December 3, 2012

Stat of the Week Competition: December 1 – 7 2012

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 December 7 2012.
  • Statistics can be bad, exemplary or fascinating.
  • The statistic must be in the NZ media during the period of December 1 – 7 2012 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.
  • Individual posts on Stats Chat are just the opinions of their authors, who can criticise anyone who they feel deserves it, but the Stat of the Week award involves the Department of Statistics more officially. For that reason, we will not award Stat of the Week for a statistic coming from anyone at the University of Auckland outside the Statistics department. You can still nominate and discuss them, but the nomination won’t be eligible for the prize.
  • 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.

Rachel Cunliffe is the co-director of CensusAtSchool and currently consults for the Department of Statistics. Her interests include statistical literacy, social media and blogging. See all posts by Rachel Cunliffe »


  • avatar
    Allen Rodrigo

    Statistic: The University of Auckland’s home page has a lead graphic that shows a slightly skewed “bell-like” curve, with the modal bar highlighted in blue, and perched on top a kiwi. The legend says “Top 1%” along with “2012-13 Times Higher Education World Education Rankings”. (If you don’t see it at first, it cycles through).
    Source: UOA’s home page
    Date: Not sure how long this has been up.

    So, I assume the text and the graphic of the skewed curve go together. If this assumption is correct, then the top 1% should be at the right edge of the curve, rather than at its modal value.

    Is this terribly nitpicky? I guess to the layperson, if the University of Auckland is at the top of something, then it should be at a highest point. But this offends my sensibilities.

    5 years ago

  • avatar
    Daniel Croft

    Statistic: Kiwis Still Big Texters After 20 Years
    Source: New Zealand Herald
    Date: 5/12/2012

    Wednesday was the 20 year anniversary of the first text message to have been sent, and so in response both Telecom and Vodafone have released some surprising information.

    Vodafone users sent 7.3 billion texts last year while Telecom was just under 7 billion. Thats 14,000,000,000 plus texts a year. Thats 38,000,000 a day spread between a population of 4,400,000… 8 texts per person a day. Or 2920 texts per person a year.

    A statistic that I would love to hear on this would be just how many of those 14 billion texts are just ‘LOL’.

    5 years ago

  • avatar
    Nick Iversen

    Statistic: Polls turn Labour’s morale boost into giant leap
    Source: New Zealand Herald
    Date: 6 Dec 2012

    This story shows that “statistical significance” and “practical significance” can be vastly different.

    It’s been discussed here ( that the change in the poll ratings of Labour is within the margin of error so isn’t statistically significant.

    But in practical terms (even though “giant leap” is hyperbole) it could be a trigger for a real turnaround in Labour’s fortunes. There is a snowball effect when the media start reporting on a change in fortunes because such changes make good headlines.

    We can see that today, perhaps, with David Shearer getting a feature story on what is essentially old news ( and The latter story has a headline starting “Labour turns tables…” I bet the use of the word “turn” was carefully chosen. Expect more of this to come.

    5 years ago