Keillor Distribution

More than once on internet mailing lists I have encountered people who ridiculed others for asserting that “nearly all x are above [or below] average”. This is a recurring joke on Prairie Home Companion, broadcast from the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” And indeed, they can’t all be above average. But they could nearly all be above average. And this is actually an extremely common situation.

The Lake Wobegon Distribution on Mark Dominus’ Universe of Discourse. Skewed and bimodal distributions do crop up and can be important. My students are unlikely to read Garrison Keillor (I will ask just in case) but this kind of writing about statistics helps…

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