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Joke: Drawing conclusions from data

This joke can be used to motivate class discussions on the assumptions underlying drawing conclusions from data (especially the assumption of stationarity). The joke is a revision of a story in "The Angel's Dictionary: A modern tribute to Ambrose Bierce" by Edmund Volkart - also quoted in "Statistically Speaking: A dictionary of Quotations" by Carl Gaither and Alma Cavazos-Gaither (page 62). The revision (to make the story suitable for classroom use) was written by Dennis Pearl, The Ohio State University.

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Dennis Pearl
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