Trying to make sense of nonsense

Stata: it’s what the cool kids use

You might have it somewhere already, but in just a couple of weeks, the year of statistics will start. I expect there will be lots of posts on this sexy science, featuring references to bikinis, the exciting things they and statistics are supposed to hide, so you might as well get in on the action early. One thing we statistically-minded people all love, is our statistical software package. It’s a bit like browser preference, where you try to tell someone’s competence by the package or browser they use. SPSS is the internet explorer equivalent for instance, while Stata, R and SAS would be Firefox (add-ons and a new update every week), Chrome (free, but you can’t see what’s going on), and SAS (the fancy industry people use it most), respectively.


My favourite is Stata, and for a very simple reason: someone wrote a program to play hangman with it (and perhaps also a bit because of the Statasaur t-shirt pictures above). Unfortunately for us epidemiologists, Marek Hlavac (the creator of Stata hangman) is an economist, meaning that the words to be guessed are not very epidemiology or statistics-based. So I made an epi add-on.

Or rather, I started on one as I found out I don’t know that many famous statisticians (though Wikipedia helped) or epidemiologists. Moreover, there are scarcely any women I included: I was a bit hesitant about including anyone still alive (with some notable exceptions though), so I didn’t get much further than Florence Nightingale and Ada Lovelace (as there would be no Stata without computers). But as Ada Lovelace day is coming up next week (16th October everyone!), I thought this might be a nice time to try to find out about all the female epidemiologists and statisticians out there.

I haven’t added too many myself, as I didn’t just wanted to add anyone I know of: it might get to the point where names are just impossible to guess in the game. At the same time: it might just be the thing to do as you’d learn about lots of epi-women (maybe I’ll adapt the program to include a google command so you can find out about all these women immediately!)

To try out stata hangman, you can download the original do-file (which contains the programming for the game) and the .dta file (containing the words-to-guess) from this website.

As I don’t think I can upload .dta files on WordPress: here is an excel file of the epi-addon: hangman_epi_addon (.xlsx file)

To import it into stata and save it as a .dta file:

import excel "path_where_you_saved_it\hangman_epi_addon.xlsx", sheet("Sheet1") firstrow allstring clear
save "path_where_hangman_do-file_is_saved\hangman_epi_addon.dta", replace

But more importantly: who else  should be included on the list?

Edit: found the Wikipedia-epidemiologists list and added a lot more epi-women!


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