Archive for the ‘statistics in news’ Category

Making Box Plots on Ti-84

August 15, 2017

Quick graphs on the Ti-84 is a good way to  see how data is distributed.  The attached document gives step by step instructions along with an example to practice.

Making a Box Plot on the TI 84

Maybe It’s Okay to Eat Before Surgery

July 13, 2017

Not eating before surgery was long considered one of those “absolute” rules that was not debatable.  Now comes an article that tells us that in Europe carbohydrate-rich drinks before surgery are not only allowed, they lead to improved outcomes!  Who knew?  Less risk of infection and faster recovery are two positives, along with resultant cost savings.  Click below for full article.

Don_t Hold Fast to This Surgical Rule – WSJ

VC Firms Use Big Data to Seek Out the Next Big Thing

April 25, 2017

Venture Capital firms, that is, firms that invest in funding start-ups, early stage  companies, and companies with good growth potential, are always on the hunt for the next great opportunity.  The article below talks about the trend away from people who are expert in spotting such opportunities, and towards computer based analytics which is believed to be faster and better at finding the “next big thing.”

Venture-Capital Firms Use Big Data to Seek Out the Next Big Thing – WSJ


Liberal Arts Become Mathematical

April 25, 2017

“Adding Math To Save Humanities” is the title of a sidebar article in the Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2017, about liberal arts colleges trying to add more mathematical contents to traditional liberal arts courses to better prepare their graduates for the work world.  Along with the Big Data revolution comes the need for employees in many diverse fields to be able to analyze data and to “rigorously and effectively” use data to answer questions.  “Emory University in Atlanta has created a degree that marries traditionally qualitative disciplines such as anthropology and English with math and statistics.”  This shift is in part to due students enrolling in liberal arts programs in smaller numbers.  Click below for the full article.

saving liberal arts

Statistically Counting Lost Luggage as Not Lost

March 30, 2017

“An innovation aiming to streamline how air passengers reconnect with their lost luggage comes with a major asterisk: airline would no longer count the luggage as lost.”  Using text messaging, airlines could advise you that your bags did not make your flight, and you can give them instructions via text where they should send the lost bags.

DOT statisticians will not count those bags as lost, and airlines can maintain goods stats while perhaps not performing so well.  You say, “They’re not lost, because we know where they are.”  I say, “They’re lost because they are not where they belong.”

Whoever said statistics was an exact science?

For the full article in the Wall Street Journal, click here:

counting Lost Baggage

When “Big Data” gets it wrong

January 4, 2017

Big Data could provide a big advantage to investors, but when the data is wrong or misinterpreted, it can be catastrophic.

“Credit card data sold to investors is making shares of retailers behave strangely, especially when the data gets things wrong.”  So begins an article in the Wall Street Journal ‘Big Data Adds Up to Trading Distortions.’  The first example is about Tailored Brands (owner of Men’s Warehouse and Joseph A. Bank) stock that shot up nearly 40% in one day when investors realized that the data they were basing their decisions on was inaccurate.

For the full article:  how-credit-card-data-might-be-distorting-retail-stocks-wsj

Deficit v. Debt – knowing the diference

July 21, 2016
In simple terms, a budget deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends (called outlays) and what it takes in (called revenue or receipts). The national debt, also known as the public debt, is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits.

What’s the difference between the U.S. deficit and the national debt …

Early Bedtime May Fight Fat

July 19, 2016

Scientists studying sleep time of preschoolers and obesity in teenages have observed some interesting correlations, but they are not conclusively cause and effect.  As reported in the New York Times, July 19, 2016.

Early Bedtime May Fight Fat NYT 7_19_16

‘Residual Seasonality,’ Fixing the Data or Fixing the Results?

July 3, 2016

Adjusting the data? How much adjustment is good?  How do you know when the adjustments introduce distortions?   When are you fixing the data? And when are you fixing the results?  To know the answers to those question take a lot of experience and objectivity.

In an article in The Wall Street Journal ( July 1, 2016), by Jo Craven McGinty, titled, “Seasonal Fluctuations Vex Statisticians in Quest to Capture Economy’s Growth, Stripping out normal variation challenges government as it seeks to give accurate GDP figure,” Ms. McGinty addresses a current example of how data is handled.

” “We expect a certain amount of randomness in any economic data,” said Brent Moulton, who oversees GDP and other national economic statistics for the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

“When adjusted numbers continue to exhibit the influences of seasonal effects, statisticians refer to it as residual seasonality.” That is something new.

” “Small patterns of seasonality at the individual granular level, which don’t appear to be that significant, can add up over time, over quarter and over various components to substantial residual seasonality,” said Mr. Rudebusch, who found that adjusting the GDP a second time seems to erase the effect.”

As I said, are we fixing the data, or are we fixing the results?

How Changing the Expectations Changes the Outcome

June 19, 2016

Self fulfilling prophesies can make someone his own worst enemy.  Expecting to fail can become the formula for failure.  The question is how to get students who have low expectations of themselves, and who doubt their ability to succeed, to reset their mind-set.  Some new research sheds some valuable light on this question.

A Small Fix in Mind-Set Can Keep Students in School – WSJ