The parable of the ox – or how to get to grips with what’s behind some fancy financial fiddling

July 25, 2012

Alf has been introduced today (so to speak) to Sir Francis Galton and is more than a tad envious.

For starters, this Galton feller was knighted (in 1909).

More than that, he is described (here) as an English Victorian polymath: anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician.

Galton had a prolific intellect, and produced over 340 papers and books.

He created the statistical concept of correlation and widely promoted regression toward the mean, which no doubt was big deal in its day, although Alf struggles to tell you what it actually means.

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Here’s hoping China has given up data massage

May 24, 2009

Some sobering stuff from The Economist (yep, even for Alf).

It muses on whether China is overstating its true rate of growth. There are big implications for the world economy if it is – when much of the rest of the world is in or is going into recession, it’s cheering to know some countries are still recording economic growth.

Especially a major country, like China (our second-biggest export market).

Part of the recent optimism in world markets rests on the belief that China’s fiscal-stimulus package is boosting its economy and that GDP growth could come close to the government¹s target of 8% this year.

Some economists, however, suspect that the figures overstate the economy’s true growth rate and that Beijing would report 8% regardless of the truth. Is
China cheating?

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