Archive for March, 2018

Know Your Audience — Good Luck with That

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

I’ve long appreciated the fact that knowing your audience is an important prerequisite for effective communication. Over time, however, I’ve learned that this can rarely be achieved with specificity. The reason is simple: audiences are rarely homogeneous. If your audience is composed of two or more people, it is to some extent diverse. Consequently, it […]

Randomness is Often Not Random

Monday, March 12th, 2018

In statistics, what we often identify as randomness in data is not actually random. Bear in mind, I am not talking about randomly generated numbers or random samples. Instead, I am referring to events about which data has been recorded. We learn of these events when we examine the data. We refer to an event […]

When Metrics Do Harm

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

We are obsessed with data. One aspect of this obsession is our fixation on metrics. Quantitative measures—metrics—can be quite useful for monitoring and managing performance, but only when they are skillfully used in the right circumstances for the right purposes. In his wonderful new book, As an historian, Muller brought a high degree of scholarship […]

Tony Stark is Not a Real Dude

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

The world that has emerged from the imagination of Stan Lee and his Marvel Comics colleagues is great fun. In recent years, DeadPool has become my new favorite superhero, with Wolverine close on his heels. Today, however, I want to talk about another Marvel superhero—Iron Man—or more specifically about Tony Stark, the man encased on […]