Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nerd Humor: The Stata Lesson

At the end of the conference honoring family sociologist Frank Furstenberg, two of his former students offered a film tribute. The form of their tribute, though, was a mock fulfillment of a long-standing promise they had made to Furstenberg to teach him the statistical analysis program Stata.

On the screen they had the graphic for "Stata Lesson One." The problem for the lesson: "Does Frank Furstenberg still matter?" As you might imagine, this was a bouquet of a presentation, but underneath the mock serious tone was an actually serious analysis.

They plotted Furstenberg's 40 years of publications and the abundance of citations of his work by others. Then, just to be sure that he wasn't resting on his laurels "while publishing junk," they plotted the citations of his recent articles. All three graphs were impressive. Where the trend line showed a small decline over the decades, the voiceover helpfully pointed out that the confidence intervals were just wide enough that the real trend could be slightly upward.

Stat humor went over big with this crowd. Very nicely done.

1 comment:

Steve Salyards said...

Nicely done indeed