Musings on everyday probability

Suppose we want to figure out what percentage of BIGbank's 1,000,000 loans are bad. We also want to look at smallbank, with 100,000 loans. Many people seem to think you'd need to look at...

A recent article by the Wall Street Journal's "Numbers Guy" has re-surfaced one of my old

Yesterday's New York Times had an article, "Boys and Girls Together, Taught Separately in Public School,"

Before you get onto the New York City subway these days, you have to purchase a metro card. For us daily commuters, the choice would appear to be...

Visiting South Carolina this weekend, I picked up an old Southern favorite from Publix: peanut butter cookies (I didn't see my real favorite: boiled peanuts). No sooner had I returned hom...

So here's the explanation.
I am following 3 major websites now:
www.electoral-vote.com – This consolidates po...

Ok, sure I waited until nearly the end, but here's my prediction:
Obama wins, with 401 Electoral votes.
I'll explain why tomorrow.

A short note about election polls, which I've been following somewhat religiously for the last few weeks.
Election polls differ in at least four significant ways from actual v...

I spent the last week vacationing in South Carolina, where my parent's house seems to have Atlantic Monthly's and Harper's from the dawn of time. What luck, then, that one of the most int...

The nice thing about politicians and the newspaper columnists that write about them is that they lie a lot about statistics. That makes writing a blog that points out the errors easy to c...

Those of us who grew up with the show Let’s Make a Deal can understand the gyst of the let’s make a deal problem right away. For those of you too young (or old) to remember, here is a summary....

For a long time now, the ratio of males to females in China has been increasing. In fact, one of the most recent articles I could find on it was from 2004, where the ratio stood at around 120 boys to...

Everyday probability barely shows up in weather forecasts these days. For example, Yahoo's weather will say something like "a few showers" to mean that there is a chance of showers. However, if you ar...

A couple of posts ago, I talked about the question of whether to rent or buy (the answer: in the long run, buy; in the s...