Everything: What’s Missing Is What Gets Scientists Most Excited

What makes most scientists most excited is the same thing that—if they’ve heard about it—makes many non-scientists wonder if scientists are nuts: Way more than half of “the stuff the universe is made of” is still a mystery to scientists. Which may strike you as a crazy thing to realize, and a crazy thing to say. […]

Statistics – Missing data can sometimes be ignored, and sometimes not (study)

When statisticians are confronted with sets of data, they occasionally find there are data missing. This phenomenon has been given the name ‘Missingness’. Sometimes, a decision is taken that these missing data can be ignored, in which case they are classed as ‘Ignorable Missingness’. But on occasion, some missing data just can’t be ignored. In […]

False ‘missing toe’ sensation(s) [digital agnosia]

Do you ever get an uncanny feeling that one of your toes is missing, despite the fact that they’re all there? You’re not alone. “To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first to document the [erroneous] experience of a ‘missing toe’ in healthy volunteers.” “Nineteen young adult participants underwent tactile stimulation […]

How to deal with large and small numbers

Big numbers can be intimidating. Some people are more comfortable talking, instead, about small numbers. Here’s an example. In this video, called “Commission Meeting Million Dollar error Sept-23-2009“, a woman identified as Mrs. Carter asks two questions. Here’s a partial transcript: MRS. CARTER: “There were two things that were brought up at the budget committee […]

Non-ignor ble mis ingn ss

Difficulties sometimes present themselves when statisticians are faced with the task of making accurate predictions from sets of data which have gaps – in the sense that some of the data are missing. The question then arises – are the missing data ignorable or non-ignorable? For a background on how the complexities of Bayesian mathematics […]

Anal probe: parsnips, pigs’ tails & lots more

In 1995, the Ig Nobel Prize in literature was awarded to two surgeons who painstakingly assembled a study called Rectal Foreign Bodies: Case Reports and a Comprehensive Review of the World’s Literature. Those case reports involve, among other items: seven light bulbs; a knife sharpener; two flashlights; a wire spring; a snuff box; an oil […]

Missing moon rocks

Check your pockets carefully—it’s possible that nearly half of our moon rocks are missing. According to Joe Gutheinz Jr., as quoted by the Las Vegas Sun, over 100 out of 270 fragments have gone missing. A retired dentist in Morgantown, West Virginia, has learned that his late brother’s effects include a moon rock. The Sun […]