Paul the Octopus, Phd in Statistics, Lettered in football

[tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]The normal curve is an enigma for many people. We speak of good luck and bad luck, hope that we always have good and then curse when it turns out bad. Like when Cinnabon is closed on the same day you forgot to eat breakfast.
So far, Paul the Octopus has had a lot of good luck in predicting World Cup match winners. Perhaps he always goes for the food that is closest to him or the food that is in the best light or the food that moved most live-like or the food next to his preferred tentacle. I’m assuming, of course, that like humans who prefer left or right, Paul too has his own tentacle preferences. I’m also assuming that he isn’t juiced up or taking bribes.

Wouldn’t it be great fun if someone could collect up all the relevant variables and run some predictive modeling? Time of day, day of week, feeding schedule, lightness, location, direction, colour, and who knows what other selection criteria are of supreme importance to our eight legged friend. What kind of r square do you think we would get? 0.3? 0.8? Woah… too far into geeky stats there.

As fun as it is to listen to the Oracle of Paul, he won’t defy the odds. He’ll just take his rightful place on the normal distribution whether it’s on the extreme right or just slightly to the left of right. But I know we’re all hoping for the extreme right.

In Paul we trust.

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  • 2 responses

    1. What do you mean. He’s not lucky, that calamari is psychic!


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