A couple of abstracts


“There are both costs and benefits associated with conducting scientific- and technological research. Whereas the benefits derived from scientific research and new technologies have often been addressed in the literature (for a good example, see Evenson et al., 1979), few of the major non-monetary societal costs associated with major expenditures on scientific research and technology have however so far received much attention.

In this paper we investigate one of the major non-monetary societal cost variables associated with the conduct of scientific and technological research in the United States, namely the suicides resulting from research activities. In particular, in this paper we analyze the association between scientific- and technological research expenditure patterns and the number of suicides committed using one of the most common suicide methods, namely that of hanging, strangulation and suffocation (-HSS). We conclude from our analysis that there’s a very strong association between scientific research expenditures in the US and the frequency of suicides committed using the HSS method, and that this relationship has been stable for at least a decade. An important aspect in the context of the association is the precise mechanisms through which the increase in HHSs takes place. Although the mechanisms are still not well-elucidated, we suggest that one of the important components in this relationship may be judicial research, as initial analyses of related data have suggested that this variable may be important. We argue in the paper that our initial findings in this context provide impetus for considering this pathway a particularly important area of future research in this field.”

Key findings:

Graph 1:



“Murders by bodily force (-Mbf) make up a substantial number of all homicides in the US. Previous research on the topic has shown that this criminal activity causes the compromise of some common key biological functions in victims, such as respiration and cardiac function, and that many people with close social relationships with the victims are psychosocially affected as well, which means that this societal problem is clearly of some importance.

Researchers have known for a long time that the marital state of the inhabitants of the state of Mississippi and the dynamics of this variable have important nation-wide effects. Previous research has e.g. analyzed how the marriage rate in Mississippi determines the US per capita consumption of whole milk. In this paper we investigate how the dynamics of Mississippian marital patterns relate to the national Mbf numbers. We conclude from our analysis that it is very clear that there’s a strong association between the divorce rate in Mississippi and the national level of Mbf. We suggest that the effect may go through previously established channels such as e.g. milk consumption, but we also note that the precise relationship has yet to be elucidated and that further research on this important topic is clearly needed.”

Key findings:


This abstract is awesome as well, but I didn’t write it…

The ‘funny’ part is that I could actually easily imagine papers not too dissimilar to the ones just outlined getting published in scientific journals. Indeed, in terms of the structure I’d claim that many published papers are exactly like this. They do significance testing as well, sure, but hunting down p-values is not much different from hunting down correlations and it’s quite easy to do both. If that’s all you have, you haven’t shown much.


July 29, 2014 - Posted by | Random stuff, Science, Statistics


  1. Three updates in a day? You’re on fire!

    Comment by Maxwell Bühler | July 29, 2014 | Reply

    • Yeah, I don’t think you should expect such updating frequencies to persist long-term..

      The chess lecture post was basically just the posting of a couple of bookmarks, as I had watched those lectures some days ago – no real work needed, that post took me 2 minutes to post. That was actually why I posted those lectures today; the last post before that one was posted on the 26th, and in general I try really hard to avoid breaks longer than these; in a hypothetical situation where I last posted on the 14th people should expect me to update by the 17th at the latest; if I last updated on the 17th, expect an update by the 20th at the latest, etc.. Sometimes this fails, but I think it’s relatively rare. Relatedly, although I wrote much of the book post yesterday (meaning that that one also did not take much time) I wasn’t sure if I’d finish the post today, and I hadn’t come across the idea of writing this post at the time I posted the lectures. I’ve posted 16 posts in July so far, which I don’t think is out of the ordinary in any way. Perhaps I should point out that although I do spend more time on blogging activities on some days than others, this was certainly not one of the work-intensive days in that regard. Usually good coverage of a technical book may take much longer than multiple other posts.

      I had some fun writing this post, and so I wanted to share it as soon as possible, instead of holding it back and delaying publication deliberately in order to smooth out updating frequency variation the way I sometimes do.

      Comment by US | July 30, 2014 | Reply

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