Hydrogeologist. Statistician. Writer. Cat lover. But mostly, Retired.

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Charlie Kufs in 1953

Since I watched my first science-fiction movie in the 1950s, I knew I was going to grow up to be a scientist. I loved biology in high school but knew I didn’t have the mindset of a biologist. A few years later, in fact, I became a vegetarian. I started in college as a chemistry major and might still be there (trying to pass physical chemistry, that is) had I not on a dare took Geology 101. (I was working for the college at the time so tuition was free.) One semester of Rocks for Jocks and I was hooked; I was going to be a geologist. …


Nine patterns of three types of relationships that aren’t spurious.

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When analysts see a large correlation coefficient, they begin speculating about possible reasons. They’ll naturally gravitate toward their initial hypothesis (or preconceived notion) which set them to investigate the data relationship in the first place. Because hypotheses are commonly about causation, they often begin with this least likely type of relationship using the most simplistic of relationship pattern, a direct one-event-causes-another.

A topology of data relationships is important because it helps people to understand that not all relationships reflect a cause. They may just be the result of an influence or an association or even mere coincidence. Furthermore, you can’t always tell what type and pattern of relationship a data set represents. There are at least 27 possibilities not even counting spurious relationships. That’s where numbercrunching ends and statistical-thinking shifts into high-gear. …


It’s about individual feelings of vulnerability and inclusion. It will never disappear.

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“Cats Fighting” by lluisribesmateu1969 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Everyone knows that you can’t talk politics in the U.S. without an argument. Republican vs, Democrat. Progressive vs. conservative. Urban vs. rural. Small state vs. big state. Tradition vs. new-and-better. You’re either opinionated or apathetic.

In reality, there’s probably no issue we can’t come up with a compromise solution for that everyone will hate equally. The Founding Fathers managed to pull it off. What’s changed? IMO, it’s not the problems that are intractable, it’s our attitudes towards our adversaries, our fellow citizens.

We were told in the 1950s that it was impolite to discuss politics or religion. …


Most people will learn these things, also too late, and maybe some things I never did.

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My Rules of Life


Here’s an Easy Fix and a Hard Fix for making everybody’s vote count.

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“U.S. Capitol building” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When the United States was created, the Founding Fathers agreed that members of the House of Representatives should serve no more than 30,000 of the four million or so citizens of the country, resulting in 105 members of the House. The number of Representatives increased with the population until Congress limited the number to 435 in 1929. At that time, there was one representative for every 280,000 constituents.

In 2000, the US population had grown to about 281 million. There was one representative for 647,000 constituents. By October 2020, the US population has grown to about 330.5 million. There is now one representative for every 760,000 constituents. But representation varies by state because even the least populous state must have at least one representative. As a consequence, while West Virginia, Wyoming, and Rhode Island have one representative for fewer than 600,000 constituents, Montana and Delaware have only one representative for over 900,000 constituents. Going back to the 1929 standard of 280,000 constituents per representative, we would have to add 735 representatives for a total of 1,170. And, this total would have to change every decade after the Census and with any addition of states (e.g., …


Personally Identifiable Information. Don’t keep it if you don’t need it.

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By JenWaller is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Many of us have had our personal information stolen from the Internet, some more than once. Even governments can’t prevent the thefts. Professionals who work with data come under a lot of scrutiny because of PII.

What Is PII?

Personally identifiable information (PII) is any data that can be used to identify a specific individual. PII is used mainly within the US; Personal Data is the approximate European equivalent of PII. Examples of PII include:

  • Full name. This depends on your name and the population you’re looking in. If you’re looking for Charlie Kufs in the U.S., you’ll find one. …


People use the word in so many different ways.

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It seems like you can’t have a political discussion without someone using the word socialism, sometimes affectionately and sometimes disparagingly. At least with words like Hitler and Nazi, you know the intent.

Socialism is defined as a political/economic system in which the means of production (machinery, tools, and factories used to produce goods for society) are owned and controlled by a democratically-run state, but private-property is allowed. In contrast, communism implies that all property is owned by the state. In capitalism the means of production are owned by private interests rather than by the state, and they are operated to generate profit for the owner. …

About

Charlie Kufs

I’ve analyzed data for over 40 years, written a book and over 150 blogs, been a trainer/public speaker, and was a PG and SSGB. Now retired, I worship cats.

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