The United Nations has focused the world's attention on some specific challenges by declaring today the first World Statistics Day (WSD). And they want to acknowledge the "crucial role of statistics in fulfilling our global mission of development and peace".
Everyone's daily life is touched by statistics. Stores are built in certain areas. Schools are provided because the population trend shows growth. New effective medical treatments are tested and made available.
The challenges are classic; sparse data and poor application of statistical techniques. Developing countries are struggling to fund data collection and train staff. We are all challenged to make statistics comparable across countries and regions. We are all challenged to be transparent on our application of analytic methods.
From: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
"I commend the dedication that many statistical experts bring to their reports and publications . They carry out an essential public service -- one that promotes peace and democracy by giving citizens reliable and impartial public information about their communities. Their core values -- service, integrity and professionalism -- deserve full support in all nations."
StatSoft employees see this service, integrity and professionalism in the statisticians, data miners and other statistical experts that we interact with every day. We appreciate your work. Thank you.
In honor of WSD, we are sharing some favorite quotes about statistics. So let's start with a basic idea.
You can't manage what you don't measure
Sometimes when the numbers get really small or big, it is difficult to relate to our every day life. Human brains have trouble with the scale. But we all have Stalin to help us remember. One or a million deaths are a tragedy and a statistic.
One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.
The next three quotes deal with the issue of applying the correct analytical technique to the data.
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything.
- Gregg Easterbrook
Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
- Mark Twain
What are your favorite quotes? What do you see as the biggest challenges?