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Non-symbolic math

  • Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. is a famous quote of English historian Sir John Dalberg-Acton (1834 - 1902). Of course, Lord Acton was not referring to statistical hypothesis testing when he made the remark in an April 1887 letter to Mandell Creighton. However, the widespread knowledge of the quote by students makes it an interesting way to cover the idea that statistical significance is not the same as practical significance.
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  • This four slide animation deals with the difficulty of drawing random samples. The cartoon animation was drawn by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.
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  • Ellen Gundlach and Nancy Palaez (both of Purdue University) use Calibrated Peer Review, an online writing and peer evaluation program available from UCLA, to introduce statistical literacy to Nancy's freshman biology students and to bring a real-world context to statistical concepts for Ellen's introductory statistics classes in an NSF-funded project. CPR allows instructors in large classes to give their students frequent writing assignments without a heavy grading burden. Ellen and Nancy have their students read research journal articles on interesting subjects and use guiding questions to evaluate these articles for statistical content, experimental design features, and ethical concerns.
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  • A song parody by Steve Snodergren (a.k.a. Al G Bra: see www.reverbnation.com/algbra) that may be sung to the tune of "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. Much of the song relates to concepts about summary statistics and taking a cautious approach to interpreting such summaries. This song appears on Al G Bra's "Old-Time Radical" CD.
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  • A three slide animation dealing with the multiple testing issue of getting false positives when a large number of tests are conducted. The cartoon animation was drawn by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Dennis Pearl (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.
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  • Normal is the average of deviance is a quote by American writer and political activist Rita Mae Brown (1944 - ). The quote may be found on page 126 of her 1993 novel "Venus Envy", spoken by the main character Mary Frazier Armstrong.
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  • It is a common error to infer that things which are consecutive in the order of time have necessarily the relation of cause and effect. is a quote by American botanist and medical educator Jacob Bigelow (1787 - 1879). The quote appears on page 41 of his 1859 book "Nature in Disease: illustrated in various discourses and essays".
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  • I remember my friend Johnny von Neumann used to say, with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk. includes the quote attributed to Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann (1903 - 1957). The full quote was relayed by Enrico Fermi in 1953 when he was asked about the value of a result that used four free parameters in fitting experimental results. (see "A meeting with Enrico Fermi" "Nature" 427: p. 297.)
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  • This anecdote about luck and the horseshoe is found in "Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes" (2000: page 68).
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  • Statistics educators are keenly aware of the value of using real data to help students see the relevance and applicability of statistics. The federal statistical agencies have invested in significant efforts to make data accessible and available. In this webinar, Ron Wasserstein will point you to these resources, discussing their uses and limitations.
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