.. and we know what that means: Continuing Education courses through
Make your plans now to attend "Fundamental Statistics Concepts in
Principles for Constructing Better Graphics" in warm and cheerful
Alexandria, VA on Friday April 17.
More information available at
(Lifted from an e-mail from Rafe Donahue. Long-time readers of the blog may remember the day I meant to go to the gym, got a 102-page handout from Rafe and sat devouring the document for the next two hours. This is the course for which the unputdownable handout was written. Post here. Link to handout here.)
The ASA is doing its best to exclude credit-crunched riff-raff from the course:
$475 for ASA Members
$375 for Students
$615 for Nonmembers
*Registration fee includes course material and lunch on both days
but, well, if you can get sponsorship from big pharma or your local drug dealer it looks like a good day out.
(On a separate but not unrelated subject, I've just been reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. Readers charmed by the logical incoherence and slapdash anecdotal style of The Tipping Point and Blink will not be disappointed by the new book. (Yes, yes, I know, a reader who failed to be charmed by Mr Gladwell's previous two books had no business buying the third; the title seemed to promise more in the way of statistical substance.) Anyway, the source of grievance is not really the existence or shortcomings of this particular book, but the non-existence of the brilliant book the Man from Tennessee could have written if given the nod. Outliers is on sale at Gatwick, "Fundamental Statistics Concepts in Presenting Data: Principles for Constructing Better Graphics" is available on PDF at Rafe's website and to anyone with $615 burning a hole in their pocket who happens to be in the DC area on April 17. But.
Look, the question ostensibly being addressed by Mr Gladwell is not
"How can I make lots of money selling intellectually underpowered blather to intellectually underpowered readers?" The question being addressed is "What are the secrets of success?" Mr Gladwell's view is that talent is being squandered; many more people could achieve excellence than actually do so. And one of the "secrets" is that success comes to be people who work hard, who persevere with difficult subjects, who come from a cultural context where hard work is valued. Another is that cultures where the language of mathematics is simple, requiring little cognitive processing to learn and deploy, achieve strikingly better results in mathematics. But in that case surely Outliers itself was an opportunity to push the mass of readers toward a level of excellence not on offer in the educational system, a level their culture had persuaded them was confined to those with exceptional mathematical gifts. Edward Tufte has argued that if information design is used well it can support analysis in a way that a general audience can follow; instead of cluttering up the book with the textual equivalent of chartjunk, Gladwell could have shown readers that they had the capacity to deal with presentation and analysis of complex material. That is, he could have done what RD does in his hand-out. Well, we are the hollow men, we are the stuffed men, leaning together, headpiece filled with straw. Alas!)