August 29, 2011

Stat of the Week Competition: August 27-September 2 2011

Each week, we would like to invite readers of Stats Chat to submit nominations for our Stat of the Week competition and be in with the chance to win an iTunes voucher.

Here’s how it works:

  • Anyone may add a comment on this post to nominate their Stat of the Week candidate before midday Friday September 2 2011.
  • Statistics can be bad, exemplary or fascinating.
  • The statistic must be in the NZ media during the period of August 27-September 2 2011 inclusive.
  • Quote the statistic, when and where it was published and tell us why it should be our Stat of the Week.

Next Monday at midday we’ll announce the winner of this week’s Stat of the Week competition, and start a new one.

The fine print:

  • Judging will be conducted by the blog moderator in liaison with staff at the Department of Statistics, The University of Auckland.
  • The judges’ decision will be final.
  • The judges can decide not to award a prize if they do not believe a suitable statistic has been posted in the preceeding week.
  • Only the first nomination of any individual example of a statistic used in the NZ media will qualify for the competition.
  • Employees (other than student employees) of the Statistics department at the University of Auckland are not eligible to win.
  • The person posting the winning entry will receive a $20 iTunes voucher.
  • The blog moderator will contact the winner via their notified email address and advise the details of the $20 iTunes voucher to that same email address.
  • The competition will commence Monday 8 August 2011 and continue until cancellation is notified on the blog.


  • avatar
    Ian Wells

    Statistic: “Growpro” statistics. If you google the word “growpro” and check at the bottom of their home page they still have their statistics clear for all to see. They used to state these stats on their TV ads and I fear they may yet again.
    Source: TV Ad
    Date: 29 August

    There’s an add on TV for “Growpro”. It’s a machine that is supposed to improve hair growth. I made an official complaint to the NZ Broadcasting Authorities about the “Growpro” statistics. If you google the word “growpro” and check at the bottom of their home page they still have their statistics clear for all to see. They used to state these stats on their TV ads and I fear they may yet again. What sparked my initial concern was that it seemed they were / are saying that the product is 100% successful. When I emailed the company for more details they replied: “Generally 90% of people have experienced hair loss reduction or hair re-growth using the Grow Pro Hair Restoration Comb.” And then repeated the 45/45/10 as on their website???!!! And there was no reply to my question of how much longer after 16 weeks people were tested. The decision by NZBCA is still being made but clearly there’s something fishy about these stats.

    6 years ago

  • avatar

    Statistic: Guyon Espiner speaks with Richard Wilkinson, author of the book “The Spirit Level” a book that argues that income inequality causes various “pernicious effects” in society.
    Source: TVNZ Q+A interview
    Date: 28 August 2011

    The book is deeply flawed? (I guess that it now serves as an example text in statistics classes in how not to do statistics). The five major flaws are:

    1) It infers causation from correlation

    2) It cherry picks the data (by using only 23 out of over two hundred countries – for a very good discussion of this read the books “Spirit Level Delusion” and “Beware False Prophets”)

    3) It has a undue reliance on outliers (single countries which disproportionately influence the apparent correlations)

    4) It ignores variables that may also be causative and which would diminish the relationship between inequality and pernicious effects (such as racial homogeneity, GDP, and even fish consumption)

    5) It examines a multivariate situation only two variables at a time. It could be that after adjusting for other variables the correlation between inequality and pernicious effects may disappear.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a relationship, I’m just saying that the book is flawed.

    6 years ago

  • avatar

    Statistic: The most recent Health Ministry figures showed one in three adults was overweight, and one in four was obese.
    Source: Stuff
    Date: 01/09/2011

    The article is about boobs, so it grabs your attention. But then they use the total adults figure when the article is focussed on women. The source of the statistic has the overweight and obesity figures by gender stated on the same page as the figures quoted. It just seems a tad lazy really.

    Just over half (or five out of nine) of all New Zealand women (aged 15+ years) are overweight or obese.

    6 years ago