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Keeping Up With the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics by Thomas H. Davenport, Jinho Kim
Black-Scholes formula, business intelligence, business process, call centre, computer age, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, forensic accounting, global supply chain, Hans Rosling, hypertext link, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, margin call, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Myron Scholes, Netflix Prize, p-value, performance metric, publish or perish, quantitative hedge fund, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, six sigma, Skype, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, the scientific method
It may be useful to make such information available in an appendix to a report or presentation, but don’t let it get in the way of telling a good story with your data—and start with what your audience really needs to know. Historical Examples of Communicating Results, Good and Bad Presentation of quantitative results is a technique that has been used for a long time, and, as now, can successfully convince the intended audience or completely undermine the importance of those results. Let’s look at an example of each. Florence Nightingale: A Good Example of Communicating Results Florence Nightingale is widely known as the founder of the profession of nursing and a reformer of hospital sanitation methods, but she was also a very early user of quantitative methods. When Nightingale and thirty-eight volunteer nurses were sent in October 1854 to a British military hospital in Turkey during the Crimean War, she found terrible conditions in a makeshift hospital.
Xiao-Li Meng, “Statistics: Your Chance for Happiness (or Misery),” course description, http://www.stat.harvard.edu/Academics/invitation_chair_txt.html. 3. David Schmitt, “Tell a Story,” June 27, 2012, http://www.allanalytics.com/ author.asp?id=2092&doc_id=246428. 4. I. Bernard Cohen, The Triumph of Numbers: How Counting Shaped Modern Life (New York: W.W. Norton, 2006), chapter 9; “Florence Nightingale,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Nightingale; P. Nuttall, “The Passionate Statistician,” Nursing Times 28 (1983): 25–27. 5. Gregor Mendel, “Experiments in Plant Hybridization,” http://www.mendelweb.org/; “Gregor Mendel,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel; Seung Yon Rhee, Gregor Mendel, Access Excellence, http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/AB/BC/Gregor_Mendel.php; “Mendel’s Genetics,” anthro.palomar.edu/mendel/mendel_1.htm; David Paterson, “Gregor Mendel,” www .zephyrus.co.uk/gregormendel.html; “Rocky Road: Gregor Mendel,” Strange Science, www.strangescience.net/mendel.htm; Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Johann Gregor Mendel: Why His Discoveries Were Ignored for 35 Years,” www.weloennig .de/mendel02.htm; “Gregor Mendel and the Scientific Milieu of His Discovery,” www.2iceshs.cyfronet.pl/2ICESHS_Proceedings/Chapter_10/R-2_Sekerak.pdf; “Mendelian Inheritance,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendelian_ inheritance. 6.
People were shocked to find that the wounded soldiers were dying, rather than being cured, in the hospital. Eventually, death rates were sharply reduced, as shown in the data Nightingale systematically collected. The mortality rate continued to fall. When she returned to England in June of 1856 after the Crimean War ended, she found herself a celebrity and praised as a heroine. FIGURE 4-1 * * * Florence Nightingale’s diagram of the causes of mortality in the “Army in the East” The Areas of the blue, red, & black wedges are each measured from the centre as the common vertex The blue wedges measured from the centre of the circle represent area for area the deaths from Preventible or Mitigable Zymotic Diseases, the red wedges measured from the centre the deaths from wounds, & the black wedges measured from the centre the deaths from all other causes The black line across the red triangle in Nov 1854 marks the boundary of the deaths from all other causes during the month In October 1854, & April 1855, the black area coincides with the red, in January & February 1856, the blue coincides with the black The entire areas may be compared by following the blue, the red, & the black lines enclosing them * * * Nightingale became a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 1859—the first woman to become a member—and an honorary member of the American Statistical Association in 1874.
Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh
Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, correlation does not imply causation, false memory syndrome, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, germ theory of disease, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method
At a time when it was considered radical merely to include data tables, she also drew multicoloured diagrams that would not look out of place in a modern boardroom presentation. She even invented an elaborate version of the pie chart, known as the polar area chart, which helped to illustrate her data. She realized that illustrating her statistics would be enormously helpful in selling her argument to politicians, who were usually not well versed in mathematics. In due course, Nightingale’s statistical studies spearheaded a revolution in army hospitals, because the Royal Commission’s report led to the establishment of an Army Medical School and a system of collecting medical records. In turn, this resulted in a careful monitoring of which conditions and treatments did and did not benefit patients. Today, Florence Nightingale is best known as the founder of modern nursing, having established a curriculum and training college for nurses.
Bloodletting, on the other hand, was very much a standard treatment, but the establishment eventually had to reject its own practice because it was undermined by evidence from trials. There is one episode from the history of medicine that illustrates particularly well how an evidence-based approach forces the medical establishment to accept the conclusions that emerge when medicine is put to the test. Florence Nightingale, the Lady with the Lamp, was a woman with very little reputation, but she still managed to win a bitter argument against the male-dominated medical establishment by arming herself with solid, irrefutable data. Indeed, she can be seen as one of the earliest advocates of evidence-based medicine, and she successfully used it to transform Victorian healthcare. Florence and her sister were born during an extended and very productive two-year-long Italian honeymoon taken by their parents William and Frances Nightingale.
Florence and her sister were born during an extended and very productive two-year-long Italian honeymoon taken by their parents William and Frances Nightingale. Florence’s older sister was born in 1819 and named Parthenope after the city of her birth – Parthenope being the Greek name for Naples. Then Florence was born in the spring of 1820, and she too was named after the city of her birth. It was expected that Florence Nightingale would grow up to live the life of a privileged English Victorian lady, but as a teenager she regularly claimed to hear God’s voice guiding her. Hence, it seems that her desire to become a nurse was the result of a ‘divine calling’. This distressed her parents, because nurses were generally viewed as being poorly educated, promiscuous and often drunk, but these were exactly the prejudices that Florence was determined to crush.
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Guerry and Quetelet were translated into a number of different languages and widely reviewed. The Westminster Review—an English magazine founded by Utilitarians John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham—devoted a particularly large amount of space to Guerry’s book, which it praised for being of “substantial interest and importance.” Charles Darwin read Quetelet’s work, as did Fyodor Dostoyevsky (twice), while no less a social reformer than Florence Nightingale based her statistical methods upon his own.13 Nightingale later gushingly credited Quetelet’s findings with “teaching us . . . the laws by which our Moral Progress is to be attained.”14 In all, Guerry and Quetelet’s work showed that human beings were beginning to be understood—not as free-willed, self-determining creatures able to do anything that they wanted, but as beings whose actions were determined by biological and cultural factors.
A Primer on Crime and Delinquency Theory (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 2001). 11 Hacking, Ian. The Taming of Chance (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990). 12 Rafter, Nicole. The Origins of Criminology: A Reader (New York: Routledge, 2009). 13 Mlodinow, Leonard. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives (New York: Pantheon Books, 2008). 14 Belt, Elmer, and Louise Darling. Elmer Belt Florence Nightingale Collection (San Francisco: Internet Archive, 2009). 15 Danzigera, Shai, Jonathan Levav and Liora Avnaim-Pesso. “Extraneous Factors in Judicial Decisions.” PNAS, vol. 108, no. 17, April 26, 2011. pnas.org/content/108/17/6889.full. 16 Markoff, John. “Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software.” New York Times, March 4, 2011. nytimes.com/2011/03/05/science/05legal.html. 17 Lev-Ram, Michal.
It was a friend of Conboy’s wife who eventually convinced him to open up the app for public use. Giving it the name Bedpost, and the tagline “Ever wonder how often you get busy?,” the app advises users to “simply log in after every time [they] have sex and fill out a few simple fields. Pretty soon, you’ll have a rolling history of your sex life on which to reflect.”31 This mass of data can be visualized in a variety of forms—including pie charts and scatter plots—with heat maps showing different intensities of color based on the quantity and quality of sex a particular user is having. “The amount of data you can attach to sexual activity is uncapped,” Conboy says. “For instance, if you’re on your phone, there is no reason you can’t record the GPS data. You might be having sex all over the world and it could be fun to look back at all that information.”