Summary Statistics Tell You Little About the Big Picture

Mean, median, and mode. These are the first things you learn about in your introductory statistics course. It’s often all you hear about when you see data in the news. People form policies for populations, based on the generalized numbers.

However, these summary statistics can only tell you so much about a dataset, which means you can only learn a limited amount about what the data represents — the people, places, and things.

If you’re the one who consumes the data, you should wonder what the means and medians actually represent. If you’re the one who analyzes the data, spend time with the most granular that time and resources allow for. Something more interesting will almost always come out of it.

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A Day in the Life: Women and Men

Using the past couple of years of data from the American Time Use Survey, I simulated a working day for men and women to see how schedules differ. Watch it play out in this animation.

Counting Happiness and Where it Comes From

Researchers asked 10,000 participants to list ten things that recently made them happy. I counted and connected the dots.

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With wildfires burning in the western United States, smoke fills the air. This is an animation of the air quality during the past couple of months.

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