Streaking (at Home) for the Stanley Cup


Co-authored with Joakim Ryan

Who’s going to be hotter — the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Chicago Blackhawks?

Streakiness is one of the concepts — like clutchness, choking, and luck — that we often use to make sense of a multi-game series like the Stanley Cup Finals.

Does the evidence, though, support team-level momentum effects from one game to the next?

If there were such evidence, it would place a premium on starting strong in a series to take advantage of the cascading benefits.

On the other hand, maybe the whole idea has as much basis as the folktale that “the two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey.” The evidence on that question is that — even while there’s a logic to the idea that teams that are (slightly) behind will take better risks — the fact is that it’s most typically better to gain a two-goal lead since such teams do not disproportionately lose.

For streakiness in pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup, we looked at scores in the 203 NHL Finals contests that have been held since 1977 to see if winning a given game (Game X-1) helped predict the outcome of the subsequent game (Game X). To gain a fixed reference point, we calculated the score differential from the perspective of the team with Home Ice Advantage (for the series) and noted whether a specific game was played at home or away. If the Home-Advantage team won the first game of a series by, say, 3 goals, then – when looking at the outcome of the subsequent game (Game X), the value for “Game X-1” would be +3.

What we found is that (1) winning Game X-1 has no influence on winning the next one (Game X) and (2) winning Game X-1 by a large margin (e.g., running up the —> Read More

Women Scientists’ Academic-Hiring Advantage Is Unwelcome News for Some, Part 4

This is Part 4 of a five-part response to critics of our recent study showing STEM faculty prefer to hire women over identically-qualified men (link). In previous responses, we described the main findings (link), and addressed various claims by critics (link and link). In what follows we address remaining claims by critics, starting with the assertion that we neglected important analyses.

We failed to report analyses

Some bloggers suggested our statistical analyses were improper: “When they analyzed their results, they seemingly did not control for the rank of the faculty respondents, which is crucial because more men hold senior-level positions and have more hiring power” (link). With rare exceptions, throughout our analyses, neither the faculty member’s rank, experience on search committees, gender, or discipline interacted with the pro-woman preference. Senior faculty were just as pro-female as were junior faculty.

Some critics challenged our use of gendered adjectives (e.g., female adjectives such as creative, socially-skilled vs. male adjectives such as analytic, powerhouse) to disguise the purpose of the experiments. They argued these could be responsible for the pro-woman preference. But because these adjectives were counterbalanced across gender of applicants as well as across gender of faculty respondents, they could not account for the overall pro-woman preference. Multiple colleagues emailed us, asking if the candidates described with male adjectives were preferred (it was always assumed that male adjectives would be preferred), or whether a gender congruity effect was found. Surprisingly, everyone’s assumption about the superiority of male adjectives was the opposite of what we found. Female adjectives were strongly preferred over male adjectives (a strong main effect, with no interaction)–even when used to describe male applicants. And when female applicants were described with female adjectives, 80.4% of faculty preferred to hire them over —> Read More

Project Soli, Futuristic New Google Project, Would Let You Control Devices Without Touching Them

You can talk to them and wear them, but in a not-too-distant future, you may not even have to touch your devices.

A new endeavor from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects sector hopes to revolutionize how we interact with technology. Called Project Soli, the new venture introduced by the lab on Friday uses radar to detect hand movements and finger “micromotions” to control everything from the volume controls on a stereo to a device’s on-off switch, Business Insider reported.

The radar sensor is smaller than a fingernail, and can be embedded in virtually anything.

“The radar has properties which no other technology has,” Ivan Poupyrev, the founder of Project Soli, said in an introductory video. “It can work through materials, it can be embedded into objects, it allows us to track really precise motions, and what is most exciting about it is that you can shrink the entire radar and put it in a tiny chip.”

The new technology seeks to translate the complexity of the human hand into our technology, pushing things far past a simple swipe and applying the finesse of our actions to the virtual realm.

“We’re actually interpreting human intent,” Patrick Amihood, lead software engineer for the project, said in the clip.

Google did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment.

The Google lab said it would release the API for Soli to developers in the future to help further the technology, but didn’t announce a release date, Mashable reported.

Siri may have some competition.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

—> Read More

Science Columnist: If Your Adviser Is Looking Down Your Shirt, Just ‘Put Up With It’

What should a scientist do if she catches her adviser eyeing her cleavage? According to an article posted on Science magazine’s website, she should probably just “put up with it” for the sake of her career.

Come again?

The article, entitled “Help! My adviser won’t stop looking down my shirt,” appeared in the advice column “Ask Alice” on Monday morning.

Shortly thereafter, men and women across the Twitterverse voiced their opinions on the iffy advice (scroll down for a selection) — and the article was taken down.

(Story continues below tweets).

So #WomeninSTEM should just tolerate being ogled at because we *need* a male advisor to help us advance.

— Michelle (@Bailiuchan) June 1, 2015

You might think about and look a bit more frumpy. #CrapScienceCareersAdvice

— Kathleen Nicoll, PhD (@nika_desert) June 1, 2015

What is also ridiculous about that piece is that it implies science is SO SPECIAL you should be ok with enduring harassment. Because science

— Kate Clancy (@KateClancy) June 1, 2015

I think the problem with that “advice” piece is that it’s *not* unusual, either from @ScienceCareers or elsewhere.

— Matthew R. Francis (@DrMRFrancis) June 1, 2015

.@ScienceCareers column told a postdoc to “put up with” her leering advisor. @SarcasticRover‘s advice is better.

— Mindy Weisberger (@LaMinda) June 1, 2015

In the original article, which can be viewed here, a woman who identifies herself as “Bothered” asks:

Q: I’ve just joined a new lab for my second postdoc. It’s a good lab. I’m happy with my project. I think it could really lead to some good results. My adviser is a good scientist, and he seems like a nice guy. Here’s the —> Read More

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