometimes, whole new avenues for the misuse of data, which has led some to wonder who should be responsible or held accountable for data misuse or data bias? That’s the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with Charna Parkey.

    Dr. Charna Parkey is a lead data scientist at Kaskada, where she works on the team to deliver a commercially available data platform for machine learning. Her interests include analysis of different language patterns as well as using data science to combat systemic oppression. She has over 15 years’ experience in enterprise data science and adaptive algorithms in the defense and startup tech sectors and has worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies in her work as a data scientist.

  • It’s been a little over a year of lockdowns, curfews, online schooling, mask wearing, worry and grief. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it an experience of collective trauma that researchers will be studying for years to come. The British Academy has launched one such study COVID119 and Society: Shaping the COVID Decade. That’s the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Dr. Molly Morgan Jones.

    Dr. Molly Morgan Jones is the Director of Policy at The British Academy. She oversees all the Academy’s policy work and activities, on topics ranging from how the humanities and social sciences can shape a post-pandemic future, to purposeful business, cohesive societies, policies supporting childhood, and higher education and skills policy. Prior to joining the Academy, she worked at RAND Europe, an independent policy research institute, where she specialized in research and innovation policy as well as worked for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).