On Statistical Terminology

Cory Lation*

Whoever invented statistical terms
Had a head that was stuffed with worms.
All these new words are so much junk,
And if I don't learn them, I'm really sunk.

Why's the bell-shaped curve called normal?
Is it normal to be so formal?
There's nothing mean about the mean.
It's just the average, as is clearly seen.

And what's so standard about that deviation?
It's a really malicious creation.
Confusing students is its only function.,
It frustrates and mystifies, in conjunction!

And who needs the variance?
It only rhymes with "harry ants."
Variance is what analysis is of,
But all my friends would just love
To take the sum of squares we've seen
And put them within the instructor's inbetween.

I'm just not sure about probability.
I think it caused the prof's early senility.
I often frequent relatively conditional joints,
But that won't get me any statistical points.

"Histogram" throws me, at least a bit.
I remember the first time I heard of it.
I wanted an antihistogram to get rid of it.
But then I studied it, and after some beers,
I learned it's a bar chart -- there went my fears.
Just a bar chart, like Norm's tab at Cheers.

Skewness and kurtosis, now there's a pair;
Something you'd wash out of your hair.

Research design, it's such a burn,
Filled with more weird terms to learn.
Your constructs are valid, so's your internal,
But if your validity isn't also external,
You should flush your data down the urinal
Or you'll go to a place where the heat's infernal
And study statistics for time eternal.

Then there's t. A test with jam and bread?
And F, the test that we all dread.
And what's so square about the chi?
If I don't get to the root of it, I'll just die!

Scatterplots, boxplots, stem-and-leaves grow;
Sounds like a radio gardening show.
Heteroscedasticity, now there's a word!
I think it's when a turtle mates with a bird.

Then we study regression analysis,
A major cause of mental paralysis.
Least squares I like; minimize the nerds!,
They like numbers better than words.

The most cool straight line, that's what we need.
I think I know where that line will lead.

Straight out of this class.
We're nearly done with this morass,
And my rhymes are running out of gas.
There's no chance I'll ever pass!

This poem was found on a Website (http://www-personal.buseco.monash.edu.au/~hyndman/quotes5.htm). It was obviously written by someone who was taking, or had just finished, a course in statistics. However, it's highly doubtful that his/her name was really "Cory Lation."


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Schuyler W. Huck
All rights reserved.

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