Monday, August 30, 2010

As ordered: The shocking truth on the Hippo and statistical evidence

The Hippopotamus (or short Hippo) is a creature lying most of the day in bed. If the sun shines, the hippo is sleeping and when it is dark: sleeping again. One might think, that the hippo is depressed or sick. No.
The hippo is a stuffed animal. It was adopted at Ikea and brought straight to my civilized home, where it is used as a pillow or to amaze children. The real hippo is different - but I am not going to talk about size.

The wikipedia told me that there is an even smaller hippo, that the whale is kind of a big cousin to the hippo and that there's no statistical evidence that there are more deaths per year by hippos than by any other big animal in Africa. But what does the last fact mean?

Would he be so relaxed
with a hippo nearby?

Is statistical evidence the truth? No. It is not. Statistical evidence is to be seen as the approximate correctness. So statistical evidence can be 100% correct if you have a sample of 100%, i.e. all of everything. In case of the hippos that would mean something, but there could still be statistical evidence for a lot of accidents occuring with hippos. People could die due to the injuries in these accidents. Depending on the statistical data this would or would not count.
So statistical evidence is depending on data. What you could learn from the hippo: You cannot make something out of nothing, but there is statistical evidence that I will get a book from the shelf and meet the hippo on the sofa.

ABOUT: This story was ordered in a comment to Writing in non mother tongue by Rosa with the words Hippos (actually 3 times in a row).

1 comment:

  1. I first thought you haves some evidence on Hypo... :)


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