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Other mathematical traps

Other mathematical traps

  • Small datasets have a lot more noise in them. When looking at conclusions based on data sets, see how much noise to signal it contains.
  • Percentages are good for positive quantities but should be avoided for negative numbers.
  • Statistical observations. People are quick to see patterns that don't exist.
  • Correlation is not transitive. A father is related by blood to his son, the son is related by blood to the mother, but the mother and father are not related by blood.
  • Uncorrelated does not imply unrelated.

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Headlines like “New study shows milk is related to Alzheimer’s.” “This study reveals how much you really do at work.” is problematic for these reasons:

We use probability to assess how risky something is, such as an investment or an action we want to take. But if we just use probability to assess risk, we fail to take into account how bad the potential negative outcomes will be if they do occur.

Math is a science that helps us solve common problems and enable us to be right about our decisions. Math is mostly just common sense. We intuitively use logic and reason to solve "math" problems. 

People often assume that the rate of change of a quantity will remain the same over time.

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