Statistics need Stories to give them meaning. Stories need Statistics to give them credibility. Every Thursday John Bailer, Richard Campbell and Rosemary Pennington get together with a new, interesting guest to bring you the Statistics behind the Stories and the Stories behind the Statistics.
Can You Still Predict Elections? | Stats + Stories Episode 162
With the 2020 U-S presidential election all but upon us, media are rife with prognostications about which way voters are going to swing. Will reliably red states stay red or will voters produce a blue wave that crashes across the country? Will economic uncertainty trump concerns over COVID 19? Is political polarization really as set-in-stone as some have suggested? Understanding voter behavior is a focus of this episode of Stats and Stories where we explore the statistics behind the stories and the stories behind the statistics with guest Andrew Gelman.
Andrew Gelman is a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University. He has received the Outstanding Statistical Application award three times from the American Statistical Association, the award for best article published in the American Political Science Review, and the Council of Presidents of Statistical Societies award for outstanding contributions by a person under the age of 40. His research interests include a wide range of topics, including: why it is rational to vote, why campaign polls are so variable when elections are so predictable and why redistricting is good for democracy among various others.
Teaching Statistics After Apartheid | Stats + Stories Episode 161
Delia North is the Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science at University of KwaZulu Natal. She has over 25 years’ experience in the teaching and design of Statistics curricula at university. Her passion for teaching Statistics has resulted in her becoming a leading figure in South African Statistics Education circles, evidenced by being Theme Chair, Topic Chair, Session Organizer and Guest Speaker at various international conferences on Statistics Education. She is a member of the South African Statistical Association (SASA) executive committee, chairs the SASA Education Committee and is on a Council member of the International Statistical Association.
2020 Census Concerns | Stats + Stories Episode 160
The US Census Bureau is conducting its annual count of the American population this year. Concerns have emerged about this particular census and these have included potential impact of a citizenship question. The shortening of the window for the count, the deadline for reports for reapportionment. All of these concerns might translate into miscounts that impact allocation of federal funds of representation in our legislative branch. The current status of the 2020 Census is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Rob Santos
Robert Santos is vice president & chief methodologist at the Urban Institute as well as President-Elect of American Statistical Association. He has over 40 years of experience designing research and evaluation studies as well as sample surveys. His expertise includes quantitative and qualitative research design, sampling, survey operations, and statistical analysis; specialty areas include Hispanics, blacks, undocumented immigrants, and other disadvantaged populations.
Planning for a Pandemic | Stats + Stories Episode 159
There are a lot of facts and figures to sift through when it comes to the COVID 19 pandemic – there are death rates and infection rates to consider, as well as the paths of infection in a particular community. Investigating the pandemic is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guests Ron Fricker and Steve Rigdon.
Dr. Ronald D. Fricker, Jr. is a Professor of Statistics and the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Administration in the Virginia Tech College of Science. He holds a PhD and an MA in Statistics from Yale University, an MS in Operations Research from The George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of Introduction to Statistical Methods for Biosurveillance published by Cambridge University Press and co-author with Dr. Steve Rigdon of Monitoring the Health of Populations by Tracking Disease Outbreaks and Epidemics: Saving Humanity from the Next Plague published by the American Statistical Association and CRC Press. Dr. Fricker is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Steve Rigdon is a Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice where he teaches about Baysian statistical methods. His research interests include Biosurveillance; models for election prediction; quality; survival analysis.
Crime Statistics | Stats + Stories Episode 158
If you’ve been following the news much then you may have noticed
reporters beginning to explore how COVID is impacting crime rates
around the country. Police commissioners are even appearing on
newscasts trying to explain how various COVID measures may have
changed the kinds of crimes they’re seeing in their cities. One of the
problems becomes tying those changes directly to COVID and of course, a
long-standing issue when it comes to crime rates is understanding how
we measure crime in the first place. Measuring crime is the focus of this
episode of Stats and Stories with guest Sharon Lohr.
Lohr researches and writes about statistics: where they come from, how to interpret them, and how to tell the good statistics from the bad. After receiving her Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sharon taught for 25 years at the University of Minnesota and Arizona State University, where she was Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Statistics. As a Vice President at Westat, she developed survey designs and statistical analysis methods for use in transportation, public health, crime measurement, and education. She now does freelance statistical consulting and writing. See the feature article about Sharon in the September 2018 issue of Amstat News.
Big Data and Big Laughs | Stats + Stories Episode 157
Statistics is generally a field not known for its humor, at least to the broad public. Which is a shame because humor is a way to make complicated subjects – like statistics or big data – accessible to general audiences. The intersection of humor and stats is the focus of this episode of Stats and Stories with guest Timandra Harkness, coming to you from the annual meeting of the Royal Statistical Society with guest host Brian Tarran.
Harkness writes and presents BBC Radio 4 documentaries including the series FutureProofing and How To Disagree, and Are You A Numbers Person? for BBC World Service. She formed the UK’s first comedy science double-act with neuroscientist Dr. Helen Pilcher, and has performed scientific and mathematical comedy from Adelaide (Australia) to Pittsburgh PA with partners including Stand Up Mathematician Matt Parker and Socrates the rat.
Her latest solo show, Take A Risk, hit the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with randomized audience participation and an electric shock machine. A fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, she’s a founder member of their Special Interest Group on Data Ethics. Timandra’s book Big Data: does size matter? was published by Bloomsbury Sigma in 2016.
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Best way to learn about and appreciate quantitative thinking
I found this podcast while enrolled in a beginning quantitative methods course. It has been so incredibly helpful (and inspiring!) to hear the interviews from statisticians and researchers who work with data, and put it into the context of the stories they're trying to understand. The interviews are interesting and entertaining, and helpfully put all of these concepts that I've been abstractly learning about into practical realities.
I just listened to Episode 48: "Were the cancer clusters real? Statistical support for evaluating public policy" with guest David Banks - interesting topic & knowledgable guest. This episode highlighted how Statisticians can help make the world a better place when they work together with Journalists/the Media. I'm still a bit crushed by what I learned about Gregor Mendel, though.
Statistics affect our lives in so many ways but most people are not aware of it. Understanding how statistics relate to my everyday life makes this a really interesting podcast! Give it a listen!