## Ask a silly question, get a silly answer. Yes, there’s such thing as a STUPID question.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 23, 2012

The title says it all.

But the title doesn’t explain why.

Read on for more understanding.

On the FaceBook page of Loyola University New Orleans, a photograph was posted of a… well, here it is.

The text associated with the photo read, *“At Loyno we are challenged to think critically. Pack, do you agree or disagree with Frank Zappa?”*

I responded by writing, *“Yes.” My response is “yes.” Why? The question is worded poorly. Offer only ONE choice, b/c there are TWO options – Yes & No. Therefore, the Q should be either “Do you agree…” or, “Do you disagree…” NOT “Do you agree or disagree.” #logic*

If you’ve studied statistics, you probably already recall that there’s a thing called the “bell curve.” It’s called that because the shape looks like a classic bell. There’s a high domed center, and on the RIGHT and LEFT sides the slope goes downward the bottom, gently flaring away from the center as it does.

Typically, when the bell curve is used to display information, the range across the bottom goes from LEFT to RIGHT, and low to high respectively. That is, numbers toward the RIGHT side are typically higher in value than those toward the LEFT side.

As well, there are values associated with the vertical portion of the graph, which – as you might suppose – increases in value as the line goes up.

Further, there is a line drawn from the top center of the bell toward the bottom of the graph which represents an imaginary “zero” point, or point at which exactly 50% of all things measured will be located. That is to say, it’s the half-way point between the beginning and end. It’s kinda’ like the number 5 – because 5 is halfway between 1 & 10 – or zero (0) and 10, if you prefer.

Also across the bottom of the graph, going from LEFT to RIGHT are numbers of increasing value.

Yet another line across the bottom of the graph are lines equally spaced apart that begin in the middle of that bell curve, which we will call an imaginary zero point. It is a starting point. Toward the RIGHT, we increase, which is signified by either a number or a number with a plus sign in front of it, ex., +2. (Since numbers without anything in front of them are understood to be positive, it’s only serves a point of redundancy to place it there.)

While going from that imaginary zero point toward the LEFT are negative numbers, which are indicated as -1.25, -2, etc.

Now, we know that simply by looking at the shape of that curve, there’s a whole lotta’ space up inside the middle. And that’s what statistics tells us. It says that about 95% of all things counted will occur within 2 standard deviations from the mean. The “mean” is the average thing which occurs in the middle. It’s the answer to ‘what’s the average of 12 and 6.’ (The answer is 9. Because 12 + 6 = 18. And 18/2 = 9.)

And if we laid out the numbers in a row, from 0 to 18, we would see that the number 9 would be in the middle.

Again, typically, things increase as we move along a line toward the RIGHT. And that can be good, or bad, depending upon how you look at it.

Okay… okay… enough of the statistics lesson, eh?

Alrighty then… now that we’ve had our lesson for the day (I just wanted to be certain that we both understood, because of what I am about to say next.)

The statement written on the chalkboard – *“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”* – implies one thing, and that is forward motion. And yet, deviation from the norm can occur in regression. That is to say, it can go backwards.

The understood, yet unmentioned item, is that if regression occurs, then a correction will resultingly ensue, which will hopefully correct, and make up for any loss that may have occurred in the regression.

Therefore, progress can be made… but only if a correction is pursued during a regression.

In a similar way, our nation’s economy will again recover and move forward significantly. However, we must put in place safeguards against something like this occurring ever again.

Here ends your mathematics, logic and civics lesson of the day.

Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 12:27 AM and is filed under - Did they REALLY say that?, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated. Tagged: Adrian Belew, Apple, Barking Pumpkin Records, Bell Curve, Colleges and Universities, Earth, Ed Mann, education, FaceBook, Fillmore East, Frank Zappa, James Hansen, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University New Orleans, Lumpy Gravy, math, New Orleans, New York City, New York Times, Normal distribution, recreation, Relative direction, Shankar Vedantam, Standard deviation, statistics, United States, Universal Music Enterprises, Yes (band). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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