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» babble   » right brain babble   » humanities & science   » Statistically speaking, you should get a grip.

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Author Topic: Statistically speaking, you should get a grip.
clockwork
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 690

posted 03 June 2003 05:03 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
They know, for sure, that the odds of someone in Toronto dying of SARS -- so far -- are about one in 100,000; that you're more likely to be killed by a doctor making a mistake during an operation ("surgical misadventure," the statistical term, killed 1,838 Americans last year: 95 from botched catheterizations, another 95 when the good doctor left a foreign object in the body); that an American staying away from Toronto for fear of SARS is four times more likely to be shot dead by a gunman back home in the USA; that you could die from the West Nile virus, but you're more likely to fall out of a building; that you may die of mad cow, but you have a better lifetime chance of dying by dropping the hair dryer in the bath (one in 11,474), from scalding yourself to death with hot water (one in 69,745), from inhaling your own gastric contents (one in 8,530, ee-yew), from drowning in the bath even without the hair dryer (one in 11,116), from lightning (one in 55,578), or from accidentally strangling yourself in bed (one in 10,799). The lesson is: stay out of the bath.

Italics, mine... hahaha... I'm so full of gas right now I probably should release it.

The year of living statistically

quote:
Or remember the story of the Finnish twin brothers who both died a year ago in March in the tiny town of Raahe in separate bike accidents, miles apart on the same road, within two hours of one another? Did you feel the familiar frisson of destiny, the ooh wow that they must have been psychically connected? If so, you are by statistical standards a troglodyte. After the statisticians got through with them, the brothers were revealed to be elderly, and riding their bikes in a snowstorm on a busy highway. No wonder they died. But the accidents were random.

If I remember correctly, this news item was posted to babble.

quote:
As for second-hand smoke, his own analysis of the data has led him to believe that "passive smoking is very, very far down the list of things we should worry about."

I'm a smoker, gotta highlight that. I'm killing me, not you.

This is just funny:

quote:
Someone asks him what his sign is. "A stop sign," he says -- the kind of joke statisticians like. Everyone gives him a look, the anti-nerd look.

I add quote this because I never realized it was aplied to Moby-Dick:

quote:
A statistician is the sort of person who will study how religious cults analyze the word spacing in the Bible to determine God's secret message, and then repeat the experiment with Moby-Dick, just to prove how statistically unlikely conspiracies are.

From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2956

posted 03 June 2003 06:20 AM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
A statistician is the sort of person who will study how religious cults analyze the word spacing in the Bible to determine God's secret message, and then repeat the experiment with Moby-Dick, just to prove how statistically unlikely conspiracies are.

Well, not all of them. Only a certain percentage.


From: London | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 690

posted 03 June 2003 06:30 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hopefuly a statistically significant percentage, yes?
From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Dr. Mr. Ben
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3265

posted 03 June 2003 11:12 AM      Profile for Dr. Mr. Ben   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by clockwork:
from inhaling your own gastric contents (one in 8,530, ee-yew)
Well, the thing is that they can't actually tell whose vomit it was. You can't dust for vomit.

From: Mechaslovakia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
iworm
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2976

posted 03 June 2003 01:31 PM      Profile for iworm   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two statisticians go duck hunting. The first fires and missed exactly 2 metres above the flying duck. The second fires and misses exactly two metres below the duck.

The two statisticians then congratulate each other for having shot the duck.


(Okay, not that funny, but you try finding funny statistician jokes!)

[ 03 June 2003: Message edited by: iworm ]


From: Constantly moving | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3076

posted 03 June 2003 01:43 PM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by clockwork:
from inhaling your own gastric contents (one in 8,530, ee-yew)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mmmmmm, I feel like ham sandwich.......


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
paxamillion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2836

posted 03 June 2003 04:34 PM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Tommy Shanks:

Mmmmmm, I feel like ham sandwich.......

With what degree of confidence and margin of error?


From: the process of recovery | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 03 June 2003 05:24 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"People often use statistics much the same way that a drunk uses a lamp-pole, more for support than illumination" (Andrew Lang)

"There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics" (Benjamin Disraeli)

"Statistics show that of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive" (Wallace Irwin)


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3076

posted 03 June 2003 05:26 PM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"AT the end we all have the same life expectancy" (Dead Guy)
From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
iworm
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2976

posted 06 June 2003 01:04 PM      Profile for iworm   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"People often use statistics much the same way that a drunk uses a lamp-pole, more for support than illumination"

I like that. I'm going to use it. But I think it's most applicable to those who use statistics to make arguments, and not necessarily to the other areas where stats are pertinent.

There's a tendency among the supposed intelligentsia to dismiss statistics as propogandist tools, and often they are.

But I submit that this is a narrow and misleading view. When applied appropriately and rigorously, statistics are among the most important and unbiased implements in modern society's tool chest.

I draw particular attention to modern medicine, wherein every single innovation, therapy, intervention, development and policy is informed by reams of biostatistical analysis. In fact, there is constantly a global shortage of biostatisticians (for those of you looking for a lucrative career change.)

This is not to suggest that medicine, and similar fields, is not subject to bias in its interpretation of statistics, or that the statistics themselves are not based on assumptions which may or may not be true, but experience has shown that statistics is a reliable pillar upon which critical decision-making practices can depend.


From: Constantly moving | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
scrabble
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2883

posted 06 June 2003 05:36 PM      Profile for scrabble     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The average statistician is just plain mean.

"Lies, damn lies, and statistics!" Who was that? Twain or someone, wasn't it?


From: dappled shade in the forest | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 06 June 2003 05:56 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Twain said it, but he attributed it to Disraeli.

quote:
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

Edited to add:

Scholars of Disraeli, meanwhile, aren't sure if he said it.

quote:
Mark Twain also claims that Disraeli came up with the phrase "Lies, damned lies, and statistics", but it is unclear if this is actually one of that author's inventions (it was first popularized in Twain's autobiography, though attributed to Disraeli there); most who try to pin it down do award it to the prime minister.

[ 06 June 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged

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