• I wanted to know how good of a spouse I’d make so I married 10 times and took an average!

    Dennis Pearl & Larry Lesser

  • by Jules Nyquist

    when zero
    is a temperature
    it is an interval scale
    that dips below an imaginary
    line to go negative, as in a thermometer
    in a pandemic used as permission to measure

    our temperature, but how do we measure
    something that falls below zero
    like the weight of a bird—our thermometer
    won’t register an invisible temperature
    and we will disappear like the imaginary
    checkbook balance of youth, on a scale

    of probability, the chances of converting the Fahrenheit scale
    to Centigrade was remote, the U.S. still measured
    in Fahrenheit behind the rest of the imaginary
    world where a bank balance waits to zero-
    out and a raven pulls shiny coins from the sky in a temperature-
    controlled out-of-the ether mainframe thermometer

    six thousand feet above sea level, a thermometer
    measures the speed on a speedometer scale
    when the motorcycle driver hurls over a temperature-
    reduced mountain ridge to an almost measurable
    crash that soars into a stock-market zero-
    point of ratio scaling, a lie on an imaginary

    boundary where the motorcycle driver imagines
    they never hit the car and the thermometer
    never registered above human normal and zero
    meant nothing, it was only an innocent bathroom scale
    that we blamed added ten immeasurable
    pandemic pounds to our weight and the temperature

    of Earth rose only in the height of trees,
    a temperature that didn’t take into account the imaginary
    altitude sickness that turned out to be very measurable
    and tripled the effect of the beer stored in a thermal
    cooler, found by the side of the scaled
    curve of that mountain road where zero

    was just a measurement of temperature
    and the imaginary paper bank statement never showed zero
    due to there was nothing to scale on the erratic thermometer.

  • Lyrics © 2015 by Larry Lesser, music by Larry Lesser and Dominic Dousa

    Nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio are levels of measurement.
    Let's show that progression with examples that we present.

    With a variable that's nominal, values are just like names.
    So ordering or averaging religions would really be a shame!

    A variable that's ordinal sorts values like a chain,
    But don't assume with Likert scales each jump would mean the same!

    With a variable that's interval, differences are sound,
    But Fahrenheit ratios would only just confound.

    With a variable that's ratio, zero means there's none.
    And when it comes to incomes, two's twice as much as one!

    Examples help us learn what measurement levels are!
    An acronym recalls them:
    It's the French word NOIR!

  • If it is not possible to state unequivocally 'how much is enough,' it should be possible to assert with confidence how much, on an average, is too little.

    Mollie Orshansky (1915 – 2006)

  • Q: Who ranks professions by prestige?
    A: Status-ticians!
    Larry Lesser

  • We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

    Werner Heisenberg (1901 - 1976)

  • Failing the possibility of measuring that which you desire, the lust for measurement may, for example, merely result in your measuring something else - and perhaps forgetting the difference - or in your ignoring some things because they cannot be measured.

    George Udny Yule (1871 - 1951)


  • by Larry Lesser

    Suppose 50 people are randomly chosen
    and asked "Do you fancy yogurt that's frozen?"
    That 50 is viewed as the size of our sample;
    not a variable's value, just for example.
    What's one guy's answer? That's not rhetorical;
    It's a variable that's categorical.

    The way to view it, the way you can know:
    Each person we surveyed says 'yes' or a 'no'.
    Of course, you could tally each label's amounts
    For a summ'ry statistic from each of the counts,
    But that doesn't make the variable numerical
    Each value's a category whose tallies are clerical.

    So, a variable can be very able
    To yield useful data in a nice table,
    But we must assert categorically
    Variable type is important, you see,
    To know what sum'ries and tools you can use
    So bar graphs and histograms won't be confused.

  • Every careful measurement in science is always given with the probable error... every observer admits that he is likely wrong, and knows about how much wrong he is likely to be.

    Bertrand A.W. Russell (1872 - 1970)