Recommended: How to be more effective in your professional life

Doug Zahn has done a tremendous amount of work on what I like to call the human factors in statistical consulting. He summarizes some key ideas in this article. His humorous anecdote about his prized Mustang car illustrates the tendency of all of us to be poor listeners. Pay special atention to Table 1 where he outlines the five steps you should always follow in any consulting interaction. Continue reading

PMean: SAS University. It’s SAS and it’s free

I am teaching a class, Introduction to SAS, that I helped design, but one where another faculty member did all the heavy lifting. I used to teach SAS classes, and I even helped organize a regional SAS conference, but stopped abruptly in 1998. So I’m relearning SAS and one thing that is helping a lot is a product called SAS University which allows you to use SAS for non-commercial purposes for free. Here’s how SAS University works. Continue reading

Recommended: Philosophy News Network: Postmodernism Special Report

I generally shy away from Philosophical debates, but I did discuss a Postmodern critique of Evidence Based Medicine a while back. When one of my more intellectual friends posted a link to a commentary on Postmodernism on the Existential Comics web site, I had to take a look. I think I did a pretty good job of summarizing Postmodernism without stereotyping it, but maybe I’m setting my standards too low if I try to compete with a comic strip. You can judge for yourself. Continue reading

Recommended: The Origins of ‘Big Data’

I’m not a big fan of the term “big data” but I’ve been applying for a couple of jobs that ask for expertise in big data instead of expertise in Statistics. So in one of the cover letters, I wrote that I was doing big data analysis before the term was even coined. That forced me to do a quick fact check, and it looks like the term first came into wide use in the late 1990s. Here’s an article on the person who first coined the term “big data.” Continue reading

PMean: Another big data publication

I dislike the term “big data” because it implies a class of problems that are immune from normal statistical considerations. I will admit that certain concepts such as the p-value become meaningless when you have millions of observations. But other concepts, like selection bias become even more important for big data.

Anyway, I now have a second publication that is directly tied to the big data movement. Continue reading