• Lyrics © Mary McLellan
    may sing to the tune of "I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash

    The best it can be is if you use true P
    If you don’t have that, you can just use P-hat
    The worst case scenario is those don’t jive.
    Please don’t cry, cry…
    Just use point 5
    Please don’t cry cry…
    Just use point 5


  • Lyrics © Mary McLellan
    may sing to the tune of  "Can't Buy Me Love" by The Beatles

    Confidence level
    Not an interval
    Confidence level
    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    Let’s say 95%, 95%
    Of all 95%, 95%
    Intervals of confidence,
    They contain the TRUE
    Of interest
    Oh, oh, oh, oh

    Repeat with 98%

  • In this 1952 short story from the science fiction magazine Galaxy, a statistician notices trends in everything from war and famine to women unexpectedly stripping off their clothes in public. He concludes that the year 1954 is going to be an exceptionally bad year. With his new girlfriend, he runs to the country to hide. As the world collapses around them, he reads his journals and finds an article of interest (because of its presentation of Heinlein's concept of research in the USSR as well as for its mathematical content and significance to the plot). Unfortunately for the protagonist, the implications of the article are worse than even he had imagined. Escaping to the country with his girlfriend was not sufficient precautions to escape the disaster that Dynkowski predicted with his mathematics.

  • A statistician sells her soul to the devil in exchange for guaranteed tenure, but redeems herself by creating a cleverly useless confidence interval. The character understands what a confidence interval actually is, but here the definition is intentionally twisted, to humorous effect. The alternative definition adopted in this fantasy to save the protagonist's soul may even be closer than many of the misconceptions that are often encountered. 

  • … motivation is highest when the probability of success is 50 percent: We don't get involved if the task is too easy or too hard.

    Judith M. Bardwick (1933 – )

  • by Eveline Pye

    Somewhere close, nuclear warheads trundle down a potholed road and I am concerned that,
    though they say the risk is low, no one says what low means and though there may be
    a number trapped on a hard disc, no one knows if it’s even halfway near to being right.

    Then there’s the internal report for the shiplift at Faslane, for when it cradles
    Trident submarines, I worry they had to black out their own best guess so we don’t know the chance
    of a platform collapse, or plane crash, fire, explosion, or even being peppered with plutonium.

    It’s as though the MoD believe disasters won’t happen to them or us, as if they believe
    all swans are white, because every swan they ever saw was white, as if they think
    they understand the fickle migration of birds while beyond their ken, a butterfly flaps

    its chaotic wings, the wind changes direction and somewhere far away a black swan
    takes to the air, lifts its heavy body upwards, defies gravity and soars above us.
    Invisible in the night sky except for its blood red beak –

    dark arrow
    coming towards us
    changing everything.

  • Lyrics copyright by Alan Reifman.
    May sing to the tune of "Moon Shadow" by Cat Stevens

    Within your CI, you get the true value, true value, true value,
    With 95%, you get the true value, true value, true value,

    You get a sample statistic, a sample r, or sample M,
    You then take plus-or-minus two (it’s really 1.96…), standard errors beyond your stat,
    And within this new interval, we can be, so confident,
    That the true value, mu or rho, will be somewhere… inside…, our confidence interval,

    Within your CI, you get the true value, true value, true value,
    With 95%, you get the true value, true value, true value...