Everyday Statistics. Presented by Mike La Dolcetta ASQ Sr. Member, CQE, CQM, CSSGB April 23rd, 2009. A Little Background. Statistics is a relatively young branch of mathematics.
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Presented by Mike La Dolcetta
ASQ Sr. Member, CQE, CQM, CSSGB
April 23rd, 2009
A Little Background
Bone dice from Pompeii
1st Century AD
1. Peter L. Bernstein, Against The Gods, pg 77.
Modern Branches of Statistics
Descriptive Statistics 101
Statistics (Ab)used to Persuade
This makes it all the more important that the general population be educated:
“H&R Block found errors on 4 out of 5 returns prepared by others.”
What’s Wrong With This Statement?
“Research shows children who ate Kellogg’s® Frosted Mini-Wheats® cereal for breakfast demonstrated better attentiveness and quality of memory throughout the morning when compared to kids who didn’t eat breakfast.”
- Kellogg's Clinical Study
Potential effects of not eating breakfast:
Is loss of attentiveness and memory any surprise?
Why not compare to a competitor’s product instead?
Virginia Housing Unit Estimates: 2000 to 2007
Why not round to the nearest hundred… or thousand?
Source: U.S. Census website
Why not provide confidence intervals at a specific confidence level?
“Salaries at our company average over $83,000 annually” – Company XYZ
“New Research Suggests Drinking As Little As One Cup Of Black Tea Per Day Can Help Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease.” –MediLexicon.com
What’s Wrong With This Statement?
“Sales declined substantially last quarter. We need to motivate the sales team to get where we need to be!”
*And tricky pictures!
“The Law Offices of Smith, Wesson, Heckler, and Koch: over half a century of experience you can rely on!“
John Smith : 8 Years
William Wesson : 5 Years
Harcourt Heckler : 4 years
Robert Koch : 1 Year (recently passed Bar)
Two Exec Secretaries: 9 years of experience
Four Jr. Attorneys : 5 years combined
Eight Paralegals : 19 years combined
Total: 51 Years of Experience!
Do you really get all that when a Junior Attorney takes your case?
Even eight years of experience can be one year of experience eight times over.
I lost 85 pounds in 6 months with the ABC Diet!*
*Results not typical.
Just one dose and pain is gone in as quick as 15 minutes!*
*Fastest reported relief: actual performance will vary.
Earn as much as 73% on investments using the XYZ method!*
*Any investment in the Stock Market involves risk and is not guaranteed.
Statistical literacy is an important skill for modern life. With such, you’ll have a critical eye with which to better discern claims and prepackaged summarized data, and defend yourself against charlatan attacks to separate you from your hard earned wages.
Click on the hyperlinked titles to go to a web page for details (Internet connection required)
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk – Peter L. Bernstein
Games, Gods & Gambling: A History of Probability and Statistical Ideas - F.N. David
Flaws and Fallacies in Statistical Thinking – Stephen K. Campbell
A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper – John Allen Paulos
How to Lie with Statistics – Darrell Huff and Irving Geis
An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem
Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge – by Clarence Irving Lewis