2016 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the passage of time
and changes. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I love statistics and
analyzing data! I also love talking and writing about it. In fact,
I’ve been writing statistical blog posts for over five years, and
it’s been an absolute blast. John Tukey, the renowned statistician,
once said, “The best thing about being a statistician... Continue Reading
by Matt Barsalou, guest blogger
I know that Thanksgiving is always on the last Thursday in
November, but somehow I failed to notice it was fast approaching
until the Monday before Thanksgiving. This led to frantically
sending a last-minute invitation, and a hunt for a turkey.
I live in Germany and this greatly complicated the matter. Not
only is Thanksgiving not celebrated, but also actual turkeys... Continue Reading
again, with the arrival of autumn, it's time for a flu shot.
I get a flu shot every year even though I know they’re not
perfect. I figure they’re a relatively easy and inexpensive way to
reduce the chance of having a miserable week.
I’ve heard on various news media that their effectiveness is
about 60%. But what does 60% effectiveness mean, exactly? How much
does this actually reduce the... Continue Reading
In Part 1 of this
blog series, I wrote about how statistical inference uses data
from a sample of individuals to reach conclusions about the whole
population. That’s a very powerful tool, but you must check your
assumptions when you make statistical inferences. Violating any of
these assumptions can result in false positives or false negatives,
thus invalidating your results.
The common data... Continue Reading
If you’re not a statistician, looking through statistical output
can sometimes make you feel a bit like Alice in
Wonderland. Suddenly, you step into a fantastical world
where strange and mysterious phantasms appear out of nowhere.
For example, consider the T and P in your t-test results.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” you might exclaim, like Alice, as you
gaze at your output.
What are these values,... Continue Reading
Statistical inference uses data from a sample of individuals to
reach conclusions about the whole population. It’s a very
powerful tool. But as the saying goes, “With great
power comes great responsibility!” When attempting to make
inferences from sample data, you must check your assumptions.
Violating any of these assumptions can result in false positives or
false negatives, thus invalidating... Continue Reading
Data mining can be helpful in the exploratory phase of an
analysis. If you're in the early stages and you're just figuring
out which predictors are potentially correlated with your response
variable, data mining can help you identify candidates. However,
there are problems associated with using data mining to select
In my previous post, we used data mining to settle on
the following... Continue Reading
watched an old motorcycle flick from the 1960s the other night, and I
was struck by the bikers' slang. They had a language all their own.
Just like statisticians, whose manner of speaking often confounds
those who aren't hep to the lingo of data analysis.
It got me thinking...what if there were an all-statistician
biker gang? Call them the Nulls Angels. Imagine them in their
colors, tearing... Continue Reading
If you were among the 300 people who attended the first-ever
Minitab Insights conference in September, you already know how
powerful it was. Attendees learned how practitioners from a
wide range of industries use data analysis to address a variety of
problems, find solutions, and improve business practices.
In the coming weeks and months, we will share more of the great
insights and guidance shared... Continue Reading
True or false: When comparing a parameter for two sets of
measurements, you should always use a hypothesis test to determine
whether the difference is statistically significant.
The answer? (drumroll...) True!
To understand this paradoxical answer, you need to keep in mind
the difference between samples, populations, and descriptive and
Descriptive Statistics and... Continue Reading
mining uses algorithms to explore correlations in data sets. An
automated procedure sorts through large numbers of variables and
includes them in the model based on statistical significance alone.
No thought is given to whether the variables and the signs and
magnitudes of their coefficients make theoretical sense.
We tend to think of data mining in the context of big data, with
its huge... Continue Reading
September 16, is World Ozone Day. You don't hear much about the
ozone layer any more.
In fact, if you’re under 30, you might think this is just
another trivial, obscure observance, along the lines of International Dot Day (yesterday) or National Apple Dumpling Day (tomorrow).
But there’s a good reason that, almost 30 years ago, the United
Nations designated today to as a day to raise... Continue Reading
performed multiple linear regression and have settled on a model
which contains several predictor variables that are statistically
significant. At this point, it’s common to ask, “Which variable is
This question is more complicated than it first appears. For one
thing, how you define “most important” often depends on your
subject area and goals. For another, how you collect... Continue Reading
There may be huge potential benefits waiting in the data in your
servers. These data may be used for many different purposes. Better
data allows better decisions, of course. Banks, insurance firms,
and telecom companies already own a large amount of data about
their customers. These resources are useful for building a more
personal relationship with each customer.
Some organizations already use... Continue Reading
The college football season is here, and this raises a very
Is Alabama going to be undefeated when they win the national
championship, or will they lose a regular-season game along the
Okay, so it's not a given that Alabama is going to win
the championship this year, but when you've won 4 of the last 7
you're definitely the odds-on favorite.
However, what if we wanted to take... Continue Reading
In 2011 we had solar panels fitted on our property. In the last
few months we have noticed a few problems with the inverter (the
equipment that converts the electricity generated by the panels
from DC to AC, and manages the transfer of unused electric to the
power company). It was shutting down at various times throughout
the day, typically when it was very sunny, resulting in no
electricity being... Continue Reading
See if this
sounds fair to you. I flip a coin.
Heads: You win
$1.Tails: You pay me $1.
You may not like games of chance, but you have to admit it seems
like a fair game. At least, assuming the coin is a normal, balanced
coin, and assuming I’m not a sleight-of-hand magician who can
control the coin.
How about this next
You pay me $2 to play.I flip a coin over and over until
it comes up heads.Your... Continue Reading
I blogged a few months back about three different Minitab tools
you can use to examine your data over time. Did you know you
that you can also use a simple run chart to display how your
process data changes over time? Of course those “changes” could be
evidence of special-cause variation, which a run chart can help you
What’s special-cause variation, and how’s it different from
common-cause... Continue Reading
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