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 Ilinois 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.


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.

Karl Pearson Hall

Welcome To The Karl Pearson Commerative Hall!

Karl Pearson (1857 - 1936) was an English mathematician whose work contributed significantly to the development of mathematical statistics and impacted the fields of biology, epidemiology, anthropometry, medicine and social history. In 1901, he founded the Biometrika journal to help further develop statistical theory. His work underpins many of the classical statistical methods that are still in use today such as linear regression, correlation and the classification of distributions. For additional information on Karl Pearson, refer to http://www.ucl.ac.uk/statistics/department/pearson

Now displaying the humorous side of Statistics...


As Twain DIDN'T say: "liars, outliers, and out-and-out liars!" (Nor did Disraeli...)

*Thanks to Robert Dawson for submitting this twist on an old standard.



A Bayesian and a Frequentist were to be executed. The judge asked them what were their last wishes. The Bayesian replied that he would like to give the Frequentist one more lecture. The judge granted the Bayesian's wish and then turned to the Frequentist for his last wish. The Frequentist quickly responded that he wished to hear the lecture again and again and again and again...

*Thanks to Xiao-Li Meng for this subtle humor.



What do statistics professors get when they drink too much?

Kurtosis of the Liver!

This one has been floating in my files unnoticed for some time. A belated thank you goes out to David Coursey.



Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics (statistics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.

This is a quote by Robert Heinlein with the parenthetical expression added by me. The question is how do these subhumans view mathematicians and statisticians?



"When she told me I was average, she was just being mean."

A big thanks for this quickie to Mike Beckman who is working on his Ph.D at Virginia Tech. Just wondered Mike if one of your professors told you this?



Old statisticians never die they just become nonsignificant.

This is my own quote. My students tell me I am only significant at the .10 level so how am I to interpret this?



What's the question the Cauchy distribution hates the most? Got a moment?

This is only funny if you are steeped in mathematical statistics. Thanks go out to S. Gomatam for contributing this odd one.



How many statisticians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

We really don't know yet. Our entire sample was skewed to the left!

This is my own little gem. I hope this one doesn't go RIGHT by you.



Did you know that if you torture the data long enough, that eventually it will confess?

Does this include using the Chinese water torture? Thanks Cliff Lee from Caterpillar for passing this one my way.



If the 2nd moment about the mean is the variance, the 3rd moment is skewness, and the 4th moment is kurtosis, what is the kth moment?

That's easy....the kth moment is a KODAK MOMENT!!!

I better pause a MOMENT and duck before I tell you this one is mine.



What's the difference between a physicist, a mathematician, and a statistician?

The physicist calculates until he gets a correct result and concludes that he has proven a fact.

The mathematician calculates until he gets a wrong result and concludes that he has proven the contrary of a fact.

The statistician calculates until he gets a correct result about an obviously wrong proposition and concludes NOTHING, because the explanation is the task of the scientist who consulted the statistician.

Thanks to Robert Hacker from Austria for this one. I hope I have not done damage to the underlying humor in the translation.



A friend was bragging to a statistician over coffee one afternoon how two-day volatility in the stock market had treated his holdings rather kindly. He chortled, "Yeah...yesterday I gained 60% but today I lost 40% for a net gain of 20%."

The statistician sat in horrified silence. He finally mustered the courage and said, "My good friend I'm sorry to inform you but you had a net loss of 4%!!!"

My little tale above illustrates how pervasive innumeracy is in our society. Always remember, "Percent of What?"



"I'm not an outlier -- I just haven't found my distribution yet!"

Thanks to Ronan Conroy in Dublin, Ireland, for this real cute one. I have also been searching for my distribution throughout my entire career.



"What do you get when you trade your Rolls Royce for a Chevrolet owned by Julia Childs?


This may be my worst one so far. Please hold the tomatoes!



A mathematician, applied mathematician and a statistician all apply for the same job. at the interview, they are are asked the question, what is 1 + 1. The mathematician replies, "I can prove that it exists but not that it is unique." The applied mathematician after some thought replies, "the answer is approximately 1.99 with an error in the region of 0.01." The statistician steps outside the room, mulls it over for several minutes, and eventually in desperation returns and inquires, "So what do you want it to be?"

A big thank you goes out to mike Greyling of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa for this revealing joke.



Why is a physician held in much higher esteem than a statistician?

A physician makes an analysis of a complex illness whereas a statistician makes you ill with a complex analysis!

This is my explanation of the vast pay differential between the two professions.



What did the Box Plot say to the outlier?

"Don't you dare get close to my whisker!!"

I had to dig very deep in the BOX to come up with one.


What did one regression coefficient say to the other regression coefficient?

I'm partial to you!

A big thank you to James Jaccard of the State University of New York at Albany for sending me this tidbit.



Why did the naive researcher stop at the lumber yard before analyzing his data?

A stuttering statistician told him, "A A...2 x 4 A A...ANOVA wood...would be needed for his...his analysis."

Thank goodness the poor researcher did not have to lug a bunch of 4 x 4 treated posts in his car! This is another home grown joke.



Why did Yogi Bear become a statistician?

Because he discovered that truth could be inferred on the basis of bare facts.

Thanks go out to Alfred M. Barron for this joke that is barely funny!



Here is a cute variation of the light bulb joke:

How many statisticians does it take to change a light bulb?

100 - 1 to change the bulb and n-1 to test the replacement!!!

It looks like a lot of statisticians to handle one light bulb! Thanks to William Tyler for sending me this all the way from Australia.



A beautiful young woman was dating a mathematician and a statistician, and she knew she had to make a decision. The two young fellows knew of each other, and were all the time trying to impress her with their intelligence. The woman decided that she would put the two young men to a test, and the winner would be her husband. She brought them into a small room and explained to them, "I have decided to end this battle between you, and pick one of you for my life-long partner. You must pass a simple test which I have devised. In turn, I want each of you to stand on that side of the room, and I will stand on this side of the room. Every 10 seconds, I want you to walk half the distance between us towards me until you get to me. Once you get to me, I wan you to give me a kiss."

The mathematician quickly thinks he has the answer to the test, and wants to be the first to proclaim it. "I refuse to do such a thing!" the mathematician said. "If i always walk half the distance toward you, I will never get to you. There will always be some distance left, no matter how small, and it can always be split in half!" The mathematician knows he has won and smirks quietly to himself.

The statistician thinks for a second, and says, "I'll give it a whirl." So, he stands on the other side of the room from the young woman, and then walks half way to her. After 10 seconds, he walks half way to her again. Then again. After about 2 minutes, the statistician is face to face with the young woman, their noses almost touching. Suddenly, he grabs her and givers her a big kiss!

The mathematician shouts, "Hey! You can't do that! You weren't all the way there! You CAN'T ever get all the way there by going half way each time!"

The statistician replies, "Well, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, I was there!!!" The young woman and the statistician were wed that next spring.

This illustrates the inflexibility of mathematicians and the pragmatism of statisticians. Charles Cwiek from the University of Tennessee sent me this cute little story. Many thanks Volunteer!



Two statisticians and their accountant buddy were having lunch together one day at a top-secret government research installation in the desert. The two statisticians were discussing how that afternoon they would finish analyzing data from four groups of aliens captured from spacecrafts. The first statistician stated firmly that the experimentwise error rate should be controlled by using Tukey. The second statistician disagreed vigorously and replied that the experimentwise error rate should be controlled by using Bonferonni.

Suddenly, the accountant's face became white as a sheet. He yelled, "I always knew that experiment with aliens would get us into big trouble some day. Since the aliens are going to attack us this afternoon you are both dead wrong. The only way to control the AIR RAID is to use the installation's bomb shelter!!!! I'm out of here...

The above was inspired by a graduate student in an intermediate level class one day. After what I thought was a scintillating lecture on error rate, the puzzled student asked me at the end of the hour what an AIR RAID had to do with statistics.



"My life is an experiment I never had a chance to properly design." -- Diana Ballard

Thanks to Diana for relating to all my readers her closely held secret. My question to Diana is, "What design would you now use if you had a chance to start your life over again?



You know how dumb the average person is? Well, by definition, half the population is dumber than that!

Thanks to Barbara Kerr from Australia for sending me this. She told me that this not-terribly-nice aphorism is attributed to the fictitious Bob Dobbs of the Church of the Subgenius.



What did the new statistics professor do when his lecture on analysis of variance flopped in front of a large class?

He had to go OVA ANOVA ANOVA it again!!!

I have to feel sorry for the poor chap when he gets to repeated measures designs. I hope my little joke was not a big FLOP!!



Knock! Knock!
Who's there?
Willie and Boris.
Willie Boris who?
Williee Boris with his stat lecture today?

OK, this one is really lame. But have any of you heard a "Knock! Knock!" statistics joke lately? This may be a first. Send me some and I will replace this with one of higher quality.



One day the variance and the standard deviation were engaged in a heated argument over which was the better measure of variability. The standard deviation shouted at the variance, "You are useless because you don't even related to the original score scale."

The variance glared back and yelled, "Oh year! You are totally worthless because you are far too radical."

Just then the mean deviation stepped between the two inc ides and pushed them both back. in a proud voice the mean deviation proclaimed, "You are both wrong! I am ABSOLUTELY the best measure of variability since both of you would be worth ZERO if you didn't square your deviations!!!!"

OK,this may not bring down the house with laughter. I still have a place in my heart for the antiquated mean deviation because of its intuitive nature. I believe students can see a rational for both S and S2 if MD is introduced first.



Did you hear about the statistician who was about to analyze data gathered from a nudist colony? He didn't know whether to use a one or a two-tailed test!!!!

This joke was told to me by my good friend and colleague Jazzbo Johnson, a counseling psychologist in the Psychology Department at Illinois State University. He assured me that it meets all the standards for a PG rated joke!



An engineer, consultant and statistician were driving down a steep mountain road in County Donegal one evening. All of a sudden the brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control. But half way down, the driver somehow managed to stop the car by running it against the embankment narrowly avoiding going over a very steep cliff. They all got out, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.

The consultant said: "To fix this problem we need to organize a committee, have meetings, write several interim reports and through a process of continuous improvement, develop a solution."

The engineer said: "No! That would take far too long, and besides that method never worked before. I have my trusty penknife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it."

The statistician said: "No -- you're both wrong! Let's all push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again. We only have an N of 1 here!!"

Ah, replication is the life blood of a statistician. My daughter Vicki who worked at Corporate McDonald's relayed to me this cute joke.



What is the difference between a statistician and a mortician?

Nobody's dying to see the statistician!

Thanks to Tom Mortino from Nichols College for this morbid piece of humor.



A statistician suddenly became despondent because he feared his five-year old computer was not Year-2000 compliant. Since statisticians by nature are frugal, he consulted a mail order catalog thinking he might find something within his price range. He was surprised to see just what he wanted on the very first page. The advertisement read, "The Little Red Devil specially priced at $10.00 until Jan. 1, 2000! This exceptional machine is fully Y2K compliant and ships with SPSS pre-loaded. Hurry while supply lasts."

The statistician was overjoyed and immediately ordered "The Little Red Devil." When the package arrived in several days, he was quite concerned that it was very small and weighed several pounds. Nevertheless, he quickly unwrapped the package and skimmed off all the peanut form packing. There cradled in the box staring him squarely in the face in all its splendor and glory was a red Etch-A-Sketch!!! Underneath the Etch-A-Sketch lay a single yellow sheet of technical instructions.

The statistician angrily pulled the sheet out and began reading the list of troubleshooting questions and answers.


Q: My Little Red Devil has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q:How do I turn off my Little Red Devil?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I create a New Document Window?
A: Pick it up screen. and shake it.

Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: Why is there only 2K of memory?.
A: This is just enough to recharge the magnetic field every 1000 years.

Q: How do I launch SPSS with my Little Red Devil?.
A: Shake it, put it down, shake it again, and the shake it once more vigorously.

Q: How do I delete a document on my Little Red Devil?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I save a document on my Little Red Devil?
A: Don't shake it.

Finally, if you have any further questions not covered by the above, call our toll-free hot line at 1-800-SHAKEIT.

By now, the statistician was furious and he slammed the Etch-A-Sketch to the ground and shattered the high resolution screen into thousands of pieces. He boiled for several minutes then went directly to his study closet, tugged on a musty box, and pulled out his heavy Marchant rotary calculator from the 1960's!!

Just had to get a Y2Kjoke into the Gallery before this whole page evaporates into the ether on January 1. A big thank you to Alan Kline from the HERKY listserv for suggesting a similar joke which I took the liberty to modify extensively.



Did you hear about the statistics professor that suddenly turned bearish and sold off all his stocks?

His department chair told him that severe grade inflation had occurred in his courses and interest rates among the students had skyrocketed!!!;

The poor professor should have consulted with Dr. Greenhouse, er pardon me, Dr. Greenspan before taking such a conservative approach!!! This is my contribution to get the year 2000 rolling.



A One-Way ANOVA and a Two-Way ANOVA were talking shop one day. The One-Way said, "I sure do envy the interaction you have with your variables."

The Two-Way frowned and replied, "Yah, but the minute it diminishes to any significant extent they really become independent and go their own separate ways."

Bet you didn't know that ANOVAS could talk! I have to get their permission to print this.



There were four technicians travelling in a car, until it broke down. The statistician was the first to react and proclaimed to his colleagues that there was no problem. "Let me explain. The works fine. It is 6 years old, has run up 200,000 miles, and the engine has run perfectly for 5000 hours. The problem is experimental error and should be forgotten about!""

The second technician, being a mechanical engineer, and not so easily fooled decided the alternator was malfunctioning. Unable to fix it, he turned to his colleague the electrical engineer for help. This guy decided that the ignition was the problem, but after some tinkering was also unable to fix the problem.

Finally, the computer scientist smugly looked at the other technicians and calmly suggested that everyone should get out of the car, then get back inside again!!

Is this like erasing a corrupted hard drive and reinstalling a corrupted operation system? Many thanks to Patrick DuBoucher from Cork Ireland who sent me this joke and signed my guestbook as "student." Hmmm, I wonder if a t-test would have fixed the car??



Did you hear the one about the sign outside the statistics lab?

"DANGER: Enter at your own risk. Informavore feeding frenzy in progress."

Thanks to Bill Shelton for sharing this cute little joke with us. Is an informavore similar to a carnivore?



Two students were walking out of statistics class one day. One was grinning ear to ear and the other was frowning woefully. The one that was grinning said, "Boy, the instructor sure gave an inspired lecture on hypothesis testing today. He said that out of the four outcomes that can occur when you test the null hypothesis, two are correct decisions and two are errors. He praised this procedure as the Holy Grail of statistical analysis."

The other student looked at his classmate in dismay. He stated, "Well I certainly was not impressed with his lecture and totally disagree with him. ANY STATISTICAL PROCEDURE FOR MAKING A CORRECT DECISION THAT IS NO BETTER THAN FLIPPING A COIN IS PRETTY BAD!!!"

This discussion would make Neyman turn over in his grave. Please Sir Ronald don't force me to reject or not reject my joke!!!



A traveler trudged down a dusty road alongside a pasture. Seeing a shepherd shouting and whistling at his sheepdog rounding up a flock of sheep, the traveler shouted "I BET YOU A HUNDRED BUCKS AGAINST ONE OF YOUR SHEEP I CAN GUESS THE SIZE OF YOUR FLOCK."

The shepherd agreed to the bet. The traveler then yelled loudly, "Nine hundred forty tow," exactly the number in the flock.

The traveler then picked out his prize and trudged down the road, but the shepherd shouted after him: " I BET I KNOW WHAT YOU DO!"

The traveler agreed to another wager about this matter, and the shepherd then stated, "YOU'RE A STATISTICIAN."

The traveler was startled. "How did you know?????"

The shepherd replied, "Well, put down my dog, and I'll tell you."

Thanks to George Moxley of Virginia Commonwealth University for contributing this joke to the Gallery. Most of my friends failed to see any humor in this anecdote. I guess only statisticians with a sheepdog would understand the levity here!



In a statistics class an instructor had just delivered what he thought was a very scintillating presentation on two-variable regression analysis. He looked up from the glare of the overhead projector and noticed that a student in the back of the classroom was in a semi-snooze. This proved too much for the instructor's ego and he scowled angrily at the student. He said, "Young man I want you to answer a question about this problem. For a person with an X-value of 45, is the predicted Y-value above or below the subgroup Y-mean?"

The dazed student looked up fro ten seconds then responded, "Yes."

The instructor could not believe his ears and quickly snapped back, "Young man this is not a ye-no question! Just say above or below."

The student responded, "Above or below!"

The instructor answered, "Yes."

The student was wide awake now and retorted, "SIR. THAT WAS MY ORIGINAL ANSWER."

A physician makes an analysis of a complex illness whereas a statistician makes you ill with a complex analysis!

Thanks to my colleague and good friend Elmer Lemke for reminding me of this answer he once got on a comprehensive examination. Of course, I took the liberty to augment and embellish this story.



One day a consulting statistician just remembered that a client was waiting for a set of frequency polygon CHARTS. They needed to be delivered immediately. Since the weather was humid and sticky the statistician threw on a T-shirt and some wrinkled SHORTS and rushed out the door. Somewhat discombobulated, he jumped into his car and roared down the road at a high rate of speed. As he rounded a sharp curve, he suddenly took one hand off the wheel and his care veered out of control and tumbled into the ditch. The poor statistician was seriously injured. Why in the world did a statistician take such a risk and take one hand off the wheel?

He just remembered that he wanted to do some FREE-HAND SMOTTHING OF HIS SHCARTS!

Why didn't the statistician just touch them up with an iron before he left? I guess I may also need to touch up my jokes from now on since my friends failed to crack a smile on this one!



We all have heard that statisticians lie with statistics. What do insomniacs do with statistics?

They kick them out of bed!!!!

Does that mean insomniacs never count sheep? I hope you like my twist to this old notion about statisticians.



As a biologist, a physicist, and a statistician are riding on a train through Wisconsin, they pass a herd of cows, one of which is completely white. "Oh look, there are white cows in Wisconsin," says the biologist. "You mean," says the physicist with an air of superiority, "there is at least one white cow in Wisconsin." "No," says the statistician, "there is at least one cow in Wisconsin that's white on at least one side!"

This is a new slant on an older stat joke! Thanks to Steve George of Amherst College who was told this by the late Julian Gibbs a chemist and former president of Amherst.


Five statisticians were selected by the World Unified Statistical Society (WUSS) to participate in a four-week televised reality program. The stakes were high with the survivor receiving a million dollar check and a Cary Supercomputer. These statisticians represented the very best minds in their subfields and were picked on the basis of their uncanny abilities to utilize divergent thinking. The five were a Biometrician, a Psychometrician, an Actuary, a Pollster, and a Professor of Statistics. Each was given a pocket calculator and a box of Ritz crackers and airlifted to a small uninhabited atoll in the South Pacific. Each week for three weeks one statistician was voted off the island and at the end of the fourth week the entire membership of WUSS voted on the winner from the remaining twosome. Can you pic, the survivor and ultimate champion?

THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!!! After the third day all had perished and the program was cancelled. The million dollars was given to Statisticians Anonymous (SA) and the Cray Computer was donated to Wood Will Industries.

What a sad ending to such a valiant effort by this prestigious organization to publicize the statistical profession!!! Oh, I just remembered I let my membership in WUSS lapse last year.



A prisoner had just been sentenced for a heinous crime and was returned to his cell. An inquisitive guard could not wait to ask him about the outcome.

Guard: "What did you get for a sentence?"
Prisoner: "I could choose life or 100 years."
Guard: "And what did you choose?"
Prisoner: "Well, life, obviously. Statistically speaking that is shorter."

A physician makes an analysis of a complex illness whereas a statistician makes you ill with a complex analysis!

This convict obviously knew a little about statistics but was lacking in common sense. Thanks go out to Coen Bernaards from UCLA for sending this one my way.



What is the difference between an introverted and extraverted statistician?

The introverted statistician stares DOWN at his shoes whereas the extraverted statistician stares OVER at your shoes!!!

Well you have to admit the angle of sight has been elevated a tad but then statisticians are a pretty repressed profession. However, I can take great comfort in what a wise man once said, "You can tell a lot about the character of a man by the appearance of his shoes." For all you so-called "Experts on Shoes," try this little fun test The New and Improved Expert Shoe Salesperson Quiz



Have you heard about the statistics jokes gone horribly wrong?

Even the undergrads could understand it!!

Hmmh! I always thought the critical attribute of a good statistics joke was its backward compatibilitiy with undergraduates. Oh well!! A big thanks to Kathleane Kaczor a biology major at ISU for sharing this bit of humor even though she was shocked that I liked it.



Three ladies, formerly roommates at college met monthly for lunch. This month's topic of conversation turned to catching husbands. Sue said she was going to take advantage of the upcoming 3-day weekend to fly to Acapulco and scout the pool at Club Med. Julies said she was going to bite the bullet and sign herself up at one of those video dating services. Kate said she was flying to Chicago for the International Conference of Statisticians. Sue looked puzzled; Julie said, "Huh?" Kate responded by telling them that 86% of Statisticians were single males under the age of 37.

Sue said, "Wow! Odds are good!" Julie said, "Yeah, but the goods are odd."

I love this little joke! Darryl Fiorina sent me this and I really wanted to thank him but he included an invalid e-mail address. If you are out there Darryl, please contact me or I have to conclude that you are odd goods!!



A statistician always HAS SOMETHING TO SAY with numbers while a politician always HAS TO SAY SOMETHING with numbers!

The late Dr. James B. Stroud of the University of Iowa and the 2000 presidentlal election inspired me to write this truism. Maybe I should hide behind a BUSH so I won't get GORED!!



A man was in a hot-air balloon. Soon he found himself lost with nothing but green fields for as far as the eye could see. Eventually, he happened to float over a man who was walking his dog.

He leaned over the basket and yelled out, "Hello! Where am I?"

The man on the ground replied, "You're about 20 feet about the ground in a hot-air balloon."

The balloonist cursed him and shouted back, "You must be a statistician."

"Why do you say that?" asked the man on the ground.

"Well," shouted the balloonist, "You're absolutely correct but your answer was completely useless."

"Oh, I see," replied the walker, "And you must be a manager."

"Actually, you're right," said the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the walker, "First you were lost. Then, after working out what information you needed to sort yourself out, you asked someone else to get it for you. Now, that you have the information, you're still lost, but it's someone else's fault."

This clever little twist on an earlier joke was sent to me by Gareth Jones of the University of Manchester in the U.K. Three cheers for the statistician's quick retort.


THE TRUE BELL CURVE - The distribution of SUCCESS in life in relationship to AGE follows a true bell curve (Modified July 8, 2005):

At age 5, success is not peeing in your pants
At age 10, success is having friends in many, many places
At age 16, success is having a driver's license and no moving violations
At age 20, success is having sex but harboring a variety of anxieties about it
At age 35, success is having money to pay cash for a turbocharged Porsche Carrera GT
At age 50, success is having money to pay cash for turbocharged Porsche Carrera GT
At age 65, success is having sex but harboring a variety of anxieties about it
At age 70, success is having a driver's license and no moving violations
At age 75, success is having friends in many many places
At age 80, success is not peeing in your pants

Thanks again to my colleague Jazzbo Johnson for suggesting this hilarious joke as it was related to him by a friend. It is displayed in gold because it represents the century mark for this Joke Gallery. What a milestone for this site! When I first conceived the notion of a Statistics Joke Gallery about four years ago there probably existed less than a handful of such jokes. At the time I thought that if 25 jokes could be accumulated in five years it would be a huge success. But WOW! We have now reached 100 and the site has become the envy of the statistical profession. Many thanks to all the contributors and keep the jokes coming.