many, my introduction to 17th-century French philosophy came at the
tender age of 3+. For that is when I discovered the
Etch-a-Sketch®, an entertaining ode to Descartes' coordinate plane.
Little did I know that the seemingly idle hours I spent doodling
on my Etch-a-Sketch would prove to be excellent training for the
feat that I attempt today: plotting an Empirical Cumulative
Distribution... Continue Reading
T'was the season for toys recently, and Christmas day found me
playing around with a classic, the Etch-a-Sketch. As I noodled with
the knobs, I had a sudden flash of recognition: my drawing reminded
me of the Empirical CDF Plot in Minitab Statistical Software. Did you just ask,
"What's a CDF plot? And what's so empirical about it?" Both very
good questions. Let's start with the first, and we'll... Continue Reading
It's that time of year again. The time when eggs get nogged,
pudding gets figgy, and it becomes socially acceptable to speak in
rhyme. So on that note, and with apologies to Clement Clarke
Moore, I bring you this timely and heartfelt PSA. Enjoy.
Twas the week before Christmas, and
I couldn't be bothered,
to make sure that our tree, had quite enough water."A sprinkling of needles on the carpet, I... Continue Reading
The season of change is upon us here at Minitab's World
Headquarters. The air is crisp and clear and the landscape is
ablaze in vibrant fall colors. As I drove to work one recent
morning, I couldn't help but soak in the beauty surrounding me and
think, "Too bad everything they taught me as a kid was a lie."
see, as a boy growing up in New Hampshire, I was told that the
sublime beauty of autumn... Continue Reading
At the inaugural Minitab Insights Conference in September,
presenters Benjamin Turcan and Jennifer Berner discussed
how to present data effectively. Among the considerations they
discussed was choosing the right graph.
Different graphs are good for different things. Of course,
opinions about which graph is best can, and do, differ. Dotplot
devotees might decide that they are demonstrably... Continue Reading
No matter how experienced you are at analyzing data,
communicating about your results can be a tremendous challenge. So
it's not surprising that "Effectively Reporting Your Data Analysis"
was one of the best-attended sessions at the inaugural Minitab
Insights Conference last month.
The presenters, Benjamin Turcan and Jennifer Berner of First
Niagara Bank, have a great deal of experience improving...Continue Reading
My recent beach vacation began with the kind of unfortunate
incident that we all dread: killing a distant relative.
It was about 3 a.m. Me, my two sons, and our dog had been on the
road since about 7 p.m. the previous day to get to our beach house
on Plum Island, Massachusetts. Google maps said our exit was coming
up and that we were only about 15 minutes away from our palace.
Buoyed by that... Continue Reading
In my last post, we took the red pill and dove
deep into the unarguably fascinating and uncompromisingly
compelling world of the matrix plot. I've stuffed this post with
information about a topic of marginal interest...the marginal
Margins are important. Back in my English composition days, I
recall that margins were particularly prized for the inverse linear
relationship they maintained with... Continue Reading
Remember the classic science fiction film The
Matrix? The dark sunglasses, the leather, computer monitors
constantly raining streams of integers (inexplicably in base 10
rather than binary or hexadecimal)? And that mind-blowing plot
twist when Neo takes the red pill from Morpheus' outstretched
hand? Well to me, there's one thing even more mind-blowing
than the plot of the Matrix: the Matrix Plot.... Continue Reading
Once upon a time, when people wanted to compare the standard
deviations of two samples, they had two handy tests available, the
F-test and Levene's test.
Statistical lore has it that the F-test is so named because
it so frequently fails you.1
Although the F-test is suitable for data that are normally
distributed, its sensitivity to departures from
normality limits when and where it can be used.
Leve... Continue Reading
People say that I overthink everything. I've given this
assertion considerable thought, and I don't believe that it is
true. After all, how can any one person possibly overthink every
possible thing in just one lifetime?
For example, suppose I live 85 years. That's 2,680,560,000
seconds (85 years x 365 days per year x 24 hours per day x 60 min
per hour x 60 seconds per minute). I'm asleep about a... Continue Reading
the gap. It's is an important concept to bear in mind whilst
traveling on the Tube in London, the T in Boston, the Metro in
Washington, D.C., etc. But how many of us remember to mind the gap
when we create an interval plot in Minitab Statistical Software?
Not too many of us, I'd wager. And it's a shame, too.
When you travel on the subway, minding the gap means giving
thoughtful consideration... Continue Reading
have been riding my bike to work lately instead of taking my car. I
figured I could use the exercise. I figured it would be good for my
health. I figured it might help stave off global warming. I figured
I’ve noticed lately that the sky seems to get darker a little
earlier every day. I asked my wife if she had noticed the same
thing and she said, “When are going to take out that garbage... Continue Reading
My son goes to the same high school as infamous Aussie rocker
Angus Young, from AC/DC. If the school provided any of the
inspiration for songs like “Highway to Hell” and “Dirty Deeds Done
at a Discount”, I think my son will learn a lot there. In fact, he
might even learn that gambling doesn’t pay.
weekday mornings, I often walk my son to school and then hop a
train into the city. As we’re... Continue Reading
The other day I was having lunch with a Minitab user. She asked
if Minitab Statistical Software
could calculate the number of business days between two dates,
excluding weekends and holidays. “I’m not sure,” I said. “I’ll look
I am happy to report that Minitab can indeed do this. Which is
good, because this would be a pretty disappointing blog post
otherwise. It’s actually really easy,... Continue Reading
The other day a colleague of mine mentioned a use for Minitab's
Tally command that I didn't know about. I thought I would share it
with you in the form of contrived anecdote. I hope you enjoy
Bob works at a manufacturing plant. You may remember Bob as the guy
who was obsessed with gnomes. Well, his work with
gnomes was so exemplary that he was promoted to work in the Garden
Tool Division. Bob... Continue Reading
I am an outlier. Of the people who work in my department, I go
to the fewest meetings, I talk with others the least, and I make
the least use of our exercise facilities. But this is not because I
am negligent, anti-social, or lazy. It is because I am separated
from the rest of my department by about 10,000 miles.You see, my family and I have had the opportunity recently to move
to beautiful... Continue Reading
I was playing around with the power and sample size graphs
in Minitab recently, and I noticed something interesting. Power,
for the uninitiated, is usually described as the likelihood that
you will find a significant effect or difference when one truly
exists. There is a lot of good content on Power in the Minitab
Help, StatGuide and Glossary. In any case, rather than simply
describe what I found,... Continue Reading
I followed the nurse down the long beige hallway and had a seat.
“The doctor will be with you shortly,” she said as she turned to
It had been a month since my last visit. My doctor
had prescribed me a statin drug to lower my cholesterol. I had
prescribed him a P chart to monitor his wait times. I was anxious
to find out how both had worked.“Ah there he is,” said my doctor as he entered the... Continue Reading
So I’m in
my doctor’s office the other day and he tells me my “LDL” is
“What’s an LDL?” I asked.
“I’m glad you asked,” he said. “You see, LDL is the bad cholesterol
and you want it to be low.”
“So there’s a good cholesterol?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s called HDL, and yours should be higher.”“Oh, so the HDL should be higher than the LDL? Kind of like how the
UCL is higher than the LCL... Continue Reading
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