December 6, 2009

Metrics from where the sun don't shine

Posted by Ben Simo


December 5, 2009

Numbers don't lie, people do.

Posted by Ben Simo

“despite its mathematical base, 

statistics is as much an art as it is a science.
… Often the statistician must choose among methods,
a subjective process,
and find the one

 that he will use to represent the facts.
This suggests giving statistical material …
a very sharp second look

 before accepting any of them. …
But arbitrarily rejecting statistical methods 
makes no sense either.

That is like refusing to read 

because writers sometimes
use words to hide facts and relationships
rather than to reveal them.”

- Darrell Huff,
How To Lie With Statistics, 1954

“No doubt 
some graphics do distort
 the underlying data,
making it hard for the viewer 

to learn the truth.
But data graphics are no different 

from words in this regard,
for any means of communication 

can be used to deceive.”

- Edward Tufte,
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information