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Statistical Topic

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  • September 22, 2009 Activity Webinar presented by Diane Evans, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Capital University. This webinar is based on an activity found at www.lhs.logan.k12.ut.us/~jsmart/tank.htm and other on-line resources (see references). During World War II, the British and U.S. statisticians used estimation methods to deduce the productivity of Germany's armament factories using serial numbers found on captured equipment, such as tanks. The tanks were numbered in a manner similar to 1, 2, 3, ..., N, and the goal of the allies was to estimate the population maximum N from their collected sample of serial numbers. The purpose of this activity is to introduce students to the concept of an unbiased estimator of a population parameter. Students develop several estimators for the parameter N and compare them by running simulations in Minitab. Extra materials available for download free of charge.
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  • The best way to predict the future is to invent it. This is a quote by American computer scientist Alan C. Kay (1940 - ). The quote was said at a 1971 meeting of Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center.
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  • A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: 'Duh.' This a quote from American comedian and talk show host Conan O'Brien (1963 - ) delivered on his TV show "Late Night with Conan O'Brien".
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  • Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that. This is a quote from the cartoon character Homer Simpson created by cartoonist Matt Groening (1954 - ) in 1987. The quote occurs in an episode of "The Simpsons" entitled "Homer the Vigilante" that originally aired on January 6, 1994. This episode was written by John Swartzwelder (1950 - )
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  • A cartoon to teach the idea that the mean of a distribution is found by integrating xf(x).
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  • Sampling Samba is a video that may be used to discuss and compare various methods of sampling. The methods described include random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, and cluster sampling. The video was written by Camilla Guatteri (SeeYouGee on You-Tube) and edited by Alessandro Pederzoli.
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  • 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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