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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Really "Looking" at Statistics

I have written here about many things related to the countries finances.  Its important for people to be able to visualize these things.

Often there is no means to visualize complex things.  Or, if there, is, we have to know if its an accurate visualization.

I cannot speak to the accuracy of the links below but I can to the nature of how they convey the data the purport to represent.

To start, take a look at this (use the link at the left, not the image).

I provides a visualization of how healthcare has been paid for for the last fifty years.

Here (link left, not image below) is an example of men vs. women in terms of color preferences and names.
I find it interesting that males seem to prefer simple colors and color names, e.g., red and blue, versus the choices of women, e.g., "dusky rose."

In December of 2009 NPR's "All Things Considered" did a segment on why music sounds "worse" today.  One reason is that its mixed to be "louder."  Below is a visualization of this:

Then there is the history of man on earth (from

What's interesting to me is how little physical data we have (in terms of fossils, etc.) related to our past.  The vast majority of the earth's history is truly unknown to us yet we infer a tremendous amount from very, very little data relative to the whole.

And finally - here's a guy name Noah whose taken a photo of himself every day for 12 1/2 years.  He's turned it into a video:

Like the "earth clock" above the video we can tell a lot about Noah from the 1-2 seconds he takes each day to snap a picture of himself.

But what can we really know and what does the video really tell us about his life?

You an see various things at different points in the video but what do they mean?

Like science studying the history of the earth we can study the history of Noah - in snapshots of a second or so per day.

I wonder how accurate our inferences would be relative to what actually was happening in his life?

The image Blogger shows me of the video (when stopped) is Noah wearing what looks like a heavy coat?

Can I infer its cold when this picture is taken?

And so on...

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