Spurious significance, junk science

Andrew Gelman links to this nice paper by Nosek, Spies and Motel, about an exciting “result” in psychological research: instead of rushing to publish, they scrupulously rushed to replicate, and the result disappeared. The fairy tale ending is that they got a nice publication from using this experience to tell us what we already know – that “significant” results obtained from small, ad hoc experimental samples are pretty much worthless. Continue reading

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Eric Hobsbawm – late interview

When I was first at Birkbeck, this guy was still a regular in the staff canteen – so I must be getting on a bit myself! The interviewer is the current Master of Birkbeck, David Latchman. The revelation that several of Hobsbawm’s best books were essentially his Birkbeck lecture notes does raise the bar for the rest of us, just a bit.

A beautiful teaching story

… although it doesn’t say much for the teacher training requirements in California in the late 1940s. From the New York Times’ obituary for Karl Benjamin, an abstract painter from Los Angeles:

he began teaching fifth and sixth grade in the public schools in Bloomington, Calif., where, in addition to the three R’s, state law required him to teach art. He had not thought much about the subject before.
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