Weekly challenge

Are Statistics Lies?

Statistics have a pretty bad reputation. Especially for a field that has benefited human kind so much.

This week’s quote comes from Florence Nightingale. She is known as a nurse but her real contribution was as a statistician. She used statistics to reform the practice and profession of nursing and in doing so saved many more lives.

The medical profession has benefited hugely from the practice of statistics. Prior to the use of data to judge how effective a particular procedure was, disastrous treatments such as blood letting were assumed to be effective. Even when statistics showed that they were harmful, some of these practices continued for decades. Reliance on our intuition, unfortunately is still an issue we face today.

Today’s experiment explores if we can become better at judging the passing of time. We’re going to start by trying to guess when 10 seconds has passed.

Each time you test yourself, record your time on the barchart. For example, if you stopped the clock at exactly 11 seconds, draw your bar all the way up to the line at 11 seconds. If it was 11.28 seconds, then you’ll need to go a bit passed 11. You can judge how far.

Download the barchart

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