Friday, June 19, 2009

Facebook: Some Applications are Seriously Flawed

I've seen a few Facebook applications lately that need new statisticians. There's one application that supposedly answers the question "How common is your birthday?" I've seen answers varying from 1% to 6% for the persons who have taken this quiz. There are 366 possible dates. Only 365 of those occur each year. One of those occurs every 4 years with the exception of certain millennial years. 1/365.25 = approx. .2738%. In other words, I'm skeptical that anyone's birthday is even 1%.

Then there is one that calculates how common one's last name is. When you consider all the surname possibilities in the world and the amount of people, do you really think that something other than a very common surname such as "Smith" would garner more than a 1% share of surnames, yet I saw a fairly uncommon name with 2% just moments ago.

It's obvious that the people who can't spell when they create the online Facebook quizzes are also the ones who are computing the statistics for some of these applications.

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