# Measurement

• ### The Average Marriage

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

• ### Spurious Correlation Sestina

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.

• ### Levels of Measurement

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!

• ### Orshansky on Measuring Poverty

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)

• ### Measuring Prestige

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

• ### Heisenberg on Observing Nature

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

Werner Heisenberg (1901 - 1976)

• ### Yule on Measurement

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)

• ### Very Able to Know Each Variable

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.

• ### Russell on Measurement Error

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)