Reposted from nimh by plf515
Stephen Wolf published an awe-inspiring, comprehensive diary here last month about what an Appalachian state would look like, demographically and politically speaking.

Substantively, I have nothing to add. But when I was reading the diary, at times I wished there were some simple line charts as well as all the awesome maps, so I could get a somewhat clearer grasp of the overall trends involved. So I made a couple myself. Might as well share them here - see below the fold.

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A while back I started the group "Math and Statistics Geeks". It was active for some time, but hasn't been in about a year and a half.

Then, over the weekend, I noticed **Andrew Lazarus**'s excellent diary vaccinate yourself against statistical idiocy on the rec list and that gave me the motivation to re-start the group.

Math is a part of being human. It is dreadfully mistaught and misunderstood.

Statistics are vital to understanding all sorts of issues; of particular relevance here are polls, but statistical thinking is involved in climate change, health care, policy review, education reform and many other topics.

I am a statistician for a living and I think it's vital to have an educated electorate. I can't manage that on my own, but at least I can take a shot at an educated bunch of Kossacks. :-)

If you're interested in joining, let me know. If you see diaries that should be republished as part of this group, let me know. If you have questions, let me know.

And I hope we can get the group active again.

Discuss
Reposted from Andrew Lazarus by plf515
The most popular story on the Forbes.com website at this moment (Monday afternoon) is headlined “Obamacare Will Increase Health Spending By $7,450 For A Typical Family of Four”. Wow! That sounds bad! Until we see how this nonsense-number got calculated (under the fold)!

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Reposted from Andrew Lazarus by plf515
Editor's Note: Let's get this group going again -- plf515
This week’s hot Internet story was Julia Ioffe writing in The New Republic about her whooping cough. [Mention on DK FP; Volokh Conspiracy; Discover] As she points out, whooping cough (also known as pertussis) had almost disappeared in the United States, but cases are on the rise. One reason is that a growing number of Americans are refusing to vaccinate their children.

As expected by anyone who has ever seen vaccination discussed on the Internet, Ioffe’s comments section rapidly filled with anti-vaccine cranks. Some approach from the right, with claims of personal autonomy that trump even the libertarian night-watchman state's power of quarantine. Others come from a narcissistic pseudo-Green belief that their Superman immune systems, fortified with expensive supplements, can take on all those pesky germs. How dare we ordinary people complain that in reality they are free-riding on our assuming the non-zero (albeit small) risks of vaccination! [Note: autism is *not* one of these risks.]

Either way the denialists have a major statistical problem: the near-eradication of several diseases in the course of vaccination campaigns. Flailing attempts to solve this problem include: Big Pharma has persuaded doctors to reclassify paralytic polio as something else; sanitation and hygiene improved; the disease rates were going down before vaccines; and people who are vaccinated still get sick (no one, of course, denied this).

No pseudo-scientific campaign is complete without pseudo-statistical nonsense, and in following the antivax links I encountered some real doozies. A few of them are generalizable to bad statistical reasoning in general, so for the details and maybe a good laugh, follow below the cronut.

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Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar
Editor's Note: Republished at the author's request. -- jpmassar
I woke up yesterday morning and decided to do something nerdy. (Doesn't everyone?)

Thanks to Nate Silver's famous graphics, we know that national polling for marriage equality has been rising at about 2% per year since 2004, and opposition has been falling at the same rate, for a net gain of 4% per annum and reaching 50% support for same-sex marriage this year. But what about state polling data, where the people who are polled are generally registered voters, not all adults as are asked by most of the national polls?

"Americans will never accept the legitimacy of gay marriage"

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins

I decided to look at the most recent 2012 polling for marriage equality in each state that had such polling, and then compare it to polling done as close to a year ago in that state on the same topic -- again, if such polling existed.

It turns out that (thanks mostly to *Public Policy Polling*) there are seventeen states with such polling data. Here's the upshot.

**Between 2011 and 2012, the average swing in state polling of registered voters on marriage equality has been 6.3%, compared to the 4% national swing for adults.**

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Reposted from Orinoco by Orinoco
Last week, in Number Sense 045, Awkward Goat and Billy Goat Gruff found that their new Butts operation was associative, and, since Butts had an identity element, inverses and was closed, it formed a group.

This week they decided to explore operations a bit more, and made up another one.

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Reposted from Orinoco by Orinoco
Last week, in Number Sense 044, Awkward Goat and Billy Goat Gruff invented a new operation, called Butts, which worked with three colors, Red, Yellow and Green. Butts has an identity element, Yellow, and is commutative. The jury is still out on whether Butts is associative or not.

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Reposted from Orinoco by Orinoco
Last week, in Number Sense 043, Awkward Goat and Billy Goat Gruff thought they proved that clock arithmetic was commutative and associative. But there is trouble in paradise...

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Reposted from Orinoco by Orinoco
Last week, in Number Sense 042, Awkward Goat and Billy Goat Gruff discovered that clock arithmetic was closed under addition, all sums were included in the original set of numbers. So far, clock addition has proved to have closure and an identity element in common with ordinary addition. Our intrepid Capra aegagrus hirci continue their search for more common properties.

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Reposted from Orinoco by Orinoco
Last week, in Number Sense 041, Awkward Goat and Billy Goat Gruff found that clock arithmetic has an identity element for addition: zero. This week they keep looking for more properties in common with ordinary arithmetic.

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Reposted from Orinoco by Orinoco
Last week, in Number Sense 040, Awkward Goat and Billy Goat Gruff discovered they had invented a clock, by walking around a tree. At least, they discovered a facet of clock arithmetic. Billy Goat Gruff, however, suspected he'd been snookered, somehow, so this week finds them back at the same tree.

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Reposted from Orinoco by Orinoco
Last week, in Number Sense 039, Awkward Goat and Billy Goat Gruff explored Fibonacci series using Leonardo of Pisa's classic rabbit reproduction puzzle. They decided sauce for the goose wouldn't really work for the gander, besides, metaphors involving cooking farm animals left them feeling a bit queasy.

This week finds them wandering in a circle around a tree...

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