Statistics–May 10, 2012

“Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.’ “

-       Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review (see footnote)

Statisticians and number junkies will be interested to know of a couple of digital milestones the blog passed this week.

The blog had it 40,000th page view since its inception in August 2010.  Nearly 900 of those were views of the Jan. 28, 2011 post entitled “Desert Sunrise” (http://allevenson.wordpress.com/the-journal/desert-sunriseescapees/) .  The next most searched-on posts—500-600 hits apiece–were “Montezuma’s Castle” (http://allevenson.wordpress.com/places/montezumas-castle/) , the “RV Travelers’ Bucket List” (http://allevenson.wordpress.com/rv-travelers-bucket-list/) , and “The Steinbeck Center” (http://allevenson.wordpress.com/places/the-national-steinbeck-center/) .  These are early posts, which may have accumulated their hits from researching net surfers.  The most popular post of the last 90 days is the “Reverse Bucket List”  (http://allevenson.wordpress.com/the-reverse-bucket-list/).

New posts get about 100 hits in the first 24 hours.

To me the most affirming statistic is the number of comments.  This, too, crossed a milestone and stands at 2004 at this moment.  Regular passengers know the most durable commentators are a pair of Midwestern women, Colleen and Karen, followed, at a respectful distance, by a pair of Californian Daves.  The comments enhance the blog with a layer of richness and frosting of nuance everyone is grateful for.

The opening quotation is attributed to  http://www.twainquotes.com/Statistics.html which goes on to say:

Further background on this quote is provided by Stephen Goranson, who writes on the Mark Twain Forum in a post dated 31 July 2002: Twain’s Autobiography attribution of a remark about lies and statistics to Disraeli is generally not accepted. Evidence is now available to conclude that the phrase originally appeared in 1895 in an article by Leonard H. Courtney. So Disraeli is not the source, nor is any pre-1895 person; merely Courtney. The 1895 article is now available online at: http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/maths/histstat/lies.htm Courtney may have read Carlyle on statistics (also quoted at this site); certainly, misuse of statistics was complained about before 1895.

7 Responses to Statistics–May 10, 2012

  1. Pictures of the Arizona Sunsets win overall in my book. Brought back memories of the 4 years spent traveling back and forth (4 six month) trips from the Bay area in the RV to avoid winters here. We found out they are not as bad as we thought and stay here year round since 2006. I do LOVE your BLOG so much and always look for it and read it to Angel every time. Miss you at CWC AL.

  2. Colleen Rae says:

    I love your photos, Al. They are the best. I think if I had to pick favorite entries however, I liked the vingettes you wrote about the ‘characters’ you stumbled on during your travels. People are so fascinating and you bring them to life on the page. Being a novelist, characters made up or real, are my favorite pastime.
    I also want to let you know that you are the only blog I ever read. I am now addicted to it, but I have an innate dislike of reading blogs…don’t know quite why. Your blog has never failed to delight and interest me totally. Perhaps because you are a good friend I think is the main reason I started reading your blog. Then the addiction set in…May there be another year of…Another Year on the Road.

  3. MaryAnne says:

    My contribution is in agreement with Colleen. Persons and personalities draw my attention and I have enjoyed meeting (vicariously) the folks you have encountered and drawn into our lives. My Grandma used to say :’ it takes all kinds to make a world’, and your adventures are proving that to be so true. What a wonderful exposure to humanity you are having. Also, I, too am not a blogster however I find your’s to be intelligent, informing, integrous and interesting. I do apprecite the experiences you’ve shared visiting various attractions and out of the way spots, particularly those in AZ (for self reasons) as I spend my Winters there and will be visiting some you have shown us.
    Thanx for sharing.

  4. David LaRoche says:

    I’ll stick with the thread:

    For me, leave the blogging statistics with Disraeli (or Google) and your pictures, while good, do little to excite me like the stories about the people you meet. When you audaciously solicit, and somehow receive, the invite to wander around in their lives, picking up gems themselves may not have known were there – and in the most sympathetic of prose describe for us their humanity. That’s why I come back – for your reflections of the people you meet – the bare-assed book guy, the desert hermit, the hitchhiker and the rest.

    In my view, old buddy, that’s where your talent abides.

  5. David LaRoche says:

    Well, it’s your blogging related talent I speak of and it’s not a judgement but only that which apeals to me.

    • Colleen Rae says:

      David, I just realized you are the editor of the CWC Literary Review which I received via snail mail. I didn’t know you were the editor. I must compliment you on a stellar edition. Wonderful stories and choices.

  6. David LaRoche says:

    Thank you Colleen, you are most generous.

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