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Subject: Fast rise, fast fall
Author: Cleveland Kent Evans   (Authenticated as clevelandkentevans)
Date: June 2, 2009 at 5:32:09 AM
I normally don't link to my column here, but thought it would be appropriate this time since I mention behindthename.com in it:

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=1219&u_sid=10644539

This week's column is based on some academic research that got some media play earlier in the month.

Like a lot of recent academic research on names, this was done by economists. I do sometimes wish the economists would stick to money matters and leave onomastics to the psychologists and sociologists. The guys who did this research did a lot of fancy statistical analysis to come up with a precise determination of how faster rising names also tend to fall faster. But then to get evidence for their theory that this is because parents avoid "fads", they use a questionnaire to expectant parents where they gathered their data from volunteers over Internet, with absolutely no discussion of how this makes it a nonrandom sample and so their results can't really be extrapolated to the entire population, as they try to do. These silly economists seem to believe that fancy statistical methods are more important than basic research design. Grumble, grumble. Too bad I didn't have room in the column to explain that better.

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