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Skeptic Book Club - Statistics

  • Sep 21, 2012 · 7:00 PM
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Skeptics -

September is statistics month! So, this meetup is for those of us who a) understand and love statistics (Amanda) or b) don't understand statistics but know that we should understand statistics (everyone else). Don't miss the fun!

You need only read one book to come to the meetup, but reading both is encouraged. Feel free to bring drinks (beer, wine, etc) or food. We try to dedicate an hour to each selection with ten minute break between.

Below are descriptions of the selections. Enjoy!

1. The Lady Tasting Tea by David Salsburg (2002, 352 pages)

From Amazon:

At a summer tea party in Cambridge, England, a guest states that tea poured into milk tastes different from milk poured into tea. Her notion is shouted down by the scientific minds of the group. But one man, Ronald Fisher, proposes to scientifically test the hypothesis. There is no better person to conduct such an experiment, for Fisher is a pioneer in the field of statistics.

The Lady Tasting Tea spotlights not only Fisher's theories but also the revolutionary ideas of dozens of men and women which affect our modern everyday lives. Writing with verve and wit, David Salsburg traces breakthroughs ranging from the rise and fall of Karl Pearson's theories to the methods of quality control that rebuilt postwar Japan's economy, including a pivotal early study on the capacity of a small beer cask at the Guinness brewing factory. Brimming with intriguing tidbits and colorful characters, The Lady Tasting Tea salutes the spirit of those who dared to look at the world in a new way.

2. What is a p-value Anyway? 34 Stories to Help You Actually Understand Statistics by Andrew J. Vickers (2009, 240 pages)

From Amazon:

What is a p-value Anyway? offers a fun introduction to the fundamental principles of statistics, presenting the essential concepts in thirty-four brief, enjoyable stories. Drawing on his experience as a medical researcher, Vickers blends insightful explanations and humor, with minimal math, to help readers understand and interpret the statistics they read every day.

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