statistics

The China Joke

While I was gone, apparently The China Study received some belated smackdown. I've personally never paid much attention to that book. I took several advanced statistics classes for my degree and an epidemiology class. If I wanted to base my diet on that flawed methodology, I might be more interested. But you can hash and rehash data and it won't change the fact that epidemiology (like my own science, economics) has been responsible for crap conclusions that have not bared out in the real world.

Nassim Taleb on "they only lived until they were 30 meme"

The argument often heard about primitive people living on average less than 30 years ignores distribution around such average --life expectancy needs to be analyzed conditionally. Plenty died early, from injuries, many lived very long --and healthy --lives. This is exactly the very same elementary "fooled by randomness" mistake, relying on the notion of "average" in the presence of variance, that makes people underestimate the risks in the stock market.

In "Why I Do All This Walking"