Wednesday, October 20, 2010

World Statistics Day

Today is the first World Statistics Day, a day to "raise awareness of the many achievements of officials statistics premised on the core values of service, professionalism, and integrity."

This finally gives me the opportunity to bring something up: the cancellation of the Canadian Long-Form Census.

Now the purpose of this blog is not to talk about politics - this is a site devoted to covering the NBA's Toronto Raptors and other basketball related issues. However, I will make an exception in this case, because I have to believe that statistical validity knows no political bounds (although unfortunately, that might not be true). The official statistics gathered by the Canadian census are far more important than the statistics that I and other Wages of Wins network writers rely on to produce the content of our blogs, but they remain statistics, and it is important that everyone - especially government - understands how statistics work.

Replacing a mandatory census with a voluntary one introduces sample bias to the data. Sending out more forms and getting more responses from a voluntary census will not correct this error; once the survey is made voluntary, certain populations of Canadians will be under-represented. Dozens of organizations across the country have voiced their objections to the changes to the census based exactly on these grounds, but the Canadian government shows no signs of reversing the decision. Even worse: the voluntary census will be more costly than the old census.

With that - if anyone is still reading this - I leave you with two video links (I don't want to embed them):

In the next few days I will be posting the following: preseason review 4 (of 4), 2010-11 NBA predictions, and (thanks to reader TotalFuckwad) an evaluation/discussion of Raptors management.

 - Devin

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