Bill Gardner

Kimberly Morgan

Cosma Shalizi

Selecting Future Moms

by Kieran Healy on September 21, 2005

David Goldenberg at “Gelf Magazine”: has a copy of “the survey”: that Louise Story conducted as the basis for her “irritating”: “article”: about Ivy League women and their plans for motherhood. Doing a reliable survey is hard, and by far the two biggest difficulties are sample selectivity (when the probability of participation is related to the outcome you want to measure: this a very tricky problem) and poor design of questions (where you look for what you want to find). Here are the first few questions from the survey, which was emailed to a group of freshman and senior women at Yale:

When you have children, do you plan to stay at home with them or do you plan to continue working? Why?

If you plan to continue working, do you plan to work full-time in an office, or full-time from your house, or part-time in an office, or part-time from your house? Why?

If you plan to stay at home with your kids, do you plan to return to work? If so, how old will you wait for your kids to be when you return?

Was your mom a stay-at-home mom? Explain whether she worked, and how much she worked! Were you glad with her choice (to either work or stay-at-home or whatever combination she did)?

At what age do you think you’ll have kids? How many kids do you want?

More commentary “at Gelf”:

Denial …

by Daniel on September 21, 2005

If something can get worse it will
Is a phrase I’ve often sardonically used
But here’s some grist for Mr Murphy’s mill
I used to be disgusted
Now I’m just amused

Pretty much sums up the way I feel about the Lancet/Iraq debate these days. To be honest all the work has been done; all the big mistakes have been made and corrected, the conspiracy theories have been more or less put to bed and there are really very few people left who believe either a) that things didn’t get worse in Iraq as a result of the invasion or b) that they only got a little bit worse. All that really remains for me to do is to keep on using the term “Kaplan’s Fallacy” to describe the practice of using the mere fact of uncertainty about an estimate to draw conclusions about the direction of the estimation error, in the hope that the bloody dreadful article Fred Kaplan wrote about the Lancet study will stick to him for the rest of his career. But apparently there are still some people out there with a little bit of credibility intact (no really) who think that they can still get away with this one.

Update: Have a look at this from Simon Jenkins in the Guardian. I think it’s quite extraordinary in that a) each of the individual sentences is simply a bald statement of fact and b) the cumulative effect of the whole lot of them is really much more damning than anything George Galloway has come up with.
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