A touch of poetry

I’ve been doing a lot of work in Program MARK recently, a software program that enables you to calculate parameters like survival or detectability for animals that are marked and then re-encountered at a later time (I’m trying to see if we can use methods like these on some of the smaller mammals we sight in the camera trap photos). Sounds fun, right? A lot time spent staring at a screen full of numbers, manipulating a parameter here, adding a covariate there, trying to fit more and more appropriate models to the data. Anyhow, I was messing about trying to figure out how to incorporate age-structured temporal variability into my design matrix (don’t worry, I hardly know what all that means either) the other day when I stumbled across something quite delightful — someone has secreted away a small collection of poems about the angst of modeling in the program help files! Statisticians are people after all!

Musings at Midnight

Here I sit before the computer and MARK,
Hoping the circuitry in my brain would spark —
Neurons could fire, light bulbs would flash,
My brain running faster than the 50-yard dash.
And of the billions of models — one of each kind —
H-sub-phi-one-S-slash-t would be the model that I’d find.
Its bias was low, its precision was high,
And no other QAICc was nigh.

Well, back to work. I finish this rhyme,
Having made sure I covaried by writing by time.

Jennifer Ballard.

Biometricians
Vaguely scratching
Numbers wild
Never matching
Counting crows
Or eels electric
Distributions
Parametric?
Badly biased
Or vaguely valid
Significant
Cucumber Salad

Droege, S.

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