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At 12:12 PM 9/24/99 -0400, Lee wrote:
>> Here are just a few questions I know about "America" that renders any
>> statistics like "1 in 100,000" meaningless.  Why?
 
>Now, now, Bob.  In a previous post, you defined such things as random
>variables.  No fair changing the rules now. <G>  No, I don't mean it and
>don't need a lecture on statistics.  I make no claims to proper definitions
>or useage.
 
Then you should've refrained from even bring it up!  ;)   That was
the "empirical statistics" Strike cited from Queensland Diver which
I questioned its meaninglessness.  Mine was a SERIOUS remark, based on
the same advice I have given DAN (Divers Alert Network) when asked
by them to help with the statistical question of HOW they can get a
handle on such rates, not knowing the TOTAL number of dives in the
population in their Annual Reports nor the number of divers!
 
You're right it has nothing to do with randomness.  And I saw the <G>!
But in this kind of discussion, where confusion of meanings of
statistics abound, it's hard for SOME readers to tell a joke from
something serious, so it's better to refrain from jokes unless it's
completely unambiguous -- in statistics, even the meaning of SAMPLE
MEAN could generate a flamewar for weeks in rec.scuba because readers
don't KNOW that its different from the median or the mode, it's a
good idea to just skip jokes and get on with the non-statistical
discussion!
 
>My point is something very different, something I think you will
>agree with without reservation (if you ever agree without reservation).
 
Yes I do, but ONLY when the statements are correct!   :-)
 
As a matter of fact, that's a VERY GOOD reason that you should NOT
have even mentioned the word "statistics", because it's not relevant
to your next statement, and you were WRONG about the usage of
"statistics" -- and that's not a nitpick either.
 
> In
>this context, I find only a couple of "statistics" to be important.  Did I
>and all my friends come back undamaged?  Did we enjoy the dive?
 
Those are NOT statistics.  The first is just a "yes" or "no" question.
The second is definitely NOT a statistic, because it is NOT a number!
 
 
>The safety of an individual diver is a function of the quality of the risk
>decisions that diver makes and the knowledge he/she has available to make
>the decision.  In this context, no number of damaged or undamaged divers has
>the slightest effect on the safety of the next diver.
>
>Lee
 
Why didn't you just say what you said in those four lines in the FIRST
PLACE, without bringing in any of the foreplays, overtures, or prologues
that added nothing to what you had to say OTHER THAN introducing more
confusion about "statistics"?  :-)
 
-- Bob.