Saturday, August 30, 2014

Episode 0008: Misuse of statistics, and misunderstanding of randomness and probability

Misuse of statistics


Clip from original episode

A bit from the classic British show, Yes Prime Minister.

Apple WWDC keynote 

Apple CEO Tim Cook at this year’s World Wide Developers Conference Keynote. He points out that Apple has an install base of 80 Million Macs.

Based on NetMarketShare data, as of May 2014, Windows 8 can be found on about 14 percent of all PCs currently running Windows. But with an overall market share of about 1.5 billion, Windows PCs represent nearly 91 percent of all computers in use worldwide. In simple terms, that means that Windows 8, widely considered a “failure” by critics and competitors, is in use on about 210 million PCs worldwide. That’s more than 5 times the install base of Mavericks, and more than 2.5 times the install base of every Mac currently in use. (Source:

This also ignores other points of difference. Windows 8 is a major update that pretty much people only get with new machines and have to pay for. Maveriicks is a minor free upgrade by comparison.

Full keynote:


Andrew Bolt and climate contrarians 

Analysis of this factoid:

Original Youtube clip:

Misunderstanding of probability


Sally Clark wrongful conviction 

Background - Wikipedia on Sally Clark:

Evolution and spontaneous beginning of life

From, a community of Christians sharing their ideas about the relationship between faith and science.

Original Youtube clip:

Fred Hoyle's junkyard tornado:

Book I’m part of the way through reading: How to not be wrong:

Direct download of the episode:

The Second (eBook) Edition of Humbug! is available for about US$3.99 from:

1 comment:

  1. G'day Theo
    I love the podcast. My only criticism is that in this episode you didn't play a clip from the Simpsons. I think it's the cat burglar episode when Homer is being interviewed by Kent Brockman and Homer says something like 'statistics can be used to prove anything, forfty percent of people know that'
    If you could put that into another episode would make my day.
    Thanks Liam