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Re: st: RE: Outlier: Detection

From   Ronan Conroy <>
Subject   Re: st: RE: Outlier: Detection
Date   Wed, 20 Feb 2008 11:16:05 +0000

On 19 Feb 2008, at 21:55, Maarten buis wrote:

In general I am very sceptical about automatic data dullifiers. There
are two reasons why some observation is an outlier:
[reason 1 omitted]

2) an observation is truely exceptional, in which case it contains
valueable information. Actually this information is much much more
valueable than those dull observations somewhere in the middle. So, you
definately do not want to ignore it.
Roger Bacon (1214-1294) observed that we learn twice: once when we observe the general rule, and again when we examine the exceptions.

While I was trying to source this quotation (and I didn't, but I bet Nick Cox knows!), I came across this gem:

Babbage, Charles (1792-1871)
"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."

P Before printing, think about the environment
Ronan Conroy
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Epidemiology Department,
120 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
+353 (0)1 402 2431
+353 (0)87 799 97 95

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