Thursday, February 23, 2017

Playing Cards

So I spend a little time playing with these data, in which people were asked to name their favorite playing card. You know, cards, as in (the most popular, it turns out) Ace of Spades. What does this have to do with what people know? About the media, or politics? Not a damn thing. It's my blog, dammit. I can write about what I want to write about, so strap in and go for a playing card ride because there's some interesting stuff here.

The first question is obvious -- what card to people name most often? As I mentioned above, and to no real surprise, it's the Ace of Spades. I excluded from analysis all the "no answer" responses because, face it, they're boring people.  Below is the Top 5 with the percent of all responders who chose that particular card:

  1. Ace of Spades (20.1%)
  2. Queen of Hearts (11.3%)
  3. Ace of Hearts (8.3%)
  4. King of Hearts (4.9%)
  5. Jack of Spades (3.1%)
So people trend toward the aces and face cards. No surprise. In fact you have to go all the way to #6 to see a different card, the 3 of Diamonds, which for life of me I can't figure out why anyone would name, but 2.6 percent of respondents chose it first. It's fascinating (okay, to me) that after the Ace of Spades people are all over the Hearts cards. 

I promised you something interesting, so here it is. There's a gender difference. Yes, the Ace of Spades is the one most named by both male and female respondents, but the #2 slot gets interesting. For men, 15.0 percent of the time it was the Queen of Hearts. For women, the #2 slot is more spread out but winning by a hair is the King of Hearts (6.6 percent), followed by a tie between the Queen of Hearts and Age of Hearts (6.6 percent). What can we make of this? Men gravitate to the Queen of Hearts, women to the King of Hearts. I'm sure with some effort I can deliver a Freudian interpretation of the results, but I'll let you figure it out.  Men do name more power cards in their Top 10 while women slip the 3 of Diamonds into their fifth highest position. Fascinating. What's up with that card? Anyone?

By the way, the least named cards were a tie between 9 of Spades and 9 of Clubs (only a couple of people for each, or 1.8 percent).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pet Statistical Peeve

Just a brief bitching about a line I just read in a published study, about a difference being "nominally statistically significant."

Sorry, a difference or relationship is either significant or it's not. There's is no in-between. That's like saying: "I'm nominally pregnant." You are, or aren't.

Even better, the difference they're promoting? .40 compared to .42. Really? Sheesh. Not only is it not statistically significant, more importantly it's not substantively different.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Just pointing to my brief piece on Medium about Democrats and whether they're now believers in conspiracy theories. Read it. Short, brilliant, and did I mention short? And brief?

It's the J-school, Dammit

It pains me to agree with my former editor and now dean of that large j-school to the south of us from which I have my advanced degrees, but she's right in her recent post about the importance of journalism and the necessity of its name remaining in our colleges of mass and various communications.

In discussing the recent challenges to the field, she notes:
So what should a college of journalism do? A handful of our alumni have suggested that we take journalism out of our name and focus on a more contemporary approach to news and information. 
 I see it another way: I say we double down on fact-finding, truth-seeking and audience engagement. There has never been a more important time to affirm our allegiance to the standards and practices that are the bedrock of an informed citizenry. Our ethical codes are the right ones. Let’s reinforce them, not abandon them.
Back in 2013 I wrote about this in terms of a name change floated here at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The title of that post says it all:

It'll Always Be The J-School, Dammit

And it will. As long as I'm here, at least.

I know the realities and the numbers. Public Relations and Advertising are far more popular majors for all kinds of reasons. That's fine and good and disappointing and a sign of the Apocalypse, but that doesn't mean we chase that popularity to change a school's name and forget our academic and professional and moral and Constitutional roots. Or to put it another way, as I did in my original post:

Lemme help you out folks.
 Henry W. Grady, he wasn't a PR guy.

So here's to Diane McFarlin. She got it right, both for UF and for us. All of us.

It'll always be the j-school, dammit.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Religious Political Sophistication?

There's a fresh study out that looks at a new concept, one called by the author religious-political sophistication. The first sentence sets the argument up nicely:
This article demonstrates that the effect of religion on public opinion is partially contingent on a previously overlooked variable: whether religious identifiers have accurate personal understanding of church teaching on political issues. 
This is an interesting and important argument, so set aside the author's love love of first person throughout the piece (I actually find that refreshing and  leads to tighter writing, but some journal editors hate it).

So how does one measure religious-political sophistication? Largely by scoring respondents as agreeing with church orthodoxy, though it gets more complicated than that. As is often the case in political science research, you get bombarded by statistical models and it can appear the journal pays the author by the number of tables published. Simply put, correctly knowing the position of one's religious leaders influence's one opinion on the issue in the direction of the religion. I'm oversimplifying, but I'm rushed. Read it yourself for all the nuance and, especially, at the end the question of whether this is merely projection or a real effect on public opinion.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Lenvimaversary

Just pointing to my post on Medium today about my Lenvimaversary (one year on Lenvima) and my visits to MD Anderson. Read it. Now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Obmacare vs ACA

Just a quick post to point to this NYTimes story and poll that shows just how important a label is in what is the same thing, just called by different words.