Statistics! A useful tool?

Hi all!

What worthy are statistics? Many political or commercial decisions are made caused by statistics. A little example for a statistical worth:

A huntsman saw a rabbit sitting in the fields. As he had two bullits in his gun he shot twice. The first shot met a hand above the rabbit and the second shot met a hand below the rabbit. Now statistically, the rabbit were dead! :lol: :lol:

I came across this theme as sometimes I recieve 2-3 telephone-calls a week when the interviewer makes a most important impression and try to get some answers concerning themes like pet-food, behaviour on holiday, color of the garden drafts cap and so on… Sometimes I leave that communication without comment, sometimes I myself try to irritate the interviewer and sometimes I try to sound serious and tell them wrong facts.

What do you do if you receive such interview-calls? Do you think that the results of such statistics are worthy anything?


Hi, Michael

‘Someone read in the Script that God protects all fools and decided to test it empirically. He jumped out of the window and broke a leg. There he lies, writhing in pain, and happily thinks: ‘I never really considered myself a fool, but I never knew I was THAT clever!’.’

‘Q: Why do people decide to become statisticians?
A: They find accounting too exciting.’

Lots of jokes… well-grounded :slight_smile:

On the other side, Michael, at now, even old ‘exact science’ (not sociology or pedagogics…) admit that without statistical models and methods of validation they simply cannot move ahead (as the world is organized statistically and most of their natural laws work statistically only. See the above joke about all fools :D)

Of course, in bad hands (in particular, when results or their interpretation are ordered and pre-ordained by a concerned party) statistics becomes one the best tool for tricky falsification.

‘Politicians use statistics as a drunk uses a lamp post - for support rather than illumination.’

[color=blue]would be/should have been

Before we get into your statistics question, Mr. Babble-head, I’d just like to mention that the word “were” has probably become your most frequent mistake. (I don’t have the exact statistics, though. ;))

Those kinds of phone calls annoy me, too. But I have a very devious way of dealing with them:
I always just start speaking English (very slang English) and pretend I don’t know any German. :twisted: Usually the caller just gives up because either his/her English is not good enough to ask the questions or he/she can’t understand my slang English — or both. 8)

On the other hand, sometimes these types of calls don’t come from people, but rather from evil robots (a computerized call). A machine calls you! And they don’t understand my “I don’t speak German” ruse. So, I just rudely hang up on those.


One additional comment:

‘Evil’ is exactly the word. And don’t you just hate it when you’re put through to a pre-recorded message, where each word is said by a different, incredibly poser voice. The funny thing about it is that the message sounds a bit like chinese, with a different note for each syllable :slight_smile: !


I’m not quite sure how we got onto dodgy (hope that’s not an East coast word) phone calls but recently I changed my electricity supplier. Although I’ve been paying bills of theirs since well back into the last century, suddenly I’m the centre of interest, the flavour of the month almost the bee’s knees. They’ve ignored me all the time in the past - not so much as a by yer leave. Now they want to know why and I tell them it’s none of their business (I’m not sure really why I did) and they can’t handle that. The other thing is that a charming lady from India keeps phoning me up and welcoming me to British Gas (she could benefit from a spell on this site) and when I tell her that I’ve been with them probably as long as before she was born, she sounds confused. Maybe on her checklist they don’t provide info on how to deal with nutters.


:lol: :lol:

Interesting expression (new to me)!

Or maybe she’s considering changing jobs (pondering: "If staying so long with the company does that to people…)!!

Hi together!

Oh dear, what a mass of interesting information in your replies. So I think I?ll begin with my miserable mistakes of English grammar:

Amy, you don?t need any statistics, if my faulty use of were is that obvious. :oops: Thank you, certainly there is a defect in my understanding about using the possibility form. I?ll check that and return to it in the grammar forum. And the other mistake you pointed out, I don?t know what devil drives me sometimes making such errors :evil: , but there are lots of possibilities to express a thought, so that I sometimes decide for the most bad or faulty one. Nevertheless, I take your correction, hope that I?ll find a better expression on the next occassion and am sure that you will correct me when I fail again . :wink:

It?s a funny to imagine that the sales clerk try to understand and to talk to you in English :lol: and if I?m experineced enough anytime I?ll try that too. Nowadays, when I?m called by a sales clerk, who always try to wake up my interest in his offering, I keep talking off topic. I mean they always offer an advantage or similar before they come to the point. So I show interest in the advantage they mention and keep babbling about that. I remeber a recent interview I had with a sales clerk from the Southern German Lottery. She began with offering me a weekend in Munich, one night in a hotel and giving me a ticket for the TV Show “Wer wird Million?r?”, all for free. So I asked her how the travel would become organized and in what hotel I would get a room for the night and kept talking about that. Of course, she didn?t know about that and felt overcharged. So she fetched her supervisor who tried to sell me a Lottery-ticket too. I joined that game until the moment when the supervisor wanted to get my bank-connection. He was really angry when I made sure that I never give my bank-connection on the phone. :lol: :lol: As I wasn?t hurry I enjoyed that game.

Conchita, congratulation for having a new Boxing-World-Champion, Javier Castillejo. Is he your neighbour? I mean as he resides in Madrid too. :wink:


Hi Alan, isn?t it interesting that those campanies force the enthusiasm of their employees, but don?t educate them how to talk to old nutters? Anyhow it seems to refer to George Orwell?s “1984”, doesn?t it? :? :lol:

Hi Tamara!

I wonder how clever your “Someone, who read the script” would have felt, if he would have broken his neck? :lol:

Okay, I admit that statistics might be useful when they would be considered in science like physic or chemistry even as in commercial sense. It?s important, that the reader knows the way how the results appears. But when it comes to statistics about human behaviour or feeling I always become sceptically. As you mentioned (particular in politics) the results of statistics get turned to what the politicians will need. And as there is a wafe of exaggerated believe in statistics, in connection with the tend to have the glassy human being, I myself don?t answer to such phone-calls at all. I?m not sure what happens to the dates I share on the phone.


Well, he’s my neighbour in the biblical sense, I suppose :slight_smile: !

Would you believe that I hardly know him at all? As you will guess, I’m not into boxing. What’s more, I’m against it and think it should be banned. I utterly fail to grasp how watching two guys knocking the tar out of each other can be entertaining.

Ah, the unfathomable complexities of human nature (huge sigh)…

Hi Michael

Sorry for my poor translation of the ‘statistics joke’ (it comes from a Milan University dozens years ago):

"The population of Italy - 52,000,000

Including: over 65 years – 11,760,000
The remains for labour activity – 40,250,000

Under 18 years – 141,020,000
For labour activity remain – 26,130,000

Unemployed women – 17,315,000
The remains for labour activity remain – 8,815,000

University students – 275,000
The remains for labour activity – 8,540,000

Government personnel (staff of various government institutions) – 3,830,000
The remains for labour activity remain - 4,710,000

The unemployed & political parties and trade-union activists – 1,380,000
The remains for labour activity – 3,330,000

The military – 780,000
The remains for labour activity – 2,550,000

Disables, madmen, tramps, TV-set salesmen, casino and hippodrome haunters – 1,310,000
The remains for labour activity – 1,240,000

Illiterates, actors, (gentle)men of the robe, etc. – 880,000
The remains for labour activity – 360,000

Anchorites, philosophers, fatalists, cheaters, etc. – 240,000
The remains for labour activity – 120,000

Ministers, deputies, senators, prisoners – 119,998
The remains for labour activity – [size=150]2[/size] (!!!)

Who are those two? Obviously - you and me.

Let this tragic reality serve as an alert, a challenge to our courage, a source of new energy for us!

We must work really hard, with maximum efforts. Especially you, because I got too tired doing civic duty for the country entirely on my own.’

:slight_smile: :wink: :smiley: :lol:

What is also funny about your statistics report is the way people are grouped together in the last four areas and the names given to the different categories :lol: !

No, no, no, Conchita: the categories weren’t named - just grouped/classified. By ‘differential peculiarities’ :smiley:
(Sorry, if my using of capital letters misled you.)

Actually, Tamara, it was quite clear. By ‘categories’ I meant all the groups mentioned (TV salesmen, fatalists, cheaters, etc.) :slight_smile: .

Hi Conchita! :slight_smile:

You’re more right than me. :slight_smile:

to categorize = to distribute by groups and label (I’m not quite sure, whether label = name in the context (?) But so be it.)

Yes… I misunderstood it.
In my above translation of the comic ‘report’ there are labelled categories (ministers, cheaters, etc) that next are grouped (gathered in unnamed and unlabelled groups for which data was/were summarized).

P.S. Sorry :slight_smile: Sometimes, I am not too sure in (of?) my brilliant translation skills :slight_smile: and become too fearful ( “timorous deer” :lol:)


Hi Conchita!

As I [color=blue]imagined that you?re certainly not the friend of such sports I only tried to tease you. :oops: Sorry, hope you can excuse my little joke.

To make the joke complete, Javier?s opponent Felix Sturm had been really a jelly after that fight. :roll: What mostly impressed me, was that Felix after visiting the hospital had found kind words about Javier. So you?re right saying unfathomable complexity of human nature.


Hi Tamara!

That is what a statistic about people?s behaviour mean, at least in my opinion.

But don?t worry. After subtracting the under 18s from the sum of Italian population not even us two will kept left for labour activities. :wink: :lol:

Let?s steal the day from our God


Oops… :smiley:
It should be 14,120,000.

Don’t you know, Mr. Eagle-eye, that taking into account the rate of typist errors is highly significant for a good statistician? :slight_smile:

OK. Score a point.
Steal a day and ‘enjoy your R + R’ © Amy


I think statistic is a good thing, unless you want to use it in your own life. (This guys’ve never won on the lottery, have they?)
Let’s say, you have a plan for the future, it looks perfect, you considered every single possibilitys which could be occured, and you can only be sure in one thing: something’s going to happen, good,or bad, but things NEVER go the way like they should.
If you play poker then you know, the only thing it matters is LUCK, just like in the real life.
These guys can use the past for making plans for the future, but they need millions of people, and hundreds of years to get a close result, but if you think of one man, it can’t work. There is no average man on the Earth,and there is no average day.
If you go for the numbers, like :this is my salary, this much goes for the hydro, this goes for food, gas, insurance, you’ll say: that’s it, I’m broke.
That’s why I never count my money. :slight_smile:
Just like in that joke, fools are protected.

Is ‘hydro’ your slang for ‘beer’ or am I missing out on something important here :? :slight_smile: ?

Hi Conchita,
so you’ll never let me leave the past behind, and start a new life? :slight_smile:
I was talking about that thing you have to pay monthly. I might missdiald some letters, but that’s not too shocking from a drunk, is it? :slight_smile: