Friday, December 21, 2007

Swanz


swanz
Originally uploaded by mr lynch
Fickr has a group called LOL Science, here's one of the pictures. It's a combination of a hideous number of in jokes. If you get it, you can feel smug now.

If you don't get it, here's some explanation. We'll take them in order of relevance to this blog.

  1. It's about Popper, and his philosophy of science. Popper is important, because his philosophy defined the way that we think about science, and statistics. Popper's important idea was that you couldn't prove a theory, you can only disprove it. If you believe that all swans are white, then you can never prove this by finding white swans. You have to go out and try to disprove your theory - you have to try to find a black swan. If you try really hard to find more white swans, that doesn't tell us anything. If you try really hard to find a black swan, and fail, that supports your theory (but doesn't prove it). If you succeed, you've disproved your theory. That's why we focus on the null hypothesis in statistic. The old approach of collecting data to try to prove your theory, is the inductive method, the new approach, of trying hard to disprove your theory, is called the hypothetico-deductive method. Now we know that black swans live in Australia (or the antipodes).
    Note for the enthusiastic - more recently it's been suggested that an abductive approach should be employed, rather than a hypothetico-deductive approach.
  2. I'm in ur (X), (Y)ing ur Zs, is a snowclone. The term snowclone originated on the Language Log blog, a snowclone (originally) takes the form "If eskimos have 94 words for snow, then X must have Y words for Z" (eskimos, of course, don't have 94 words for snow, or 16 or 138). The original phrase was "I'm in ur base, killing ur d00dz".
  3. The third link is about LOLcats - this one's not about psychology or statistics, but it is about pictures of cats (or other animals) with amusing captions, usually with grammatical and spelling errors (think how your cat would write if it was aged 14 and texting its friends). The I'm in ur X... meme is a very popular one to use for LOLcats pictures. Here's an article that explains more. (That last one didn't have anything to do with statistics or psychology).

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