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Distractions and amusements, with a sandwich and coffee.

Safe, fallen down this way, I want to be just what I am.
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Words are easy, like the wind;

Faithful friends are hard to find.

—William Shakespeare

These are maladies sampled from my list of about 883,500 English unwords.

Medical jargon has never been so opaque.

Don't feel like going to that party? It could be a conveniently timed attack of *ictophobia* or *myconomascophobia*.

beophobia

cgyphobia

deophobia

epophobia

etaphobia

kanphobia

miophobia

beexphobia

bemophobia

cemophobia

cetophobia

dalophobia

degephobia

eccophobia

eedophobia

ficaphobia

galophobia

ganyphobia

helophobia

hilophobia

ictophobia

illyphobia

kelophobia

manophobia

menophobia

oxiophobia

perophobia

pisophobia

tegophobia

tenophobia

alonophobia

beonyphobia

beprephobia

caanophobia

cachophobia

deginphobia

deinephobia

ecquephobia

egycaphobia

geceophobia

geneophobia

inymophobia

iponephobia

kennophobia

lleiophobia

mactophobia

maenephobia

oeriophobia

optigphobia

paliophobia

parrophobia

reglophobia

scavophobia

starophobia

taloaphobia

teonaphobia

begatophobia

birroophobia

cabolophobia

canchophobia

dachoiphobia

debriophobia

elimiaphobia

enconophobia

fansoaphobia

fatenophobia

gedicophobia

gercomphobia

heralephobia

hyscrophobia

inchrophobia

ingonophobia

konetophobia

lamphophobia

lepinophobia

menoxiphobia

mezalophobia

neponophobia

oppetophobia

parkiophobia

preotaphobia

saconophobia

temphophobia

tilophphobia

uemanaphobia

vobitophobia

acteliophobia

becrosophobia

benoprophobia

cembaniphobia

chegenophobia

dambotophobia

denyarophobia

ecenytophobia

eerichophobia

fatenylphobia

galarsophobia

gannotophobia

hotoidophobia

iconopephobia

inbictophobia

kentylophobia

mallygophobia

manismyphobia

nonditophobia

oophalaphobia

ototarophobia

peltosaphobia

penconophobia

rechapophobia

rechorophobia

stimotophobia

stomosophobia

testanophobia

thidotophobia

vertulophobia

antionsyphobia

cenctopaphobia

cheinonophobia

dempabiophobia

denolaryphobia

ecenytrophobia

edalycrophobia

gebrocomphobia

geoparyophobia

heegoscophobia

hindancophobia

ichicotyphobia

ideuschophobia

maromaniphobia

myolegrophobia

octonenophobia

onechotophobia

persectophobia

phetholyphobia

And here are some very long fears. I'm sure that one of these is the fear of long fears.

Those thoughts you're having might not be yours. It could be *talmatomania*.

gomania

namania

diomania

dipmania

fermania

giomania

maomania

peomania

thomania

agnymania

benamania

brepmania

calemania

capumania

dipamania

disomania

egzomania

expomania

facomania

galamania

gamemania

hytomania

iglimania

ihyomania

ledimania

macemania

mallmania

najumania

pedamania

poelmania

susimania

tegomania

tigymania

uztimania

vicimania

ampiamania

besmomania

ceedomania

centomania

deglimania

deykomania

eodaimania

fathemania

fertomania

galarmania

geolemania

inasamania

inorimania

leliomania

maaromania

mariomania

nedramania

nodiomania

plolomania

precamania

sereimania

tachymania

tattomania

viliomania

antisumania

beedromania

beranimania

cemchomania

chetiomania

degonomania

demitemania

endonomania

eyleromania

flodiomania

gastdomania

gelyzymania

ingatomania

lamphomania

lamphymania

malatomania

maracamania

opostomania

perciomania

prathomania

teouromania

tieanomania

anchonomania

cirminomania

conchromania

degotrsmania

demminomania

encoctomania

eyotoxomania

gremgormania

mardisimania

mibeliomania

nenadiomania

parmulamania

pestriomania

talmatomania

thyminomania

wirgilamania

berandromania

caconylymania

calebitomania

deborphomania

icepatromania

inferonomania

megazidomania

pecatisomania

peribacomania

seergenamania

stentosomania

I'm not sure what's going on, but it might be an acute attack of *ophalosis* or that chronic *icabulosis* you've been struggling with.

gosis

iosis

mosis

buosis

byosis

ciosis

coosis

diosis

ecosis

egosis

feosis

geosis

idosis

irosis

keosis

meosis

moosis

pathyc

pathym

taosis

tiosis

algiate

bedosis

beeosis

calgias

cavosis

dehosis

didosis

edosist

eemosis

facosis

ferosis

galosis

gasosis

hedosis

hemosis

ichosis

idaosis

madosis

magosis

odiosis

odlosis

panosis

pecosis

roposis

saxosis

tacosis

talosis

vinosis

vorosis

ademosis

bemposis

benosise

cactosis

caliosis

deagosis

demiosis

ecosises

egglosis

fattosis

fedlosis

gareosis

gariosis

harrosis

helposis

icerosis

ichnosis

leliosis

macosism

mactosis

nefkosis

neocosis

obbiosis

ocirosis

pathybic

pathymia

rechosis

tachosis

tendosis

acyclosis

balolosis

befalgian

cacacosis

cafulosis

danknosis

decarosis

echenosis

econeosis

falgnosis

fanulosis

gabarosis

galoxosis

heepathyl

hegriosis

icemosism

ichapathy

kelutosis

kenatosis

lamomosis

lebytosis

mabacosis

macalosis

nenylosis

nercrosis

odiosises

olohosism

panosises

partosism

quoetosis

regoosism

rhagnosis

saconosis

saumalgia

tacopathy

talthosis

undylosis

vhilalgia

vhinnosis

aceutiosis

bariakosis

becrotosis

cabesmosis

cachinosis

daiocrosis

daiphyosis

ecraniosis

eeminalgia

falogiosis

fedophosis

gaggonosis

gamancosis

heltonosis

heniflosis

icabulosis

icayulosis

kasphosise

kemoptosis

lephanosis

maccolosis

macosistic

namancosis

neocosises

oditopathy

omosinosis

palanrosis

panhidosis

rechoposis

rechosises

segiphosis

setactosis

tahradosis

taronosism

unodylosis

vhitatosis

vhoripathy

actypyrosis

ballfrosise

becosistate

cacymalosis

caliphiosis

dalmatosise

dalomicosis

econeosises

ecrpharosis

facunolosis

fadiettosis

gacochrosis

gadersiosis

heleignosis

helipolosis

ibbiognosis

ichabolosis

jabimarosis

kedamirosis

kelodialgia

lelidalosis

macolobosis

macomycosis

nacocynosis

nectianosis

octoperosis

octorsposis

palevomosis

palygulosis

recocolosis

reglogyosis

sabrichosis

saconosises

teclagnosis

tellodrosis

untochosise

vurocylosis

achythoposis

bakiomatosis

bedolignosis

cabolophosis

caconoacosis

dansepicosis

dantachrosis

ecchonylosis

ecctometosis

fansoaphosis

fentivorosis

gaelopyrosis

ganactomosis

hecthlinosis

hedophonosis

icaneoptosis

icepleitosis

karocalcosis

keloecatosis

lelemosisine

lelephotosis

macophagosis

maerozooosis

naniquinosis

nescroblosis

octorschosis

olethydrosis

pastiosising

pastiosismes

rechopatosis

rechopyrosis

segamethosis

seprorinosis

taronosismic

tedophirosis

venotormosis

vicypartosis

abrophyclosis

bailligirosis

beetheritosis

caccoparcosis

caconylycosis

decantophosis

decretharosis

ecccombulosis

ecyphenolosis

fansoecosises

feritoverosis

gaoduroniosis

gecivericosis

helatosteosis

heneotermosis

icenaronrosis

icernicycosis

kaumebedrosis

kelumbeenosis

lamphymbiosis

lelemosiseous

maelmicolosis

mafectermosis

neodylemnosis

noriotyphosis

octonepidosis

oepetymstosis

paccurognosis

paliascilosis

rerexomatosis

rimipathylene

stammomycosis

stolosibeosis

tadiotennosis

talhagunnosis

uneloplerosis

unmedunulosis

vhoriolecosis

vyrteobulosis

xlocrodynosis

accorbotolosis

bacocentamosis

becrotenicosis

caliphogniosis

calmicocenosis

danduocardosis

dantachromosis

ectinoliphosis

eggenopertosis

fematosishalle

fenhhaocamosis

galettonemosis

gaslogastrosis

hendimorphosis

henoptermeosis

icliotoidlosis

iddomethemosis

karapiapulosis

kichymarenosis

maccombuscosis

macophomacosis

nercrodidiosis

nondexicalosis

omestospidosis

ooracholosises

pacolimidrosis

pastinooctosis

qansinquirosis

rechanucenosis

saxinifactosis

secrotopolosis

tachomorphosis

tanadavicuosis

vericatorrosis

vhioductylosis

Most of these are natural conditions associated with aging. I know *mediatopathy* definitely is and it always makes my *bellotalgia* flare up.

dymalgia

gelalgia

mydalgia

myzalgia

tinalgia

coomalgia

cyonalgia

diptalgia

drycalgia

egyralgia

enaralgia

inoralgia

irivalgia

mochalgia

myolalgia

saumalgia

sempalgia

vhilalgia

camoxalgia

ceavoalgia

detotalgia

dogosalgia

eeminalgia

goemoalgia

hotodalgia

ictetalgia

opennalgia

paniyalgia

pumonalgia

bontaralgia

cicroyalgia

cinodyalgia

digratalgia

diodymalgia

eppersalgia

kelodialgia

progetalgia

pyrponalgia

surianalgia

ceminonalgia

chempemalgia

degoestalgia

dehyzydalgia

fidetisalgia

genaroyalgia

geolaycalgia

manchomalgia

oorcastalgia

conomethalgia

coronydralgia

doiocystalgia

epalanthalgia

keneopatalgia

manciscialgia

merycromalgia

olettrosalgia

oxosinchalgia

phiorhicalgia

proodustalgia

mipathy

pupathy

deopathy

geopathy

oxypathy

penpathy

betopathy

bilypathy

cypopathy

detopathy

dipapathy

endopathy

finypathy

henopathy

ichapathy

inrepathy

manopathy

melopathy

notopathy

orcopathy

oviopathy

phiopathy

prempathy

tacopathy

tebopathy

aderipathy

biplopathy

cecropathy

cectopathy

deptopathy

deylopathy

egenopathy

eodyopathy

geneopathy

geolopathy

illyopathy

maliopathy

meddopathy

oditopathy

perropathy

phelopathy

teadopathy

vhoripathy

conchopathy

delphopathy

demylopathy

euchlopathy

helloopathy

omperopathy

phogiopathy

tyoptopathy

cepigropathy

comyslopathy

ditheropathy

enceptopathy

mediatopathy

mompulopathy

orchypopathy

perrctopathy

prophropathy

chillitypathy

driboatopathy

miteligipathy

My cover design for Hola Mundo by Hannah Fry. Published by Blackie Books.

Curious how the design was created? Read the full details.

*You can look back there to explain things,
but the explanation disappears.
You'll never find it there.
Things are not explained by the past.
They're explained by what happens now.
—Alan Watts*

A Markov chain is a probabilistic model that is used to model how a system changes over time as a series of transitions between states. Each transition is assigned a probability that defines the chance of the system changing from one state to another.

Together with the states, these transitions probabilities define a stochastic model with the Markov property: transition probabilities only depend on the current state—the future is independent of the past if the present is known.

Once the transition probabilities are defined in matrix form, it is easy to predict the distribution of future states of the system. We cover concepts of aperiodicity, irreducibility, limiting and stationary distributions and absorption.

This column is the first part of a series and pairs particularly well with Alan Watts and Blond:ish.

Grewal, J., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Markov Chains. *Nature Methods* **16**:663–664.

*Places to go and nobody to see.*

Exquisitely detailed maps of places on the Moon, comets and asteroids in the Solar System and stars, deep-sky objects and exoplanets in the northern and southern sky. All maps are zoomable.

Quantile regression explores the effect of one or more predictors on quantiles of the response. It can answer questions such as "What is the weight of 90% of individuals of a given height?"

Unlike in traditional mean regression methods, no assumptions about the distribution of the response are required, which makes it practical, robust and amenable to skewed distributions.

Quantile regression is also very useful when extremes are interesting or when the response variance varies with the predictors.

Das, K., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Quantile regression. *Nature Methods* **16**:451–452.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2015) Points of significance: Simple linear regression. *Nature Methods* **12**:999–1000.

Outliers can degrade the fit of linear regression models when the estimation is performed using the ordinary least squares. The impact of outliers can be mitigated with methods that provide robust inference and greater reliability in the presence of anomalous values.

We discuss MM-estimation and show how it can be used to keep your fitting sane and reliable.

Greco, L., Luta, G., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Analyzing outliers: Robust methods to the rescue. *Nature Methods* **16**:275–276.

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2016) Points of significance: Analyzing outliers: Influential or nuisance. Nature Methods 13:281–282.

Two-level factorial experiments, in which all combinations of multiple factor levels are used, efficiently estimate factor effects and detect interactions—desirable statistical qualities that can provide deep insight into a system.

They offer two benefits over the widely used one-factor-at-a-time (OFAT) experiments: efficiency and ability to detect interactions.

Since the number of factor combinations can quickly increase, one approach is to model only some of the factorial effects using empirically-validated assumptions of effect sparsity and effect hierarchy. Effect sparsity tells us that in factorial experiments most of the factorial terms are likely to be unimportant. Effect hierarchy tells us that low-order terms (e.g. main effects) tend to be larger than higher-order terms (e.g. two-factor or three-factor interactions).

Smucker, B., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2019) Points of significance: Two-level factorial experiments *Nature Methods* **16**:211–212.

Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Designing comparative experiments.. Nature Methods 11:597–598.