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Reference Material

  • A joke to introduce the idea of asymptotic distributions. The joke was written by Dennis Pearl of The Ohio State University.

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  • A song lyric by Dennis Pearl of The Ohio State University written as a parody of the 1960 tune "Hit the Road Jack" by Percy Mayfield; made popular by Ray Charles in his 1961 recording. What to say in class before song: There are times when the mode may be preferred to the mean - especially if the concept of interest is tied to understanding the most likely situation. You might remember that Ray Charles used to sing a song about this... In a class where Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methodology has been introduced you might add the following after the first sentence "For example when you assume a uniform non-informative prior for a parameter, then the m.l.e. coincides with the mode of the posterior distribution - and the mean of the posterior distribution may not be a good estimate." Tip for Teaching: The song takes up a bit too much class time for delivering its message. Thus, for in-class use, it is recommended to play only the first verse or three. Musical accompaniment realization and male vocals are by Joshua Lintz, female vocals are by Mariana Sandoval from University of Texas at El Paso.

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  • You can't fix by analysis what you bungled by design. is a quote by American education researchers Richard J. Light, Judith D. Singer, and John B. Willett. The quote is found in the preface of their 1990 book "By Design: planning research on higher education".

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  • There is no such thing as no chance is a quote by American businessman and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford (1863-1947). The quote is from a speech given to the 1930 class of students at Edison Laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It is referred to on page 14 of the 1930 book "American Florist".

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  • A joke to teach the meaning of "significance" written in 2011 by University of Texas at El Paso professor of Mathematical Sciences, Lawrence Mark Lesser (1964-).

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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching ideas about independence and conditional probability. The cartoon is number 795 from the webcomic series at xkcd.com created by Randall Munroe. Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites under a creative commons attribution-non-commercial 2.5 license.

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  • Hot streaks are a statistical illusion! This is a quote from the cartoon character Lisa Simpson created by cartoonist Matt Groening (1954 - ) in 1987. The quote occurs in an episode of The Simpsons entitled "MoneyBART" that originally aired on October 10, 2010. This episode was written by Tim Long (1969 - ).
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  • This issue contains articles about the birthday problem probabilities using simulation analysis using R; making money on eBay using multiple regression to estimate prices of violins; McDonald's French fry actual mass vs. industry standard mass student project; PC vs. Mac computers survey of Harvard students; EESEE electronic story and exercise encyclopedia; 12 types of variables used in statistical analysis; the history of probability in the Enlightenment for rational decisions in law, science, and politics.
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  • This issue contains articles on: The advantages and pitfalls of using online panel research, including a discussion of improving data quality and designing the survey research strategically, sequential sampling and testing in a "simple against simple" situation, including a description of Abraham Wald's historical and theoretical contributions to the theory, and R code for running simulations, and the experience and results of an exit poll conducted by two students in Washington D.C. during the 2008 presidential election.
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  • Mathematics alone make us feel the limits of our intelligence. For we can always suppose in the case of an experiment that it is inexplicable because we don't happen to have all the data. In mathematics we have all the data and yet we don't understand. is a quote by French philosopher and political activist Simone Weil (1909-1943). The quote may be found on page 511 of the second volume of "Simone Weil's Notebooks" first published in English in 1956 (translated by Arthur Willis).
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