08 April 2010

04 April 2010

Statistical Insignificance

Our thanks to Tom Siegfried for raising the issue; a simple example is needed:

For reasons known only to him, your lunch companion takes out two coins--a quarter and a nickel. He flips both coins—first the quarter, then the nickel. He repeats this five times and, in each case, if the quarter lands heads, so does the nickel; if it lands tails, the nickel also lands tails. "This," he says, "can't be coincidence; the quarter must be forcing how the nickel lands."