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# History

• ### Random Sample

lyric © 2017 Lawrence M. Lesser
sing to the tune of the KC & the Sunshine Band hit “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty”

picked Landon to
Gallup
disagreed
from thousands picked by chance.

CHORUS:
(Shake, shake, shake,
shake, shake, shake:
random sample,
random sample)2x

Ahhh, you think
you can pick them
very well,
But drafting
for Vietnam
wasn’t swell.

(Repeat Chorus)

Shake, shake, shake
shake, shake, shake:
iPod Shuffle,
quick pick lotto.
Shake, shake, shake,
take, take, take:
random sample!

• ### Divvy up the Stakes

lyric © 2017 Lawrence M. Lesser
sing to the tune of “Every Breath You Take” (Sting)

For a two-man game
where chances are the same.
to win each frame,
you just play the game to a score agreed to.

If you take a break,
divvy up the stakes.
For fairness’ sake,
you may only take what is due to you.

Now we did see  in 17th-century:
Pascal and Fermat gave  a solution they made

Well, their letters say
just how many ways
the unfinished frames
could have been played and how odds accrue.

Problem solved, thanks to Pascal and Fermat,
but there is more that their answer did unlock:
Just look around at the theory that we use
of probability and its allied tools.
Let’s rejoice this problem of the points…….

Divvy up the stakes
for an unfinished game:
For fairness’ sake,
you may only take what is mu for you.

• ### Take Me Out to the Brew'ry

Lyric © 2017 Lawrence M. Lesser
may sing to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer)

Take me out to the brew'ry,
biggest one in the world:
Guinness used data to lead the pack--
boost the taste and keep costs on track!
But with few, few samples for testing,
mean's error was so unexplained:
then came William Gosset's result
under Student's name!

• ### Slip Slidin' to the Mean

Lyric © 2017 Lawrence M. Lesser
may be sung to the tune of “Slip Slidin’ Away” by Paul Simon

CHORUS: Slip slidin’ to the mean, slip slidin’ to the mean,
You know the less your correlation, the more you’re slip slidin’ to the mean.

Well parents have daughter or son—
Their heights were all observed by England’s Francis Galton:
Extreme parents he did see
Had kids that regressed toward mediocrity!

(Repeat Chorus)

And I know a teacher who gave high praise
To the students whose midterms were the highest As;
But the next test showed those extremes were a partial fluke!

(Repeat Chorus)

And I know a rookie who made the All-Star team
And the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
You can imagine what the coach thinks
When the star has sophomore slump as if there was a jinx!

(Repeat Chorus)

• ### Point-oh-five

Lyric © 2017 Lawrence Mark Lesser
May sing to the tune of "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees

Well you can tell by the way some do a test
They’re just lookin’ for values blessed;
Draw a line and guard it strong
Against an error of Type One.

With point oh-four-nine, it’s okay: Their work may see the light of day.
We can try to understand what makes results significant.
Z of more than 2 lets shaded tails accrue below point-oh-five, point-oh-five.
That’s what Fisher mused so everybody used point-oh-five, point-oh-five.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, point-oh-five, point-oh-five
Ah, ha, ha, ha, point-oh-fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive

• ### Florence

To the tune of “From a Distance” by Julie Gold

With statistics,
many soldiers were saved
in the Crimean War.
With statistics,
Florence Nightingale
found what made the death rate soar.
With statistics, Florence graphed the data
in innovative ways:
A rose diagram, circular histogram,
a polar area display.

With statistics,
uncleanliness was found
to have caused those extra deaths.
With statistics,
Florence led reform
to implement what was best.
With statistics, she founded modern nursing
with brilliance and compassion:
She gave herself to the cause of health,
she took bold action.

God is teaching us, God is teaching us,
God is teaching us through statistics.

With statistics,
England and India
were healthier places to live.
Oh, statistics
shone like the lamp
Florence brought from bed to bed.
With statistics, she set an example
of vision and of strength:
More than pie charts, her mind and heart
would light and lead the way.

• ### Gallup's First Poll

Q: Why did someone think the first scientific opinion poll was done by a knight?

A: Because he heard it was a SIR-vey, by George!

Larry Lesser

• ### The Empassioned Statistician

by Eveline Pye

War-like as the robin, territorial, blooded,
her reputation bleached pencil-pale
to create a sweet-sounding nightingale,
an icon of care in the carnage of Crimea.

No milksop angel offering only
of the lamp sat in the glimmering gloom
classifying the dead, drawing up tables.

The robin’s song is not loud, it has no
fancy trills and whistles; Florence
talked the simple truth of numbers.
Statistics saved a legion of soldiers.

• ### Hiawatha Designs an Experiment

by Sir Maurice G. Kendall (1907 - 1983)

Hiawatha, mighty hunter
He could shoot ten arrows upwards
Shoot them with such strength and swiftness
That the last had left the bowstring
Ere the first to earth descended.
This was commonly regarded
As a feat of skill and cunning.

One or two sarcastic spirits
Pointed out to him, however,
That it might be much more useful
If he sometimes hit the target.
Why not shoot a little straighter
And employ a smaller sample?

Hiawatha, who at college,
Majored in applied statistics
Consequently felt entitled
To instruct his fellow men on
Any subject whatsoever,
Waxed exceedingly indignant
Talked about the law of error,
Talked of loss of information,
Talked about his lack of bias
Pointed out that in the long run
Independent observations
Even though they missed the target
Had an average point of impact
Very near the spot he aimed at
(With the possible exception
Of a set of measure zero.)

This, they said, was rather doubtful.
Anyway, it didn't matter
What resulted in the long run;
Either he must hit the target
Much more often than at present
Or himself would have to pay for
All the arrows that he wasted.

Hiawatha, in a temper,
Quoted parts of R. A. Fisher
Quoted Yates and quoted Finney
Quoted yards of Oscar Kempthorne
Quoted reams of Cox and Cochran
Quoted Anderson and Bancroft
Practically in extenso
Trying to impress upon them
That what actually mattered
Was to estimate the error.

One or two of them admitted
Such a thing might have its uses
Still, they said, he might do better
If he shot a little straighter.

Hiawatha, to convince them,
Organized a shooting contest
Laid out in the proper manner
Of designs experimental
Recommended in the textbooks
(mainly used for tasting tea, but
Sometimes used in other cases)
Randomized his shooting order
In factorial arrangements
Used in the theory of Galois
Fields if ideal polynomials
Got a nicely balanced layout
And successfully confounded
Second-order interactions.

All the other tribal marksmen
Ignorant, benighted creatures,
Of experimental setups
Spent their time of preparation
Putting in a lot of practice
Merely shooting at the target.

Thus it happened in the contest
That their scores were most impressive
With one solitary exception
This (I hate to have to say it)
Was the score of Hiawatha,
Who, as usual, shot his arrows
Shot them with great strength and swiftness
Managing to be unbiased
Not, however, with his salvo
Managing to hit the target.
There, they said to Hiawatha,
That is what we all expected.

Hiawatha, nothing daunted,
Called for pen and called for paper
Did analyses of variance
Finally produced the figures
Everybody else was biased
And the variance components
Did not differ from each other's
Or from Hiawatha's
(This last point, one should acknowledge
Might have been much more convincing
If he hadn't been compelled to
Estimate his own component
From experimental plots in
Which the values all were missing.
Still, they couldn't understand it
So they couldn't raise objections
This is what so often happens
With analyses of variance.)

All the same, his fellow tribesmen
Ignorant, benighted heathens,
Took away his bow and arrows,
Said that though our Hiawatha
Was a brilliant statistician
He was useless as a bowman,
As for variance components
Several of the more outspoken
Hurtful to the finer feelings
Even of a statistician.

In a corner of the forest
Dwells alone my Hiawatha
Permanently cogitating
On the normal law of error
Wondering in idle moments
Whether an increased precision
Might perhaps be rather better
Even at the risk of bias
If thereby one, now and then, could
Register upon the target.

• ### The Normal Law

by W.J. Youden (1900 - 1971)

THE
NORMAL
LAW OF ERROR
STANDS OUT IN THE
EXPERIENCE OF MANKIND