Other Statistical Sites

Dr. Gary C. Ramseyer

Dr. Gary C. Ramseyer was an Emeritus Professor of Psychology with a specialty of statistics and measurement at Illinois State University.

Dr. Ramseyer began teaching at Illinois State in 1965 and retired in 1998. Prior to joining ISU, he taught at the University of Iowa in the College of Education and at University High School in Iowa City, Iowa.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Dr. Ramseyer passed away suddenly in the spring of 2012. In his honor, his websites are being managed by his daughter Vicki S. (Ramseyer) Morrow.

Sir Ronald A. Fisher Hall

Welcome To The Sir Ronald A. Fisher Commemorative Hall!

Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher (1890 - 1962) was an English statistician who has been called "a genius who almost single-handedly created the foundations for modern statistical science" as well as "The Father Of Statistics." As the statistician at Rothamsted Agricultural Experiment Station in the U.K., Fisher introduced the statistical concepts of randomization, analysis of variance and likelihood. During his lifetime, he published a variety of important texts including "Statistical Methods For Research Workers," "The Design Of Experiments" and "Statistical Tables." For additional information on Sir Fisher, refer to http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Fisher.html

)
Now displaying the humorous side of Statistics...
   

1)

A musician drove his statistician friend to a symphony concert one evening in his brand new mid-sized Chevy. When they arrived at the hall, all the parking spots were taken except one in a remote, dark corner of the lot. The musician quickly maneuvered his mid-sized Chevy into the space and they jumped out and walked toward the hall. They had only taken about ten steps when the musician suddenly realized he had lost his car key. The statistician was unconcerned because he knew the key had to be within one standard deviation of the car. They both retraced their steps and began searching the shadowed ground close to the driver's door. After groping on his hands and knees for about a minute, the musician bounced to his feet and bolted several hundred yards toward a large street light near the back of the concert hall. He quickly got down on all fours and resumed his search in the brightly lit area. The statistician remained by the car dumbfounded knowing that the musician had absolutely zero probability of finding the key under the street light.

Finally, after fifteen minutes,the statistician's keen sense of logic got the best of him. He walked across the lot to the musician and asked, "Why in the world are you looking for your key under the street light? You lost it back in the far corner of the lot by your car!" The musician in his rumpled and stained suit slowly got to his feet and muttered angrily, "I KNOW, BUT THE LIGHT IS MUCH BETTER OVER HERE!!"

*Thanks to the late Professor Robert Rumery for telling me a variation of this story. If you are a musician, the lesson of this tale is:

IF YOU GO MORE THAN THREE STANDARD DEVIATIONS FROM MIDDLE C YOU WILL NEVER FIND THE RIGHT KEY!

 

2)

An alien from a distant planet had a real problem. He had five groups of scores with their means and simply wanted to know which pairs of means differed significantly from one another. Since there were no statisticians on his planet he was told by a friend to visit planet earth where many scholars practiced this profession. He anxiously boarded his private spacecraft and made the long trek to earth.

The first statistician he visited was at a major university and warmly assured him that his problem had a simple solution. He told the alien to first perform an analysis of variance and if the F-test was significant to follow it up with the Tukey HSD test. The statistician told the alien that if any two means were "honestly" different this method would uncover them. The alien was ecstatic and rushed to a PC to have his data analyzed. The results were mixed. The good news that his F was significant at the .05 level. But the bad news was that HSD indicated that none of the pairwise differences in means was significant at the .05 level. The poor alien was somewhat demoralized and could not understand the conflicting results. A lab worker boosted his spirits by telling him that Tukey was quite conservative and maybe he still had something if he would just consult another statistician.

With his spirit renewed he visited a second statistician at a major corporation. This statistician smiled smugly and remarked that professors at universities were entirely too conservative. He told the alien to assume a more liberal stance and use the Fisher LSD as a follow-up. He told him that many of his mean differences would now pop up significant and he could return to his planet a happy person. The alien's mental outlook took a big swing toward the upside and he quickly rushed down to the corporation's computing facility for further analysis. But joy soon turned to gloom! Fisher's LSD still reported no significant pairwise differences in means!

By this time the alien was beside himself with frustration and depression. He was ready to board his spacecraft and head home when a little gremlin whispered something in his ear, "Sir alien, there is a wise destitute old statistician of last resort who lives in a dilapidated old house on a hill. His methods are unorthodox but he is well known for wringing the last drop of meaning out of a set of data. You woe it to yourself to pay him a visit." The downtrodden alien felt he had nothing to lose and decided to give it a try.

The poor statistician welcomed the alien into his ramshackle home. The alien related his story how the F-test was significant but the follow-up procedures found NO significant differences between any two means. The statistician listened to his sad tale of woe and then winked at him with a broad smile. "Mr. Alien, I think I can guarantee some significant results. All you must do is forget your inhibitions, party it up by looking at other comparisons, and use the Scheffe S-test. Some good things will then happen to you."

The alien was quite skeptical but finally agreed to employ this strange test. The kind old statistician then invited him to the cellar of his home where he had stashed away a rusty old rotary calculator. The two sat down and the statistician feverishly pushed the keys. The gears whined, the numbers rolled on the many dials, and the carriage banged back and forth for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, after several hours, the statistician let out a howl "Mr. Alien--I have it! i have found a significant difference."

The alien was trembling with sheer excitement and exclaimed "Please kind statistician, don't keep me waiting. Tell me which pairs of means are different."

The statistician blurted out, "ONE-THIRD THE SUM OF MEANS ONE, TWO, AND FOUR IS SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT FROM ONE-HALF THE SUM OF MEANS THREE AND FIVE!!"

There were several moments of deadly silence. Then the alien's mouth dropped and his face grew pale. Like a scared rabbit, he dashed toward his spacecraft and lifted off for home. As he put his craft in warp speed, he shook his head in disbelief. He vowed to visit a psychiatrist as soon as he got home and to NEVER, NEVER use numbers again.

OK, all you students enrolled in a statistics course at the university level, is it possible for the circumstances in this little story to occur in real life? Please drop me an e-mail about my own crazy concocted story!

 

3)

They say that it's no coincidence that the University of California at Berkeley is the home of both UNIX and LSD. What does it say about statisticians that Sir Ronald Fisher gave LSD to them 40 years before anyone ever heard of Timothy Leary?

Thanks to John Gear for relating this little known fact. My answer to this question is that statisticians had their "acid heads" far sooner than the Berkeley campus.

 

4)

The following is a true story. About twenty years ago when I first introduced a multivariate analysis course at our university, my good friend and colleague, the late Professor Valjean Cashen asked what the content of this course was all about. Wanting to impress the pants off my buddy from counseling psychology with some new statistical jargon, I said product, "This course teaches the principles of MANOVA."

Without batting an eye Dr. Cashen looked at me and retorted, "Oh, that is common stuff. That's an old Navy term....MANOVA BOARD!!!!"

My readers should know that Professor Cashen always spoke highly of his duty in the US submarine corps. Thanks for the memories Val. I have always wondered, however, how a midshipman can be "over board" in a submerged submarine?

 

5)

What do you get when you cross a statistician with a chiropractor?

You get an adjusted R squared from a BACKward regression problem!

Yes, this is my very own. If you think this is lame send me a better joke that's not in the Gallery!

6)

Three statisticians approached St. Peter at the pearly gates to Heaven. St. Peter, in a kind and gentle voice, instructed them to give their name and state what they had contributed to mankind while on earth.

The first statistician stepped up confidently and said, "I am Karl Pearson and I developed the famous correlation coefficient at the start of the 20th century and it has been used by multitudes of researchers for almost 100 years." St. Peter nodded and said, "Oh yes, that was a monumental contribution to statistics and the world. You may pass through."

The second statistician planted both feet firmly and said in a cocky fashion, "I am Sir Ronald Fisher and I founded the entire area of experimental design in the 1920;s and multitudes of researchers have used these techniques for about 70 years." St. Peter smiled broadly and said "That indeed was a landmark breakthrough in statistics and contributed to the betterment of mankind. You may also walk through the gates."

The third statistician hesitated but finally walked up slowly to St. Peter. he said timidly, "I am Joe Schmutz and I taught the Vice President, who was a very reserved man, several dance steps that he used in a well-known political TV commercial." St. Peter, with a puzzled look on his face, stared at the man and said, "That is all well and good sir but it has absolutely nothing to do with statistics and I fail to see how your action has helped mankind." The poor statistician thought for a second. He then quickly retorted, "

But St. Peter....These steps became the famous AL-GORE-RHYTHM that helped win the Presidential election in the year 2000!!...."

I confess this is one of my originals. It is not indented to be a political joke.

7)

"July 4... Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than all other days of the year put together. This proves, by the number left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is inadequate, the country has grown so."

A big thank you to Jack Barnette from the University of Iowa College of Medicine for this humorous quote by Mark Twain.

 

8)

A middle aged man suddenly contracted the dreaded disease kurtosis. not only was this disease severely debilitating, but he had the most virulent strain called leptokurtosis. A close friend told him his only hope was to see a statistical physician who specialized in this type of disease. The man was very fortunate to locate a specialist but he had to travel 800 miles for an appointment.

After a thorough physical exam, the statistical physician exclaimed, "Sir, you are indeed a lucky person in that the FDA has just approved a new drug called mesokurtimide for your illness. This drug will bulk you in the middle, smooth out your stubby tail, and restore your longer range of functioning. In other words, you will feel 'NORMAL' again!"

This shows how weird statistical humor can get. This is my own joke so go easy on the feedback!

 

9)

Three men are in a hot-air balloon. Soon, they find themselves lost in a canyon somewhere. One of the three men says, "I've got an idea. We can call for help in this canyon and the echo will carry our voices far." So he leans over the basket and yells out, "Helllloooooo! Where are we?" (They hear the echo several times.)

Fifteen minutes pass. Then they hear this echoing voice: "Helllloooooo! You're lost!!" One of the men says, "That must have been a statistician." Puzzled, one of the other men asks, "Why do you say that?"

The reply: "For three reasons: 1) he took a long time to answer, 2) he was absolutely correct, and 3) his answer was absolutely useless."

Does this truly characterize a good statistician? This bit of humor has been floating around for some time. Sorry, I don't have an attribution for it.

 

10)

Once upon a time, a psychologist conducted a survey and gathered considerable amounts of data. However, as is the case many times, the data sat on the shelf gathering dust. But, one year, the psychologist decided to resurrect the data. not being exactly sure of what to do though, the data was given to a few students to play with and summarize.

Well, as you might expect, on student did it one way, another student did it another way, and a third student even did it entirely different from the other two. Because of this, the psychologist suddenly became interested in a different question and...proclaimed to the world:

"How goes this VARIANCE OF ANALYSIS?"

Many thanks to Dennis Roberts of Penn State for his original offering.

 

11)

The following explains why it is so difficult for psychologists to collect good data:

To figure out how heavy a pig is, you find a good stout plank and balance it on the pole of a fence. Tie the pig onto one end of the plank, and then run around to the other side and put a rock on the opposite end. Keep trying different rocks until you get one that balances with the pig. That's about it, all you have to do then is guest the weight of the rock!

Thanks to Jim Robison-Cox of Montana State University for revealing the Texas method of weighing a pig.

 

12)

Here are two variants of an old standard:

Some say that if you laid all the statisticians on the face of the Earth end to end it would be a very good thing.

Others note that if you laid all the statisticians end to end, two thirds would be under water.

A big thank you to David Hitchin for two cute twists.

 

13)

It is proven that the celebration of birthdays is healthy. Statistics show that those people who celebrate the most birthdays become the oldest.

This one is credited to S. den Hartog by way of Joachim Verhagen's Science Jokes page.

 

14)

Three roommates slept through their midterm statistics exam on Monday morning. Since they had returned together by car from the same hometown late Sunday evening, they decided on a great little falsehood. The three met with the instructor Monday afternoon and told him that an ill-timed flat tire had delayed their arrival until noon. The instructor, while somewhat skeptical agreed to give them a makeup exam on Tuesday.

When they arrived the instructor issued them the same makeup exam and ushered each to a different classroom. The first student sat down and noticed immediately the instructions indicated that the exam would be divided into Parts I and II weighted 10% and 90% respectively. Thinking nothing of this disparity, he proceeded to answer the questions in Part I. These he found rather easy and moved confidently to Part II on the next page. Suddenly his eyes grew large and his face paled. Part II consisted of one short and pointed question....

"Which tire was it?"

This is my own homegrown joke that was motivated by the dramatic increase in grandmother deaths on the day of an examination!

 

15)

A statistician is someone who is skilled at drawing a precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.

This one has been rattling around in my brain but I seem to have trashed the e-mail of the kind person that sent me this. Someone please step forward and claim this!

 

16)

A somewhat advanced society has figured how to package basic knowledge in pill form.

A student, needing some learning, goes to the pharmacy and asks what kind of knowledge pills are available. The pharmacist says "Here's a pill for English literature." The student takes the pill and swallows it and has new knowledge about English literature!

"What else do you have?" asks the student. "Well, I have pills for art history, biology, and world history," replies the pharmacist. The student asks for these, and swallows them and has new knowledge about those subjects!

Then the student asks, "Do you have a pill for statistics?" The pharmacist says "Wait just a moment..." and goes back into the storeroom and brings back a whopper of a pill that is about twice the size of a jawbreaker and plunks it on the counter. "I have to take that huge pill for statistics?" inquires the student.

The pharmacist understandingly nods his head and replies "Well, you know statistics always was a little hard to swallow."

Thanks to Matt Holtz for a glimpse of how education will be dispensed in the 21st century.

17)

There was the statistics professor who, when driving his car, would always accelerate hard before coming to any intersection, whip straight through it, then slow down again once he'd got past it. One day, he took a passenger, who was understandably unnerved by his driving style, and asked him why he went so fast over intersections. The statistics professor replied, "Well, statistically speaking, you are far more likely to have an accident at an intersection, so I just make sure that I spend less time there."

To a colleague of mine who just had his driver's license suspended, thanks for telling me this one.

 

18)

Did you know that the great majority of people have more than the average number of legs? It's obvious really; amongst the 57 million people in Britain there are probably 5,000 people who have got only one leg. Therefore the average number of legs is:

((5000 * 1) + (56,995,000 * 2)) / 57,000,000 = 1.9999123

Since most people have two legs...

Thanks to Joachim Verhagen's Science Jokes for this play upon numbers.

 

19)

A retired statistician purchased a brass Aladdin's lamp at an antique shop one day. Being very proud of his purchase, he cradled the lamp with one arm against his chest and began his walk home. He had only walked a block when he was startled by a belch of smoke from the lamp and the appearance of a magic genie.

"Hello kind sir," said the genie. "I am here to grant you three wishes. Since you have toiled your entire life with numbers to benefit people in many different professions, the only provision is that these wishes must also benefit others. To insure that this happens, those three lawyers walking on the other side of the street will each receive DOUBLE what you receive."

Now the statistician recalled some bad experiences with lawyers but was still excited and agreed to the conditions. The genie smiled gleefully and asked the statistician for his first wish. The statistician thought only for a second and responded, "I would like a brand new red Ferrari automobile." Poof! A sparkling red Ferrari appeared. He then looked across the street and saw six red Ferraris pop up, two for each lawyer.

The genie smiled broadly and asked the statistician for his second wish. With very little thought the statistician said "I would like a million dollars." Poof! A million dollars appeared in a gilded suitcase. He quickly glanced across the street and saw that each of the three lawyers received two gilded suitcases containing a million bucks each.

By this time, the statistician was becoming somewhat angry because he thought the lawyers were receiving more than their fair share. The genie then admonished him that the had only one last wish and should think very carefully about what he wanted. The statistician painfully puzzled over his last wish for several minutes. He finally replied, "You know all my life I have always wanted to be an organ donor so I hereby wish the donation of ONE of my kidneys to the local hospital! Poof! A kidney was donated...

Thanks to my son, Joel, for telling me this and I will admit to slightly altering the original. Many people required an explanation of this one.

 

20)

In God we trust. All other must bring data.

This emphasizes the lofty status of statistics in our everyday lives. This one is attributed to Robert Hayden of Plymouth State College.

 

21)

A physicist, a biologist, and a statistician see two people enter a house, and then after some time, they see three people leave the house.

The physicist concludes, "My initial observation must have been incorrect." The biologist concludes, "Clearly, the two reproduced..." The statistician concludes, "Well, if one more person enters the house, then there will be no-one in the house!"

A big thanks to Paul Dickman for this subtle piece of humor that many of my friends just don't understand.

 

22)

Did you hear about the statistician who had his head in an oven and his feet in a bucket of ice? When asked how he felt, he replied, "On the average I feel just fine."

Thanks to George Litman for reminding me of the first statistics joke I had ever heard. This just might be the granddaddy of them all.

 

23)

An undergraduate psychology major was totally hung over for the final exam in abnormal psychology. He was somewhat relieved to find that the exam was a true/false test. He had taken a basis stat course and did remember his professor once performing a coin flipping experiment. Since his brain was pretty mush he decided to flip a coin he had in his pocket to get the answers for each questions. The psychology professor watched the student the entire two hours as he was flipping the coin...writing the answer...flipping the coin....writing the answer, on and on. At the end of the two hours, everyone else had left the room except for this one student. The professor walks up to his desk and angrily interrupts the student, saying: "Listen, it is obvious that you did not study for this exam since you didn't even open the question booklet. If you are just flipping a coin for your answer, why is it taking you so long?"

The stunned student looks up at the professor and replies bitterly (as he is still flipping the coin): "Shhh! I am checking my answers!"

This is real cute but unfortunately I don't have an attribution for it. Can anyone claim it?

 

24)

Two statisticians were traveling in an airplane from LA to New York. About an hour into the flight, the pilot announced that they had lost an engine, but don't worry, there are three left. However, instead of 5 hours it would take 7 hours to get to New York. A little late, he announced that a second engine failed, and they still had two left, but it would take 10 hours to get to New York. Somewhat later, the pilot again came on the intercom and announced that a third engine had died. Never fear, he announced, because the plane could fly on a single engine. However, it would now take 18 hours to get to New York. At this point, one statistician turned to the other and said , "Gee, I hope we don't lose that last engine, or we'll be up here forever!"

This was found at the Dynamic StatisticsTM software site of Key Curriculum Press at Fathom.

 

25)

There was a very old Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown was addressing his baseball team at the end of the season. He recited numerous dismal statistics such as : Runs scored by us 12, by opponents 125. At the end of the speech he yells out: "And what are we going to do about it?" to which the team answers in unison: "Get a new statistician!"

Thanks to David Lane of Rice University for this little jewel.

 

26) A Bayesian is one who, vaguely expecting a horse, and catching a glimpse of a donkey, strongly believes he has seen a mule.

This got lost in the shuffle a while ago. A belated thanks to Ken Lienemann

 

27)

Why did the statistician become a statistician? He found accountancy too exciting.

Thanks to Ian Story for this offering from Australia.

 

28)

Did you hear about...

...The four statisticians who were caught in a boating shop tossing packages of canvas around? It turned out they were just fore-casting sales.

...The statistician who went out on a limb to obtain a nested design?

...The statistician who attempted the distribution of joints but was arrested by the vice squad?

...The statistician who was looking all over for the sum of eigenvalues from a variance-covariance matrix but couldn't find a trace?

...The nonparametrician who couldn't get his driving license? He couldn't pass the sign test.

...The two binomial random variables who talked very quietly because they were discrete?

...The ancient roman statistician who was always called a nerd? Turns out he was just a Latin Square.

...The father and son station wagon? Talk about a case of auto-correlation!

...The nine-foot tall roman numeral who took over Congress and outlawed decimals? It was just a case of the strong law of large numbers.

Thanks to Mark Eakin by way of Karen Scheltema for this contribution.

 

29)

Statisticians are like the drunk leaning against the lamp pole -- they are there for support not illumination.

This is one of my favorites. Thanks to Jim Hume again by way of Karen Scheltema.

 

30)

A statistician's wife had twins. He was delighted. he rang the minister who was also delighted. "Bring them to church on Sunday and we'll baptize them," said the minister. "No," replied the statistician. "Baptize one. We'll keep the other as a control."

Sorry I lost the attribution on this one. Does anyone want to claim credit?

 

31)

Then there's the one that if you laid every statistician on the face of the earth end to end you wouldn't reach a conclusion...Probably.

Again, I could not find the attribution on this witty short one.

 

32)

A guy was walking along and saw a frog sitting on the side of the road. The frog said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." The picked up the frog, looked it over, smiled, put it into his pocket and continued on his way.

A few minutes later the frog said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess and stay with you for a week!" The guy took the frog out of his pocket, smiled, and put it back into his pocket.

A few minutes later the frog said "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess, stay with you for a week and do ANYTHING you want!!" The guy took the frog out of his pocket again, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog said, "I said that if you would just kiss me, I would turn into a beautiful princess and do ANYTHING you want for a whole week! Why won't you kiss me?" The guy said, "Look, I'm a statistician and I don't have time for girl friends, but a talking frog is kind of neat."

A big thanks to Karen Scheltema, I think, for this romantic joke.

 

33)

What does a statistician call it when the heads of 10 rats are cut off and 1 survives?

Nonsignificant.

Thanks to Chad Hartry, a graduate student in my Statistics II class.

 

34)

These two friends decide to go rabbit hunting with bow and arrows. They convince their friend, the statistician, to come along since he doesn't get out very much. The three wait patiently out in the woods for a rabbit to pass by. Suddenly, a rabbit bolts across a clearing some distance away and races toward a dense patch of trees. The first hunter whips out his bow, strings an arrow, and lets fly. "Darn," he cries, "The arrow was a foot short." Just then the rabbit bolts across the clearing from the other side of the woods. The second hunter whips out his bow, strings an arrow, and lets fly. "Darn" complains the second hunter, "the arrow went a foot long." The rabbit once more emerges from the woods and races across the clearing. The statistician starts to raise his bow and then lowers it with a contemplative expression. He takes out the stub of a pencil, finds a crumpled envelope in a pants pocket, and quickly executes some calculations on the back of the envelope. The he looks up, smiling, as the rabbit disappears for the final time and waves the envelope in the direction of the other two hunters. "Look at this--if you take the mean distance that the arrows went, we got the rabbit!"

A big thank you to Frederick M Siem.

 

35)

A man who travels a lot was concerned about the possibility of a bomb on board his plane. He determined the probability of this, found it to be low but not low enough for him. So now he always travels with a bomb in his suitcase. He reasons that the probability of two bombs being on board would be infinitesimal.

Contributed by Eugene A. Berg--Thanks! Taken from Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos.

 

36)

"79.48% of all statistics are made up on the spot." - John A. Paulos

Thanks to Bill Weaver for this quickie!

 

37)

PREAMBLE: It may help those who are unaware of what "epidemiologists" do to know that they are researchers who collect data about people and diseases and try to find patterns. This involves lots of data collection and statistical analysis usually. A simple (and early) example of what an epidemiologist does would be the first study to show that those who smoked were more likely to develop lunch cancer, etc. NOW FOR THE JOKE...

There is a group of five statisticians on a train. At the next stop, five epidemiologists get on. They all seem to know each other and start chatting. It transpires that all the epidemiologists have bought a ticket, but the statisticians have only bought one between the five of them. "Why did you do that?" asks one of the epidemiologists. "Surely you're going to get caught and thrown off the train?" "Just wait and see!" smiles one of the statisticians.

As the ticket inspector is approaching to check everyone's tickets, the statisticians all go off to the nearest toilet--the inspector passes the epidemiologists and inspects all their tickets then moves on and notices that the toilet is locked. "Tickets please!", shouts the inspector. One of the statisticians pushes their ticket under the toilet door, which the inspector checks and returns under the door. Once the inspector has gone, all the statisticians return to their seats to the awe and amazement of the epidemiologists. "That's incredibly clever!" says one of the epidemiologists.

A few weeks later they all find themselves on the same train again. They sit together and start chatting once more. "We've done what you suggested," says one of the epidemiologists. "And just bought one ticket between the five of us!" "Oh, really," says one of the statisticians. "We haven't bought ANY tickets this time!" The epidemiologists look at each other in amazement. "OK, one ticket between you is fine but not buying any at all is ludicrous!"

As the ticket inspector approaches the epidemiologists hurry off to the toilet. Once they're inside, the statisticians follow them. "Tickets please!" shouts one of the statisticians. The ticket appears under the door and they take it away and all bundle into a different toilet. The inspector gets to the toilet with the epidemiologists in it. "Tickets please!" he shouts.

No reply. "Tickets please!" The epidemiologists admit defeat and come out of the toilet only to be thrown off the train at the next station.

THE MORAL OF THIS STORY: Epidemiologists should not attempt to use statistical methods without fully understanding the theory behind them!

Kudos to Dave Ewart from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Oxford, UK for this clever story.

 

38)

Two unbiased estimators were sitting in a bar. The first says, "So how do you like married life?" The other replies, "It's pretty good if you don't mind giving up that one degree of freedom!"

A big thank you to Bert Bishop for submitting this.

 

39)

Statistics are like a bikini: what is revealed is interesting; what is concealed is crucial.

Thanks go out to R. Taylor for this little tidbit.

 

40)

PROOF THAT ALL ODD NUMBERS ARE PRIME:

Mathematician -- 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, the rest follows by induction.

Statistician -- 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is experimental error so throw it out, 11 is prime, 13 is prime, the rest follows by induction.

Computer Scientist -- 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime, ...

Thanks to Beth Clarkson from Boeing. i still think it is a good joke!

 

41)

There were a physicist, a circus strong man, and a statistician marooned on a desert island. A box of canned food washes ashore, and the question is how to open the cans. The physicist suggests dropping them from the trees so that they break open. The strong man says that's too messy. instead, he will rip the cans open with his bare hands. The statistician says that's still too messy, but he knows how to open the cans without making a mess. "First," he says "assume we have a can opener."

Electric or manual? Thanks Robert Frick for your contribution.

 

42)

DESIGN CREED

I believe in Analysis of Variance, a gift of the Almighty bestowed upon grateful mankind by Divine Providence through the Inspiration of the venerable Sir R. A. Fisher, Knight of the Realm, and his Disciples.

I believe in the F-Ratio wherein the uppermost Mean Square Between overcomes the lowly Mean Square Within to yield Significant Blessings upon Faithful Researchers.

I shall continue to maximize Experimental Variance and minimize Error Variance until the last of my Degrees of Freedom be spent and Divine Control shall see fit to lift my soul from this vale of Errors and Confirm my Hypothesis in that Blessed Realm where all Variance by Systematic and Error Variance be nought.

Thanks to Hugh Foley for this contribution.

 

43)

Definition of a Statistician: A Mathematician broken down by age and sex.

Another Hugh Foley jewel.

 

44)

THE TOP TEN REASONS TO BECOME A STATISTICIAN

Deviation is considered normal.
We feel complete and sufficient. We are "mean" lovers.
Statisticians do it discretely and continuously.
We are right 95% of the time.
We can legally comment on someone's posterior distribution.
We may not be normal but we are transformable.
We never have to say we are certain.
We are honestly significantly different.
No one wants our jobs.

This one was sent anonymously through my Guestbook.

 

45)

One day there was a fire in a wastebasket in the Dean's office and in rushed a physicist, a chemist, and a statistician. The physicist immediately starts to work on how much energy would have to be removed from the fire to stop the combustion. The chemist works on which reagent would have to be added to the fire to prevent oxidation. While they are doing this, the statistician is setting fires to all the other wastebaskets in the office. "What are you doing?" they demanded. "Well, to solve the problem, obviously you need a large sample size" the statistician replies.

This is one of my favorites. Thanks again to Hugh Foley.

 

46)

REMEMBER! Data is always plural!

Short but clever. A big thank you to John Roden. However, Steve Collins, a geologist, wrote me recently and proclaimed, "The jury are still out on that."

 

47)

A statistician and a clinical professor are in a coffee shop. The latter looks up, splutters coffee, half chokes and says "That's my intern over there and she's gone and cut all her hair off." The statistician looks up and nods: "on this side at any rate."

I am still trying to convince myself that this is funny. Thanks anyway to Ronan Conroy in Dublin, Ireland for sharing this one.

 

48)

And there was the statistician who was asked how her husband was and replied "Compared with whom?"

Almost forgot this quickie from the same Ronan Conroy. Thanks!

 

49)

A hungry man went into a restaurant and noticed that the daily special was rabbit burgers, a real delicacy, for only 49 cents a burger. he was astounded at his good fortune to find such a bargain. When he inquired of the cook, the cook told him that in order to keep prices down he had to add some filler: in fact, only part of the burger was rabbit meat. The rest was horse meat.

"How much of each kind of meat is in a burger?" asked the customer..

The cook replied, "There is an equal amount of horse and rabbit in the burger: One horse, one rabbit."

Thanks one more time to Hugh Foley for this quasi-statistical joke.

 

50)

Did you know that there are three kinds of statisticians--those that can count and those that can't.

A big thank you to a fellow Hawkeye, John Creyer, for a great chuckle.