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1 This Book's Organization: Read Me First! > 1.2 Prerequisites - Pg. 2

2 CH A P T E R 1: This Book's Organization: Read Me First! mythical being who has the previous training of a nuclear physicist and then decided to learn about Bayesian statistics. This book provides broad coverage and ease of access. Section 1.3 describes the contents in a bit more detail, but here are some highlights. This book cov- ers Bayesian analogues of all the traditional statistical tests that are presented in introductory statistics textbooks, including t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), regression, chi-square tests, and so on. This book also covers cru- cial issues for designing research, such as statistical power and methods for determining the sample size needed to achieve a desired research goal. And you don't need to already know statistics to read this book, which starts at the beginning, including introductory chapters about concepts of probability and an entire chapter devoted to Bayes' rule. The important concept of hierarchical modeling is introduced with unique simple examples, and the crucial methods of Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling are explained at length, starting with simple examples that, again, are unique to this book. Computer programs are thoroughly explained throughout the book and are listed in their entirety, so you can use and adapt them to your own needs. But wait, there's more. As you may have noticed from the beginning of this chapter, the chapters commence with a stanza of elegant and insightful verse composed by a famous poet. The quatrains 2 are formed of dactylic 3 tetrameter 4 or, colloquially speaking, "country waltz" meter. The poems regard concep- tual themes of the chapter via allusion from immortal human motifs often expressed by country western song lyrics, all in waltz timing. If you do not find them to be all that funny, if they leave you wanting back all of your money, well honey some waltzing's a small price to pay, for all the good learning you'll get if you stay. 1.2 PREREQUISITES There is no avoiding mathematics when doing statistics. On the other hand, this book is definitely not a mathematical statistics textbook in that it does not emphasize theorem proving, and any mathematical statistician would be totally bummed at the informality, dude. But I do expect that you are com- ing to this book with a dim knowledge of basic calculus. For example, if you 1 understand expressions like dx x = x 2 , you're probably good to go. Notice 2 2 quatrain [noun]: Four lines of verse. (Unless it's written "qua train," in which case it's a philosopher comparing something to a locomotive.) 3 dactylic [adj.]: A metrical foot in poetry comprising one stressed and two unstressed syllables. (Not to be confused with a pterodactyl, which was a flying dinosaur and which probably sounded nothing like a dactyl unless it fell from the sky and bounced twice: THUMP-bump-bump.) 4 tetrameter [noun]: A line of verse containing four metrical feet. (Not to be confused with a quadraped, which has four feet but is averse to lines.)