The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

To the individual, statistics mean precisely nothing: a frame for abstract data to imitate something of personal relevance, nothing more. Percent chance of occurrence is meaningless to an individual: events either occur or don't occur.

In a statistic-driven society, it can be very easy to forget that frames are arbitrary: that any given picture could have been cropped differently. How wide a frame would have to be needed to begin to Heisenberg-perceive the random variability of individuals -- atoms -- in an infinite universe?

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