Editor’s Letter—Vol. 29, No. 4

Dear CHANCE Colleagues,

In the 28.2 (2015) issue of CHANCE, an article by Tom Radman, Erica Rosemond, and Michelle Dunn described the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) and Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiatives as important opportunities for statisticians. Our first article in this issue describes one example of life-changing research in this area.

Ian Burkhart was in a diving accident in North Carolina. Damage to his spinal cord left him paralyzed—but hope was not lost. David Friedenberg and Michael Schwemmer tell the fascinating success story of how Ian was able to regain movement in his hand through developing technology that lets Ian reconnect the link from his brain to his body, bypassing his damaged spinal cord.

When aircraft are lost, the search for the flight data recorder, often called the “black box,” begins. The black box records information about the aircraft’s operations that may help decipher the cause and nature of the accident. Although signaling devices can help, identifying the location of the black box is often challenging. Michael Bossé, Eric Marland, Gregory Rhodes, and Michael Rudziewicz discuss the Pearson correlation coefficient and misconceptions of linearity when searching for the black box.

Are you ready for some football? Football is behind other sports in using statistical thinking, but Jason Mulholland and Shane Jensen are changing that. They take an interesting and novel approach to discuss projecting the NFL draft and the performance of pass-catchers in the NFL.

Are you looking for fun books to read? Check out the responses from the ASA’s community site to a query regarding statistics-related pleasure reading.

On September 14, 2016, the ASA sponsored a webinar on Careers in Sports Analytics that featured Stephanie Kovalchik, data scientist in the Game Insight Group at Tennis Australia, and Dennis Lock, director of Analytics with the Miami Dolphins. Stephanie and Dennis discussed what they do, their career paths, and advice for future sports statisticians regarding education and training. We provide the transcript of the discussion in this issue of CHANCE.

It is an election year. The election dominated the news for much of the year and generated lots of heated discussion. One particularly tender issue is the Voter ID law. In this issue’s Odds of Justice column, Mary Gray tackles this subject with “Who gets to vote?”

In the A Statistician Reads the Sports Pages column, Brian Freilich discusses the value of coaching tenure in the NBA and the relationship between tenure and coaching win shares.

Statisticians often struggle with how they are perceived by others. What statisticians do, or should be doing, is frequently different from how non-statistical colleagues view them. For many years, I have taught “Principles of Clinical Trials” to early-career MDs who are initiating clinical trials research. At the first class, the students complete a survey that asks them about their medical specialties and their experience with clinical trials and statistics. They are also asked to complete the following sentence: “A statistician is ________________.” In this issue, I share some of the responses. Some are humorous, while others are clever.

Lastly, we wish to congratulate Sir David Cox as the inaugural recipient of the International Prize in Statistics. This prize, considered the highest honor in statistics, recognizes a major achievement of an individual or team in the field of statistics.

Scott Evans

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.