The Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator

A simple simulator for the twice weekly lottery: It is really hard to win the Mega Millions lottery. So hard that it can be difficult to comprehend what long odds confront its players. Why not try for free on this Mega Millions lottery simulator? You'll be able to try the same numbers over and over, simulating playing twice a week for a year or 10. You'll never win. Simulating the game for 10 years, two games a week, you will get the result of each draw and a conclusion like: You played 1040 games of Mega Millions. It cost $1040. Continue reading The Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator

Some thoughts, nay “reflections,” on the past couple of months

So it's clearly been a while since my last post.  I'd like to remedy this by offering some quick reflections on the past couple of months.  First, teaching the first "draft" of a course, so to speak, is hard.  I've talked to a lot of people about this recently and have gotten a lot of great advice in return.  Transitioning from being a TA to building and teaching your own course is definitely more time consuming than I had previously expected.  For example, I thought I knew how to take and structure notes.  I wasn't so far off base previously, Continue reading Some thoughts, nay “reflections,” on the past couple of months

You are not so smart

Matt at the Harvard Social Science Statistics Blog provides a link to the blog "You are not so smart" with an emphasis on its newest post discussing randomness and causality.  While it is impossible to debunk every pattern someone draws out of coincidences (disconfirming evidence is rarely enough), it provides a good read of the historic coincidences and the false patterns people create from them – including the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, Nostradamus, and the Titan(ic).  A new blog has entered the RSS reader.

How do you manage your relevant quotations?

Ever find yourself trying to remember who said those famous words that are a must include for a paper or article you are writing? Stumbled across a great quote that you might use in a future paper and quickly bookmark the page in a book or scribble it down on a piece of scrap paper?  Have you found an effective way to document the quotes for later consumption, use an existing quote/phrase book, or do you avoid them generally?  Until recently, I had not managed the sayings that amused or enlightened me and have probably lost time looking for quotes Continue reading How do you manage your relevant quotations?

Best Practices of Data Collection

The newest version of the Annual Review of Political Science has been released as a large portion of the field attends APSA.  As I am recovering from the IR poster session and presentation of my dissertation research (which involves data collection, but mostly fact based), I found the Evan S. Lieberman piece apt for night time reading.  In "Bridging the Qualitative-Quantitative Divide: Best Practices in the Development of Historically Oriented Replication Databases", Evan argues: The proliferation of historically oriented replication data has provided great opportunities for political scientists to develop and to test theories relevant to a range of macrohistorical Continue reading Best Practices of Data Collection