One of the reasons that the people do not coordinate with their representatives is that in order to escape the Sound-bites that are often used to describe a situation, the proponents use miss-leading statistics.
There are many books on statistics in general,and specifically on "How to Lie with Statistics", but the following are some frequent confusing statistical techniques.
Mean - Median - Mode
Studies have indicated that the Mean incomes of Americans has increased over the last ten years, where as the Mode seems to have been decreasing. Both of these are measures of the set of incomes, so if this is true, should one be happy about the increase, or unhappy about the decease, or realize that there has been a change in the distribution of income that will make some people happy and others unhappy?
In fact, since the mean may be strongly effected by the extremes of income, the increase on the Mean probably means that the Rich are getting Richer, where as the Mode is effected by the larger number of people, so a decrease in the Mode probably means that the workers are getting Poorer.
For example, let's consider a set of values that represents, say the incomes of some people: 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 100, 100, 100, 100, 10,000, 10,000, 10,000, 1,000,000, 1,000,000, 100,000,000
- Mean -- The sum of all the values divided by the number of the values = $68,020,270
- Median -- The income that half the people have more than and half have less than = $100
- Mode -- The income that most of the people have. = $10
September 8, 2002 15:47