Re: [R] [OT] "normal" (as in "Guassian")

From: Gabor Csardi <csardi_at_rmki.kfki.hu>
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2008 17:44:16 +0100

I'm not a statistician, but do i remember well that among all distributions with a given mean and variance, the normal distribution has the highest entropy? This is good enough for me to call it "normal"....

Gabor

On Sun, Mar 02, 2008 at 10:10:21AM -0600, roger koenker wrote:
> A nice survey of this territory is:
>
> http://books.google.com/books?id=TN3_d7ibo30C&pg=PA85&lpg=PA85&dq=stigler+normal+oxymoron&source=web&ots=OwGhmnDk3O&sig=J7ou_L8-_Mu4L14c3KJAhefrD4I&hl=en
>
> I particularly like the phrase: "[normal] is in this respect
> a rare one-word oxymoron."
>
> url: www.econ.uiuc.edu/~roger Roger Koenker
> email rkoenker_at_uiuc.edu Department of Economics
> vox: 217-333-4558 University of Illinois
> fax: 217-244-6678 Champaign, IL 61820
>
>
> On Mar 2, 2008, at 7:33 AM, (Ted Harding) wrote:
>
> > Hi Folks,
> > Apologies to anyone who'd prefer not to see this query
> > on this list; but I'm asking because it is probably the
> > forum where I'm most likely to get a good answer!
> >
> > I'm interested in the provenance of the name "normal
> > distribution" (for what I'd really prefer to call the
> > "Gaussian" distribution).
> >
> > According to Wikipedia, "The name "normal distribution"
> > was coined independently by Charles S. Peirce, Francis
> > Galton and Wilhelm Lexis around 1875."
> >
> > So be it, if that was the case -- but I would like to
> > know why they chose the name "normal": what did they
> > intend to convey?
> >
> > As background: I'm reflecting a bit on the usage in
> > statistics of "everyday language" as techincal terms,
> > as in "significantly different". This, for instance,
> > is likely to be misunderstood by the general publidc
> > when they encounter statements in the media.
> >
> > Likewise, "normally distributed" would probably be
> > interpreted as "distributed in the way one would
> > normally expect" or, perhaps, "there was nothing
> > unusual about the distribution."
> >
> > Comments welcome!
> > With thanks,
> > Ted.
> >
> > --------------------------------------------------------------------
> > E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding_at_manchester.ac.uk>
> > Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> > Date: 02-Mar-08 Time: 13:04:17
> > ------------------------------ XFMail ------------------------------
> >
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-- 
Csardi Gabor <csardi_at_rmki.kfki.hu>    UNIL DGM

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Received on Sun 02 Mar 2008 - 16:48:27 GMT

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