Department of Statistics and Applied Probability |
Faculty of Science |
National University of Singapore
- Deviation is considered normal.
- We feel complete and sufficient.
- Statisticians do it both discretely and continuously.
- We can legally comment on someone's posterior distribution.
- We are right 95% of the time.
- We are honestly significantly different.
- No one else wants the job.
A Statistician's wife had twins. He was delighted. He rang the
minister who was also delighted. "Bring them to church on Sunday and
we'll baptize them." "No", replied the statistician, "Baptize
one. We'll keep the other as a control."
- "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, IBM, 1943.
- "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their
home." Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
- "This `telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously
considered as a means of communication. The device is
inherently of no value to us." Western Union internal memo,
- "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." Lord Kelvin,
President of the Royal society, 1895.
- "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high
plateau." Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics at Yale U.,
- "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles
Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
- "640K ought to be enough for anybody." Bill Gates, 1981.
A wonderful man is a Bayesian
He can solve problems in more than one waysian
He is often inspired
To alter his prior
And get answers that match his persuasian
The statistician spends his days
In figuring our the many ways,
In which a standard error can
Enclose by bars the average man.
And having thus imprisoned him,
Perhaps at some researcher's whim,
Can with the same chicanery
Enlarge the bars and set him free.
Or better yet, within the sample,
Locate some points with girth so ample,
That if by "choice" they were discarded,
Man and hypothesis are safeguarded.
You saw it here first: the International Contest for the Best
Statistics Country Song. There aren't any prizes beyond public
recognition in the pages of STATS. The rules are simple: write
a terrific country song with a statistics theme and send it in. If
that is too much, then help someone else get started by sending in a
title to help others get their creative juices flowing. Here are some
titles, freely offered without copyright, for your use:
- Am I just the empty set in your sample space?
- I thought we were converging -- but it was only asymptotically.
- Does the outlier in my crooked smile bias your estimate of me?
- I thought that you were normal, 'til I saw your heavy tail.
We certainly can't expect to do the right thing 100% of the time, so
how about accepting 99.9% as our performance statndard? What might we
see? Considering the large number of events that take place in the
U.S., here are some of the 0.1% of the events that over a 12 months
period wouldn't go right:
- 14,208 defective personal computers would be shipped.
- 2,488,200 books would be shipped with the wrong cover.
- 5,517,200 cases of soft drinks produced would be flatter than a
- 730 plane landings at O'Hare Airport in Chicago would be
- $761,900 would be spent on tapes and CDs that wouldn't play.
- Two million documents would be lost by the IRS.
- 268,500 defective tires would be shipped.
- 880,000 credit cards in circulation would turn out to have
incorect cardholder information on their magnetic strips.
It all sounds like the Terrible Law of Large Numbers.
Author: Berwin A Turlach
Date Last modified:Wed Jan 3 10:03:20 SGT 2007
Feedback: please direct comments about this page to