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Of Note: An outlier that lies in the middle of the data

An outlier or anomaly is typically defined as a case that is markedly distant or different from the bulk of the data.  Our July 28 blog on outliers and anomaly detection reported on one unusual case in which the outlier might lie fully within the typical data range. “In one aerospace project, for example, theContinue reading “Of Note: An outlier that lies in the middle of the data”

Coronavirus: To Test or Not to Test

In recent years, under the influence of statisticians, the medical profession has dialed back on screening tests.  With relatively rare conditions, widespread testing yields many false positives and doctor visits, whose collective cost can outweigh benefits.  Coronavirus advice follows this line – testing is limited to the truly ill (this is also due to aContinue reading “Coronavirus: To Test or Not to Test”

Google Zooms Out on Microtargeting

Google recently announced that it would further limit its election ads to audience targeting based on age, gender, and general location (postal code level) context targeting (i.e. showing ads based on the content being viewed) Up to this point, the application of predictive modeling to “microtarget” individuals or small groups of individuals, well-entrenched in theContinue reading “Google Zooms Out on Microtargeting”


Last week, the Trump administration announced a forthcoming ban on e-cigarettes, following news stories of a spate of deaths from vaping.  The Wall Street Journal, on Friday the 13th, published both an editorial and an op-ed piece suggesting that any harm from e-cigarettes is minor and unproven, and counterbalanced by the good they do inContinue reading “e-cigarettes”


“Superusers” of medical services are the small fraction of patients that account for huge consumption of medical services.  An article published August 14, 2019 in JAMA Surgery (online) reports on the application of machine learning methods to Medicare data on 1,049,160 Medicare patients who underwent surgery, and were then tracked over the next year to assessContinue reading “Superusers”