Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Through the Eyes of a Statistician

The adorable video above, an entry to The American Statistics Association contest, shows the world “through the eyes of a statistician”.

Statistics is all around us and can be seen in the marks left by the actions of hundreds, thousands of people on objects such as a gas pump slot, as well as on a door handle (as it gets worn out, the corrosion will leave a normal distribution bell curve shaped pattern). On the other hand, the stains left by dripping oil from car engines on a parking lot will display a discrete Poisson distribution emerging pattern.

That reminded me of a funny fact: the “Adam” statue by Bottero at Time Warner Center in New York has a shining area that ends up contrasting against the rest of the sculpture. A tabloid even described the urge to touch the area as “irresistible”.

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Men may be more interested in the statues of the “Crazy Girls” casino in Las Vegas:

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Back to something less related to sexuality statistics – which turns the parts down there “irresistible” to groping – , I also remembered the story about a Buddhist monk who supposedly left his footprints on the wooden floor on which he had been praying for twenty years:

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My critical sense does not buy this story, mainly due to the way the footprints don’t seem to follow the foot parts that actually bear most of the weight, or at least should wear out the wood a bit more – especially the little toe area. Or maybe the peculiar way he is supposed to have been praying can indeed create those footprint patterns?

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Applied statistics, along with other fields of science, would let us put this story to test! [via The Five Best Statues for Groping]

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Posted in Miscelaneous,Science | 2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. BobZ November 30th, 2011 4:17 am

    Look at the gas pump receipt slot. There’s a metal guard above the worn area. It’s higher in the middle and extends down on the left and right. Seems like a better explanation for the wear pattern — you can’t reach as high on the left or right as you can in the middle, because the metal guards are in the way.

  2. Alice December 21st, 2011 5:35 pm

    About the Buddhist monk that might’ve left his footprints on that wooden floor.. I think it depends a lot on the sort of wood that floor was made of and how old it was, but this story is actually quite possible. But I think it is a bit unusual how it didn’t seem to make any difference in the footprint whether there were veins or not. I think it would be more natural if it didn’t look so perfectly in the right shape. The shape of the toes wouldn’t be so perfectly round and such. Also, before the footprints were clearly visible, it must’ve been nearly impossible to pray on the exact same place every day for twenty years. I’d assume the wood around the footprints would be more worn out compared with the normal floor, which obviously doesn’t seem to be the case.

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