Week 2 Discussion Forum
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Topic: Statistics Can Be Misleading
No doubt, every day we are exposed to statistics. They influence nearly every aspect of our lives.
Unfortunately, often times the statistics presented to us are incomplete, misleading, or difficult to
interpret meaningfully. For example, in the MATH110 course that many of you may have completed,
you were asked to compute the cost per mile of operating your vehicle. Naturally, that statistic is
dependent on a number of factors including your car payment, maintenance costs, miles driven, etc.
The important thing to keep in mind when using that statistic is that there may be situations in which it
would be completely misleading to compare Person A's cost per mile with Person B's cost per mile. For
example, suppose Person A has a monthly car payment of $350 while Person B has no car payment at
all. No doubt, all other things being equal, Person A's cost per mile would be higher than Person B's,
because of the monthly car payment that Person A has each month. Clearly, in this case, comparing the