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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Data in Context

Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, September 15, 2012
7:35 pm

The following graphic is a great example of how false conclusions can be easily drawn from perfectly good data.  This is a graph provided by our electrical utility for our family home covering the month of August this year.  It looks like we had a super-efficient month of August for electrical usage, correct?

Well, if you had known the context, the report wouldn’t have looked so good.  During the month of August this year, our home was being restored from a house fire.  No air conditioners were running in the house during the entire month.  No wonder we had a low power bill!  If only we would compare so favorably now the new air conditioning units have been turned back on!

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