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Abuse of Statistics

01/15/2009 3:38 AM

I came across this the other day, discussing how well a top sportsman (archer) would perform with beginners' kit.
He scores 98 out of 100 with his best kit and then 90 out of 100 with the 'beginner' kit. That's 500% worse! Was the conclusion .(dropped 2 points with good kit, but 10 with bad, 10 is 5 times more than 2!)

It took a huge argument discussion to show the daftness of the working.
It's woolly thinking like this that lets a gullible public be conned by spurious advertising and semi-literate sportsmen saying ' Yeh, well I give it 110% din't I '
Seen any good abuse of stats lately?

Del

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#1

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 5:57 AM

As usual, the Marketing wonks rely on the people's lack of understanding. There are lies, damn lies, statistics, and then, the worst of all, MARKETING! The biggest marketing lie of all is the one when you are told that eyeballs = sales. The more people see your company name, product, logo, whatever, the more you will sell. Utter rubbish. Think back to your favourite TV ad. Come on, everyone has one….mine was the Finger of fudge ad with the kid playing conkers with his mates, closely followed by the 'Wazzuuupp' Lager add. Did the adds make me go out and by any of these products? No, in fact I can't even remember what the lager was! Adds are entertainment. End of story.

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#2
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Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 6:18 AM

I'm with you 110%
Del

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 6:29 AM

Churchill was quoted to have said "An empty limousine parked yesterday in Downing Street, and out of it came Bevin"

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#21
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Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 2:10 AM

Actually Churchill said that about his successor Clement Attlee whom he also called 'A sheep in sheep's clothing'.

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#59
In reply to #2

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 1:20 PM

Give me a statistic long enough, and a place to stand, and I will move the Earth!

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#62
In reply to #59

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 3:05 PM

Moving something the size of the Earth? Uncomfortable enough even when squatting.

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 6:53 AM

Baaad Kitty

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#5

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 8:58 AM

Abuse of statistics in medical news is more common than you might think. The only way to have a clear perspective on the headlines and media bytes is to look at the study itself, and that is not always so readily available.

Here's a good example, where the stats are coherently reviewed online for the benefit of doctors at http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/MultipleSclerosis/8341 The study was published in a peer reviewed journal, so that in itself is no assurance of legitimate statistical methods.

Many of the media bytes stated that marijuana caused cognitive impairment in MS, on the basis of this study. The review shows that the headline was based on an assessment of ten of 140 patients who self-reported mj use ("at least once in the previous month". They were never tested for cognitive function when they were actually using mj. (MS itself causes cognitive impairment). The ten were 'matched' with four self-reported non-users each, in order to bump the numbers up to 40 for statistical purposes, avoiding the crappy confidence intervals of the student variable.

Oh, and, note the conflict of interest of the researchers, disclosed at the bottom.

Since the number of the 140 MS patients who admitted to ever smoking mj is well below the statistics reported for the general population (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/040721/dq040721a-eng.htm), the study may as well have concluded that the ten who self-reported mj use to a psychiatrist, did so because they were more cognitively impaired by MS than the patients who (statistically speaking) may have decided to lie about it in this context... and who may even have been included in the sample of 'matched' 'non-users'...

Or does it show statistically that people who have never tried mj are more likely to get MS??? heavens...we're talking at least 10% greater risk according to what is shown in this study... why aren't they screaming this warning to the public.....

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 9:05 AM

Talking of small samole size...I once was in a meeting and reported a single instance of something...a marketing man jumped on it and asked if this was a trend!

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 12:27 PM

There was a Parliamentary quote a few years back, somewhere along the lines of, "The rate of increase of inflation is increasing" (Stan is going to sue your **** !)

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#23
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Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 2:16 AM

And they say that there was a statistician who drowned in a lake with an average depth of 2 inches.

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#35
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Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 7:18 AM

He must have fallen on a few others.

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#52
In reply to #35

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 11:21 AM

Different lakes, different units of length, 1:5 ratio of drowning promeness....

Actually I haven't seen Europiums post before I so rashly posted my version.

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#63
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Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 3:09 PM

I've done the same 100's of times. No, not drowned statisticians !

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#74
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Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 3:48 PM

Perhaps drowning statisticians (immoral ones of course) is more moral than shooting big game?

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#13
In reply to #5

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 3:29 PM

Mark of youth - by Meir Shalev (translated from Hebrew)

- - - -

In a research published last week, the author, Dr. Vicks of the Royal Edinborough Hospital claims that couples having sex twice a week look younger. Before we all get hopeful and gay, it just might be worth mentioning, that it's perfectly plausible, that the researcher confused cause with effect.

It's not that having sex twice a week will allow you to look younger, it's more like that looking younger may allow you to have sex twice a week.

To explain this a bit further, let us make a few more claims, similar in nature, such as "A new research claims that posing for fashion advertisements twice a week, can give women longer legs" or "Playing basketball for at least twice a week, will give men darker skin tone, thicker lips and nappy hair"

On the other hand one must admit that our researcher sampled a fairly large population so that the findings cannot be exempt so easily, and a deeper reflection is due.

As it appears, Dr. Vicks of the Royal Edinborough Hospital sampled 3500 subjects, in ages between twenty and hundred, and found that having sex for at least twice a week made them appear 14 years younger, to be exact.

It wouldn't take complicated calculations to understand that the 100 years old subjects appeared as only 86 years old, and on the other hand the 20 years old subjects appeared as only 6 years old. Now, passing a kindergarten one may wonder who are these playing in the sand box ? Are they just ordinary toddlers, or some sexually active university students ?

And that's not all: If 20 years old having sex twice a week look 14 years younger, what happens to 20 years old having sex four times a week ? You have to admit: it's not out of the realm of possible.

These unfortunate people may appear to be minus-8 years old, which may seriously reduce their prospects to have any sex whatsoever, and furthermore radically age them beyond hope.

Having done this research to conclude that the secret to rejuvenation is frequent fornication, Dr. Vicks establishes that "These sexual encounters should not be with anyone available, but only with someone we really love". - For that we are eternally grateful, because having sex with any one available could worn-out any one to the point of exhaustion, not to mention occasional occurrences of utter disgust, and let's not mention names, please.

Not only that: Dr. Vicks found that having sex twice a week is equivalent to a 5 kilometer walk, and I wonder: Is this why so many men prefer to keep their shoes on while having sex ?

All this says something very simple: If your honey lives on the other side of town, and you take a walk to visit her, you no longer have to have sex: you can sit and talk, play monopoly and look younger. If on the other hand, you took a cab and you did have sex, keep the sex-receipt, because it will account as if you did walk the distance, and you are entitled for a refund on the cab-fair.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 5:37 PM

PMSL... a sex receipt... is it tax deductable?

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 5:48 PM

You know what ? I was wondering just about that, looked up, and:

Go figure

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#16
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Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 5:51 PM

Hey, that's really given me a much needed laugh today.
Cheers..
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#17
In reply to #13

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/15/2009 8:27 PM

Brilliant !!

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#54
In reply to #13

Re: Abuse of Statistics.

01/16/2009 11:43 AM

Hey, let's not knock any justification for frequent sex...

"Not tonight, Honey, I have a headache!" "But, dear, statistically speaking, if we don't have sex tonight, you will have a new wrinkle in your face in the morning, and think of how much a new facelift is going to set us back!" "OK, but you have to buy me a new fur coat with the money we save from not needing a new facelift"...

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#7

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/15/2009 9:15 AM

62% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Of these 48% can somehow be made to seem accurate. With enough fudging and rearranging of statistics, 100% can be made believable to the public.

This is a perfect example, as I have no idea what I just said!

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#8

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/15/2009 12:24 PM

What about weather forecasts? What exactly is a 50% chance of rain? I know what a 50% chance of "heads" or "tails" on a coin flip is but rain.......

Another obvious example is mostly any sports statistic. Pure rubbish.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/15/2009 12:32 PM

LOL - you've been watching the Pessimist Channel !

In the UK, cold weather is reported in Centigrade, and hot weather in Fahrenheit. It gives us more 'wow' factor on our favourite topic.

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#22
In reply to #8

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 2:12 AM

Are, I know this one! 50% chance of anything means; 'I don't know'. Easy.

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#29
In reply to #8

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 6:25 AM

50% chance of rain can have very clear meaning:

Non-statistical: 50% of the area covered by this forecast will experience rain.

Statistical: if you were to hear this forecast an infinite number of times, the average occurrence of rain over the area covered by the forecast would be 50%. (So, a mix of uncertainty and local variability - if you ask pay for a forecast for a particular location they can often do a lot better than that)

If the forecast comes from the MET office (or one of its commercial offshoots), I would normally assume that the originator had reasonable understanding* of statistics and was using the terms properly - and also relying on people learning from their experience of what happens following similar forecasts (if only my memory were good enough...).

Of course you could satisfy the second criterion by always forecasting that the probability of rain was equal to the average for the time of year; and even that could be of some use. But actual weather forecasts are appreciably better than that - albeit living where I do I can reduce any probability given for rain by about 40% (of the given value)

*= what you do with an umbrella during a rainstorm

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#32
In reply to #29

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 7:00 AM

Ah but if you look at the flux of raindrops in the air per unit volume at any one time, as a percentage density compared with the water flux density in your bath, then on a tme averaged distribu...oh I can't keep this drivel up .

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#33
In reply to #29

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 7:02 AM

50% chance of rain can have very clear meaning

Not for me.......It could be planar sheets of water falling over the whole area, with nicely timed intervals between them. It might seem inapt for me to say it, but I prefer to think of cold air sinks, rather then the popular 'hot air rises' stuff.

I'm too lazy to retype this oldie, but you'll know it I'm sure.....

An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician were holidaying in Scotland.
Glancing from a train window, they observed a black sheep in the middle of a
field."How interesting," observed the astronomer, "all Scottish sheep are black!"To which the physicist responded, "No, no! Some Scottish sheep are black!"The mathematician gazed heavenward in supplication, and then intoned,
"In Scotland there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep,
at least one side of which is black
."

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#40
In reply to #33

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:23 AM

No, that's rain falling 50% of the time - and if you make your sampling area small enough, that's not true even in a heavy rainstrom. The forecast usually covers the day ahead - so a 50% chance of rain is meant to be the chance of it falling at some time (which is why forecasters usually qualify their statements). Of course, it might just be that showers in MK last longer than elsewhere...

Now, which of those three do you think applies?

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#64
In reply to #40

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:12 PM

I didn't see Sophysicist in there ?

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#69
In reply to #64

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:28 PM

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#42
In reply to #8

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:37 AM

"What exactly is a 50% chance of rain?"

It is the 100% probability that only 1 out of every 2 raindrops will fall. The rest merely hover.

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#47
In reply to #42

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 9:12 AM

"only?" If we count droplets that are potential rain, the probability is much smaller than that. If we only count those that fall...

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#53
In reply to #42

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 11:33 AM

To be temporarily and apologetically serious:

It is very difficult to find estimates of spatial and temporal probability density functions of rain volumes. Especially so for small (1-5 meter, 1-10 second) scales.

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#75
In reply to #42

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 4:03 PM

Actually, there's a 50% chance of rain tomorrow 100% of the time - either it will or it won't!

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#78
In reply to #75

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 4:56 PM

That is, there's a 100% chance of a chance (of rain) which itself can assume values between 0% through 100%? Sort of like Probability's version of a second derivative?

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#11

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/15/2009 12:38 PM

You can find some slightly topical stuff here, Del.

eg;

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/15/2009 2:52 PM

Yeah, just try reading a map or newspaper on the floor.
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#18
In reply to #12

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/15/2009 8:30 PM

Or even worse, try gift-wrapping a cat . You'ld never see the graph amidst the blood spattered walls.

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#19

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 12:54 AM

The thing that worries me about the use of statistics and statements like;

  • There are lies, dam lies and then there are statistics!

is that it lumps the correct and proper use of statistics in whit the improper and irrational fudged number pseudo-statistics.

Statistical analysis is a phenomenally powerful tool and when used properly can be applied to just about any field of science and engineering. Here are a couple of examples:

  • 1854 Broad St Cholera Outbreak: In itself the fact that there was an outbreak of cholera in London in 1854 isn't important. What is important is the way John Snow used statistical analysis to trace the cause of the outbreak without understanding the specifics of how the disease infected people or for that matter functioned. Without going into too much detail he plotted the location of each of the infected peoples homes on a map. When he then calculated the geographic centre he found that it corresponded with a water well. He couldn't convince people that the well had something to do with the infection so he surreptitiously removed the pump handle from the well in order to prevent the use of it. As he predicted and to the astonishment of the naysayer the infections ceased. Later examination revealed that a broken sewer pipe was allowing raw sewerage to contaminate the water table. However, this is the first documented case of what has now become the science of epidemiology and earned John Snow the title of the father of the science.
  • Passive Smoking Note 1: A double blind study took two groups of 300 non‑smokers that lived in non‑smoking households and tested their response to the allergen ragweed pollen. The test group was then exposed to the smoke from a single cigarette while the control group was exposed to a placebo. The response both groups had to ragweed pollen was then tested again several times over the coming two weeks after which time the subjects were re-exposed to the passive smoke. The results showed that within 24 hours of being exposed to the passive smoke the test groups response to the ragweed pollen increased by a factor of 15 times over the control group. Subsequent tests showed that the test groups response to the ragweed pollen dropped off but even after two weeks was still some 4 times more sensitive than the control group. The subsequent exposures to passive smoke gave a repeated 15 fold increase that tapered off to the same level of the control group over a period of several weeks.

Which brings me to my point. These are just two examples of how the proper use of statistical analysis was used properly to analyse a given phenomena and establish a link without understanding the science behind that link. Yes, you have to be careful about the conclusions you draw from such links but that doesn't negate the fact that there is a link. Such analysis also enables researchers to narrow the field and dramatically reduce the work and time involved in developing an understanding of the science behind such links.

It would not only be a shame but greatly detrimental to science and society as a whole if we were to ignore such scientifically valid use of statistics. Just because some dipstick politician or advertising git, uses their lack of scientific understanding to pull ludicrous numbers from nowhere and claim that it statistically shows diddely squat doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the science of statistical analysis.

Note 1: My apologies for not posting a link as I have somehow lost the original information. If I do locate the original article I will post a link to it in this thread. I am also utilizing my memory of the report to supply the figures so they may not be exact but as far as I know close to those in the original report.

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#30
In reply to #19

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 6:49 AM

The passive smoking report shows a link between passive smoking and sensitivity to ragweed pollen. Syringing your ears makes you, statistically, more sensitive to sound. If you send someone with freshly syringed ears into a noisy environment he will suffer more hearing loss than someone whose ears have the natural protection of earwax.

This shows that statistically syringing ears is damaging.

If I had asked my volunteers to cross a road blindfold, I would have shown that syringing ears is a good thing, as hearing oncoming traffic is an advantage, but would have proved conclusively that listening to, and following the advice of, men in white coats is damaging because walking across a busy road blindfold is exceedingly stupid.

And I thought 100% of all cat reference posts were Del inspired. What is Kris doing? Does this prove Kris is Del, or that Del is Kris, or that I have thought a statistic shows something it doesn't.

Simon

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#34
In reply to #30

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 7:15 AM

.....It was a slight mishap in developing the KrisDel™ Time Machine. Think "The Fly", but an awful lot worse.. It can be tricky to tell us apart though - Del's got good grammar/spelling, and people say they can't recommend mine highly enough.

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#38
In reply to #34

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:10 AM

No, no, that was a misquote from the intrinsic safety forum: "I can't recommend mining highly enough"

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#65
In reply to #38

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:16 PM

How low can you get ! I'm constantly trying to find out

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#70
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Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:29 PM

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#83
In reply to #70

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/17/2009 2:31 AM
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#89
In reply to #83

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 9:52 AM

That's a handy little link...

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#91
In reply to #89

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 11:26 AM

That is a whole new take on finger painting

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#86
In reply to #19

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/17/2009 2:59 AM

Well, it servers them right for smoking ragweed in the first place! Stupid rat-bastards!!!

Why don't we ask a REAL scientist...

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#87
In reply to #86

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/17/2009 3:46 AM

There's a thought - I wonder how many people who like the occasional Moroccan Woodbine don't consider themselves smokers ?

That Scientist shouldn't be allowed in - he's not carrying his certificates. Oddly enough, he can get in if he talks utter balls. What a conundrum . 5 times out of 4, people who introduce themselves with suffixes are spouting crap.

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#90
In reply to #87

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 9:56 AM

"...5 times out of 4..."

I'd have guessed it's at least twice that...

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#93
In reply to #90

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 12:25 PM

Now I'm all stuck on 10/8 or 6/4 !

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#95
In reply to #93

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 1:45 PM

10 times out of 4 it's gibberish by blatherskites! They refuse to eschew obfuscation, and it's frustrating.

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#97
In reply to #95

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 2:53 AM

"Contrafribularites ? .........Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I'm anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation "

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#20

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 1:12 AM

I don't know if this would qualify as an abuse of statistics necessarily, but last week it was reported that a Statistics professor from one of the local universities drowned in a lake having an average depth of one centimeter.

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#24

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 2:28 AM

How many times have we seen the efficacy of anti-cancer or now anti-aids or other mediceines - the xyz medicine released by abc company reduces the incidence of cancer by 300%

(small foot note the medicine and the placebo was used on controlled groups the incidence of testicular cancer with placebo was found to be 3 / million and on the xyz was 1/million hence...)

Or few months back i have seen an article in British medical journal - rather it was reproduced in my newspaper -chances of cancer more with cell phone than with smoking (thankfully i belong to the rarest of species that smoke)

best statistics i have seen ever are ofcourse from the most reliable agencies - the governments and the oppositions.

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#36
In reply to #24

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 7:22 AM

thankfully i belong to the rarest of species that smoke

I share your pleasure, but felt really silly when I put a mobile phone in my mouth and.....

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#45
In reply to #36

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:55 AM

Not that much but several times i have put the match stick (we use them here you know and thankfully we do ) in my mouth and thrown out the cigarette.

Think about the lighter - had i used in my mouth (not the correct emoticon bu nearest)

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#66
In reply to #45

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:18 PM

Don't think me unkind, but as I looked from smiley to avatar, and avatar to smiley......

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#82
In reply to #66

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/17/2009 2:06 AM

Thanks for the compliment. I bet you liked it. Ever felt jealous why you could not get such features.

My features can make any girl swoon (especially at night - more so if it is dark- not totally may be candle lit). Howmany in hollywood can boast like that ?

Even at day I can get an exclamation from them .

I love that smiley. It looks like me well upto 98.9% similarities in feature-er facial only. for other detail please enquire s. They never tell me (senseless by my charms)

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#84
In reply to #82

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/17/2009 2:37 AM

It might be that the girls just want to mother you !?! Ok, I'm jealous !

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#88
In reply to #84

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 9:47 AM

You left off the "s", didn't you?

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#92
In reply to #88

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 12:13 PM

What, on the Double Diamond ? I was busy wondering if someone had missed on 'o'.

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#94
In reply to #92

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/19/2009 1:40 PM

No, no, on the "mothering" thing - pay attention! Now I s'pose yer off on those damnable "rubber 'oes" again, aren't ya?!?

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#96
In reply to #94

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 2:49 AM

Ahh.....while I was busy pulling sb's leg, you were snorkeling !

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#99
In reply to #94

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 6:19 AM

2 many Ronnies?

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#100
In reply to #99

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 6:27 AM
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#102
In reply to #100

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 8:21 AM
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#104
In reply to #102

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 12:22 PM

We had that a bit too recent, but this one hasn't been out for a while.

I'm listening to the inauguration, and I'm sure the woman introducing it just said, "...the oaf of office". Honest ! That'd have to be the worst slip of all time. Listen to the re-play later. Think I'd better tab out of here and pay more attention !......Flip me, he's getting straight to it....I like this guy so far......yep, this is good......must go listen to more......Just noticed there's 272 online, I'm surprised/amazed....bog, I said I was going.....,"...reform bad habits" -that must be the fags thing, I'd best change avatar....",..."roll back the specter of a warming planet..." interesting........,"....we will defeat you..." like it...... .....oh gawd, I'm rambling....best go watch the man....

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#105
In reply to #104

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 12:53 PM

It was recent, yes, but a classic nonetheless. Here's a REAL oldie from our former "kids programming" back in the '50's. The host is Andy Devine, the character is Froggy the Gremlin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYZazW9Ja1k

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#108
In reply to #105

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/21/2009 2:46 AM

I'm not sure if I admire or hate that guy ! On of your fellow Americans tuned me into this Talk about 'a different world'.

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#109
In reply to #108

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/21/2009 7:14 AM

Yeah, and a total lack of understanding the lyrics! I've seen that clip, missed it on the original broadcast. I didn't watch that show in those days. Far too wholesome. "Plunk your magic twanger, Froggie!"

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#110
In reply to #109

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/22/2009 11:08 PM

I find it comical how hoarse that guy is from blowing his accordion!

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#112
In reply to #110

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/23/2009 3:48 AM

It's strange how things connect, I was just thinking about The Prisoner, hence .....

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#107
In reply to #104

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/20/2009 1:20 PM

EnviroMrs was watching the inaug. ceremony on TV, and called to tell me that the Chief Justice messed up some of the wording (which Pres. Obama apparently corrected in the repeating). I'm fairly certain he didn't mess it up enough to be truly humorous (like four candles, for example). Still, slips of the tongue by officialdom are fodder for the comedians. Film at 11, watch Letterman...

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#25

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:56 AM

There is the story of the 3 statisticians who went bow hunting.

The 1st one shot an arrow 20 meters short.

The next statistician fired 20 meters long.

The 3rd one shouted "on average we got him" and didn't shoot

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:58 AM

that sounds like my sort of accuracy.
Del

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 4:40 AM

Maybe it's because you shoot bowed arrows?

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#28

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 6:02 AM

The working is possibly the least of the problems - the whole concept is flawed.

We can assume that the archer in question was familiar with his 'best' kit. But we don't whether he had the opportunity equally to familiarise himself with the 'beginner' kit. Let us be generous and assume that he did, and that the size of the experiment was adequate to show that these would be the expected scores (and let's not worry about placebo effects for now?)
What conclusions could we reasonably draw?
Possibly that even with a "perfect" aim, the variability in the dynamics of the beginner's kit will limit your score to 92/100 for the particular conditions under which the archer was firing.
And... does that mean the beginner would be better off with 'best' kit? Probably not - assuming this was a longbow, the higher tension of the drawstring of best kit would probably be more than the beginner could cope with.

I can truthfully say that "I gave this more than 500%, innit". (100% being the effort that it would be productive to devote to the activity). (your 'semi-literate sportsmen' may be sharper than you realise)

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 6:56 AM

Arrgggh...
I shall have to report you for using the 'F' word!
That's 'fire'
...you 'shoot' a bow...fire is used on those nasty firearms...thigs went downhill with the invention of gunpowder...oh dear I'm in danger of bashing the Chinese .
Del <exit pedant mode>

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#39
In reply to #31

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:18 AM

That's uncommonly pedestriantic (whoever would have thought I would be found accusing you of this?), and it ain't necessarily so - especially if your enemy is hiding behind a haystack or thatch. (If you followed the royal hooligans, you would know that you can also shoot using rifles...)

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#49
In reply to #39

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 9:18 AM

To be truly pederantic, a technical description of a pedantic b**ger, the upper classes stalk with rifles, (since deer are quite big and armed with antlers, single combat would be risky so you sneak up and fire when they are grazing) and you shoot with a shotgun. (pheasants are small and any man with a twelve bore shotgun has a pretty good chance so you stand in the open and take them on face to face). Big game hunting is different again as you tackle something really big and dangerous, all on your own, except for a highly paid white hunter carrying loads of heavy calibre weaponry and number of local chaps who appear to be able to survive armed with the occasional spear and your picnic basket.

Simon

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 10:05 AM

I like Howard Hills account of shooting a Rhino with a bow (he shot all the 'big 5' with bow and arrow before it was non PC to do so)
The first shot glanced off the Rhino's horn .
The Rhino charged at him and he hit it with the next shot, the Rhino wheeled off into the long grass, and after carefull stalking was found dead, the arrow had penetrated over 20" through the hide reaching into the heart lung area...obviously 'head on' isn't the recomended shot...but it did the trick.

Del
(I think I'll stick to shooting pictures of critters)

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#51
In reply to #49

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 10:08 AM

"a highly paid white hunter carrying loads of heavy calibre weaponry"

You mean some of these?

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#56
In reply to #51

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 12:27 PM

To be even more pedantic, someone carrying a camera is called a photographer, and I have driven a landrover for a couple of professionals filming tiger, elephant and rhino so I do know what a photographer is.

Just google white hunter and you get this description

It carries responsibility, too, because it implies that the person can organize a camp, fix a broken vehicle, accurately judge an impala at 400 yards and stop a charging buffalo at several feet.

http://www.huntingmag.com/big_game/africaph_061107/

Del, I do not include some of the bow hunters who were mindboggling, as were some of the gun toting types. The description by J H Williams of shooting a charging rogue elephant in musth, in the toenails, by moonlight, with shotgun cartridges reloaded with toasted rice instead of shot, because someone had told him it would work, is a classic of the genre. See Elephant Bill, Lt.Col. J.H.Wiliams

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#58
In reply to #56

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 12:58 PM

In this country (which I am told includes Cumbria), I believe that the proper term is "Tourist". In the photographic profession, the person carrying the camera, tripods, etc. is more usually called a "Photographer's Assistant".

Similarly, the White Hunter (whose main job appears to be to tell the customer where the local chaps say the game is to be found) is likely to also be responsible for all equipment, and in these squeamish times that is likely to include more weight of cameras than firearms - though he (still the case, usually) may well double as a Gun in case of emergency

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#61
In reply to #58

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:05 PM

Hate to tell you but Big Game hunting is still big business. It may have lost the high profile but there are still guys going out to kill the Big Five on a daily basis. The fact that the Safari is now held on what should technically be called a zoo, is their problem. And I agree that there are plenty of tourists facing big game with no more than a camera, and similarly underarmed guides. But in smart circles, you kill the damn thing don't just take its picture.

Simon

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#68
In reply to #61

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:25 PM

Depends on your definition of "smart". Oscar had a phrase for it (plus I seem to remember that circles may have been powerful, but they weren't all that smart).
Numerically, camera-toting White Hunters* are now the majority, so I stand by my use of the statistical term "likely" (sorry to drag it back towards topic).

*albeit they often take back-up, plus you have to reinterpret the word "Hunt" to mean "search for", and "White" has mostly been rebranded as "Professional".

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#67
In reply to #39

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:21 PM

if your enemy is hiding behind a haystack or thatch

Some of us don't remember the Civil War first-hand

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#71
In reply to #67

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 3:31 PM

and the rest of us won't admit to it
(I'm assuming you are referring to something a little earlier than the recent Plantagenet-Tudor scuffles?)
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#85
In reply to #71

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/17/2009 2:41 AM

LOL

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#76
In reply to #28

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 4:08 PM

Tiger Woods could play golf with Del the Cat's clubs, and probably shoot a pretty good game. Del could play using Tiger's clubs...and...still...be...a...duffer...

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#77
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Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 4:51 PM

Exactamundo mon petit!
I bet he couldn't draw my longbow tho', hmmmm... well ok he probably could, but I bet he'd be a crap shot...hmmmm...well ok he'd probably be good at that too.
I bet he can't lick his balls (he gets his caddy to do it )
Del

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#37

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 7:51 AM

I was once having a discussion with my boss, the Technical Director, during review time. I told him, "Do you realize almost half of your staff is below average?" He said,"Yes, I know, but I'm trying to improve that."

When you consider that almost half of the voters are below average in intelligence, it almost explains the mess we're in.

And everybody is so proud that their kids are "above average".

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#41
In reply to #37

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:25 AM

Almost half of me is below average

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#80
In reply to #37

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 5:40 PM

That's like Garrison Keillor's fictional town of Lake Woebegone, Minnesota, "where all of the children are above average".

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#43

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:50 AM

It is widley know amongst staticians that 72.45% of all statistical data is made up on the spot.

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:53 AM
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#81
In reply to #44

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 10:26 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2548
Good Answers: 103
#46
In reply to #43

Re: Abuse of Statistics

01/16/2009 8:56 AM

You are underestimating them and talking about 9.273% of them.

Just beware - and be ready for a legal notice - your e-mail address is anyway there with CR4

Food for thought : A legal notice can be served on E-mail ?

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Fantastic ideas for a Fantastic World, I make the illogical logical.They put me in cars,they put me in yer tv.They put me in stereos and those little radios you stick in your ears.They even put me in watches, they have teeny gremlins for your watches
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