Monday, May 20, 2013

Stats in the News: Bloomberg Data Privacy Breach

Bloomberg LP makes a lot of money by compiling financial data and making it available to clients who pay $20K a year to access the data via special terminals.

Bloomberg also has a news branch. And reporters from the news branch have been collecting data from Bloomberg clients about how they are using/analyzing/etc. the Bloomberg data. Which has the clients up in arms as it could reveal business practices, propriety information, etc. When this story first made the news, the stock market plummeted. Currently, Bloomberg is launching its own investigation into the data abuse.

Here is one of the earlier news stories detailing the case as well as an NPR story about Bloomberg's reactions.
While this doesn't teach statistics, per se, it does provide you with an example to share with your students about real life application of statistics, the value of statistics, data mining, and how our current legal system is facing challenges in regards to regulating data.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013's "Packages sealed with "Atheist" tape go missing 10x more often than controls"

I originally cam across this story via More information from the source is available here.

Essential, these high-end German shoes are made by a company of devoted atheists. They even have their mailing materials branded with "athiest". And they had a problem with their packages being lost in by the USPS. They ran a wee experiement in which they sent out packages that were labled with the Atheist tape vs. not, and found that the Atheist packages went missing at a statistically higher rate than the non-denominational packages.

Property of

I think this could be used in the classroom because it is a pretty straight-forward research design, you can challenge your students to question the research design, simply challenge your students to read through the discussion of this article at the atheistberlin website, introduce your students to Milgram's "lost letter" technique and other novel research methods.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jess Hagy's "This is Indexed"

Jess Hagy illustrates her observations about life using simple graphs. I use her illustrations in order to provide examples to my students.

Does this illustrate a positive or negative correlation?

Property of Jess Hagy

Would a correlation detect this relationship? Why or why not?

Property of Jess Hagy

According to this diagram, what two different factors may account for the shared variance between the two variables?

Property of Jess Hagy