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Univariate Distributions

  • This anecdote about luck and the horseshoe is found in "Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes" (2000: page 68).
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  • March 24, 2009 Activity webinar presented by Nicholas Horton, Smith College, and hosted by Leigh Slauson, Otterbein College. Students have a hard time making the connection between variance and risk. To convey the connection, Foster and Stine (Being Warren Buffett: A Classroom Simulation of Risk and Wealth when Investing in the Stock Market; The American Statistician, 2006, 60:53-60) developed a classroom simulation. In the simulation, groups of students roll three colored dice that determine the success of three "investments". The simulated investments behave quite differently. The value of one remains almost constant, another drifts slowly upward, and the third climbs to extremes or plummets. As the simulation proceeds, some groups have great success with this last investment--they become the "Warren Buffetts" of the class. For most groups, however, this last investment leads to ruin because of variance in its returns. The marked difference in outcomes shows students how hard it is to separate luck from skill. The simulation also demonstrates how portfolios, weighted combinations of investments, reduce the variance. In the simulation, a mixture of two poor investments is surprisingly good. In this webinar, the activity is demonstrated along with a discussion of goals, context, background materials, class handouts, and references (extra materials available for download free of charge)

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  • A sketch by Anastasia Mandel reinterpreting "The Cardsharps" by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (c. 1594-1596) with the statistical caption "A naive Bayes estimation." This is part of a collection of sketches by Anastasia Mandel and their accompanying statistical captions written by Stan Lipovetsky and Igor Mandel that took first place in the cartoon & art category of the 2009 A-Mu-sing contest sponsored by CAUSE. The collection and their accompanying statistical captions discussed in the paper "How art helps to understand statistics" (Model Assisted Statistics and Applications, 2009) by Stan Lipovetsky and Igor Mandel in volume 4 pages 313-324. Free to use in classrooms and on course websites.
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  • A sketch by Anastasia Mandel reinterpreting "Road Before the Mountains, Sainte-Victoire" by Paul Cezanne (c. 1898-1902) with the statistical caption "Almost normal distribution." This is part of a collection of sketches by Anastasia Mandel and their accompanying statistical captions written by Stan Lipovetsky and Igor Mandel that took first place in the cartoon & art category of the 2009 A-Mu-sing contest sponsored by CAUSE. The collection and their accompanying statistical captions discussed in the paper "How art helps to understand statistics" (Model Assisted Statistics and Applications, 2009) by Stan Lipovetsky and Igor Mandel in volume 4 pages 313-324. Free to use in classrooms and on course websites.
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  • A sketch by Anastasia Mandel reinterpreting "Mont Sainte-Victoire" by Paul Cezanne (1898) with the statistical caption "A skewed distribution, but the same mountain (always look at things from different angles)." This is part of a collection of sketches by Anastasia Mandel and their accompanying statistical captions written by Stan Lipovetsky and Igor Mandel that took first place in the cartoon & art category of the 2009 A-Mu-sing contest sponsored by CAUSE. The collection and their accompanying statistical captions discussed in the paper "How art helps to understand statistics" (Model Assisted Statistics and Applications, 2009) by Stan Lipovetsky and Igor Mandel in volume 4 pages 313-324. Free to use in classrooms and on course websites.
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  • A cartoon suitable for use in teaching about time series plots. The cartoon is number 252 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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  • Normality is a myth; there never has, and never will be, a normal distribution. A quote by Irish statistician and econometrician Roy C. Geary (1896 - 1983) found in "Biometrika" volume 34, 1947, page 241.

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  • This limerick was written by Columbia University professor of biostatistics, Joseph L. Fleiss (1938 -2003). It was published along with three other limericks by Dr. Fleiss in a letter to the editor of "The American Statistician" (volume 2; 1967, page 49). It was written while he worked as a biostatistician at the Department of Mental Hygiene of the State of New York just prior to receiving his Ph.D. and joining the faculty at Columbia.
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  • A cartoon for general use with discussions of election polls. Cartoon by John Landers (www.landers.co.uk) based on an idea from Steve MacEachern (The Ohio State University). Free to use in the classroom and on course web sites.
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  • A cartoon to teach about how researchers usually hope to find differences between treatment and control (or do they?). Cartoon 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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