Additional Math Pages & Resources

Friday, December 17, 2010

Interpreting Data, just for fun

Let's finish the week and the year with a bit of research. We will make more charts about the hot dog (subject of yesterday's posting on picture graphs).

Using a newly-announced Google tool, we can investigate the number of times the words hot dog appear in English literature. Yes, I know you are asking WHY? but hey, it's my blog! Why not?

In this case, I compared hot dog with hamburger and the frequency that they occurred (Y-axis)  in a random set extracted from a Google-scanned database of books published in English between 1908 and 2008 (X-axis). An entire century! What do we learn from this?

It looks like hot dogs were more popular than the hamburger (at least in literature) in the decade between 1920 and 1930. Then the hamburger took off and hasn't been caught since. It is interesting to see that the hamburger has dropped in frequency of mention in the last decade. That makes sense. Now let's add the taco. Being a specialty ethnic food, the taco ranks third in this comparison.

Next I thought of fried chicken, so I added it in to the comparison. Notice in the chart below that early in the last century,  fried chicken got plenty of treatment in literature. It was much more popular than the other foods until after WWII. Now it cruises along right next to hot dogs.

What food will it take to change this chart dramatically? Pizza! Sure enough, it changes the whole scale of the graph, because it appears at least 3-4 times more frequently than hamburger in literature.

That's enough for now. I have equipped you with the tools to waste your entire holidays if you like ... and after a short vacation, I will be back after the New Year in January.

PS = Chocolate? YES! Trumps over pizza ...

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