# Avoiding pie charts

Are these individual pie charts easy to get quantitative information from? How about when presented like this? As you can see, obtaining quantitative information from pie charts is near impossible. And, if you want to compare two of them, you can generally tell only the most obvious differences. A more carefully constructed plot using horizontal […]

# Statistical Traps to Avoid #1: Autocorrelation

May 28, 2013 by Prof. David M. Schultz

Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

Eddie Haam and K.K. Tung (2012, J. Atmos. Sci.) examine the purported relationship between the 11-year solar cycle and 2–4-year cycle in La Niña. The authors demonstrate that there is no relationship between these two variables that they have found that is statistically significant. Instead, the autocorrelation between the two quasi-periodic variables is likely to […]

# Communicating low-probability events

April 14, 2013 by Prof. David M. Schultz

Filed under Blog, Featured, Publishing

The authors start by asking, “What is the best way to communicate the risk of rare but extreme weather to the public?” Through a role-playing game where students pretended to be in charge of a road-salting operation, LeClerc and Joslyn (2012) found that the students were more likely to salt when receiving forecasts of temperatures […]

# Dead salmon have meaningful brain activity, or how to get scientists to stop using outdated methods

March 4, 2013 by Prof. David M. Schultz

Filed under Blog, Featured

We’ve all seen in our science bad approaches or terminology that get established and are difficult to kill. Chuck Doswell has his pet peeves, I’ve battled against my share: conditional symmetric instability to explain banded precipitation and moisture flux convergence as a diagnostic for severe storms forecasting. Bennett et al. were awarded the 2012 Ig […]

# An example of an excellent figure

March 1, 2013 by Prof. David M. Schultz

Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing

I had been showing this figure to several students recently about an effective way to plot a lot of spatial data without the figure looking cluttered. I think this is one excellent way to do it. The plots are all ordered around the perimeter of the map, yet the points take you to the locations […]

# Checklist for Statistics

I came across this statistical checklist from Nature. It details some common errors that many authors make in their manuscript, and Nature encourages authors to check this list before submission. I thought some were pretty obvious, but, then again, maybe people need to hear the obvious anyway. http://www.nature.com/nature/authors/gta/Statistical_checklist.doc Nature also has encourages additions to this […]

# Another common mistake in least squares fitting

On p. 121 of Eloquent Science, I spend a page discussing the misuses of linear correlation. Turns out I didn’t cover all of them. Mark Hibberd writes: I think your Figure 11.10 [to the right] clearly shows a very common mistake of inappropriately using a standard least squares fit. The fit given (y = -13.2 […]