Histograms and Regression Lines as a matter of philosophy

Make sense of life events through histograms. I rather enjoy a histogram and often use histograms to give anecdotes context.

My favorite is the classic example of the panhandler who makes $50,000 a year. Is this case an outlier or is this case the average? I think that this is a good framework to critically think about information people tell us.

Thanks to the book Thinking Fast and Slow, the concept of regression to the mean is becoming real. Regression to the mean refers to the observation that if we were to observe an extreme value on the first measurement, the observation in second measurement would be closer to the average; related if the first measurement is closer to average then the second measurement will most likely be extreme. See the wikipedia page for more details. 

Most of the time my new born son does not sleep well through the over night hours. On the weekends he tends to sleep better through the night, and we start to hope that this trend continues through the weekday.  Sunday night comes and he regresses to his mean sleeping pattern.  My only hope is the small sample size as small size produces extreme values.

Histograms and regression to mean are tools we can use to help us think critically about the world.

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