How We’re Fooled By Statistics - YoutubeRandom

## How We’re Fooled By Statistics

Is punishment or reward more effective as feedback? Do new medical treatments really work? What about streaks in sport? Without considering regression to the mean, we are prone to making significant errors.

Check out Audible.com: http://bit.ly/ZJ5Q6z
Filmed at Perimeter Institute: http://pitp.ca

Is punishment or reward more effective for helping people learn. A lot of people would say different incentives motivate different people, or in different circumstances, but in psychology there is a sizable body of evidence that in order to learn skills, positive feedback is more effective. This fining has been verified not just with humans, but also with other species.

It was strange then that after Daniel Kahneman discussed this research with Israeli fighter pilot instructors that he was met with resistance. They found the opposite was true: when they reprimanded a cadet for performing poorly, he invariably improved, but if they praised a cadet for an excellent performance, the next attempt was not as good. In order to solve this apparent contradiction we first need to understand regression to the mean.

Teacher study: http://bit.ly/1h8puVT
Rugby player study: http://bit.ly/1aNSrBI

This site provides links to random videos hosted at YouTube, with the emphasis on random.

The original idea for this site actually stemmed from another idea to provide a way of benchmarking the popularity of a video against the general population of YouTube videos. There are probably sites that do this by now, but there wasn’t when we started out. Anyway, in order to figure out how popular any one video is, you need a pretty large sample of videos to rank it against. The challenge is that the sample needs to be very random in order to properly rank a video and YouTube doesn’t appear to provide a way to obtain large numbers of random video IDs.

Even if you search on YouTube for a random string, the set of results that will be returned will still be based on popularity, so if you’re using this approach to build up your sample, you’re already in trouble. It turns out there is a multitude of ways in which the YouTube search function makes it very difficult to retrieve truly random results.

So how can we provide truly random links to YouTube videos? It turns out that the YouTube programming interface (API) provides additional functions that allow the discovery of videos which, with the right approach, are much more random. Using a number of tricks, combined some subtle manipulation of the space-time fabric, we have managed to create a process that yields something very close to 100% random links to YouTube videos.