Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing II

In a previous post, I described how my wife Nell, our two daughters and I were coping with social distancing and the closure of the public schools in Brookline, Massachusetts until at least April 3, 2020. Other than staying inside as much as possible, we converted our dining room into a functioning classroom complete withContinue reading “Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing II”

December 2019 update: Democratic presidential nomination and general election polling

With the sixth Democratic presidential nomination debate set for December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California, here is an updated assessment of the relative position of the now-15 declared candidates. Since the previous update, four candidates exited the race: Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam on November 20, former United States House of Representatives Member (“Representative”)Continue reading “December 2019 update: Democratic presidential nomination and general election polling”

Interrogating memory: The Beatles, wax museums and a diner mystery solved

To the extent my writing over the last three years has a theme (or perhaps even a brand), it is what I call interrogating memory. At one level, this is just a fancy term for “fact-checking,” as in looking through my elementary school report cards (I am missing the one for third grade[1]) to confirmContinue reading “Interrogating memory: The Beatles, wax museums and a diner mystery solved”

Organizing by themes VII: Words beginning with “epi-“

This site benefits/suffers/both from consisting of posts about a wide range of topics, all linked under the amorphous heading “data-driven storytelling.” In an attempt to impose some coherent structure, I am organizing related posts both chronologically and thematically. In this post, I sketched the winding road on which a 28-year-old man who had just resignedContinue reading “Organizing by themes VII: Words beginning with “epi-“”

Two posts diverged…though not in a yellow wood

This post began as the seventh in the “organizing by themes” series, the one that would contain annotated links to my posts related to epidemiology, epistemology, public health and career changes. THAT post may be found here. When I started writing, though, I realized that I was telling the full back story of my adultContinue reading “Two posts diverged…though not in a yellow wood”

Separating the art from the artist

The director David Lynch—who I dressed as this past Halloween—gave this response to a question about the meaning of a puzzling moment toward the end of episode 15 of Twin Peaks: The Return. “What matters is what you believe happened,” he clarified. “That’s the whole thing. There are lots of things in life, and we wonder aboutContinue reading “Separating the art from the artist”

Final thoughts from what is almost certainly my final APHA meeting

I debuted this blog 11 months ago yesterday as a place to tell what I hoped would be entertaining and informative data-driven stories. Given my proclivity for, and advanced academic training in, quantitative data analysis, the vast majority of my 47 prior posts have involved the rigorous and systematic manipulation of numbers. But not allContinue reading “Final thoughts from what is almost certainly my final APHA meeting”

As I head to the APHA meeting in Atlanta in November…

There have been times, especially lately, that I start to write one post and end up writing an entirely different post. I originally conceived this post to be a simple repository for a set of documents related to my previous career. The impetus for this was two oral presentations I will be delivering in AtlantaContinue reading “As I head to the APHA meeting in Atlanta in November…”

Positively pondering pesky probabilities, perchance

One inspiration to start this “data-driven storytelling” blog was the pioneering work of Nate Silver and his fellow data journalists at FiveThirtyEight.com; their analyses are an essential “critical thinking” reality check to my own conclusions and perceptions. Indeed, when I finally get around to designing and teaching my course on critical thinking (along with myContinue reading “Positively pondering pesky probabilities, perchance”

Using Jon Ossoff polling data to make a point about statistical significance testing

I do not like the phrase “statistical dead heat,” nor do I like the phrase “statistical tie.” These phrases oversimplify the level of uncertainty accruing to any value (e.g., polling percentage or margin) estimated from a sample of a larger population of interest, such as the universe of election-day voters; when you sample, you areContinue reading “Using Jon Ossoff polling data to make a point about statistical significance testing”