Number Don’t Lie – And Neither Do Tomatoes

Photographer: The Photographer

Photographer: The Photographer

In a recent politically sided discussion on who the bestest president was, after some statistics were questioned, a particular commenter opined “Numbers don’t lie.” That’s true. Tomatoes don’t either. In fact, I suspect nearly all inanimate objects and vegetables are typically honest.

And yet, cut open a vine ripened tomato, take a bite, and you’ll likely think it tastes more like a tomato that was sitting in a warehouse somewhere than one plucked from a plant in a local garden.

Similarly (ok, we’re stretching things a bit here), statistics and data can be assembled to imply all sorts of things, even contradictory things, and still be true. How about if I said that more people are graduating from college than ever before, and unemployment is at an all time low? But perhaps I could also say that college graduates are earning less, with more debt, in jobs that don’t require their degrees than ever before.

Is it possible both are true? Sure. Why not?

Data needs to be normalized, analyzed, and put in context. This is why there are people who have studied economics, statistics and data science.

So the next time someone tells you something is irrefutably correct, showing you the data, have a tomato and look into it.


developer, writer, speaker

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