Communicating statistical concepts quickly and clearly is just as critical as being able to calculate them, so I focus on quick, practical insights about statistics to help you make data-driven decisions. Continue Reading »
You know the
famous proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
It's especially true when you're casting your line for
When I first started using Minitab Statistical
Software, it was daunting trying to learn all
of its analysis capabilities. There are hundreds of
commands in the Stat menu alone!
Eventually, I found that... Continue Reading
Sheriff Taylor: Remember the talk we had awhile back about Pp?Barney: Keep talking like a
potty mouth, Andy, and Aunt Bea’s going to wash your mouth out
with soap!Sherriff Taylor (sighs): So you remember that Pp
is the ratio of the specification spread to—Barney (interrupts): —the process spread! Yeah,
yeah, I got all that. And the smaller your car (process
spread), relative to its parking space... Continue Reading
Sheriff Taylor: What’s wrong Barney?Barney: Someone spilled alphabet soup all over my
capability output! Wait till I catch the practical joker who did
this!! They’ll be sorry!!Sheriff Taylor: That’s not alphabet soup, Barney.
Those are capability indices.Barney: I don’t see any indecisives, Andy. I just
see a big mess of letters: Cp, Pp, Cpk, Ppk, Cpm,
PPM…LMAO!Sheriff Taylor: LMAO is not part of... Continue Reading
the mountain of statistics backing the relative safety of air
travel, I’m a nervous flyer.
If a plane hits turbulence, I turn a light shade of olive green
and start panting like a sick dog. When I look around the
plane compartment, everyone else seems bored and unconcerned.
Me? I’m clutching the arm rest, as 10,000 tiny ballerinas turn
pirouettes in the pit of my stomach. It’s a visceral... Continue Reading
Mamun and Mohammad Ujjal are riding across the U.S. on a bicycle
built for two.
As they pedal in sync from Seattle to New York, they're not only
gazing at our purple mountains’ majesty and amber waves of grain.
They’re also keeping their eyes peeled for plastic soda bottles,
glass beer bottles, and styrofoam cups!
These self-dubbed “trashmaniacs” are collecting and recording
every piece of... Continue Reading
In response to a previous post, a reader asked about
the best way to represent variation in data. The reader was
specifically asking about error bars, which are sometimes displayed
on graphs as standard deviation (SD), standard error (SE), or
confidence intervals (CIs).
I'd like to broaden the implications of this excellent
question. What does each estimate of variation tell you—and
what doesn’t it... Continue Reading
you’ve been marooned on a desert island, you've probably been
hearing a lot of hullaboo about the Higgs boson particle over the
last few days.
Scientists claim they’ve finally proven the existence of this
long sought-after “God particle,” which supports the standard model
of the universe by identifying the particle that gives mass to
other particles like protons and electrons.If you’re keen... Continue Reading
doctor’s advice to beat the heat? Chuck it all and head to the
nearest lake, river, or ocean. Stick your bare feet in the
cold water, and avoid all strenuous activity—except maybe skipping
Yes, it’s a perfect time to lazily hone your technique and
prepare for the upcoming Pennsylvania Qualifying Stone Skipping
Tourney. Every year, amateur and professional skippers
congregate on the... Continue Reading
The 2012 U.S.
presidential campaign is kicking into high gear. And you know
what that means.
Political memes will soon be hatching from their electronic
eggs, flying through myriad channels of the media,
and buzzing annoyingly in your ears.Memes are kernels of content that spread rapidly across
the internet. Love them or hate them, you can’t deny
their proliferation or their impact on our... Continue Reading
The other day I
stopped at a fast food joint for the first time in a
After I ordered my food, the cashier asked me if I
wanted to upgrade to
the “Super-Smiley-Savings-Meal” or something like that,
and I said, “Sure.”
When it came, I was astounded to see the gargantuan soda
cup. I don’t know how many ounces it was, but you could have bathed
a dachshund in it.
If I drank all the Coke that... Continue Reading
In my last
blog, we looked at how a single data entry error can cruelly
sabotage your statistical analysis.
And if that doesn't scare you silly, maybe this will.
The frequency of data entry errors can be as high as 27%, even when
using the conservative "double-entry" method to record each
data value twice.So what can you do? Besides make offerings to appease Ate, the
ancient Greek goddess of... Continue Reading
demands of modern life can make us very
We should all do our best to slow down and not make sally
mistakes. But it can be tough.
With information coming at us from all
directions, it's easy to get side-tracked and lose your …um,
But it's critical to prevent careless erors from creeping
into your data. Because if you're not careful, a lot of
innocent men may wind up... Continue Reading
know about you, but I’m thankful we no longer live in a time when
we feel compelled to swig swamp-root juice any time we want to feel
better. The field of medicine couldn’t advance by relying solely on
subjective anecdotes and testimonials, like those for Dr. Kilmer’s
Using statistical analyses, we can now objectively evaluate
various preventions and treatments in measurable,... Continue Reading
measurement system depends on subjective decision-making, it’s
critical to evaluate its consistency and accuracy.
Lately, I’ve been bottle-feeding my work
colleagues skunky and sour beer to see how well they can
identify defective grog.
Now it’s time to evaluate my (hic) go/no-go
gage in Minitab using an Attribute Agreement
How well did our appraisers do? Let's look at the ... Continue Reading
been hiding empty beer bottles in my office lately. I hope no one
finds them. My boss is in the next office and he's already asked
about the occasional "clinking sounds.” I told him I’m practicing
castanets for the Minitab talent show.
But it's not what you think. Inspired by the relationship between beer and statistics,
I'm conducting an attribute agreement
analysis of beer appraisals.... Continue Reading
well-known fact that consumption of beer leads to improved
statistical quality analysis.
Before you start pounding beers at your desk to get your
p-values lower than alpha, let me explain. It’s a famous story in
the history of statistics, and one that bears retelling for St.
A Painstaking Process in the Land of Patricks
In the early 1900s, the Guinness Brewery in Dublin was... Continue Reading
Poring over a printout of radio signals in the late 1970s, an
astronomer at the Big Ear telescope at Ohio State University was
flabbergasted to discover what appeared to be a big ole
“How-Do-You-Do?” from space aliens, jumping out from the
everyday mish-mash of earthly radio signals. He circled the
signal and recorded his amazement in the margin in red:
The signal appeared to come from the... Continue Reading
“How do you
write your blogs?" someone asked me the other day.
“It’s really simple," I replied. "I just apply the
infinite monkey theorem.”
According to the infinite monkey theorem, if enough
monkeys type randomly on a keyboard for a long enough time
(infinity), they will be almost certain to produce any given text:
a play by Shakespeare, the U.S. Constitution, or Minitab
Help.A key premise is the... Continue Reading
When you think of design of
experiments (DOE), what types of applications come to mind? Do
visions of camshafts, widgets, capacitors, resistors, and
other industrial thingamabobs dance in your
If so, that's probably because DOE has such powerful and successful applications
in manufacturing. Those experiments often
involve changing levels of physical factors, such as temperature or
pressure... Continue Reading
The Bickersons Battle Over
Meet Betty and Bart Bickerson, husband and wife
quality analysts who work at different companies.
Betty and Bart argue about
everything. They argue whether grey is a color. They argue whether
tomato is a fruit. They argue whether the chicken came before the
egg, and whether the egg tastes better fried, scrambled, or
But their relationship didn’t get
really... Continue Reading
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worldwide have used Minitab to learn statistics than any other package.
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