John Tukey and GPS

In this amusing article Emily Yoffe tells about her troubles with GPS. She fails, unfortunately, to look on the bright side — to say how flawed GPS is better than no GPS. After a talk by John Tukey, the statistician, at Berkeley, I told him that I had found the tools he wrote about in Exploratory Data Analysis to be really helpful. (For example, smoothing my data led me to discover that eating breakfast made me wake up too early.) Tukey replied that if the tools are helpful half the time, that’s good. It isn’t easy to make an interesting response to a compliment!

Something is better than nothing.

2 Replies to “John Tukey and GPS”

  1. “One night at 4 a.m., a driver found he had literally reached the end of the road in their back yard. This so unhinged him that he set his car on fire — the explosion woke up my in-laws — and ran off looking for the highway. When the police picked him up a few hours later, he said that when he realized the GPS had sent him to this dead end, he lost it.”

    If it hadn’t been the GPS, it would have been something else…

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