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Showing posts from February, 2014

A Matter of Magnitude - fun with statistics

Sometimes a statistic can be toyed with a bit to illustrate a point. Here's an example.

In spite of all the safety locks and procedures and requirements, the probability that you will die in any single roller coaster ride has not varied by even 1% in the last 50 years. If you were to say that to a roller coaster designer I'm sure they would fight about it quite vehemently, quoting various alternative statistics and engineering feats of wonder. You might not be able to get a word in edgewise to explain it to them. But the simple fact remains, the above statement is completely and totally factual.

Let me explain.

At no time in the last 50 years has there ever been:
a zero percent (0%) chance of death in any one roller coaster ridea one percent (1%) chance of death in any one roller coaster ride The median is of course .5%. Assuming something between 0% and 1% for the average probability of death from any one roller coaster ride, then it has not varied by more than 1%, going below …