Today was a day of numbers. I fussed with insulation R-values in the morning and window glazing U-values in the afternoon. Ceiling volumes took a bit of time in the middle of the day.
Wrapped around my Rs and Us were t tests and another R, the Pearson Correlation coefficient or r value of a statistical kind, not of the insulation kind. I was conducting statistical analyses in preparation for an upcoming scientific conference. Statistics have a bad reputation but I like them. I studied statistics–intentionally–for years in graduate school. I actually took over a dozen statistics classes by choice, not the same class over and over the way some joke they had to.
Somewhere in the middle or R values, U values and statistical r values, I talked with our architect. We were discussing this or that and I suddenly realized that you did not want your floor joist + or – 5%. Imagine building to a Gallop Election poll. “The results indicate that the window frames should fit the window opening with a confidence interval of 3 to 8 percentage points based on our polling results.”
Worse yet, imagine calculating floor covering using a focus group watching a debate. “Press your red button if you think the Carpet Party won this point and your blue button if you think the a Hardwood Floor Party one this point.” I can just see it now. You new flooring design would be carpet squares mixed and matched with hardwood parquet squares.
I am not making fun of our election process but enjoying the furor we all partake in each year in October and early November. It is important for all of us to participate in our democracy. That is our social contract with each other. We will all contribute to this country that we make our country. It is a good thing to vote and to participate in our system of government.
I will vote in this upcoming election, driven by my conscience, my belief in my country and knowledge from polling statistics. When it comes to my house, I think I will leave statistics behind. I will count on our architect and our builder to use rulers and squares that measure truer than our political cackling here before the election.