Weird Statistics in the News
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# Confusing correlation with causation: rooster syndrome

The rooster crows and the sun rises: cause and effect, or red flag? How to recognise this tactic This is the natural human tendency to assume that, if two events or phenomena consistently occur at ...
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# Weird Statistics in the News

Interesting or unusual and useful statistical data analysis articles.
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## “Fixed mindsets” might be why we don’t understand statistics

Study finds people prefer complicated methods because that's what they're used to.
Bill Bentley's insight:

I agree with the article but as a statistician myself I can add that all stats software require inputs as percents or decimal fractions and output results that way.   It takes extra effort to translate those into 1 in X terminology  and it's not always nice clean numbers like in this article.  Would 23 out of 4716  be easier to understand than 0.004877?   We would have to round the answer to something simpler like 1 out of 200 and by doing so to simplify it, would change the anwer and possibly the meaning.  Their concept is right but they overly simplify the problem.

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## 30 Cheesy Math Jokes That'll Make "Sum" of Your Students LOL

Looking for a fun opener for your math class? We looked around and gathered 30 of the corniest, cheesiest, funniest math jokes to help you out.
Bill Bentley's insight:

If you are a fan of numbers, you'll appreciate these 30 clever math jokes.   Not many are statistics jokes.  I guess the p was too low so the stats jokes had to go.

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## 12 Facts About Belly Buttons | Mental Floss

Test your knowledge with amazing and interesting facts, trivia, quizzes, and brain teaser games on MentalFloss.com.
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There are only a few statistics in this articls but the topic is unusual, so marginally qualifies as 'weird'.

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## [NEWS] Moratuwa University develops ankle exoskeleton robot – Daily Mirror

2018-08-08 00:00:43 Amashi Weerasingha, Kasun Harshana and Kesara Withanage Three students attached to the Bionics Laboratory of Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa have developed an ankle exoskeleton robot.
Bill Bentley's insight:

I'm posting this to apologize to the engineer in the picture.  I thought HE was the robot.  Upon reading further I realized it was an ugly metalic contraption worn on someone's lower legs.

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## Looking for a job? Study reveals having a tattoo can get you one

Looking for a job? Study reveals having a tattoo can get you one - Turns out, having a tattoo can give job candidates an advantage in competitive labor markets. According to a new study by the faculty at University of Miami Business School and the University of Western Australia, discriminating...
Bill Bentley's insight:

I'd like to see the data behind this claim but it's interesting anyway.  Read the part about electronic sensors being incorporated into tattoos.  A tattoo that measures your bio signals?  Wow.

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## Ad space available on people's armpits /

Ad space available on people's armpits...
Bill Bentley's insight:

No weird statistics on this yet, just a weird idea.  I'm looking forward to reporting on the statistics later and offering both of my armpits for ads.   \$90/hr/pit is pretty good income.  I suppose you have to walk around with your hands up as though you are being arrested.

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## xkcd: Negative Results

Bill Bentley's insight:

Beware of novice statisticians.

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## Tutorial: The practical application of complicated statistical methods to fill up the scientific literature with confusing and irrelevant analyses

James Coyne pointed me with distress or annoyance to this new paper, “Tutorial: The Practical Application of Longitudinal Structural Equation Mediation Models in Clinical Trials,” by K. A. Goldsmith, D.
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## Mark Constantine on Twitter: "A classic good news/bad news situation… "

Bill Bentley's insight:

Sometimes I wonder about my own profession.   I build prediction models too.  I'm inclined to believe the french fry one.

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Terrible charts seem to be in season. Rarely have I come across so many incredibly bad charts in such a short time: information graphics that don’t actually depict data, distorted representat…
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This site has a weird collection of terrible data graphics.   Use it as examples of what not to do when displaying your data.

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## xkcd: Meteorologist

Bill Bentley's insight:

A good example of educational background bias in weather reporting.

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## Mini Brains Are Now Growing Their Own Veins

The more like real brains they become, the more useful these organoids are for studying complex behaviors and neurological diseases.
Bill Bentley's insight:

It's almost scary that we can now grow simple brains and they are getting more complex all the time.   If we get a brain transplant, will all our memory and knowledge be lost and have to start over like a wiped computer memory?  In that case a person could be a 70 year old infant.  I think I know some of those.  Will we be able to download our brain information into a supercomputer and upload it back into our new brain?   If so, then we could upload the same information into multiple brains creating human thought clones.  Creepy.

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## Using the best data possible, we set out to find the middle of nowhere - The

What America’s hardest-to-reach towns teach us about fighting malaria and the power of enormous data sets.
Bill Bentley's insight:

Has anyone ever told you they live in 'the middle of nowhere'?  Where is that exactly?   This great article outlines a statistical analysis of the world to answer that very question.  I'm a big city guy myself so have never been there.

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## Why Don't We Always Make Smart Decisions? Blame This Brain Chemical, Science Says

Your body makes you feel good when you think you're right. Even when you're not.
Bill Bentley's insight:

Short and interesting read on how biology can trump data when it comes to making decisions.  I'm sure this is relevant to our current political climate, I just don't have the data to prove it.

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## AI-powered CAA roadside assistance will be dispatched before you break down | IT World Canada News

By using new predictive analytics technology its developed in-house, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) says it will be able to send out a truck to a...
Bill Bentley's insight:

This sounds like an inappropriate use of AI.   Wouldn't it be better if their breakdown predictor warned them to get their vehicle repaired and not go on the trip rather than predict where they will break down and send an expensive tow truck?

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## 46 Mouthwatering Facts About Pizza | Mental Floss

Test your knowledge with amazing and interesting facts, trivia, quizzes, and brain teaser games on MentalFloss.com.
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This fun compilation of pizza statistics is sure to have you running out and ordering one for dinner tonight!

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## Search of Fuzzy Periods in the Works of Poetry of Different Authors

Advances in Fuzzy Systems is a peer-reviewed, Open Access journal which aims to provide a forum for original research articles in the theory and applications of fuzzy subsets and systems. The goal of the journal is to help promote the advances in the development and practice of fuzzy system...
Bill Bentley's insight:

Finally some clarity on this.  I read and write poetry but 'fuzzy periods' have bothered me and others for years.  If I every use my stats knowledge to study something like this please slap me.

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## On the complementarity of classical test theory and item response models: item difficulty estimates and computerized adaptive testing

Bill Bentley's insight:

I don't expect you to read this statistics article because apparently they ran out of money before they could hire an editor.

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## Claim: Global warming to cause more suicides

From the “P-hacking gets you any claim” and the “that’s why people move to Florida” departments.By Mike Bastasch A July study claims that thousands of more people wil…...
Bill Bentley's insight:

This article explains statistics that compare global warming and suicides.   It claims positive correlation but says the correlation is NOT significant.  Still it blasts their 'conclusion' into the headlines.  Shame  shame shame!

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## Oceanz and Cooperative DOOR Partner to Stop Food Waste with 3D Printed Vegetables

I recently saw a viral tweet circulating that read, My waiter asked, 'Now, do we want straws OR do we want to save the turtles?' and honestly we all deserve that environmental guilt trip. I don't know if this conversation actually took place or not, but the writer has a point.
Bill Bentley's insight:

If 3D food printers are ever invented and affordable, I'll buy one.  I'd like to know what is in the cartridges though?  Quinoa?   I certainly won't print octopus.   More likely a chocolated covered Dove bar.  mmmm.

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## Statisticians are the most humane mathematicians

How math can become a moral hazard: Unlike other subjects, math offers the comfort of a single correct answer. It’s precisely that quality that concerns University of Exeter math education professor Paul Ernest, who warns that such cold logic may encourage students to discount the ethical dimensions of real-life problems they face. To make math more humane, Ernest suggests that schools teach ethics and philosophy side by side with math so students learn to see that, in the professional world, numbers problems are often human problems too. • Here’s what people are saying.

Bill Bentley's insight:

I found this LinkedIn article interesting.   It doesn't apply to me or my fellow statisticians or data scientists.   Our answers are almost never the only one.  We present a range of possible answers.  They are all presented with conditions and assumptions which our audiences seldom understand.   I'm sure that makes us the most humane mathematicians!

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## xkcd: Python Environment

Bill Bentley's insight:

When I need to install a new version of Python I just wipe the hard drive and install a new OS and everything clean.  :)

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## Female goat farmers surprised by statistics showing they generally earn more than men - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Goat farmers are among a list of 80 occupations where women on average earn more than men, according to the latest tax office statistics. But that comes as a surprise to women working in the industry.
Bill Bentley's insight:

Goats are known to be affectionate despite the common perception that they are always butting heads.  I see many more goats in our future!

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## Some Unexpected Statistics To Keep You Smart (25 pics)

Some Unexpected Statistics To Keep You Smart (25 pics)
Bill Bentley's insight:

Some real and often amazing stats about our world.  Regarding animal farts, scientists have equipped cows with fart catchers to determine volume and composition of them while still allowing them to do their business.   Some engineer was assigned that project.   Engineering isn't always glamorous.  I've done projects like that!

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## Companies Are Betting on Lab-Grown Meat, but None Know How to Get You to Eat It

A new company, IndieBio, wants to feed lab-grown meat to your pets before getting humans to eat the stuff.
Bill Bentley's insight:

If they want us to like this stuff they need to make it smell like bacon. I do not start salivating when I see my dog eating from his bowl, no matter what is in it.

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