Binary data occur when you can place an observation into only two categories. It tells you that an event occurred or that an item has a particular characteristic. For instance, an inspection process produces binary pass/fail results. Or, when a customer enters a store, there are two possible outcomes—sale or no sale. In this post, I show you how to use the binomial, geometric, negative binomial, and the hypergeometric distributions to glean more information from your binary data. [Read more…] about Maximize the Value of Your Binary Data with the Binomial and Other Probability Distributions

# distributions

## Flu Shots, How Effective Are They?

With the arrival of Fall in the Northern hemisphere, it’s flu season again.

Do you debate getting a flu shot every year? I do get flu shots every year. I realize that they’re not perfect, but I figure they’re a low-cost way to reduce my chances of a crummy week suffering from the flu.

The media report that flu shots have an effectiveness of approximately 68%. But, what does that mean exactly? What is the absolute reduction in risk? Are there long-term benefits?

In this blog post, I explore the effectiveness of flu shots from a statistical viewpoint. We’ll statistically analyze the data ourselves so we can go beyond the simplified accounts that the media presents. I’ll also model the long-term outcomes you can expect with regular flu vaccinations. By the time you finish this post, you’ll have a crystal clear picture of flu shot effectiveness. Some of the results surprised me! [Read more…] about Flu Shots, How Effective Are They?

## Goodness-of-Fit Tests for Discrete Distributions

Discrete distributions are based on discrete variables, which have a finite or countable number of values. In this post, I show you how to perform goodness-of-fit tests to determine how well your data fit various discrete distributions. [Read more…] about Goodness-of-Fit Tests for Discrete Distributions

## How to Identify the Distribution of Your Data

You’re probably familiar with data that follow the normal distribution. The normal distribution is that nice, familiar bell-shaped curve. Unfortunately, not all data are normally distributed or as intuitive to understand. You can picture the symmetric normal distribution, but what about the Weibull or Gamma distributions? This uncertainty might leave you feeling unsettled. In this post, I show you how to identify the distribution of your data. [Read more…] about How to Identify the Distribution of Your Data

## When is Easter this Year?

When is Easter this year? I ask this question every year! This year, Easter occurs on April 16, 2017. Next year, Easter falls on April 1, 2018. I have a hard time remembering when it occurs in any given year. I think that March Easters are both early and unusual. Is that true?

Being a statistician, my first thought is to study the distribution of Easter dates. By analyzing the distribution, we can determine which dates are rare and which are common. How unusual are Easter dates in March? Are there patterns in the dates? [Read more…] about When is Easter this Year?

## Statistics, Exoplanets, and the Search for Earthlike Planets

I love astronomy! The discovery of thousands of exoplanets has made it only more exciting. You often hear about the really weird planets in the news. You know, things like low density puffballs, hot Jupiters, rogue planets, planets that orbit their star in hours, and even a Jupiter mass planet that is one huge diamond! As neat as these discoveries are, I also want to know how Earth fits in. [Read more…] about Statistics, Exoplanets, and the Search for Earthlike Planets