The eLFonian Quotes …

2b or not 2b… on Statistics and forecasting

Continuing with renovations, this week sees another addition to the Quotes menu. This one is on Statistics with a particular bent towards forecasting. This is ideal for anyone who deals with numbers in a predictive manner: engineers, scientists, marketers and the countless others who use numbers to “predict” the future, explain behaviour, determine purity, understand the chances of winning etc.

This new addition to The eLFonian provides a range of quotes that you can use to impress your work colleagues while chatting around the coffee machine, or pull out at the next conference as you step into some curly question time or for that upcoming presentation to the Board explaining why budget didn’t meet forecast (didn’t anyone bother to introduce the two in the first place?).

Remember, it’s been said that statistics are like a woman in a bikini – they reveal a lot but also leave a lot up to the imagination. When working with statistics, therefore, be careful of your interpretation of the results or you could end up being slapped in the face!

Average explained: A hunter fired both barrels of a shotgun at a duck. The first shot missed the duck by about one metre in front. The second shot missed the duck by about one metre behind. On average, the duck should be dead! Instead, the duck went home unaware of what had happened and the hunter went home hungry. In some circumstances, averages are acceptable as in, for example, estimating purity by a chemical test. In other cases, they can be misleading as in the case of the “dead” duck.

As Louis D. Brandeis explained, “I abhor averages.  I like the individual case.  A man may have six meals one day and none the next, making an average of three meals per day, but that is not a good way to live.”

If you have a quote you’d like to share and see on The eLFonian, email eLFy at

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About The eLFonian

An observer of Cyberian culture and an avid student of life - its mysteries, its intricacies, its wonders, its creation and, its future.
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