Monday, 15 August 2011

The Outlaw

Brunette has been bragging about snow in Christchurch. That is like bragging about getting sand in your togs at Piha. What is really noteworthy is that there was snow falling on Grafton Bridge this afternoon.

Some in social media land have claimed this as "proof" that global warming is a crock. Well these netizens need to reflect on the outlaw outlier:

"Naive interpretation of statistics derived from data sets that include outliers may be misleading. For example, if one is calculating the average temperature of 10 objects in a room, and most are between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius, but an oven is at 175 °C, the median of the data may be 23 °C but the mean temperature will be between 35.5 and 40 °C. In this case, the median better reflects the temperature of a randomly sampled object than the mean; however, naively interpreting the mean as "a typical sample", equivalent to the median, is incorrect. As illustrated in this case, outliers may be indicative of data points that belong to a different population than the rest of the sample set." - Outlier

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