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Posts Tagged ‘statistics

“Geography is just physics slowed down, with a couple of trees stuck in it”*…

 

From Google Maps, an altogether-engrossing geographical trivia game: Smarty Pins.

* Terry Pratchett

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As we find our bearings, we might spare a thought for Florence Nightingale; she died on this date in 1910. Famed for her work as a nurse in the Crimean War, she went on to found training facilities and nursing homes– pioneering both medical training for women and what is now known as Social Entrepreneuring.  Less well-known are Nightingale’s contributions to epidemiology, statistics, and the visual communication of data in the field of public health. Always good at math, she pioneered the use of the polar area chart (the equivalent to a modern circular histogram or rose diagram) and popularized the pie chart (which had been developed in 1801 by William Playfair).

Nightingale’s “Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East”

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Written by LW

August 13, 2014 at 1:01 am

“The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have”*…

 

From the always-amazing Randall Munroe, who reminds us that bacteria still outweigh us thousands to one– and that’s not counting the pounds of them in each of our bodies…

* “The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have. That lays upon us, whether we like it or not, an awesome responsibility. In our hands now lies not only our own future, but that of all other living creatures with whom we share the earth.” 
― David AttenboroughLife on Earth

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As we watch our weight, we might send carefully-calculated birthday greetings to John Graunt; he was born on this date in 1620.  A London haberdasher by trade, Graunt was fascinated the human tide that swelled around him– a fascination that led him to create the first statistically-based estimation of the population of London in his book Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality, undertaken as Charles II and other officials were trying to create a system to warn of the onset and spread of bubonic plague in the city.  Profiled as one of Aubrey’s Brief Lives, Graunt has been called the first statistician, the first demographer, and was in any case the first statistician to become a fellow of the Royal Society of London.

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Written by LW

April 24, 2014 at 1:01 am

Citius, Altius, Fortius*…

It’s that time again– the Games are underway…

The Olympics promise many things–triumph of the human spirit, amazing athletic prowess, upsets and underdogs–but the most modern games are ultimately nothing if not a massive, global spectacle. Gustavo Sousa, a painter and creative director at Mother’s London office, was interested in exploring behind the pomp and circumstance. “Events like these can be a good time for reflection.” Oceaniaeuropeamericaasiaafrica illustrates stripped-down statistics from each region through simple scale shifts of the tournament’s iconic quintet of overlapping loops.“The rings represent healthy competition and union, but we know the world isn’t perfect. Maybe understanding the differences is the first step to try to make things more equal.”

Read more at Co-Design, and see more at Oceaniaeuropeamericaasiaafrica.

* “faster, higher, stronger”– the Olympic motto

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As we settle in for the marathon, we might recall that it was on this date in 1895 that Louis Lassen served the first “hamburger” sandwich… at least, according to the Library of Congress.

Louis Lassen, founder of Louis’ Lunch, ran a small lunch wagon selling steak sandwiches to local factory workers. Because he didn’t like to waste the excess beef from his daily lunch rush, he ground it up, grilled it, and served it between two slices of bread — and America’s first hamburger was created.

It will not surprise readers to know that there are many other claimants to that singular honor.

 Louis Lassen (source)

Written by LW

July 28, 2012 at 1:01 am

Lies, Damned Lies, and…

From Vali Chandrasekaran, on BusinessWeek.com: Need to prove something you already believe? Statistics are easy: All you need are two graphs and a leading question.  Correlation may not imply causation, but it sure can help us insinuate it.

More here.

 

As we recalibrate our conclusions, we might send amplified birthday wishes to musician, composer, and inventor Les Paul; he was born on this date in 1915.  Paul was an accomplished jazz and country songwriter and guitarist; but he is surely best remembered as a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar (and an early adopter of techniques like over-dubbing, tape delay, and multi-track recording)– that’s to say, as a father of rock and roll.

Les Paul, playing a Gibson Les Paul (source)

Written by LW

January 9, 2012 at 1:01 am

Speak no evil…

In danger no longer! (source)

Gawker reports [from the Hindustan Times] that Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority has issued a list of 1,700 words [and phrases] it considers “offensive and obscene,” and has demanded that mobile providers begin filtering them from text messages as of Monday. The list, which contains hundreds of familiar swear words as well as some truly puzzling choices, is meant to curb SMS spamming, according the PTA, which it defines as “the transmission of harmful, fraudulent, misleading, illegal or unsolicited messages in bulk to any person without express permission of the recipient.”

Some of the words:

Athlete’s foot
Deposit
Black out
Drunk
Flatulence
Glazed Donut
Harem
Jesus Christ
Hostage
Murder
Penthouse
Satan
Flogging the dolphin
Monkey crotch
Idiot
Damn
Deeper
Four twenty
Go to hell
Harder
Looser
No sex
Quickie
Fairy

The full list is on Google Docs, here… after a careful consideration of which, your correspondent will be choosing his words more carefully.

As we reconsider our morning glazed donut, we might recall that it was on this date in 1839 that the American Statistical Association was formed in a meeting at the Boston home of the American Education Society by William Cogswell, teacher, fund-raiser for the ministry, and genealogist; Richard Fletcher, lawyer and U.S. Congressman; John Dix Fisher, physician and pioneer in medical reform; Oliver Peabody, lawyer, clergyman, poet, and editor; and Lemuel Shattuck, statistician, genealogist, publisher, and author of perhaps the most significant single document in the history of public health to that date.

Over the next few decades, the membership grew to over 100, including Florence Nightingale, Alexander Graham Bell, Herman Hollerith, Andrew Carnegie, and President Martin Van Buren; by 1939, the roll had expanded to 3,000.  But it was after World War Two, and the explosion in the physical and social sciences, that the organization began to balloon.  Today the ASA has over 17,000 members, and 23 special interest section (like Business and Economics; Biometrics, and Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental).

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