What Are the Chances?

Musings on everyday probability

Facebook and grades

April 28, 2009 By Alan J. Salzberg
I don't have a long post for today, but I want to briefly discuss the discussion of a study on Facebook and grades. It was the subject of the Wall Street Journal's Numbers Guy blog last week:

How big a sample?

March 23, 2009 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...

7 letter scrabble word redux

March 18, 2009 By Alan J. Salzberg
A recent article by the Wall Street Journal's "Numbers Guy" has re-surfaced one of my old

Are same-sex classes better?

March 12, 2009 By Alan J. Salzberg
Yesterday's New York Times had an article, "Boys and Girls Together, Taught Separately in Public School,"

The age-old NY subway question--unlimited or pay-per-ride?

February 3, 2009 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...

Nutty about Peanuts.

January 20, 2009 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...

Are we entering "unprecedented" territory?

December 5, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg

Election Prediction Explained

October 31, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
So here's the explanation.   I am following 3 major websites now:   www.electoral-vote.com – This consolidates po...

Election Prediction

October 31, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
Ok, sure I waited until nearly the end, but here's my prediction: Obama wins, with 401 Electoral votes.   I'll explain why tomorrow.

Election Polls

October 8, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...

The Atlantic Monthly is criminally misusing statistics

August 28, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...

Statistics in Politics - Lies and Damn Lies

July 2, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...

Let’s make a deal problem

June 12, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
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....

Why are there too many boys in China?

May 9, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...

What's the chance of rain?

April 15, 2008 By Alan J. Salzberg
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...