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Monday, March 27, 2006

The importance of statistics

Did you know that your odds of winning the PowerBall lottery is 63.1 billion times that of picking the perfect NCAA basketball bracket? (63,127,100,745.234:1 to be exact, Thanks bill.)

The WSJ has an interesting article about what the odds are of picking the elusive perfect bracket, taking into account different methods of predicting winners.

However, the real reason why I bring up the article is because Carl Bialik's column presents an educational look at the importance of understanding statistics. Read through his biweekly articles and you will quickly be able to get a grasp of how statistics can be used to lie and manipulate the facts.

So, if you have some free time and want to educate yourself on how to see through erroneous statistics, I suggest reading through his articles. The best one to start off with is this article here, where he gives examples of how even journalists (and we trust them to bring us the news) can't or don't know how to use statistics and numbers properly.

I'm off to london this week, so it might be a while before I update next.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Bill said...

Since the second article is about erroneous statistics, I thought I should mention, the PowerBall to fair toss NCAA odds are 63,127,100,745.234:1.

To introduce my own erroneous statement, I will say that's 3 billion times more. :D

9:40 PM  
Blogger justanotherblogger said...

Thanks bill, lol.

11:04 PM  

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