How to Lie with Statistics Podcast #1

The members present for this podcast were Javier, Gina, Amelia, and Naomi. The discussion was dominated by two salient points: that the cases used to explain statistics were relatively simple and that it is fairly easy to manipulate information. These two driving objectives turned out to be intimidating realizations for the four of us due to the mass media consumption that takes place in this day and age. An example of what was discussed that was easily manipulable and yet simple was data graphs. If one were to zoom in on a graph it can change how the information looks. The whole group thought that was weird. The group also spent a lot of time on what an average was and how there are different types of averages. Lastly, the group was on agreement with everything that was discussed including the over length of the novel.

Project - 5:17:16, 9.22 AM

Comments (1)

Mark Miles (Teacher)
Mark Miles

Good first podcast. The background noise was a little distracting (doors closing, was someone eating something?), and a couple rough cuts. I know you stated you read through (at least) chapter 5, but there was not a lot of discussion dedicated to the content of the book (the main chapters I heard discussed were chapters 2 and 5, but I didn't get a sense of what any of other chapters were about).

For next time, make sure you respond to the following prompts:

  1. Choose one of the quotations inside the front cover and discuss how it relates to the Introduction.
  2. List as many sources of sample bias as you can that are mentioned in Chapter 1 and provide an example of each.
  3. Put the second paragraph on Page 18 (“A river cannot….”) into your own words.
  4. What is the advantage of a stratified random sample and what difficulties does it pose, according to this chapter?
  5. When we see an average reported, what do we need to ask besides which kind of average is being used? Why?
  6. Explain why advertisers often rely on a very small sample to substantiate their claims.
  7. What does the author mean on Page 45 when he says, “Hardly anybody is exactly normal in any way…?”

Finally, when discussing chapters 3, 5, or 6, incorporate the following article into your discussion:

Also, each member of your group should find an article online containing a misleading graph and discuss it during the podcast (be sure to talk about why it’s misleading!). Be sure to include a link to all articles in the text of your post of the podcast that corresponds to chapters 3, 5, or 6.