My big problem with Statista

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Your Web search for data will often land on statista.com. Unless you’re a member, though, the data will be missing the source — which makes it worse than useless. Statista’s policies undermine the integrity of research and data and contribute to the flood of bad statistics and dubious surveys you read in media. Let’s take … Continued

Is America the best in the world in COVID success, or the worst?

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Donald Trump believes that the US leads the world in successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic. His argument about that with Jonathan Swan, a reporter from Axios, was aired last night. Here’s part of it: Since it’s worth discussing how you measure success with the virus, I took a look at the statistics and how … Continued

Is a Tesla on Autopilot safer? Maybe, but Elon Musk’s stats are crooked

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Elon Musk says Tesla is twice as safe with Autopilot on, but his stats don’t add up. Here’s Musk’s tweet. Here’s the quote from Tesla’s report, as published in Teslarati: “In the 4th quarter, we registered one accident for every 2.91 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot, … Continued

5 reasons the Senate race polls in Alabama are wrong

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Who’s going to win the special election for the next U.S. Senator from Alabama? According to the two most recent polls, it’s either Republican Roy Moore by 9 points or Democrat Doug Jones by 10 points. How is this much variation even possible? Unless a pollster stands over the shoulder of each individual who votes … Continued

The Insight Debate: Words vs. Numbers

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Moderator: Welcome to the first Insight Debate of 2017. We’ll be hearing from two distinguished purveyors of knowledge, Words and Numbers. I’m Professor Insight, your moderator. Let’s begin. On my left, I’d like to introduce Words. Since the dawn of communication — and certainly since the dawn of written communication over 5000 years ago — words have … Continued

Nate Silver wasn’t wrong

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My Facebook feed is full of people angry at election forecaster Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, declaring him a failure. They’re wrong. Here’s why he was right . . . and why you’re blaming the wrong guy. My argument has three simple points: Nate Silver’s forecast wasn’t wrong, because he didn’t predict a Clinton win. Polling … Continued

Why all this talk about the “median” income?

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The US Census Bureau released figures yesterday showing that, in 2015, the median annual household income in America increased by 5.2% over a year earlier. That’s an increase of $2,798, to $56,516 per year. Why talk about the “median” and how is that different from an average? I’ll explain. Put simply, when you’re talking about income, the … Continued