There’s a statistic for everything, especially in investing. Writers and financial experts love to pick out minutiae from the markets and posit that they mean something BIG and EXPLOSIVE about the state of the economy — and now that you know it too, you have some sort of investing edge. (If you were paying attention to all of these posts, about a million different indicators flashed that a recession was “imminent” in the past few years, and, well.) If you want, you can get market information down to the second.
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My wife and I have about the same number of Twitter followers — 16k and 14k respectively — but her tweets consistently outperform mine. In fact, according to the SparkScore tool from the Twitter marketing service SparkToro, an average tweet from her gets three times as many retweets and 10 times as many faves.
Housing affordability, high house prices and rents are attracting plenty of media attention right now. The latest figures on house prices, mortgages, number of first time buyers and so on are dissected by journalists and commentators as if this is an issue of recent origin. In fact what we have here is a long-term structural problem that has been neglected for decades.
Sloppy statistics and research misconduct are nothing new, but it's rare to get a clear picture of exactly how questionable data gets turned into clicky headlines. We have that now with the latest reporting on Cornell food scientist Brian Wansink, and it's worth taking a minute to look at what's exactly so wrong about the dodgy research techniques he's been accused of employing.
Misusing statistics is one of the most powerful ways to lie. Normally, we teach you how to avoid misinterpreting statistics, but knowing how numbers are manipulated can help you spot when it happens. To that end, we're going to show you how to make data say whatever the hell you want to back up any wrong idea you have.
Just how likely does "probably" sound to you? To some people, "probably" means that something is practically locked in. To others, it means the likelihood of something happening is highly dubious. This graph assigns percentage values to a range of common phrases relating to probability. Turns out you should say "almost certainly" instead of "probably" if you want to minimise doubt.
Scarcely a day passes when I don't receive a report from some analyst or research organisation informing me of how a new product has saved a bunch of companies a massive sum of money, or how a product has been identified as a leader or innovator in their chosen market niche. But can we trust these reports?
Making New Year's resolutions is tricky in the first place. Do you start out small with something you know you can achieve consistently without really pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, or do you go all out and hope that willpower alone will drag you through? In other words, do you make a resolution to catch the train to work a little more instead of driving, or do you make a resolution to take a holiday every month and pack on 20 kilos of muscle at the gym before the next year is out?
Subscription streaming services like Netflix and Stan generally refuse to disclose how many hours of content they offer, but those numbers can be a useful raw metric for deciding who provides the best value. Streaming search app Gyde has toted up the numbers on the five main services in Australia right now. Who comes out on top?