Drawing Blanks

Premature Optimization is a Prerequisite for Success

Lazy research leads to conspiracy theories

leave a comment »

Some researches want to produce loud results without putting much effort into actual research.

Lazy Researcher: I have computed the distribution of humans by weight and it looks so weird! Obviously, there are aliens and cyborgs among humans!

Diligent Researcher: I have modeled the distribution of humans by weight taking into account age, sex and ethnicity. The modeled distribution looks similar to the actual one. I still need to include more variables and to model some non-trivial correlations, and I think I can fit the data even better.

Lazy Researcher: Your model is so complex and yet it doesn’t fully explain the observed data. And my model is so simple and it fits the data perfectly. Obviously we must accept mine.

Diligent Researcher: Your “model”?! What model?

Lazy Researcher: Okay, okay. Here’s the distribution of aliens and cyborgs, here’s their calculated ratio among humans, and the significance of this stuff is 5 sigma!

Diligent Researcher: Do you realize that your theory is not falsifiable? You could fit any data by tuning the parameters. And your “5 sigma” is deviation from the hypothesis that all humans are the same, which is laughable!

Lazy Researcher: I have presented a model that fits the data, and you have not. You are trying to refute my method without offering an alternative… Looks like you have an agenda… OMG, YOU ARE ONE OF THEM!!!

What is this all about? This is about the “statistical proofs” of fraud in the latest Russian parliamentary election. Some of those “proofs” are more shameful than the fraud itself (which did of course take place, as we know from anecdotal, photo and video evidence).

Advertisements

Written by bbzippo

01/01/2012 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: