One Meaning of “Statistical Analysis”

One of the things that interests me is all the ways that “statistical analysis” can be defined, even within the confines of a relatively nascent domain like text analytics. Of course, being nascent also means that things are not yet defined. Moreover, as a domain, text analytics is emerging at the intersection of a number of fields. Some of the differences about assumptions of what were the applicable dimensions of statistics, let alone mathematics, were quite striking at this year’s Culture Analytics program at UCLA’s Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics.

Below is a recent request posted on The Humanist that I am capturing here as another entry in this area:

The work will involve investigating the temporal relationships between spoken and gesture events, so experience with methods for conducting statistical analysis (correlation, t-test, anova, hypothesis testing) are expected.

In addition, the preferred workflow is as follows:

Ideally, the work will be done in Python (ideally using pandas), but if people prefer using R, I’d be happy to hear from them.

Listing Python Modules

Sometimes you need to know what Python modules you already installed, the easiest way to get a list is to:

>>> help('modules')

This will give you a list of installed modules typically as a series of columns. All you have are names, not version numbers. If you need to know version numbers, then try:

>>> import matplotlib
>>> print(matplotlib.__version__)
1.5.1

On the Rise of the Machines

In a thoughtful essay in The Guardian, Stephen Hawking argues that scientists, as much as any other individual operating within the sphere of “the elites” as variously understood, need to attend to the rise of populism in the recent elections in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining. This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.

His answer: the elites need to be more humble. Really? I don’t know if I’m one of those elites or not. I suspect many would put me in there because I’m an academic, but I look at my paycheck and the declining possibility of retirement, and I don’t feel very elite. One thing I do feel is that it is not, not, the responsibility of scholars and scientists that their expertise has been undermined. I think that moment has to be laid at the doorstep of industry which is always happy to have science when it makes them money, but when it suggests that paradigms shifts are required, prefer the status quo.

Extended Evolutionary Synthesis

Quanta has a report from the recent meeting of the Royal Society to discuss the status of extended evolutionary synthesis. Included in the report is a reasonable encapsulation of the history of the discussion within evolutionary biology. Link.

Toggling Hidden Files in macOS Finder

To see hidden files in macOS:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

Then re-launch the Finder.

To hide them again:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO