Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Daily Kos has gotten himself in an odd spot of bother due to the apparent fake poll results that his pollster gave him.  One of the big problems with any data driven analytical process is the integrity of the data.  This post discusses how the pollsters were found out by an intrepid band of statisticians (you don't see intrepid and statistician in the same sentence very often do you?).  It's a cautionary tale and gives us a couple easy ways to test the authenticity of data claims.

Just in case you find yourself stuck collating data.  Out on the Openwater.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Seeking safety where none exists

Watching the Euro begin its inevitable crumble and the resulting flight to the dollar, I am struck by the sad similarity to 9/11.  When planes struck the first tower, the inhabitants above the strike moved upward to the roof,  hoping for a totally unrealistic rescue by helicopter.  Likewise, the refugees from the collapse of confidence in the Euro are fleeing to the dollar, hoping for an equally unrealistic rescue.

The GAO estimates that by 2020 93% of all Federal revenues will go to entitlements and to service the debt.  93%.  I subscribe to the theory that when something can't happen, it won't.  Will we raise taxes or cut spending enough to move this number appreciably?  You know the answer to that.  We'll do what almost every 'developed' nation has done before us:  we'll inflate our debts away.

And all of those financial refugees crowding on the roof, searching in vain for rescue?

They'll be pulverized.