27 March 2012

Teaching statistical language

I received a phone call from the company that leases us our equipment. I got quite excited when the salesman told me they would waive the purchase price of a new iPad. Then I decided it was time to clarify things. “Ok,” I said, “You are using the term ‘purchase price’. To me that means the amount you pay for something when you buy it. You are telling me that if I get a new iPad on the same lease as the old iPad you will waive the purchase price. This sounds great to me, but I can’t imagine I’ve […]
2 July 2012

I am many numbers

All sorts of numbers are used to describe us. The following numbers (with a few alterations to protect the innocent) can be used to describe me: 70, 50, 44, 145, 18, 2013, 176, 12438756, 51008420, 3, 0.25, 2, 26, 6439801802, 36942, 120000, 7,12. They include: number of children born to me, bank number, tax number, age, street number, postcode, clothing size, phone-number, number of years married, height, weight, employee number, level of education, IQ, number of weeks pay in my redundancy package, amount owing on my mortgage. Some of the numbers uniquely describe me, such as the IRD number, or […]
23 July 2012

Question questions

Ooooh – new data! There is nothing like a new set of data, just sitting there in the computer, all ready for me to clean and graph and analyse and extract its secrets. I know I should be methodical in my approach, but sometimes I feel like a kid at Christmas, metaphorically ripping open the presents as I jump from graph to procedure, and back to graph again. I then have to go back and do it properly, documenting my approach and recording results, but that’s okay too. That can reveal a second lot of wonders as I sift and […]