Yihui Xie

Be Honest

谢益辉 / 2007-06-19

Statistics is, to some degree, the science of repeated experiments. Of course, lies are difficult to be repeated, so we’d better be honest:

Three roommates slept through their midterm statistics exam on Monday morning. Since they had returned together by car from the same hometown late Sunday evening, they decided on a great little falsehood. The three met with the instructor Monday afternoon and told him that an ill-timed flat tire had delayed their arrival until noon.The instructor, while somewhat skeptical, agreed to give them a makeup exam on Tuesday.

When they arrived the instructor issued them the same makeup exam and ushered each to a different classroom. The first student sat down and noticed immediately the instructions indicated that the exam would be divided into Parts I and II weighted 10% and 90% respectively. Thinking nothing of this disparity, he proceeded to answer the questions in Part I. These he found rather easy and moved confidently to Part II on the next page. Suddenly his eyes grew large and his face paled. Part II consisted of one short and pointed question…

“Which tire was it?”


By the way, today I found that googlepages was set free again and I’m so happy for this good news.