typodupeerror

## Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use312

An anonymous reader writes "Statistician and author Nassim Taleb has a suggestion for scientific researchers: stop trying to use standard deviations in your work. He says it's misunderstood more often than not, and also not the best tool for its purpose. Taleb thinks researchers should use mean deviation instead. 'It is all due to a historical accident: in 1893, the great Karl Pearson introduced the term "standard deviation" for what had been known as "root mean square error." The confusion started then: people thought it meant mean deviation. The idea stuck: every time a newspaper has attempted to clarify the concept of market "volatility", it defined it verbally as mean deviation yet produced the numerical measure of the (higher) standard deviation. But it is not just journalists who fall for the mistake: I recall seeing official documents from the department of commerce and the Federal Reserve partaking of the conflation, even regulators in statements on market volatility. What is worse, Goldstein and I found that a high number of data scientists (many with PhDs) also get confused in real life.'"
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## Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

• #### Re:Basic Statistics (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @06:04PM (#45970029)

We should not ask statisticians to change their terms because people are too stupid to understand them.

But doesn't that give an unfair advantage to statisticians? You have to give everyone a chance!

• #### Re:response (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @06:30PM (#45970251)

First!

... to within 0.5 standard deviations.

Actually, the more posts this story attracts, the more accurate your statement is, and the fewer standard deviations you are away from true first. Response times not being distributed in a Gaussian curve perhaps complicates things.

• #### Re:Basic Statistics (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @06:36PM (#45970311)

Then it would be the same as pi, and that would just be silly.

• #### Re:The big picture (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @06:46PM (#45970405)

I often change CSensiblyNamedClassThatDescribesItsFunctionWell to bTrue throughout the code for precisely this reason and no-one ever appreciates it :(

• #### Re:Basic Statistics (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @08:24PM (#45971307) Journal
The phrase "orbital process" means entirely different things to brain surgeons and rocket scientists.
• #### Re:So you want to decertify a management degree... (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @09:08PM (#45971681) Homepage Journal

...and besides... JUST THINK of all the rigorous Lean Management courses that will have to re-certify all of their "Six-Sigma Black Belts" to some kind of "Half-Dozen of the Other" degrees!

PANDEMONIUM!!!

• #### Re:Basic Statistics (Score:5, Funny)

on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:37PM (#45972269) Homepage

Nuclear Resonance Imaging (NMR) was changed because people were afraid of word Nuclear despite it describing the process, unlike its replacement term.

Also, if you arrived at a hospital saying you were there for an NMR, you might have received something other than what you were expecting.

• #### Re:The big picture (Score:4, Funny)

on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:29AM (#45974629)
pnWhat vIs nWrong cWith aHungarian nNotation?

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