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Peter Bruce's Blog – February 2015 Archive (4)

The Real Life Consequences of a Losing Oscar Pool: How We Misunderstand Statistics and Make Bad Choices

This week, movie fans around the country engage in the annual ritual of handicapping the Oscar odds, debating public predictions and seeking signs of how their favorites will fare. Can “Birdman” knock out “Boyhood?” Will the “Selma” snub continue?

Hollywood watchers sometimes try to base their calls on statistics, citing the higher Oscar chances for films already honored with British Academy Film or Screen Actors Guild awards. In…

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Added by Peter Bruce on February 19, 2015 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The One Thing We Can Agree On as Political Polling Begins: Understanding Statistics

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker may be surging as an early favorite for the Republican presidential nomination — but the numbers show the person leading among potential Iowa caucus-goers often doesn’t win. In the Democratic field, Hillary Clinton is the most dominant position …

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Added by Peter Bruce on February 18, 2015 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

Swimming Pools and Nicholas Cage: A Look at How We Misunderstand Correlation

Can the recent four-point Super Bowl victory by the New England Patriots clue us in as to how many people will die in helicopter accidents?

The link between helicopter accident fatalities and Super Bowl point spreads is the latest …

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Added by Peter Bruce on February 9, 2015 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

Taking the Fear Out of Statistics

In the film Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Tiffany, attempts to win over the Philadelphia Eagles-obsessed family of her friend, Pat, by claiming that her time with him is bringing the team good “juju.”

“The first night Pat and I met at my sister’s, the Eagles beat the 49ers handily, 40–26,” she says, pacing around a living room filled with Pat’s rapt relatives. “The second time we…

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Added by Peter Bruce on February 6, 2015 at 2:30pm — No Comments

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