The power of mathematical thinking—or not thinking. The press release hit email inboxes this week. Researchers at XXX University (name hidden to protect the guilty) announce results of a study purporting to show that fear of the “risk of automation” causes health problems in workers.

Following are a number of percentages of this and that. Somewhere around the fourth paragraph if anyone read that far appeared the thought, “these findings correlate to health issues in general in each region.”


In other words, the null hypothesis was true, therefore the theory is worthless.

The “news” item also lacked:

  • Definition of “risk of automation”
  • Methodology of the survey
  • Surveyed population and percent responding

Just a little tip. When reading surveys and news, check out things carefully.

This release hit me at the wrong time. I am about halfway through “How to Not Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking”, by Jordan Ellenberg. [\_1\_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523023716&sr=8-1&keywords=how+to+not+be+wrong+the+power+of+mathematical+thinking]

Pick up that book. It just might save you from humiliation and embarrassment if you digest the teaching.

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