A limerick a week #9

Statistically speaking …

Readers may recall my guarded amusement on hearing that Firstborn (MA in International Relations, St Andrews University) had elected to study statistics as part of her postgraduate studies (What Michael said #1, 15/9/16). Unfortunately for the mathematically non-intuitive like me (and apparently Firstborn too), the pursuit of a statistical education requires competent and sympathetic tutors, the corollary of which is that life gets hard if your teachers are crap.

So, in honour of Firstborn’s travails through the labyrinth of arbitrary standards, (so-called) significance tests and necromancy (ibid), I give you …

You’re a lass that once studied linguistics
But have now confronted the mystics
Who preach probability
And expose your fragility
To the priestcraft that we call statistics.


Postscript: The Peanuts cartoon, above, dates from circa 1982 when Management and I met at the University of York during our Masters year studying maths, stats and computing for masochists. It chimed with us then and I was delighted to find it on the internet for use here as it saved having to go through old albums and keepsakes to find the original.

As a statistical colleague once told me: “coincidences are the most paradoxical of things. They should almost never happen, but they always do“. So, coincidentally, and by chance and chance alone, the web page on which I found the Peanuts cartoon just happened to be a page of statistical jokes and cartoons curated by Peter Lee, the Bayesian statistics lecturer at York and quiz guru to whom I refer in the third paragraph of my earlier post: What Michael said #1.

(Twenty-something years after leaving York I decided that I needed to learn more about Bayesian statistics, so I bought a text-book written, again coincidentally, by Peter Lee. Once past the introductory verbiage, I didn’t understand a word of it!).

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😎 Former scientist, now graduated to a life of leisure; Family man (which may surprise the family - it certainly surprises him); Likes cycling and old-fashioned B&W film photography; Dislikes greasy-pole-climbing 'yes men'; Thinks Afterlife (previously known as Thea Gilmore) should be much better known than she is; Values decency over achievement.

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