Monday, May 29, 2017

Daniel's "Where Slang Comes From"

I think that language is fascinating. Back when I taught developmental, I always liked to teach how babies learn to talk in sort of the same way all across the world. I like regional difference in American English (for example, swearing and regional colloquialisms). So, I really like this research that investigates the rise and fall of slang in America. And I think it could be used in a statistics class.

How to use in class?

1. Funny list of descriptive statistics.

2. Research methodology for using Google searches to answer a question. A good opening for discussion of archival data, data mining, and creating inclusion criteria for research methodology.

3. Using graphs to illustrate trends across time. This feature is interactive.

4. Further interactive features demonstrating how heat maps can be used to demonstrate state-by-state popularity over time. Here, "dank memes" peaked in April 2016 in Montana.

5. The author eye-balled the data can came up with common origins of slang: Hip-hop music, politics, "the internets" (technology). This reminds me, conceptually, of cluster analysis. Note: NO CLUSTER ANALYSIS was conducted to come up with the three slang origin categories.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trendacosta's Mathematician Boldly Claims That Redshirts Don't Actually Die the Most on Star Trek

io9 recaps a talk given by mathematician James Grime. He addressed the long running Star Trek joke that the first people to die are the Red Shirts. Using resources that detail the ins and outs of Star Trek, he determined that:

This makes for a good example of absolute vs. relative risk. Sure, more red shirts may die, absolutely, but proportionally? They only make up 10% of the deaths. Also, I think this is a funny example of using archival data in order to understand an actual on-going Star Trek joke.

For more math/Star Trek links, go to's treatment of the speech.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pew Research Center's Methods 101 Video Series

Pew Research Center is an excellent source for data to use in statistics and research methods classes. I have blogged about them before (look under the Label pew-pew!) and I'm excited to share that Pew is starting up a series of videos dedicated to research methods. The new series will be called Methods 101.

The first describes sampling techniques in which weighing is used to adjust imperfect samples as to better mimic the underlying population. I like that this is a short video that focuses on one specific aspect of polling. I hope that they continue this trend of creating very specific videos covering specific topics.

Looking for more videos? Check out Pew's YouTube Channel. Also, I have a video tag for this blog.