Musings on everyday probability
Lesson 2: The Made-up Probability
My prior discussion regards improperly multiplying probabilities when using statistics in court. But what about when someone simply makes up the probabilities? Surely, that wouldn’t happen in a court of law would it?
This is the first in two blogs regarding incorrect use of statistics in court.
The chances that a randomly selected man will be 7 feet tall or more is about one in a million. So it follows that the chance of two randomly selected men being 7 footers is the square of one in a million, which is one in a trillion, right?
An article and accompanying graph in the New York Times claims that low-skilled workers are not gaining the advantage they once were by moving to big cities. But it misses something important, calling the whole claim into question.
In the third quarter of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals last week, Boston missed all 14 3-pointers they attempted. This led the announcer to say something like, "by the law of averages, they are bound to improve." But will they?