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All of the jokes on this page pertain to “Statisticians.” This includes groups who may or may not consider themselves statisticians, such as Bayesians and Epidemiologists, amongst others.
S1BayesiansA Bayesian and a Frequentist were to be executed. The judge asked them what were their last wishes. The Bayesian replied that he would like to give the Frequentist one more lecture. The judge granted the Bayesian’s wish and then turned to the Frequentist for his last wish. The Frequentist quickly responded that he wished to hear the lecture again and again and again and again…
** Thanks to Xiao-Li Meng for this subtle humor. **
S2BayesiansA Bayesian is one who, vaguely expecting a horse, and catching a glimpse of a donkey, strongly believes he has seen a mule.

** This got lost in the shuffle a while ago. A belated thanks to Ken Lienemann. **
S3EpidemiologistPREAMBLE: It may help those who are unaware of what “epidemiologists” do to know that they are researchers who collect data about people and diseases and try to find patterns. This involves lots of data collection and statistical analysis usually. A simple (and early) example of what an epidemiologist does would be the first study to show that those who smoked were more likely to develop lung cancer, etc. NOW FOR THE JOKE…
There is a group of five statisticians on a train. At the next stop, five epidemiologists get on. They all seem to know each other and start chatting. It transpires that all the epidemiologists have bought a ticket, but the statisticians have only bought one between the five of them. “Why did you do that?” asks one of the epidemiologists. “Surely you’re going to get caught and thrown off the train?” “Just wait and see!” smiles one of the statisticians.

As the ticket inspector is approaching to check everyone’s tickets, the statisticians all go off to the nearest toilet–the inspector passes the epidemiologists and inspects all their tickets then moves on and notices that the toilet is locked. “Tickets please!”, shouts the inspector. One of the statisticians pushes their ticket under the toilet door, which the inspector checks and returns under the door. Once the inspector has gone, all the statisticians return to their seats to the awe and amazement of the epidemiologists. “That’s incredibly clever!” says one of the epidemiologists.
A few weeks later they all find themselves on the same train again. They sit together and start chatting once more. “We’ve done what you suggested,” says one of the epidemiologists. “And just bought one ticket between the five of us!” “Oh, really,” says one of the statisticians. “We haven’t bought ANY tickets this time!” The epidemiologists look at each other in amazement. “OK, one ticket between you is fine but not buying any at all is ludicrous!”

As the ticket inspector approaches the epidemiologists hurry off to the toilet. Once they’re inside, the statisticians follow them. “Tickets please!” shouts one of the statisticians. The ticket appears under the door and they take it away and all bundle into a different toilet. The inspector gets to the toilet with the epidemiologists in it. “Tickets please!” he shouts.
No reply. “Tickets please!” The epidemiologists admit defeat and come out of the toilet only to be thrown off the train at the next station.
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY: Epidemiologists should not attempt to use statistical methods without fully understanding the theory behind them!

** Kudos to Dave Ewart from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Oxford, UK for this clever story. **
Mathematician — 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, the rest follows by induction.
Statistician — 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is experimental error so throw it out, 11 is prime, 13 is prime, the rest follows by induction.
Computer Scientist — 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime, …

** Thanks to Beth Clarkson from Boeing. I still think it is a good joke! **
S5StatisticiansDefinition of a Statistician: A Mathematician broken down by age and sex.
** Another Hugh Foley jewel. **
Deviation is considered normal.
We feel complete and sufficient. We are “mean” lovers.
Statisticians do it discretely and continuously.
We are right 95% of the time.
We can legally comment on someone’s posterior distribution.
We may not be normal but we are transformable.
We never have to say we are certain.
We are honestly significantly different.
No one wants our jobs.

** This one was sent anonymously through my Guestbook. **
S7StatisticiansA statistician and a clinical professor are in a coffee shop. The latter looks up, sputters coffee, half chokes and says “That’s my intern over there and she’s gone and cut all her hair off.” The statistician looks up and nods: “on this side at any rate.”
** I am still trying to convince myself that this is funny. Thanks anyway to Ronan Conroy in Dublin, Ireland for sharing this one. **
S8StatisticiansAnd there was the statistician who was asked how her husband was and replied “Compared with whom?”
** Almost forgot this quickie from the same Ronan Conroy. Thanks! **
S9StatisticiansA hungry man went into a restaurant and noticed that the daily special was rabbit burgers, a real delicacy, for only 49 cents a burger. He was astounded at his good fortune to find such a bargain. When he inquired of the cook, the cook told him that in order to keep prices down he had to add some filler: in fact, only part of the burger was rabbit meat. The rest was horse meat.
“How much of each kind of meat is in a burger?” asked the customer..
The cook replied, “There is an equal amount of horse and rabbit in the burger: One horse, one rabbit.”

** Thanks one more time to Hugh Foley for this quasi-statistical joke. **
S10StatisticiansDid you know that there are three kinds of statisticians–those that can count and those that can’t.
** A big thank you to a fellow Hawkeye, John Creyer, for a great chuckle. **
S11StatisticiansWhat do statistics professors get when they drink too much?
Kurtosis of the Liver!

** This one has been floating in my files unnoticed for some time. A belated thank you goes out to David Coursey. **
S12StatisticiansHow many statisticians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
We really don’t know yet. Our entire sample was skewed to the left!

** This is my own little gem. I hope this one doesn’t go RIGHT by you. **
S13StatisticiansWhat’s the difference between a physicist, a mathematician, and a statistician?
The physicist calculates until he gets a correct result and concludes that he has proven a fact.

The mathematician calculates until he gets a wrong result and concludes that he has proven the contrary of a fact.
The statistician calculates until he gets a correct result about an obviously wrong proposition and concludes NOTHING, because the explanation is the task of the scientist who consulted the statistician.

** Thanks to Robert Hacker from Austria for this one. I hope I have not done damage to the underlying humor in the translation. **
S14StatisticiansA mathematician, applied mathematician and a statistician all apply for the same job. At the interview, they are are asked the question, what is 1 + 1. The mathematician replies, “I can prove that it exists but not that it is unique.” The applied mathematician after some thought replies, “the answer is approximately 1.99 with an error in the region of 0.01.” The statistician steps outside the room, mulls it over for several minutes, and eventually in desperation returns and inquires, “So what do you want it to be?”
** A big thank you goes out to mike Greyling of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa for this revealing joke. **
S15StatisticiansWhy is a physician held in much higher esteem than a statistician?
A physician makes an analysis of a complex illness whereas a statistician makes you ill with a complex analysis!

** This is my explanation of the vast pay differential between the two professions. **
S16StatisticiansHere is a cute variation of the light bulb joke:
How many statisticians does it take to change a light bulb?
100 – 1 to change the bulb and n-1 to test the replacement!!!

** It looks like a lot of statisticians to handle one light bulb! Thanks to William Tyler for sending me this all the way from Australia. **
S17StatisticiansA beautiful young woman was dating a mathematician and a statistician, and she knew she had to make a decision. The two young fellows knew of each other, and were all the time trying to impress her with their intelligence. The woman decided that she would put the two young men to a test, and the winner would be her husband. She brought them into a small room and explained to them, “I have decided to end this battle between you, and pick one of you for my life-long partner. You must pass a simple test which I have devised. In turn, I want each of you to stand on that side of the room, and I will stand on this side of the room. Every 10 seconds, I want you to walk half the distance between us towards me until you get to me. Once you get to me, I wan you to give me a kiss.”
The mathematician quickly thinks he has the answer to the test, and wants to be the first to proclaim it. “I refuse to do such a thing!” the mathematician said. “If i always walk half the distance toward you, I will never get to you. There will always be some distance left, no matter how small, and it can always be split in half!” The mathematician knows he has won and smirks quietly to himself.
The statistician thinks for a second, and says, “I’ll give it a whirl.” So, he stands on the other side of the room from the young woman, and then walks half way to her. After 10 seconds, he walks half way to her again. Then again. After about 2 minutes, the statistician is face to face with the young woman, their noses almost touching. Suddenly, he grabs her and givers her a big kiss!
The mathematician shouts, “Hey! You can’t do that! You weren’t all the way there! You CAN’T ever get all the way there by going half way each time!”
The statistician replies, “Well, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, I was there!!!” The young woman and the statistician were wed that next spring.

** This illustrates the inflexibility of mathematicians and the pragmatism of statisticians. Charles Cwiek from the University of Tennessee sent me this cute little story. Many thanks Volunteer! **
S18StatisticiansTwo statisticians and their accountant buddy were having lunch together one day at a top-secret government research installation in the desert. The two statisticians were discussing how that afternoon they would finish analyzing data from four groups of aliens captured from spacecrafts. The first statistician stated firmly that the experimentwise error rate should be controlled by using Tukey. The second statistician disagreed vigorously and replied that the experimentwise error rate should be controlled by using Bonferonni.
Suddenly, the accountant’s face became white as a sheet. He yelled, “I always knew that experiment with aliens would get us into big trouble some day. Since the aliens are going to attack us this afternoon you are both dead wrong. The only way to control the AIR RAID is to use the installation’s bomb shelter!!!! I’m out of here…”

** The above was inspired by a graduate student in an intermediate level class one day. After what I thought was a scintillating lecture on error rate, the puzzled student asked me at the end of the hour what an AIR RAID had to do with statistics.**
S19StatisticiansKnock! Knock!
Who’s there?
Willie and Boris.
Willie Boris who?
Williee Boris with his stat lecture today?

** OK, this one is really lame. But have any of you heard a “Knock! Knock!” statistics joke lately? This may be a first. Send me some and I will replace this with one of higher quality. **
S20StatisticiansDid you hear about the statistician who was about to analyze data gathered from a nudist colony? He didn’t know whether to use a one or a two-tailed test!!!!
** This joke was told to me by my good friend and colleague Jazzbo Johnson, a counseling psychologist in the Psychology Department at Illinois State University. He assured me that it meets all the standards for a PG rated joke! **
S21StatisticiansAn engineer, consultant and statistician were driving down a steep mountain road in County Donegal one evening. All of a sudden the brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control. But half way down, the driver somehow managed to stop the car by running it against the embankment narrowly avoiding going over a very steep cliff. They all got out, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.
The consultant said “To fix this problem we need to organize a committee, have meetings, write several interim reports and through a process of continuous improvement, develop a solution.”
The engineer said “No! That would take far too long, and besides that method never worked before. I have my trusty penknife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the profsblem and correct it.”
The statistician said: “No — you’re both wrong! Let’s all push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again. We only have an N of 1 here!!”

** Ah, replication is the life blood of a statistician. My daughter Vicki who worked at Corporate McDonald’s relayed to me this cute joke. **
S22StatisticiansWhat is the difference between a statistician and a mortician?
Nobody’s dying to see the statistician!

** Thanks to Tom Mortino from Nichols College for this morbid piece of humor. **
S23StatisticiansDid you hear about the statistics professor that suddenly turned bearish and sold off all his stocks?
His department chair told him that severe grade inflation had occurred in his courses and interest rates among the students had skyrocketed!!!;

** The poor professor should have consulted with Dr. Greenhouse, er pardon me, Dr. Greenspan before taking such a conservative approach!!! **
S24StatisticiansThere were four technicians travelling in a car, until it broke down. The statistician was the first to react and proclaimed to his colleagues that there was no problem. “Let me explain. This works fine. It is 6 years old, has run up 200,000 miles, and the engine has run perfectly for 5000 hours. The problem is experimental error and should be forgotten about!””
The second technician, being a mechanical engineer, and not so easily fooled decided the alternator was malfunctioning. Unable to fix it, he turned to his colleague the electrical engineer for help. This guy decided that the ignition was the problem, but after some tinkering was also unable to fix the problem.
Finally, the computer scientist smugly looked at the other technicians and calmly suggested that everyone should get out of the car, then get back inside again!!

** Is this like erasing a corrupted hard drive and reinstalling a corrupted operation system? Many thanks to Patrick DuBoucher from Cork Ireland who sent me this joke and signed my guestbook as “student.” Hmmm, I wonder if a t-test would have fixed the car?? **
S25StatisticiansA traveler trudged down a dusty road alongside a pasture. Seeing a shepherd shouting and whistling at his sheepdog rounding up a flock of sheep, the traveler shouted “I BET YOU A HUNDRED BUCKS AGAINST ONE OF YOUR SHEEP I CAN GUESS THE SIZE OF YOUR FLOCK.”
The shepherd agreed to the bet. The traveler then yelled loudly, “Nine hundred forty two,” exactly the number in the flock.
The traveler then picked out his prize and trudged down the road, but the shepherd shouted after him: ” I BET I KNOW WHAT YOU DO!”
The traveler agreed to another wager about this matter, and the shepherd then stated, “YOU’RE A STATISTICIAN.”
The traveler was startled. “How did you know?????”
The shepherd replied, “Well, put down my dog, and I’ll tell you.”

** Thanks to George Moxley of Virginia Commonwealth University for contributing this joke to the Gallery. Most of my friends failed to see any humor in this anecdote. I guess only statisticians with a sheepdog would understand the levity here! **
S26StatisticiansIn a statistics class an instructor had just delivered what he thought was a very scintillating presentation on two-variable regression analysis. He looked up from the glare of the overhead projector and noticed that a student in the back of the classroom was in a semi-snooze. This proved too much for the instructor’s ego and he scowled angrily at the student. He said, “Young man I want you to answer a question about this problem. For a person with an X-value of 45, is the predicted Y-value above or below the subgroup Y-mean?”
The dazed student looked up fro ten seconds then responded, “Yes.”

The instructor could not believe his ears and quickly snapped back, “Young man this is not a ye-no question! Just say above or below.”
The student responded, “Above or below!”
The instructor answered, “Yes.”
The student was wide awake now and retorted, “SIR. THAT WAS MY ORIGINAL ANSWER.”
A physician makes an analysis of a complex illness whereas a statistician makes you ill with a complex analysis!

** Thanks to my colleague and good friend Elmer Lemke for reminding me of this answer he once got on a comprehensive examination. Of course, I took the liberty to augment and embellish this story. **
S27StatisticiansOne day a consulting statistician just remembered that a client was waiting for a set of frequency polygon CHARTS. They needed to be delivered immediately. Since the weather was humid and sticky the statistician threw on a T-shirt and some wrinkled SHORTS and rushed out the door. Somewhat discombobulated, he jumped into his car and roared down the road at a high rate of speed. As he rounded a sharp curve, he suddenly took one hand off the wheel and his car veered out of control and tumbled into the ditch. The poor statistician was seriously injured. Why in the world did a statistician take such a risk and take one hand off the wheel?
He just remembered that he wanted to do some FREE-HAND SMOOTHING OF HIS SHCARTS!

** Why didn’t the statistician just touch them up with an iron before he left? I guess I may also need to touch up my jokes from now on since my friends failed to crack a smile on this one! **
S28StatisticiansWe all have heard that statisticians lie with statistics. What do insomniacs do with statistics?
They kick them out of bed!!!!
** Does that mean insomniacs never count sheep? I hope you like my twist to this old notion about statisticians. **
S29StatisticiansFive statisticians were selected by the World Unified Statistical Society (WUSS) to participate in a four-week televised reality program. The stakes were high with the survivor receiving a million dollar check and a Cray Supercomputer. These statisticians represented the very best minds in their subfields and were picked on the basis of their uncanny abilities to utilize divergent thinking. The five were a Biometrician, a Psychometrician, an Actuary, a Pollster, and a Professor of Statistics. Each was given a pocket calculator and a box of Ritz crackers and airlifted to a small uninhabited atoll in the South Pacific. Each week for three weeks one statistician was voted off the island and at the end of the fourth week the entire membership of WUSS voted on the winner from the remaining twosome. Can you pick the survivor and ultimate champion?
THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!!! After the third day all had perished and the program was cancelled. The million dollars was given to Statisticians Anonymous (SA) and the Cray Computer was donated to Wood Will Industries.

** What a sad ending to such a valiant effort by this prestigious organization to publicize the statistical profession!!! Oh, I just remembered I let my membership in WUSS lapse last year. **
S30StatisticiansWhat is the difference between an introverted and extraverted statistician?
The introverted statistician stares DOWN at his shoes whereas the extraverted statistician stares OVER at your shoes!!!

** Well you have to admit the angle of sight has been elevated a tad but then statisticians are a pretty repressed profession. However, I can take great comfort in what a wise man once said, “You can tell a lot about the character of a man by the appearance of his shoes.” For all you so-called “Experts on Shoes,” try this little fun test The New and Improved Expert Shoe Salesperson Quiz. **
S31StatisticiansThree ladies, formerly roommates at college, met monthly for lunch. This month’s topic of conversation turned to catching husbands. Sue said she was going to take advantage of the upcoming 3-day weekend to fly to Acapulco and scout the pool at Club Med. Jules said she was going to bite the bullet and sign herself up at one of those video dating services. Kate said she was flying to Chicago for the International Conference of Statisticians. Sue looked puzzled; Julie said, “Huh?” Kate responded by telling them that 86% of Statisticians were single males under the age of 37.
Sue said, “Wow! Odds are good!” Julie said, “Yeah, but the goods are odd.”

** I love this little joke! Darryl Fiorina sent me this and I really wanted to thank him but he included an invalid e-mail address. If you are out there Darryl, please contact me or I have to conclude that you are odd goods!! **
S32StatisticiansA statistician always HAS SOMETHING TO SAY with numbers while a politician always HAS TO SAY SOMETHING with numbers!
** The late Dr. James B. Stroud of the University of Iowa and the 2000 presidential election inspired me to write this truism. Maybe I should hide behind a BUSH so I won’t get GORED!! **
S33StatisticiansA man was in a hot-air balloon. Soon he found himself lost with nothing but green fields for as far as the eye could see. Eventually, he happened to float over a man who was walking his dog.
He leaned over the basket and yelled out, “Hello! Where am I?”

** The man on the ground replied, “You’re about 20 feet about the ground in a hot-air balloon.” **
** “We now know that statisticians, among their many other outstanding talents, are also skilled debaters. Thanks go out to Steve Carlson of Bedford, NH for forwarding this joke to me. **
S35StatisticiansA researcher asked an experienced statistician what procedure should be used to obtain the correlation between two normally distributed variables that were artificially dichotomized. Why did the researcher suddenly rush from the statistician’s office and run straight to the pharmacy to buy a bottle of carbon tet cleaning fluid?
The statistician told him a TETRACHORIC SOLUTION was appropriate for his problem!!

** If you don’t get this joke don’t despair. The tetrachoric coefficient is legitimate but is rarely used in modern practice. I happen to own a crumpled original monograph by Thurstone that presents a table for computing this index. Any bidders out there before I auction the item on Ebay? **
S36StatisticiansWhy did the statistician do such a horrid job of laying tile on his bathroom floor?

** This explains why you never see a statistician’s bathroom featured in BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS! **
S37StatisticiansWhy did the Statisticians trounce the Accountants by a score of 56 – 0 in their annual football game?
The Statisticians employed a BALANCED DESIGN in their offense and effectively used risk in their playbook whereas the Accountants ran only one play and kept risk entirely OFF their PLAYBOOK!!!

** I just had to get this dig in at the Accountants. Statisticians may look down at their shoes a lot but they are only verifying they are on a good foundation. **
S38StatisticiansA young woman is telling her friend about a new man she is dating. The friend says, “What does he do for a living?”
“He’s a statistician,” the first girl replies.
“A statistician? Wallowing in numbers all day? He must be awfully boring!” says the friend.
“We-ell,” says the first girl defensively, “It’s not the numbers that matter. I love what he does with them.”

** Erica Heffernan sent this joke to me all the way from Sydney, Australia, to counteract some of the “lame” jokes in the Gallery. Thanks Erica but I may have to mail you a single crutch for this one. Any comments from the readers? **
S39StatisticiansWho is the most famous Statistician?
George Washington. He claimed he never told a lie and got away with it!

** This is a cute little twist on an old standard. My thanks go out to Hal Ashburner from down under in Sydney, Australia, for sending me this nifty little tweak. **
S40StatisticiansDid you hear about the eccentric Statistics Professor that ran frantically through a hotel lobby wearing only Jockey briefs with a cell phone in one hand?
He was desperately looking for a bathrobe. His stock broker had just called him and warned him to COVER HIS SHORTS!!!!

** The 2002 bear stock market inspired me to write this little quip. It seems that when we have a rare up day it is attributed to investors covering their shorts. I knew I should have taken that job with Jockey Underwear a year ago selling shorts door-to-door!!! **
S41StatisticiansWhat’s black, brown and red and looks good on a Statistics Professor?
A Doberman.

** Now that is strange. I thought a Doberman was a fine cashmere sweater! Anyway, thanks again to Hal Ashburner for this rather sick joke. **
S42StatisticiansTwo world famous statisticians and a not so famous statistician were slowly wandering on the ancient land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. All three were tired and their faces were aged and wrinkled from their long productive and exhaustive careers. Each wanted to show the others were the steel cache of his most celebrated work was buried in the sand.
The first, R.A. Fisher located his marker and dug with trembling hands a six-foot hole and found his treasure…a reinforced heavy box containing sheet after sheet of journal studies using his Least Significant Difference (LSD) technique. All three smiled smugly and celebrated with muffled mumbling.

The second, J.W. Tukey led the weary men about a mile further and spotted his marker. He dug furiously with every ounce of strength he could must another six-food hole. To no one’s surprise, his prize box was uncovered with published paper after paper of results using his Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) method. All three again smiled smugly and celebrated with muffled mumbling. The group was now staggering in the sand and suffering severe muffled mumbling.
The group was now staggering in the sand and suffering severe thirst from the desert heat. However, the third statistician known only as Winsor, pleaded with the other two to go just a ways further. They reluctantly agreed and sure enough after a half mile, Winsor became elated and THOUGHT he spotted his marker. He began to slowly claw and toss the sand aside. After three hours he reached the six-foot depth…but no cache. His mottled face was seating from fatigue but he continued for another six feet…but alas, no cache.

Winsor’s body was now shaking violently from exhaustion but he insisted on going a final six feet (eighteen feet in all). He pawed and flailed for six more hours and finally collapsed at the bottom of the hole…but no hint of a cache. At the top of the hole Fisher and Tukey lay prostrate. They choked and sputtered obscenities for several minutes. Applications of the Winsorized Major Difference Procedure were nowhere to be found!

** I must admit to taking full responsibility for this unsettling tale. Isn’t it strange that all the LSD’s and HSD’s were found but nary a WMD? Poor Winsor should have focused on his truncated distributions rather than attempt to produce WMD’s!! **
S43StatisticiansIn China, even if you are a one out of a million kind of guy, there are thousands more just like you!!
** Gee, this is sad. In the US, I would settle for being a one out of a thousand kind of statistician and know there are not thousands more like me. Thanks to Dennis Lankin from the UC at Berkeley for this play upon numbers. **
S44StatisticiansA new Ph.D statistician had just taken a position with the Bureau of Standards. One of his first tasks was to familiarize himself with the volumes of measurement standards for the vast array of objects in the world. He was immediately curious about his own profession and looked up “statistician.” Among the list of physical characteristics, he came across a shocking figure…The mean weight of all statisticians in the world is 3 POUNDS. He gasped in disbelief. He thought surely this was a typographical error and that the first two digits had been omitted. Then he squinted and noticed a small asterisk by this figure. He quickly directed his eyes to the bottom of the page. He sighed a breath of relief as the footnote boldly stated, “INCLUDES URN.”
** I think this easily EARNS a grade of “A” as a statistician joke. I now understand why textbooks and instructors are obsessed with examples of drawing Balls from Urns when probability theory is introduced. If you think this is a lame joke, I will take all the blame but remember I am an Odd Ball that has always drawn Chips from Bowls. **
S45StatisticiansDemocrats believe there is only one poll that matters…It takes place on Election Day.
Republications also believe there is only one poll that matters…However, it takes place in Florida on Election Day.
Statisticians regretfully throw up their hands in despair because they concede what REALLY matters is a biased poll with a sample size of nine…The members of the Supreme Court!!

** I will take full responsibility for creating this one. The question is could it happen again?? **
S46StatisticiansI don’t know why people are so negative about statistics and statisticians. I’m only a first-year student, and statistics has already taught me everything I need to know about life — always Proceed with Caution and reject H0!
** Thanks to Priscilla Mok at the Hong Kong International School for sending me this little testimonial about the field of statistics. Don’t forget, Priscilla, to mention that the statistical literature is laced with all those positive Chi-Squares and F-ratios that also perk up your day. **
S47StatisticiansThree statisticians went hunting. When they arrived at the forest, three deer stepped out in a line directly across from the three statisticians. The statistician on the right fired and hit his deer, then the statistician on the left fired and hit his deer. At that point the statistician in the middle said, “Well, boys, we all got our deer, let’s go home!”
** Ok! This one may take a while to even elicit a smile. in fact, it took me over a day to realize what was funny here. Just think about basic analytic geometry and the “a ha” will hit you. Bruce Hunn sent me this clever story from the Army Research Laboratory in Ft. Huachuca, AZ. Many thanks! **
S48StatisticiansYou can always TELL a statistician…
But you can’t tell him much!!

** I might add that if you tell a statistician TOO MUCH he would feel cheated out of making an inference. Thanks once again to Doc Finstuen fro this truism from “ALAMO” country in Texas. **
(1) Picks the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 in the State Lottery?
Hey, what’s wrong with these? This set of six numbers is just as likely as any other set of six numbers from 1 – 52 such as 35, 8, 44, 23, 32, and 10! A statistician just likes order in his life.
(2) Carries a Brannock Device (The New and Improved Expert Shoe Salesperson Quiz) in his car trunk rather than a small air compressor.
It is more important that his passengers have correct fitting shoes rather than having the correct amount of air pressure in his tires!
(3) Loves riding a roller coaster because the quick ups and downs remind him of his arm motions when drawing normal curves on the blackboard.
Now, if he could only draw a straight score-scale line on the board he would have it made!

(4) Displays fickleness when he relishes showing his class that in baseball, Pete Rose’s 44-game hitting streak was slightly more improbable than Joe Damietta’s 56 game hitting streak but yet would vote to keep Rose out of the Hall of Fame.
What? This is unbelievable! The key is that Rose had a lifetime batting average of .300 whereas Dimaggio’s was .325 and this differential does not overcome the more games that Rose played in that season.
(5) Shows an almost exclusive preference for hypothesis testing over confidence intervals in making inferences as most applied statisticians do. But then is speechless when a student remarks, “But sir, if we reported confidence intervals then we wouldn’t have to fuss with Type I and II Errors or the Power of the test!”
How true! How true! But we must always support Neyman and Pearson and forever keep their names in front of the statistical community.
S50StatisticiansWhy do most statistics professors at Case Wester Reserve University have a clean record, but a few get put in prison for life?
There is an uncommon level of VARIANTS in the area!

** Thanks go out to John Newbrough, a statistics student at Case Western Reserve, for relating this demographic oddity for the Gallery. This has to imply that Case Western Reserve is Number One in the respect shown for the discipline. **
S51StatisticiansA statistician is a professional who diligently collects facts and data and then carefully draws confusions about them. — Author unknown thank goodness!

** How ungrateful! Here we statisticians work our tails off to make sense out of samples and use sophisticated techniques to make valuable inferences about populations and people tell us that we confuse them. How dare they? **
S52Statisticians“The best thing about being a statistician,” J.W. Tukey once told a colleague, ” is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard.”
The colleague retorted, “But Professor Tukey, that is why a statistician is considered a Peeping Tom by many guardians of sensitive data in the world!!!!”

** The first statement is an actual quote. The second is my own fictitious retort to further the humor. For a capsule version of the amazing life and astonishing contributions of one of the greatest American Statisticians that ever lived see Tukey. **
S53StatisticiansA Statistics Professor had just completed an exhaustive review session for his students the day before the exam. At the end of the session, he stated emphatically, “One more thing! The exam is open-book and don’t forget to bring a TABLE to the test.” The students were relieved to hear this bit of good news that TABLES could be used.
Next day, the students filed into the room with textbooks and materials under their arms. The Professor greeted them with a sour and very puzzled look on his face. He then loudly pronounced, “Well ladies and gentlemen, I am very sorry, but you will have to take your tests STANDING UP!! They just refinished the floors in all the rooms of the building!!”

** How sad that the students forgot the most important item on the test day! This joke is dedicated to the late Professor Paul J. Blommers of the University of Iowa. Professor Blommers chaired my dissertation committee and taught me the principles of concise statistical writing. He also championed the notion of open-book statistics exam (assuming of course, you have a TABLE to spread your materials out on). I later adopted this idea. I recall telling my students that the exams were always open-book, open-notes, open crib-sheets, and your choice of using any other statistics books. There was only one exclusion — You could not hire a statistical consultant to sit next to you in the test!! Oh, I would be remiss if I did not give credit to Alan Huang of the Australian Bureau of Statistics for giving me the idea for this joke. However, I fear it will be rated by my critics as the “Lamest of the Lame.” **
A professional runner views the glass as half empty since the water is from the tap and not from a natural spring.
An attorney views the glass as half empty since he believes his compensation is never enough.
A mathematician can just not decide since the glass can never be EXACTLY half full or half empty.
An accountant views the glass as half full but with tiny red asterisk chips floating on the surface.
A statistician views the glass as half full but with bubbly foam all the way up to the brim.

** So just what is the point of stating these philosophical differences? It proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Statisticians are the most OPTIMISTIC professionals in the world because they view one-half a glass of water as essentially a FULL glass when one accounts for the ingenious inferences and extrapolations that produce this top layer of froth!! Go ahead and douse me with a BUCKET of water if you think this is lame. **
(1) Does not like to be first or last to arrive at a party for fear of being an outlier.
It is the old principle of recency vs. primacy for a psychologist but the statistician doesn’t subscribe to either option. Arrival somewhere in the middle of the pack makes the statistician anonymous.
(2) Is obsessed with how many miles per hour a human hair grows!
Many people still believe that hair just doesn’t grow in miles per hour. But a mile is a length measure just as much as a millimeter is. It is simply that most people do not relate to very large or very small numbers. The actual calculation states that human hair grows at a rate of 10-8 or .00000001 miles per hour. What should the barbers do about this rate?

(3) Tends to follow other people when walking in a group because of a strong leaning toward a posteriori tests after rejecting the overall H0.
Rarely do you see a priori test in the literature particularly in the behavioral sciences. Could it be that statisticians do not want to perform ahead of time?
(4) Becomes despondent when lecturing on the normal curve because he knows down deep in his lifetime he will never encounter an EXACTLY normal set of real-life discrete scores.
The normal curve is a very specific mathematical function that involves a continuous variable. Some real-life distributions can only hope to APPROXIMATE this model. How sad!!
(5) As a behavioral-science statistician, harbors deeply rooted jealousy of a biometrician because the latter is blessed with ratio or interval scale data while the former muddles around with ordinal and normal data.
This is a fact of life but many in the behavioral sciences would cite all the robustness studies of parametric tests and say, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!!?
S56StatisticiansWhat’s the difference between a dead possum and a dead statistician lying in the road?
Answer: There are skid marks in front of the possum.

** Thanks Jim White for this tale of horror. Now, for the rest of the story. Santa Claus came along in his sleigh on this same road and immediately stopped at the scene. He thought the possum was playing possum so did nothing. For the statistician, he reached in his bag and pulled out a bivariate normal surface with a blinking star on the dome and draped it over the fallen statistician…a considerate gesture on Santa’s part to commemorate a respected profession. **
S57StatisticiansWhat happens if you find the inverse of a variance-covariance matrix?
You get an upside down statistician balancing on his head and looking up and admiring his black patent leather wing-tipped shoes. Since he was now nonsingular his friends were anxious to mingle with him and free him from his reputation as an introvert.

** At least we got a statistician to look up at his shoes instead of down. Now to his friends the shoes were at eye level and gave off a brilliant glossy sheen. What an impressive scene that was the epitome of class! The friends finally understood why shoes are best measure of a person’s character. **
S58StatisticiansStatisticians, as a group, tend to be reserved and keep their feelings under wraps. But because they are trustworthy, they have always been viewed by other mathematicians as guardians of the subset of real numbers between 0 and 1 inclusively. One issue that does elicit extreme fervor one way or the other among statisticians is some of the probabilities that are represented by these numbers they protect. They passionately love ALMOST uncertainties (.05, .01, .001) or ALMOST certainties (.95, .99, .999). They have utter disdain for values like .10 or .90 because of the false hope that these values spawn in a researcher’s mind. Finally, there is unmitigated hatred for the value .50. It absolutely give statisticians no direction whatsoever to lean and it forces them to admit defeat and say decision-making is nothing more than a flip of a coin.
** Bet you didn’t know that statisticians were that hung up emotionally on some of these values. Showing attitudinal differences toward certain values in this set of numbers is introducing bias of the worst type. Shame on you statisticians! The next thing that will happen is that the number theorists will be annointed caretakers of the pristine real numbers from 0 to 1. Woe is me! **
S59StatisticiansThey say that it’s no coincidence that the University of California at Berkeley is the home of both UNIX and LSD. What does it say about statisticians that Sir Ronald Fisher gave LSD to them 40 years before anyone ever heard of Timothy Leary?
** Thanks to John Gear for relating this little known fact. My answer to this question is that statisticians hafd their “acid heads” far sooner than the Berkeley campus. **
S60StatisticiansWhat do you get when you cross a statistician with a chiropractor?
You get an adjusted R squared from a BACKward regression problem!

** Yes, this is my very own. If you think this is lame send me a better joke that’s not in the Gallery! **
S61StatisticiansThree men are in a hot-air balloon. Soon, they find themselves lost in a canyon somewhere. One of the three men says, “I’ve got an idea. We can call for help in this canyon and the echo will carry our voices far.” So he leans over the basket and yells out, “Helllloooooo! Where are we?” (They hear the echo several times.)
Fifteen minutes pass. Then they hear this echoing voice: “Helllloooooo! You’re lost!!” One of the men says, “That must have been a statistician.” Puzzled, one of the other men asks, “Why do you say that?”
The reply: “For three reasons: 1) he took a long time to answer, 2) he was absolutely correct, and 3) his answer was absolutely useless.”

** Does this truly characterize a good statistician? This bit of humor has been floating around for some time. Sorry, I don’t have an attribution for it. **
S62StatisticiansHere are two variants of an old standard:
Some say that if you laid all the statisticians on the face of the Earth end to end it would be a very good thing.
Others note that if you laid all the statisticians end to end, two thirds would be under water.

** A big thank you to David Hitchin for two cute twists. **
S63StatisticiansIt is proven that the celebration of birthdays is healthy. Statistics show that those people who celebrate the most birthdays become the oldest.

** This one is credited to S. Den Hartog by way of Joachim Verhagen’s Science Jokes page. **
S64StatisticiansA statistician is someone who is skilled at drawing a precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.
** This one has been rattling around in my brain but I seem to have trashed the e-mail of the kind person that sent me this. Someone please step forward and claim this! **
S65StatisticiansA retired statistician purchased a brass Aladdin’s lamp at an antique shop one day. Being very proud of his purchase, he cradled the lamp with one arm against his chest and began his walk home. He had only walked a block when he was startled by a belch of smoke from the lamp and the appearance of a magic genie.
“Hello kind sir,” said the genie. “I am here to grant you three wishes. Since you have toiled your entire life with numbers to benefit people in many different professions, the only provision is that these wishes must also benefit others. To insure that this happens, those three lawyers walking on the other side of the street will each receive DOUBLE what you receive.”

Now the statistician recalled some bad experiences with lawyers but was still excited and agreed to the conditions. The genie smiled gleefully and asked the statistician for his first wish. The statistician thought only for a second and responded, “I would like a brand new red Ferrari automobile.” Poof! A sparkling red Ferrari appeared. He then looked across the street and saw six red Ferraris pop up, two for each lawyer.
The genie smiled broadly and asked the statistician for his second wish. With very little thought the statistician said “I would like a million dollars.” Poof! A million dollars appeared in a gilded suitcase. He quickly glanced across the street and saw that each of the three lawyers received two gilded suitcases containing a million bucks each.

By this time, the statistician was becoming somewhat angry because he thought the lawyers were receiving more than their fair share. The genie then admonished him that the had only one last wish and should think very carefully about what he wanted. The statistician painfully puzzled over his last wish for several minutes. He finally replied, “You know all my life I have always wanted to be an organ donor so I hereby wish the donation of ONE of my kidneys to the local hospital! Poof! A kidney was donated…
** Thanks to my son, Joel, for telling me this and I will admit to slightly altering the original. Many people required an explanation of this one. **
S66StatisticiansDid you hear about the statistician who had his head in an oven and his feet in a bucket of ice? When asked how he felt, he replied, “On the average I feel just fine.”

** Thanks to George Litman for reminding me of the first statistics joke I had ever heard. This just might be the granddaddy of them all. **
S67StatisticiansTwo statisticians were traveling in an airplane from LA to New York. About an hour into the flight, the pilot announced that they had lost an engine, but don’t worry, there are three left. However, instead of 5 hours it would take 7 hours to get to New York. A little late, he announced that a second engine failed, and they still had two left, but it would take 10 hours to get to New York. Somewhat later, the pilot again came on the intercom and announced that a third engine had died. Never fear, he announced, because the plane could fly on a single engine. However, it would now take 18 hours to get to New York. At this point, one statistician turned to the other and said , “Gee, I hope we don’t lose that last engine, or we’ll be up here forever!”
** This was found at the Dynamic StatisticsTM software site of Key Curriculum Press at Fathom. **
S68StatisticiansThere was a very old Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown was addressing his baseball team at the end of the season. He recited numerous dismal statistics such as : Runs scored by us 12, by opponents 125. At the end of the speech he yells out: “And what are we going to do about it?” to which the team answers in unison: “Get a new statistician!”
** Thanks to David Lane of Rice University for this little jewel. **
S69StatisticiansDid you hear about…
…The four statisticians who were caught in a boating shop tossing packages of canvas around? It turned out they were just fore-casting sales.
…The statistician who went out on a limb to obtain a nested design?
…The statistician who attempted the distribution of joints but was arrested by the vice squad?
…The statistician who was looking all over for the sum of eigenvalues from a variance-covariance matrix but couldn’t find a trace?
…The nonparametrician who couldn’t get his driving license? He couldn’t pass the sign test.
…The two binomial random variables who talked very quietly because they were discrete?
…The ancient Roman statistician who was always called a nerd? Turns out he was just a Latin Square.
…The father and son station wagon? Talk about a case of auto-correlation!
…The nine-foot tall roman numeral who took over Congress and outlawed decimals? It was just a case of the strong law of large numbers.

** Thanks to Mark Eakin by way of Karen Scheltema for this contribution. **
S70StatisticiansStatisticians are like the drunk leaning against the lamp pole — they are there for support not illumination.
** This is one of my favorites. Thanks to Jim Hume again by way of Karen Scheltema. **
S71StatisticiansThen there’s the one that if you laid every statistician on the face of the earth end to end you wouldn’t reach a conclusion…Probably.
** Again, I could not find the attribution on this witty short one. **
S72StatisticiansA guy was walking along and saw a frog sitting on the side of the road. The frog said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.” He picked up the frog, looked it over, smiled, put it into his pocket and continued on his way.
A few minutes later the frog said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess and stay with you for a week!” The guy took the frog out of his pocket, smiled, and put it back into his pocket.
A few minutes later the frog said “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess, stay with you for a week and do ANYTHING you want!!” The guy took the frog out of his pocket again, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog said, “I said that if you would just kiss me, I would turn into a beautiful princess and do ANYTHING you want for a whole week! Why won’t you kiss me?” The guy said, “Look, I’m a statistician and I don’t have time for girl friends, but a talking frog is kind of neat.”

** A big thanks to Karen Scheltema, I think, for this romantic joke. **

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