The mean Mean

The importance of standard deviation in interpreting the mean or average is often missed by most students and at times even by erudite statisticians.

Prof Paul Berger, who taught me statistics while I was at Boston, has a very interesting allegory to make us all remember it. He would bellow  “Imagine yourself with your head in a freezer and your feet in an oven. On an average you are doing fine with respect to temperature, but as you will notice soon enough, that is not the case.” Touche!

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