Elections and small sample sizes

XKCD hits the nail on the head yet again with a great commentary on election year “no one has ever _____ and won the White House” musings.

These drive me nuts because obviously we have an incredibly small sample size.  Our country may have been around for quite some time now, but we’ve only had 44 presidents.  Think about how few people that really is.

Additionally, states change, demographics change, and the electoral college system is ridiculous.  This gives rise to all sorts of statistical “anomalies” that really are quite probable when you think of how few events we’re looking at.

The sports world does this too, baseball probably more than the rest of them.  While watching the post season this year with my long suffering Oriole’s fan husband, we got quite a kick out of pointing out how specific some of the stats they brought up were.  “He’s 1 for 3 when facing Sabathia during the post season over the last 3 years”.  Four at bats over a whole career and we’re supposed to draw some sort of conclusion from this?  Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the comic.  Happy Thursday.

19 women don’t like sports

Normally this is the sort of thing Joseph’s blog specializes in, but I couldn’t let this one slide.

I’ve spent all of last week and this week listening to construction workers traipsing around my basement, working diligently to finish it so we can finally have the sports room my husband’s impressive memorabilia collection deserves.  Thus, it distressed me a bit to see the headline that married women only watch sports for the sake of their husbands.  Is my interest in the sports room one big lie? Has my Red Sox fandom all been a fraud?  Should I toss out all my vintage basketball cards from the 80s?  And football…..okay, I actually didn’t like it all that much until I got married.  I’ll give you that one.  Two out of three ain’t bad.

Anyway, I pretty amused when Jezebel and other’s quickly pointed out that the sample size for this study was 19.     19 women, all from around the University of Tennessee.  In case you’re curious, The Bleacher Report ranked Knoxville the 44th best sports town in the USA.  Maybe my perception is skewed because Boston’s #2, but I’m not sure that’s an overly representative sample from an overly representative town.

Get some good Southie girls together and ask them what they think, I bet you’ll get a wicked different picture.