Fame: Is Becoming a Star Written in the Stars?


I sometimes joke that as an Aries I don’t believe in zodiac signs. But could there still be some pattern, e.g. in the sense that people born in spring are more prone to success than those born during the winter months?

In this post, we will provide a definitive answer with one of the most fascinating datasets I have ever encountered, so read on!
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Recidivism: Identifying the Most Important Predictors for Re-offending with OneR


In 2018 the renowned scientific journal science broke a story that researchers had re-engineered the commercial criminal risk assessment software COMPAS with a simple logistic regression (Science: The accuracy, fairness, and limits of predicting recidivism).

According to this article, COMPAS uses 137 features, the authors just used two. In this post, I will up the ante by showing you how to achieve similar results using just one simple rule based on only one feature which is found automatically in no-time by the OneR package, so read on!
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Cupid’s Arrow: How to Boost your Chances at Speed Dating!


During our little break, Valentine’s Day was celebrated. Yet for many, it was a depressing day because they are single and are looking for love.

Speed dating is a popular format (in times of Covid-19 also in virtual form) to meet many different potential soul mates in a short period of time. If you want to learn which factors determine “getting to the next round”, read on!
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How to be Successful! The Role of Risk-taking: A Simulation Study


When you ask successful people for their advice on how to become successful you will often hear that you have to take risks, often huge risks.

In this post we will examine whether this is good advice with a simple multi-agent simulation, so read on!
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How to Catch a Thief: Unmasking Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme with Benford’s Law

One of my starting points into quantitive finance was Bernie Madoff’s fund. Back then because Bernie was in desperate need of money to keep his Ponzi scheme running there existed several so-called feeder funds.

One of them happened to approach me to offer me a once in a lifetime investment opportunity. Or so it seemed. Now, there is this old saying that when something seems too good to be true it probably is. If you want to learn what Benford’s law is and how to apply it to uncover fraud, read on!
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COVID-19: Analyze Mobility Trends with R


The global lockdown has slowed down mobility considerably. This can be seen in the data produced by our ubiquitous mobile phones.

Apple is kind enough to make those anonymized and aggregated data available to the public. If you want to learn how to get a handle on those data and analyze trends with R read on!
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COVID-19 in the US: Back-of-the-Envelope Calculation of Actual Infections and Future Deaths


One of the biggest problems of the COVID-19 pandemic is that there are no reliable numbers of infections. This fact renders many model projections next to useless.

If you want to get to know a simple method how to roughly estimate the real number of infections and expected deaths in the US, read on!
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Collider Bias, or: Are Hot Babes Dim and Eggheads Ugly?


Correlation and its associated challenges don’t lose their fascination: most people know that correlation doesn’t imply causation, not many people know that the opposite is also true (see: Causation doesn’t imply Correlation either) and some know that correlation can just be random (so-called spurious correlation).

If you want to learn about a paradoxical effect nearly nobody is aware of, where correlation between two uncorrelated random variables is introduced just by sampling, read on!
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COVID-19: The Case of Germany

It is such a beautiful day outside, lot’s of sunshine, spring at last… and we are now basically all grounded and sitting here, waiting to get sick.

So, why not a post from the new epicentre of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Central Europe, more exactly where I live: Germany?! Indeed, if you want to find out what the numbers tell us how things might develop here, read on!
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