We live in a world that is not quite "right." The central tenet of statistical inquiry is that Observation = Truth + Error because even the most careful of scientific investigations have always been bedeviled by uncertainty. Our attempts to measure things are plagued with small errors. Our attempts to understand our world are blocked by blunders. And, unfortunately, in some cases, people have been known to lie.
In this long-awaited follow-up to his well-regarded bestseller, The Lady Tasting Tea, David Salsburg opens a door to the amazing widespread use of statistical methods by looking at historical examples of errors, blunders and lies from areas as diverse as archeology, law, economics, medicine, psychology, sociology, Biblical studies, history, and war-time espionage. In doing so, he shows how, upon closer statistical investigation, errors and blunders often lead to useful information. And how statistical methods have been used to uncover falsified data.
Beginning with Edmund Halley’s examination of the Transit of Venus and ending with a discussion of how many tanks Rommel had during the Second World War, the author invites the reader to come along on this easily accessible and fascinating journey of how to identify the nature of errors, minimize the effects of blunders, and figure out who the liars are.