Reducing Your Book Buying To Statistically Ridiculous Triviality

from the how-many-words-per-dollar-is-that? dept

Earlier this year, got some press for revealing their “text stats” with “statistically improbably phrases,” listing out phrases that tend to only appear in that particular book. There were other stats as well — and all were about equally as useless. It appears that the Washington Post has just discovered these silly stats and has written up an amusing article noting some of the completely useless and trivial stats you can now compare different books over. They really seem to like the “words per dollar” feature, for instance. “But in its pure form, Text Stats is a triumph of trivialization…. Now you too can sound like a literary insider at Washington cocktail parties. You can throw around statistics and make clever conversation about the hard history books, the long-winded novels, even those thick, heavy, make-you-think philosophy tomes that contain really, really long words. And the beauty of it is, with Amazon’s “Search Inside” Text Stats and other features, you won’t even have to read them.”

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Comments on “Reducing Your Book Buying To Statistically Ridiculous Triviality”

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dorpus says:

But can it do Type I Nested F-tests?

You can have covariates that appear insignificant on their own, but appear significant in the presence of another covariate. Or the opposite can occur. We have condition indexes, variance inflation factors, and type I F-tests to evaluate these phenomena.

It might be fun to perform a principal components analysis (PCA) on a book, to find eigenvectors of words that describe a typical page. What if every page in a book is merely a linear combination of eigenvectors? It would probably work really well for Techdirt, with its predictable anti-recording-industry postings, free market dogma, and anti-dorpus rants.

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