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The following quote arrived anonymously, and is said to have been printed in the "Daily Telegraph" in 1991. Regardless of who said it, however, the point is well taken ... and illustrates why professional statisticians are not uniformly impressed with "averages."

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According to Robert Adams, Fellow, Royal Statistical Society, there are roughly three million people in Wales. "It may be estimated," says he, "that 100 of them have no legs, and another 1,000 of them have only one leg. The remaining 2,998,900 persons have two legs.

"This makes a total in Wales of 5,998,800 legs shared among all the inhabitants - an average of 1.9996 legs each.

"Thus," he concludes, "nearly everyone in Wales (99.96%) has more than the average number of legs ..."

------------------A Final Thought ...

"Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment."

- Jean Baudrillard (b. 1929), French semiologist