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The Significance of Significance

A few years ago, I was at a medical conference when a presenter pulled a bit of academic magic: He showed us that the study he just finished wound up being just below the statistically significant threshold, but by making some reasonable adjustments--throwing out a patient or two for not fitting the exact study criteria upon further evaluation--he had, abracadabra!, a significant finding. The quantitative changes in his results were almost negligible, but the labeling difference was huge: The study now had all this new weight to it.

Quantifying well-being for measuring progress

As a statistician who taught international development in grad school, I am really interested in looking at different measures of economic development of nations.

Using Patent Activity to Find Emerging R&D Hotspots

London-based consultancy Innovaro, whose monthly Innovation Update newsletter is one of my favorite sources of critical insight, published an article yesterday on "Global Innovation Hot Spots".

The article argues that while there are many qualitative and quantitative indicators that point to various up-and-coming hubs of innovation, patenting activity is a "primary and hence critical source of underlying foresight that can help guide R&D location priorities".

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