Monday, August 22, 2016

The Wear of Love

As part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation's promotion campaign, this LOVE artwork has been placed in the Robert Reed waterfront park in Chincoteague, Virginia. It displays four, 10 foot tall Adirondack chairs. The wooden chairs spell out the LOVE with the symbols 
L O  E.
Of course, when posing for pictures, tourists prefer to sit in the      chair over the others as evidenced by the greater frequency of wear on the chairs as people climb up and rub off the paint.

This view looks at the letters in reverse. The nearest chair is E, the next is     with the most wear, then O and L. Note that the pattern of wear is in a bell-shape, with more wear near the middle of the seat and less towards the edges.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Alien Corn

Another Eastern Shore vacation outlier find. This corn stalk, amid the soybeans, is a triple threat outlier: by type, by height, and by location. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Skewed Fast Food

This is a view of the side of a small counter at a fast food restaurant in Snow Hill, Maryland. Patrons have slid this chair back and forth to sit at or leave the adjacent table. This chair movement has marred the paneling of the counter into a pattern that is skewed to the right: much more wear on the left with decreasing use and wear as the chair is set closer to the table. Of course, on the right, the chair's wear pattern is truncated since it must stop short of the table. On the left, we've got no wall to reveal the chair's position. The chair's wear is censored. What remains is a right skewed pattern of the frequency of use and wear. The pattern somewhat resembles the pattern of a sample from a right skewed exponential distribution.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Distribution on a Cylinder

Here's a utility pole at a traffic intersection in Aspen Hill, Maryland. The pole has served as display for the many yard sales, community meetings, and businesses that have had their advertising flyers posted on the pole. The flyers have long since been removed. Only their staples and nails remain. These accumulated staples show a distribution of the heights of flyer postings. 

The close-up view below shows the distribution of individual staples and nails on the cylinder of the pole. The staples are distributed both around the pole and vertically up and down the pole. Vertically, it's too difficult to put flyers high on the pole and few staples can be found there. Flyers very low on the pole wouldn't be easily seen by those passing by, so few staples are also found there. Most staples and nails are at a comfortable shoulder and viewing height. If we imagine the height of a staple above the ground is our random variable, we find few staples with small height, few with large height, and many more with a medium height. This is a bell-shaped pattern up and down the pole that we have seen often.

Horizontally, the staples are distributed circularly around the pole. They would also have greatest frequency towards the traffic and lesser frequency on the backside of the pole. This is likely also a bell-shaped distribution, wrapped around a circle. We have seen such a distribution before connected with the characteristic function of a random variable. We've also seen a distribution on a pole at the Rodin museum in Paris.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Salary Dots

From Flowing Data, an interactive dotplot showing the distribution of annual salaries in various fields. Selections can be made for the 1960s (above), the 1980s, 2000s, and 2014. As a time range is selected, the dots representing the annual salaries of 50 randomly selected people, dynamically redistributed themselves to reflect the times salary frequency distribution. Compare the dramatic change in spread from 1960s above to the 2000s below.

Monday, July 18, 2016

YADDA Boston

Yet Another Door Distribution Again, this time at the Summer Shack Restaurant in Boston. Not many patrons grab the door near the handle, not many reach it much higher. Most grab the door, and wear away its paint, at a comfortable, likely shoulder height. A bell-shaped frequency distribution results. Thanks Laura.

Monday, July 11, 2016

All Blood Runs Red

Cartoon by Ed Hall published in the Washington Post, Saturday, July 9, 2016 (color added).