09 January, 2010

The Ultimate in Nominative Determinism

Just found this purusing the Times Online. Not much of a link, but it led me to a pretty funny abstract of the work. Higgy, it's a good thing you didn't pursue that career in professional water polo!


higgy said...

Good thing indeed!

I wonder what the distribution of the first letter of common names to the number of people who have them looks like. Surely there are some obvious letters that don't get the privilege of starting a name that often in real life - like Q, Y, and Z. In some cases, the laws of small statistics could play a part in making it seem like life expectancy (or whatever) is different from the national mean for a particular letter.

spencer said...

This is probably just the result of random variation (i.e. there isn't anything causal about your name starting with "D"). If they formed a hypothesis about which letter would have the most fatalities *after* looking at the data, then the usual statistical techniques aren't valid anymore.