Daily Archives: August 8, 2015

Russian Roulette

(Note: this is chapter 1 of my book “Noise: Lies, Damned Lies, and Denial of Global Warming.” It’s not one of my usual technical-type posts, it’s an attempt to illustrate for the general reader how statistics can be misused to deny global warming. The data used are several years out of date, but the point is still quite valid, and at the end I’ve added a graph of more current temperature data. Feel free to refer your friends to this.)


Most of us have heard of the game called “Russian Roulette.” A revolver (usually with 6 chambers) is loaded with only one bullet; five chambers are harmless but one is lethal. The cylinder is spun so the location of the live but deadly cartridge is randomized, then the players take turns putting the gun to their head and pulling the trigger. Sometimes the cylinder is spun again before each turn,
sometimes not. Whoever is unlucky enough to happen on the “live” chamber gets a bullet to the head and almost certain death; the other players are the “winners.”

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