Years ago, I signed up for a course in Statistics. As Mark Twain once said, there are 3 types of lies. Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.
My professor was Mr McAllister, a wierd looking old guy who seemed REALLY into this dark art. One day he introduced the Poisson Distribution. I think it goes like this:
If you have 2 animal crackers, one striped and one unstriped and your friend has 27 crackers and you ask your friend for 5, 6 ,7 animal crackers. How many animal crackers do you have if he says No No No and he says Nay Nay Nay and he says Nix Nix Nix.
You might have 7. See? You get it? It's the poisson (or fish) distribution.
So, kindly Mr McAllister explains. 'Several years ago, I tried to use this distribution to prove I wasn't crazy and to keep me out of the mental hospital. I had an error in my supposition and so I was locked away for a few years. Let's see if we can spot my error.'
OK, NOW I'm awake. Good old Mr McAllister was crazier than a outhouse rat. Or is that craftier than...? All I know is we kept very quiet in his class so as not to make him any crazier. Crazy people typically have machetes and machine guns handy.
It seems Mr McAllister had a little paranoid episode and tried to convince the judge he wasn't paranoid. He used the poisson distribution to show the FBI and CIA were really after him. In the previous 7 years, he had 14 'very unusual' situations occur. In the 7 years before that, he had only 1 'very unusual' situation occur. The odds of this are a hundred thousand zillion to one; so something was going on.
Or he was crazy.
We all vote crazy. Only rowing with one oar in the water. Not playing with a full deck. Bats in the Belfry. Mad as a March Hare.
I learned this about statisitics: The average person has one testicle and one breast. I never did apply this knowledge. And if I'm ever accused of going crazy, I'll avoid the poisson distribution.
© 2011 Jamie - 7/27/11