[ExI] mersenne primes again

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 1 16:35:39 UTC 2010

--- On Thu, 4/1/10, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> The baby boom/power outage is a fine example: it is impossible to find 
> the extra infants nine months after a power outage statistically.  The 
> very slight (theoretical) increase would never be noticed at the 
> obstetric ward. But turn the question around, and ask the question Drake
> style: what number of anomalous births would you expect per million 
> powerless proles? 

It seems to me that in order to follow what you call "Drake style" we must beg the question. In this case we must beg the question of whether power outages affect birthrates. Granted it seems reasonable to assume a causal relationship and as you say "turn the question around," but I think it rather defeats the purpose of the analysis. 

We want to know, in the first place, whether the power outage affected the birthrate. Traditional methods give us the answer: the researcher can report with 95% confidence that chance alone explains the small uptick in the birthrate nine months after the power outage. While his answer may seem counter-intuitive, keep in mind that it's the job of statistical analysis to check our intuitions! 

Perhaps Trojan happened by sheer chance to offer a two-for-one sale on condoms on the day before the power outage. We would never discover this fact if we let our intuitions over-rule the data. 



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