We pride ourselves in having outgrown primitive ways of understanding our world. We’ve given up Delphic Oracles, chicken entrails, and astrology [well, maybe not astrology]. In their place behold the new statistician. Serious people poring over serious numbers in think-tank computer rooms.
But come on now, once we have all the statistical facts, don’t we still have only part of the truth? Numbers can define cold, hard objects; but not really warm, feeling people. And yet the role and rule of the statistician continues. To what noble purposes? Well lets check….
* Political statisticians check a few thousand phones and voila! we get instant documentation on who’s “winning” the presidential race
* Weather statisticians check a few dials and voila! a forecast from inside a windowless studio
* Tennis statisticians actually take the time to measure Maria Sharapova’s annoying grunts on the court at 101 decibels or roughly the loudness of a chain saw
* University of Pennsylvania statisticians have surveyed students and report bald men are perceived as “more dominant, stronger, and taller than other men”
* Wall Street statisticians report that the 1% is also the 47%, because Congeries discovered 2,362 people legally collect unemployment benefits despite living in households with incomes of $1 million or more
* Pentagon statisticians coolly calculate air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities will “kill 80,000 people and expose another 300,000 to toxic clouds of radioactive uranium”
Will Rogers had a point: “What this country needs is dirtier fingernails and healthier minds!”
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