One Way to Mislead With Charts

Today I'd like to take a break from my recent topics of discussion and look at an example of why people shold be skeptical of the messaging by global warming advocates. This post isn't about science. I'm not going to argue about any facts or theories. I'm not going to question or put forth facts or evidence.

None of those things matter today. Regardless of what one believes about global warming, everyone should be able to agree on a basic principle: Results should be presented in an accurate manner that does not create a misleading impression of what the results show. And based upon that principle, everyone should be able to agree this display is rubbish:

I'm not questioning the data used to make this display. The data doesn't matter today. What matters today is the data is being displayed in a misleading manner.
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Do the Laws of Probability Mean Anything?

Hey guys, as you may have picked up on from my last couple posts, I was fairly sick this week. I'm not completely over it, but I have had the energy to do more than lie around all day doing nothing. Naturally, one of my top priorities has been playing Rock, Paper Scissors (RPS).

I'm not going to re-visit the history leading up to today's post. You can read the last post I wrote on this subject here. The short version is it seems no matter what I do, I keep beating a computer opponent that makes random choices. This shouldn't be possible. The odds of winning, losing or tying in RPS should be 1/3 when one opponent picks options at random.

Today's post is about an update to my methodology and the results it leads to. I've played 10,000 matches after the update, and I have won 3,454 of those matches. That gives me a win rate of 34.54%, a result that is "statistically significant" at the 99% level.
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How is This Possible?

I've been staying in bed for the last couple days due to being sick, and it's possible I'm going a bit stir-crazy. I might also be suffering fever hallucinations. However, I don't help but think there is something wrong with this:

That's a screenshot of my phone's battery monitor. It shows the phone's battery status since I turned it on several hours ago after it had been dead overnight since I forgot to put it on a charger. It hasn't been plugged into anything since I turned it on. It doesn't have any sort of remote charger.

Am I hallucinating, is there some sort of bug in the programming, or did my phone battery's charge really go up while in use?

Go Figure?

Visitors to this site will likely know I hold a negative view of modern "fact checkers" as I feel much of what they do cannot reasonably be considered "fact checking." During a publicity thing one such organization, PolitiFact, did, I asked a representative how it goes about addressing problems people raise in things it publishes:

I was told to contact PolitiFact at a particular address with any such concerns. I did. Nothing happened. I got an automated response acknowledging the receipt of my e-mail, but I didn't hear anything else after that. I didn't hear anything when I followed up on the e-mail either. None of the articles I discussed in my e-mail to PolitiFact were changed either.

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Have the Laws of Probability Been Broken?

I've been trying to finish my next post involving a case study of the misuse and abuse of statistics to claim to prove global warming skeptics possess certain negative traits (my last post regarding this can be found here). Unfortunately, a number of things are getting in the way. Of special note is it's difficult to talk about statistics as I've largely lost faith in the laws of probability.
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Who Needs a Court System?

Readers will know I am not a fan of Donald Trump for a variety of reasons, like him constantly saying things which aren't true. That he was elected as president obviously bothers me. I've been trying not to talk about that though. The point of this site is ultimately to explore my belief the world is insane, but Trump's election is too obvious an example.

Still, I can resist only so much. It would be fun to talk about how Trump managed to issue an executive order in a more incompetent manner than has ever been seen before. It would be fun to talk about how Trump claims the cancellation of his meeting with the President of Mexico was mutual because on Twitter he said:

And the guy responded by canceling the meeting. I mean, not only is that an incredibly strained definition of "mutual," it is hard to resist talking about how Trump apparently thinks he negotiated this cancelation via Twitter. Still, I managed. I managed right up until I saw this tweet:

I had to check for myself because that seemed too funny. How could the government fail to include one of its three branches on its White House website? I don't have an answer for that, but I can confirm it is true. The judicial branch no longer has a web page on the White House website.
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Downplaying a Massacre

I've chosen to not get involved in discussions of the current Syrian civil war. Unfortuantely, I am exposed to theses discussions anyway because of the people around me. Normally, I just ignore it. However, sometimes something comes up that I cannot ignore. One examplel is this tweet I came across earlier today:

This tweet includes a screenshot from a piece written by a Nassim Taleb. I've seen his name name has come up in some discussions, but I know almost nothing about him. All I do know is his reporting shown in that screenshot:

Note 2. Recall that I am a statistician. When I took a look at the statistics of the conflicts, most appear to be fabrications inflated by Qatari-funded think tanks and their useful idiots?—?by a mechanism the Indians call “Salma told Sabrina”. For instance, we know that Hama’s toll was not the 30–40,000 people report but the only real evidence is closer to 2,000.

Is wrong and should not be taken seriously. Given Taleb is downplaying a massacre, I thought I'd write a short post about this. Because, you know, downplaying massacres is a bad thing.
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Statistical Woes - Impossible Results

I've owed you guys a post for a little while now, and I apologize for how long it's taken. I just can't get past a certain problem. As you may recall, I recently discussed how "correlation is meaningless" in relation to a paper which claimed to demonstrate climate change "deniers" possess certain characteristics. For a quick refresher:

The reason the authors can claim there is a "statistically significant" correlation between these two traits is they collected almost no data from anyone who "denies" climate change. The approach the authors have taken is to draw a line through their data, which is how you normally calculate the relationship between two variables, then extrapolate it out far beyond where their data extends.

There are a lot of ways of describing this approach. When I've previously said correlation is meaningless, I used an example in which I demonstrated a "statistically significant" correlation between belief in global warming and support for genocide. It was completely bogus. I was able to do it because I used the same approach the authors used. Namely:

1) Collect data for any group of people.
2) Determine views that group holds.
3) Find a group which is "opposite" the group you study.
4) Assume they must hold the opposite view of the group you studied on every issue.

This will work with literally any subject and any group of people. You can reach basically any conclusion you want because this approach doesn't require you have any data for the group of people you're drawing conclusions about.

Today I want to move beyond simple correlation coefficients and get into some of the more complex modeling the authors performed. There's a problem though. You see, the results the authors published are impossible to achieve.
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