Posting out the week – Why Stats Lie




Maybe I should say “How Stats Lie” or “Stats That I Don’t Like Lie”.

The weekend is upon us and I have TOO many books to read (I’ll go into that on another post).  I’m determined to finish reading “The Signal and the Noise” by Nate Silver.  This is a fascinating book and it really makes you think about the barrage of statistics that we’re fed and the difficulty in finding the accurate data on which you can make statistically reasonable decisions.  I’ll save my final recommendation when I finish the book, but on that topic I ran across the following article in WIRED, titled “Brown-Eyed Men May Look More Trustworthy

You can read it for yourself, but it’s a lot of blah-blah-research-look-what-we-found.  Whenever I read about the results of some study I ALWAYS wonder “who paid for this”.  Usually it’s someone whose interest is served by the publication of the article.  In this instance it’s NO DOUBT some brown-eye-dude who did the research and wrote the article.


Why would they take on us blue-eyed folks with statistical nonsense?  “historical mate preferences”?  What does that mean?  Of course he tries to cover his tracks by saying “I’d warn against any social application of the research,”.  YIPES!  I need to go out and buy some brown contact lenses?  But will that fix the underlying problem?

If you love data and statistics as much as I do, I highly recommend that you study up on the latest product sets related to big data, such as Hadoop and the analytical and visualization products that support these big-data systems.

The reason you need to spend time on educating yourself is because we can now instrument almost anything and store massive amounts of data, allowing us to perform real-time analysis on the data.

So, I guess we can now easily write apps that will tell you the ‘trusti-ness’ of men based on their eye-color.  I guess if I had done the research the  article would have titled “Blue-Eyed Men ARE More Trustworthy” or “You Should Trust Blue-Eyed Men” or “Bald-Headed Men Are More Handsome”.

What a silly post!  Have a great weekend!