Hold on to your hats: it’s World Statistics Day!

October 20, 2010
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(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Apparently today is the first ever World Statistics Day. I only knew about it because I'd seen a couple of passing references to it from the stats folks I follow on Twitter. But I guess this UN-sponsored event is a big deal, judging from the official website:

The celebration of the World Statistics Day will acknowledge the service provided by the global statistical system at national and international level, and hope to help strengthen the awareness and trust of the public in official statistics. It serves as an advocacy tool to further support the work of statisticians across different settings, cultures, and domains.

So let's look at some of the thrilling celebrations planned by a few of the 100+ countries participating in World Statistics Day: 

United States associations and federal statistical agencies will conduct a breakfast briefing and open house on Capitol Hill to celebrate the contributions of statistics toward informing public policy and improving human welfare.

Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) has organized various activities, including a sub-regional course on "measuring and improving survey quality" and a one-month mini-exhibition on official statistics.

Italy will cover the front of the Istat building with a curtain/video to witness the day (subject to a feasibility study and budget limitations).

The Statistical Society of Canada has produced this uplifting YouTube video to commemorate the event. (Don't miss the eulogy at the end ... in fact I suspect this is actually a parody!) [Update: this video is not from Statistics Canada as previously reported -- thanks to reader GC for the correction.]

Australia will celebrate with the launch of a new publication promoting the use of statistics for evidence based policy.

It's not really fair for me to poke fun, and we statisticians aren't exactly renowned for our wild and extreme behaviour. But c'mon, there are better ways to celebrate World Statistics Day. Statistics is fun, and even official statistics can be made exciting with the right presentation, as Hans Gosling has ably demonstrated:

So how will you be celebrating World Statistics Day?

World Statistics Day 2010: Official Site

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