31 October 2008

Iowahawk On Urns & Balls

Let the wise-guy break down the complicated statistics of election polling for you. I promise, it will leaving you feeling optimistic about next Tuesday and make you laugh, at the end.
Statisticians love balls and urns. A typical Stats 101 midterm, for example, usually includes a question along these lines:

"You take a simple random sample of 1000 balls from an urn containing 120,000,000 red and blue balls, and your sample shows 450 red balls and 550 blue balls. Construct a 95% confidence interval for the true proportion of blue balls in the urn."

After choking back a giggle about "blue balls," you whip out your calculator and text your frat brother who has a copy of last semester's midterm.
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