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Statistics: The Galton Board and more

This (the Galton Board) is tremendous. If you haven’t seen it, you must, you must. The first video is great, but if you only have a minute watch the second one.


  1. This video will give you a deeper intuitive sense of the normal distribution and randomness…
  2. … including that things being normally distributed means that on average they’ll give a nice smooth bell curve, but any given sampling they may have sticky-out bits. The bigger the population, the closer to the ideal distribution things should get.

At the end of the day the Galton Board is a almost chilling reminder that out of randomness, unpredictability, order can come across enough trials, or involving enough objects.

And so what this means is that although our universe is certainly full of unpredictable and random events, especially at the quantum level, big things like us are pretty gosh-darn predictable and stable.

Michael Stevens

More on Galton

  1. Galton Board with beautiful slow-mo

2. A bit more celebrating Galton – see 7.15 for a nice piece on regression to the mean and how it relates to randomness.

3. A good and more ambivalent look at Galton’s legacy from the excellent people at Crash Course

P.S. Quote of the Week

If you have a pulse and are breathing, I think we can agree that binomial powers are one of your favourite things.

Michael Stevens

See Also:

When “normal” feels like winning (or losing) – Danny Kahneman on regression to the mean

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...