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Those pesky numbers: 2

Letter from Dick Bulinski

Statistics – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Martha,

Neil Seitz’s point is well taken. (“The Laws of Averages,” Colorado Central, December 2001). There are always several ways to calculate an average for a given set of data. Although he didn’t say so, his analysis is formally called a “Weighted Average.” Neither method is more accurate than the other, the simple mean or Neil’s.

In Statistics, as in Accounting, the answer depends on the question being asked. It has long been true that Statistics will support anything, mainly Statisticians.

In fact, when I read Annie’s article, I was so impressed with it that I started to write to compliment her even-handedness. In spite of her modest disclaimer that she lacked the resources to do a thorough treatment of the issue, I thought she presented both sides of each topic in the arguments, with a number of different views for each set of calculations. (On the third hand!) As with so many plans, I never got that note written to her or to you.

Dick Bulinski “AfterMath,”

a retired statistician