Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist

Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist

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Howard Wainer
Cambridge University Press, 12/1/2015
EAN 9781107130579, ISBN10: 1107130573

Hardcover, 232 pages, 23.6 x 16 x 1.7 cm
Language: English

Teacher tenure is a problem. Teacher tenure is a solution. Fracking is safe. Fracking causes earthquakes. Our kids are over-tested. Our kids are not tested enough. We read claims like these in the newspaper every day, often with no justification other than 'it feels right'. How can we figure out what is right? Escaping from the clutches of truthiness begins with one simple question: 'what is the evidence?' With his usual verve and flair, Howard Wainer shows how the sceptical mindset of a data scientist can expose truthiness, nonsense, and outright deception. Using the tools of causal inference he evaluates the evidence, or lack thereof, supporting claims in many fields, with special emphasis in education. This wise book is a must-read for anyone who has ever wanted to challenge the pronouncements of authority figures and a lucid and captivating narrative that entertains and educates at the same time.

Part I. Thinking Like a Data Scientist
1. How the rule of 72 can provide guidance to advance your wealth, your career and your gas mileage
2. Piano virtuosos and the four-minute mile
3. Happiness and causal inference
4. Causal inference and death
5. Using experiments to answer four vexing questions
6. Causal inferences from observational studies
fracking, injection wells, earthquakes, and Oklahoma
7. Life follows art
gaming the missing data algorithm
Part II. Communicating Like a Data Scientist
8. On the crucial role of empathy in the design of communications
genetic testing as an example
9. Improving data displays
the media's, and ours
10. Inside-out plots
11. A century and a half of moral statistics
plotting evidence to affect social policy
Part III. Applying the Tools of Data Science to Education
12. Waiting for Achilles
13. How much is tenure worth?
14. Detecting cheating badly
if it could have been, it must have been
15. When nothing is not zero
a true saga of missing data, adequate yearly progress, and a Memphis charter school
16. Musing about changes in the SAT
is the college board getting rid of the bulldog?
17. For want of a nail
why worthless subscores may be seriously impeding the progress of western civilization.