Famous statistician quotes

I found very interesting post in Cross Validated website: Famous statistician quotes. I really liked some of them.

  • All models are wrong, but some are useful. George E. P. Box
  • Statisticians, like artists, have the bad habit of falling in love with their models. George E. P. Box
  • In God we trust. All others must bring data. W. Edwards Deming
  • Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary a qualification for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write. H.G. Wells
  • A big computer, a complex algorithm and a long time does not equal science. Robert Gentleman
  • All generalizations are false, including this one. Mark Twain
  • If you torture the data enough, nature will always confess. Ronald Coase
  • He uses statistics like a drunken man uses a lamp post, more for support than illumination. Andrew Lang
  • Everybody believes in the exponential law of errors [i.e., the Normal distribution]: the experimenters, because they think it can be proved by mathematics; and the mathematicians, because they believe it has been established by observation. Whittaker, E. T. and Robinson, G. "Normal Frequency Distribution."
  • I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians. And I'm not kidding. Hal Varian
  • It is easy to lie with statistics. It is hard to tell the truth without statistics. Andrejs Dunkels
  • My thesis is simply this: probability does not exist. Bruno de Finetti
  • We are drowning in information and starving for knowledge. Rutherford D. Roger
  • The Earth is round. p < .05. Jacob Cohen
  • When I see articles with lots of significance tests, I say that the statisticians are p-ing on the research. Herman Friedmann
  • Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything. Gregg Easterbrook
  • With three constants, I can fit a dog. With four, I can make it bark. William Reifsnyder
  • The best time to plan an experiment is after you've done it. R.A. Fisher

And the best one I love and used as epigraph for my PhD thesis: "He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may be cast." by Leonardo da Vinci


Coursera: the revolution in education

I am really like the idea of open education. Currently massive online open courses (MOOC) are on the absolutely new level with initiatives such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, Class2Go, and Khan Academy also of course. Coursera stand out from that list, because of huge spectra of courses from Social Psychology, Quantum Computing to System Biology offered by major Universities of the World.

I just finished Drugs and the Brain class from Coursera by Henry A. Lester. This course is amazing because it combines all of the aspect of the neurological drug action from molecular target to neurons to neuronal circuits to regions of the brain and behavior in final. Of course I can read the book, or articles, that I already did, but I personally find attractive to listen and to see well-known professors. Maybe fill myself a student a little bit.

I took other coursers from Coursera and can say I am really impressed. One of the key aspect for me, as a native Russian speaking scientist, is - studying some of the subjects in English. I consider myself as advanced English "user", but sometimes it's hard for me to discuss material in depth because of limited scientific vocabulary. Just an example: I studied mathematics at school and university, even Latin nature of most of the words used - don't help, some of terms are unique to Russian language.  The same for other sciences. So, these courses help me to improve English as a foreign language.

There are definitely other pros: most of the courses taught by well-known professor from leading Universities; interactive way of studying: there are tests, code submission, forums to discuss questions and additional material, etc - help to acquire new information.

Humanity currently on the new level of information processing. We are collecting data in a geometric progression, and we urgently need effective ways to analyze it. In my opinion MOOC is one step to give education for more people and to be more effective in data analysis in the near future.