mathfail

What mathematicians REALLY mean!

Twan Basten has neat conversion of what various quotes in publications actually mean:

“It has been long known”… I didn’t look up the original reference.

“A definite trend is evident”… These data are practically meaningless.

“While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to the questions”… An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.

“Three of the samples where chosen for detailed study”… The other results didn’t make any sense.

“Typical results are shown”… This is the prettiest graph.

“These results will be in a subsequent report”… I might get around to this sometime, if pushed/funded.

“In my experience”… Once

“In case after case”… Twice

“In a series of cases”… Thrice

“It is believed that”… I think.”

Check out his website for more: http://www.es.ele.tue.nl/~tbasten/fun/paper_interpretation.html

Comic – Arithmetic mean

SMBC comic about math!

If you’re wondering how 75% can be above average just think that across the human population, the MAJORITY of people have an above average number of arms (the average is slightly less than 2 due to those with amputated limbs).