Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I Like Data

I like data.

I like numbers and statistics, I like what numbers can mean, but I also like the fact numbers don't tell the whole story.

I like how data can give you a perspective on history or tell a tale often more real than what a historian will record in a text book. You can compare the employment rates of women in the 20th century and get a very accurate view on the progression of the women's movement (or lack thereof for that matter).

I've liked data for a long time. At the age of 6, I use to record hockey scores and hockey statistics onto paper. I'd create my own standings and I could recite just about every player and position in the NHL.

In fact, stats are at the heart of why I still love to follow sports and of course baseball is a statistician's dream. So much so, that I simulate baseball games with dice and cards just to record, review and analyze the numbers. I even built a web site to record and analyze it all here.

There not even real baseball games, yet the numbers related to these 'simulated' games still generate great interest for me. You know, some people build aquariums, or model railroads, others paint pictures or knit shawls. Apparently, I roll dice and record the results into a statistical database.

I am not sure why it appeals to me so, but somehow sorting, analyzing and reviewing good clean data is very soothing to me.

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