Weird Statistics in the News
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# 17 Facts That Are 100% True And 100% Freaky

Most people have an above-average number of arms.
Bill Bentley's insight:

These freaky facts speak for themselves if you know your statistics.  If any of them don't seem real, call me and I'll explain.

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# Weird Statistics in the News

Interesting or unusual and useful statistical data analysis articles.
Curated by Bill Bentley
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## The Great Movie Theater Mystery: Which Armrest Is Yours?

The question induces panic just thinking about it, and as far as I can tell, there’s been no consensus on the subject. So I set out to find one.
Bill Bentley's insight:

With all the hyperbole swirling around us about imaginary invasions and walls and things, here is a through article to get your mind away about a study to determine which arm rest you should use when there is only one between two seats.  It's focused on movie seats but I think applies equally to airplane seats.  See the amazing conclusion.   Surveys and statistics can't always answer even the simplest of questions.

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## Study: You're Going to Keep Aging Until You Die

Once you reach a very advanced age, you reach a sort of &quot;aging plateau,&quot; according to some experts. A new study argues that this is wrong.
Bill Bentley's insight:

On the surface, this seems like a stupid title but we are all aging and the article offers five nice things about it so cheer up!

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## Study: Humans Can Detect Events 1-10 Seconds Before They Occur

Scientists have discovered that humans are able to detect events 1-10 seconds before they occur, confirming that precognition is a real phenomena.
Bill Bentley's insight:

If you read this article critically you will see zero evidence but lots of pointers to other studies that they claim have that evidence and nothing that indicates that the studies were valid.  We would have to do a lot of work to determine the validity of the thesis.   I tend to believe things where the evidence is made easy to read and evaluate.   Nevertheless I look hopefully forward to the day when I can retreat quickly to my office 10 seconds before my wife decides to yell at me.

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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.
Bill Bentley's insight:

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…
Bill Bentley's insight:

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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## What You Need to Know About Distracted Driving

This infographic was created by Benjamin Sansone, a car wreck and wrongful death attorney in St. Louis. Sansone created this infographic because he often sees the impact that distracted driving has on the lives of his clients.
Bill Bentley's insight:

Good info for holiday travelers.  For statisticians, a good research topic would be how many drivers are killed while fiddling with their 'distracted driving' app.

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## All the ways Christmas and New Years can kill you, statistically —

From risky roads to nutmeg overdose, there are plenty of ways the holidays might be out to get you.
Bill Bentley's insight:

It surprised me that the most likely day to die is the few days before, during and after Christmas.   Read this short article to know what to do to stay safe.   Non-obvious hint....avoid nutmeg!!

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## The Turd Test: Canada studied poop to figure out how much pot people use

As part of its project to figure out how marijuana — both black market and medical pot — fits into Canadian society, Statistics Canada turned to the country’s poop for answers.
Bill Bentley's insight:

As a statistician and electrical engineer with lots of experience developing unusual sensors, I find this oddly interesting.  It seems they can narrow down where the pot is being puffed by which sewer drains they sample.   The statistics have to be carefully done since the percent of pot puffed poop is probably pretty small.

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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.
Bill Bentley's insight:

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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