Boundary Theory for Symmetric Markov Processes by M.L. Silverstein

By M.L. Silverstein

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Lack of Thinking We are concerned with thinking about statistics, the process by which we direct our studies to the right measurements for our purpose and make sense of statistical results and give sensible descriptions of them. Correct thinking about percentages eludes the layperson, the scientist, and the journalist alike. Fallacious and inadequate thought can lead to decisions with dramatic consequences in medicine and courtroom processes. In public policy debate, the failure to move from concept to a valid measure of that concept leads to deceptive and confusing conclusions and bad decisions.

The reasons are many: computations on the data given do not yield the same results as those reported; insufficient data are given, so that readers cannot check the results; there is insufficient information on how the sample was chosen; the sources of data are not stated; or the author has collected and processed the data so that it is impractical, if not impossible, for anyone else to check the reported results. Sometimes, the use of a computer can muddle any effort to verify a result. A group of physicists, computer scientists, and others complained that some computer programs were too complicated and thus so difficult to read that a reader seeking to verify the results could not determine exactly what was done to the data.

Since the apparent needs of employment are always changing (we no longer list carriage or harness makers as occupational categories), the occupational classification system is continually reexamined and revised as necessary. S. Bureau of the Census: Comparability with earlier census data—Comparability of industry and occupation is affected by a number of factors, a major one being the systems used to classify the questionnaire responses…. The basic structures were generally the same from 1940 to 1970, but changes in the individual categories limited comparability from one census to another.

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