Cigar-smoking won’t kill you if you’re already old

In my analysis of data on the oldest old from the Kaiser Permanente study, I started with cigar smoking because I have a friend who turned 65 last month. His annual physical went like this: Doctor: Do you still smoke cigars? Jim: Yep. Doctor: Do you still drink 8 or 9 beers every night? Jim: Yep….


Travels through Open Data Land, with old people, flashlights & cigars

(Yes, that title does sound like a lot of the spam comments I get. ) Last year, at the Gov. 2.0 conference in Santa Monica, Jean Holm, from NASA spoke about some of the opportunities for open data. I left with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the best examples she gave were, I thought,…

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My happy adventure with SAS on-demand

Before the semester began, I debated about requiring SAS on-demand for my statistics course. In fact, after giving it some thought, I decided to make use optional rather than mandatory.  One reason for my hesitation was uncertainty about basing a major part of students’ grades on a project requiring an untested software package. I could…

Can you say Caveat Emptor if the data are free?

Let the buyer beware – that phrase certainly applies to open data, as does the less historical but equally true statement that students always want to work with real data until they get some. Lately, I have had students working with two different data sets that have led me to the inevitable conclusion that self-report…


Open Data, SAS On-Demand & African-American Women

Let me just say off the bat that open data is awesome and there should be more of it available.  This semester, I have been using SAS On-Demand in my statistics class and creating the data sets to meet students’  interests. Despite some people’s aspersions that I read on Twitter that some statisticians know no…


Census in Black & White: What I wondered about lately

The census now allows more than one race to be checked. For many years, friends of mine in inter-racial couples when they registered their children for school would check the “Other” box for race, rather than pick black or white. Although an individual’s census form responses are confidential, you certainly are free to tell anyone…