Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kurtosis

This was about a decade back. I was, rather reluctantly, loitering, somewhat aimlessly, in the Camac Street Westside (and this sentence has just made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for the commas/words ratio). Unknowingly, possibly eyeing of the girl at the counter or something as attractive. I came across a sign, dangling from the ceiling. I wasn't concentrating too hard, and the first blurry image that got registered inside my brain was this:


My mind raced back. Cut scenes from the meandering bylanes of time, the ones they call flashbacks in Hindi films, followed:
FLASH! The Presidency College lecture theatre!
FLASH! μ4!
FLASH! The word kurtosis written on board!
FLASH! The definition - kurtosis is the peakedness of a probability distribution: the more the kurtosis, a higher μ4 indicating a peak, while a lower one representing a rounded curve!
FLASH! Skewness and kurtosis are the Sunil Valsons of CU BSc statistics: they're there to fill up the syllabus, they bask in the glory of the glamorous ones like Probability, Sample Survey and Design of Experiments, but they never appear in exam papers, and are hence always omitted.
FLASH! The cover of Fundamentals of Statistics, Vol. 1, by AM Goon, M K Gupta and B Dasgupta.

Most importantly, if we ever played an inter-department game involving words ending in -tosis, kurtosis would have been the statisticians' response to the biologists' mitosis.

I was really excited - of course kurtosis is a relevant parameter as far as women's garments are considered. I was really impressed by the way they used statistics to measure it.

Then, a closer look suggested that the word was actually this:


So much for statistically enlightened retail outlets.

***

PS: I had forgotten to tag this post as Moments. Now I've done the same. :)

7 comments:

  1. 'KURTOSIS'word ta-e ami ektu bhoy peye gelaam..M.SC-te Biostatistics porate giye Debojyoti Das (asha kori tui chinbi) poriyechhilen...ekhon-o obdi mathhay kichhu dhhoke ni....

    'KURTIS' dekhe ektu shanti pelaam!!!!!!

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  2. "of course kurtosis is a relevant parameter as far as women's garments are considered. I was really impressed by the way they used statistics to measure it" ---:D

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  3. What can I say? Ghyam ghyam ghyam - especially the postscript :).

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  4. jodi like korar option thakto to ami adrijo chakraborty-r comment ta k like kortum!!!:)

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  5. Seems like you've studied curves your entire life and even made a career from it.Give us an example of a bell jar curve.

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    Replies
    1. You're leading me to the murkier aspects of life.

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