Monday, January 28, 2013

Bird Parking

From the Washington Post last week Jan. 22, 2013. From an article by Petr Seba "Parking and the visual perception of space". He models the spacing between birds on a wire or cars parked on a street as a Gamma distribution. This is not like our usual images. The birds' positions on the wire is what we observe, much like a dotplot of many statistical packages: one dot on a number line for each data point. Here we have to consider the spacing between the birds or dots. This does not build up in accumulation like the wear patterns that we see routinely on doors, YADDA...Still it is a fun result.

1 comment:

Robert W. Jernigan said...

A colleague (thanks Scott) notes that the bell curve distribution of shoe size shown on the lower left of the image is wrong on at least two counts. First, shoe size is likely a discrete variable, not continuous, as a bell-shaped normal distribution would require. Second, the curve is defined by "Number of women" also discrete, when it should be a continuous density. And finally, the reporter says this is a curve for "random points" when, of course, even the gamma distribution of spacing also describes the behavior of random points (birds).