Re: Freight car distribution

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Malcolm Laughlin wrote:
My key point is that "reasonably typical" "on average" is not a really useful concept. Like of my many drives between Boston and New York it would be extraordinary for one to be the average time, and don't forget that in the car stuff we're talking about distributions with all kinds of skewness and normal distributions aren't demonstrably common.
What's your point? That there is variability and skewness does not make the average uninteresting; in fact, it emphasizes the average as the central point of the data. No one, least of all Tim, ever said that the average was the entire story. But if all I think about is the variability, and ignore the average, I really have no idea what I'm talking about.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
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