Bayesian analysis of Sundance movie reviews

26 January, 2006

Partly in honor of the stats course I’m due to begin this evening , I bring you something truly bitchin’. Does science not rock?

OK, stats is its own thing apart from science. I’m actually coming to develop a large respect for statisticians as a class of scholars, starting a year or two ago when I started working closely with some special packages in R to analyze my doctoral research data. From the perspective of a blind user of statistics, methods often seem rigid and proscribed, but when you get under the hood it’s a lively field and all bets are off.

It’s been coursetastic around NIH lately. Last Thursday, I was getting trained on some equipment and my PI asked me how it was going. Good thing I’m getting good instincts about him, because I knew it was significant that he’d ask only me and ask me something so trivial. Turns out a course in the kind of genetics we do was starting THAT VERY MOMENT on the other side of campus, and there were some last-minute spots he had already sent another fellow (male, clinical…ahem) to take advantage of.  I spent a day and a half getting some of the best training in my area I could hope for.

I developed an academic crush at this course. One of the lecturers was a young woman, dressed stylishly (in an absolute sense–black turtleneck, hose and boots and patterned skirt–but ESPECIALLY stylishly for science), frighteningly sharp, crystal-clear, and respected in her (male-dominated) field. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt much that her first name sounded like a common male name.) An academic crush: “wow. I wish I could be a PhD like her. Good job, good position in the field, and didn’t have to desexualize herself to do it!”

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